You can hear the news that the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has canceled this year, swallow it, and accept it as inevitable.
But then you could have a mixed craving for Monica crayfish, a poaucoy of hot Vaucresson sausages, crayfish bread, some feathered game okra, a praline stuffed donut and jama jamaas and feel a hint of desperation somewhere deep inside your very being.
More than in any other music festival, the gastronomy of Jazz Fest is an integral part of the experience.
Local food vendors return year after year, almost always serving the same proven dishes, creating a framework for relationships and rituals. People made their own dishes, incorporating them into their planning and anticipation of the Jazz Fest as much as any particular act on stage.
But, while Jazz Fest is off the table, many sellers are still in business, or what’s going on for it these days. You can find Jazz Fest classics via take-out at the restaurant, special orders shipped to your door or, in some cases, at local grocery stores.
Some have even developed a pop-up style service to take away special items, such as Patton’s popular trio of crayfish bags / oyster pancakes / crayfish fritters.
Crayfish makers Monica are working on a possible pop-up plan, and home delivery of Vaucresson sausages may be available soon, so check back for updates.
Especially out of the game for now: the very popular po-boy suckling pig. The family behind the dish usually serves them year-round from the Southern Style barbecue at their restaurant in East New Orleans, but that has stopped. Li’l Dizzy’s, known for its crayfish bisque and tub trout, is also closed, although the family may resume orders in the future.
I was unable to obtain information on all of the suppliers at the time of writing, but I will update if I receive more.
Here is a current list of what’s available now:
Crayfish bags, oyster pancakes, crayfish fritters
This revolutionary trio of flavors from Louisiana comes from a Slidell caterer, and on April 24 and 25 you can get them straight from the source. Patton’s home base will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. those days. Single items are $ 5, combination plates (the classic) are $ 13. Order the day from Patton or order in advance by email at [email protected] 127 Cleveland Avenue, Slidell, 985-645-3600.
By Kajun Kettle Foods
Local producer Kajun Kettle Foods is working on the details of a pop-up to serve his famous pasta dish with seafood. Meanwhile, Elmwood also sells “Monica crayfish kits” on its website, a frozen version is sold in local grocery stores and the “Monica sauce” is stored at Langenstein to make Monica yourself. See kajunkettle.com.
From Panaroma Foods
At Jazz Fest, you usually get a slice of this cheese and meatloaf, but Marksville-based maker Panaroma Foods will send you whole loaves of crayfish bread with its jalapeno sausage bread and shrimp bread in its kitchens in central Louisiana. See nolacrawfishbread.com.
Pheasant enchiladas, quail and okra and crawfish andouille
From Prejean’s restaurant
This requires a road trip from New Orleans, or some coordination with a friend who happens to be around Lafayette. The popular Cajun restaurant on I-49 remains open for takeout and sells pints and two-gallon bags of its “Jazz Fest gumbo” and take-out pans and cook crayfish enchiladas. There is no delivery, just a restaurant pickup, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The other Prejean gumbos and soups (but not its Jazz Fest version) are also sold online and shipped via CajunGrocer.com. 3480 N. Evangeline Throughway, Lafayette, 337-896-3247
From the Bennachin restaurant
One of the iconic flavors of the Congo Square region at the Jazz Fest, this well-seasoned stir-fried spinach dish is still on the menu at this warm African restaurant in the French Quarter. His joint chicken-fricasse association (chicken on a stick) was not available during my visit, but may be in the future. You can also get it with fried plantains, another festive option. 1212 rue Royal, 504-522-1230
Crayfish, spinach and zucchini and merguez sausage
The Tunisian restaurant Uptown remains open to go with its full menu, including this hearty refreshing green bisque. Since the start of the crisis, the Uptown district of Langenstein has stocked bisque with Jamila’s lentil soup to help a local business in need. 7808 Maple Street, 504-866-4366
Po-boys soft crab
From Galley Seafood
Old Metairie’s long-standing seafood restaurant is open for takeout, with a good supply of soft-shelled crabs for its Jazz Fest staple and full menu. 2535 Metairie Road. 504-832-0955
Natchitoches Meat Pies
From Mrs. Wheat’s
The hand-salted pies come with a variety of fillings and different sizes. Local manufacturer Ms. Wheat’s has an online ordering option for shipping to meatpies.com/shop.
Crayfish strudel, white chocolate bread pudding
De Cottage Catering
Harahan’s caterer and bakery prepared family-style meals and packed lunches and added his iconic Jazz Fest dishes to his take-out menu. Call to order. 1536 River Oaks Road., 504-343-5706
Praline stuffed donut, crab meat donut, pralines
Authentic Loretta pralines
Lorretta Harrison ships orders for her Creole sweets across the country and on Friday, she opens her Marigny restaurant to take out with a menu including fried seafood plates and her fritters stuffed with Jazz Fest specialty, sweet and savory. 2101 N. Rampart St., 504-944-7068
From Miss Linda Green
“Old sober” is a strong remedy and brothy in a cup. Local designer Linda Green has lost the places she usually serves it, including the Jazz Fest, but she sells jars of her “yakamein juice” or broth, directly so you can make it yourself at home (she also recommends mixing the juice with hot sauce for a revitalizing drink). She is also working on a blend of bottled yakamein Mary. Contact Green directly for purchasing and curbside pickup information at 504-344-7218.
The cured meats from Canseco’s markets explain the link between the festival and its “Cuban Jazz Fest”. Pro move: place your order, then make your purchases, because the pressed sandwich takes a few minutes to prepare. See locations on cansecos.com/locations
Traditional and vegetarian muffulettes, as well as roast beef po-boy and turkey giardiniera po-boy also served at the Jazz Fest, are on the menu at these four places, open to take out. See details of the West Bank and Covington location on dimartinos.com.
Smitty’s Seafood Restaurant
The Kenner restaurant, which normally cooks boiled crayfish (and smothered cajun crayfish rice), remains open for takeout. 2000 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 504-468-1647
Breaded chicken po-boy
From the Vucinovich restaurant
The pillar of New Orleans East also collects po-boys with shrimp and fried oysters at the Jazz Fest and remains open to take away. They don’t normally serve their Jazz Fest spinach salad with oysters, but can improvise with other salads. 4510, boulevard Michoud, 504-254-5246
From Ajun Cajun
The longtime seller of the festival opened his own restaurant earlier this year, with this well-dressed Japanese beef po-boy on the menu with the festival dish yakisoba shrimp. 8433 Oak Street, 504-866-7077
Spumoni and gelato
By Angelo Brocato
While the dessert shop has closed, many of its gelatos, ice creams and confectionery are stored in local grocery stores. See angelobrocatoicecream.com/retail-partners/
Falafel and gyroscopes, hummus and tabouli
The local Middle Eastern restaurant serves its full take-out menu at its Mid-City location, which also houses a well-stocked specialty grocery store. 3901 Banks Street, 504-482-7743
Fried Fish Tacos
From Taqueria Corona
The puff pastry fried fish tacos and the shrimp and chicken tacos are on the menu of these three taquerias, which remain open to take away. 5932 Magazine Street, 504-897-3974; 3535 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-885-5088; 1827 avenue Hickory, Harahan, 504-738-6722
By Williams Plum St. Sno-Balls
The classic Uptown snowball stand reopened on April 16, and it is the second location in Parc Lafrenière de Metairie is also open (11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 7 p.m.) 1300, rue Burdette, 504-866 -7996
From Roman Candy Co.
The evocative mule-drawn car isn’t very active right now, but you can still order old-fashioned candy packs to ship across the country. See romancandy.com.
From New Orleans Coffee Co.
The same company that provides essential coffee refreshments at Jazz Fest makes Cool Brew, the concentrate sold in many local stores. See coolbrew.com/coolbrew-partners.
Donuts and coffee with milk
The iconic French market coffee stand is closed, as are all other locations, except one – a stand at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. It is behind the security checkpoint, so you must have a plane ticket or request the MSY Guest Pass program to visit.
From, well, Lucky Dogs
The sausage-shaped carts that normally roam the French Quarter are all set aside, but Lucky Dogs will soon be available for local delivery via the New Orleans delivery service. In addition, Lucky Dogs still operates its booth at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (also behind the security checkpoint, so you must have a plane ticket or request the MSY Guest Pass program to visit) .
DIY Rosemary Tea
To wash that off, you probably already have a line on the Jazz Fest Miller Lite standard. If rosemary tea is faster, culinary writer Judy Walker prepared this DIY recipe for our readers a few years ago. Taste it straight or enriched according to your own tradition.
To reproduce Rosemint, infuse Red Zinger Celestial Seasonings tea until it is strong, then add unfiltered Louisiana honey. The original ratio is 1 cup of dried tea per 1 gallon of water, plus 1 cup of honey.
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