A Chicken-Fried Good Time in New Orleans is In Our Future

Now there’s one more way to enjoy my beloved NOLA: a chicken-fried festival of flavors. A plethora of plentiful poultry done right. A cache of crunchy chicken goodness.

Photo from Shoofly by Ellis Anderson; that’s the fried chicken from Willie’s Chicken Shack

Shoofly Magazine, the pride of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, did the world a public service by sampling the best of the best of the chicken-fried offerings in nearby New Orleans, and published a great article about it: The Grand New Orleans Fried Chicken Pilgrimage.

A simple story about a food festival grows to epic proportions when it kicks off the search for some of the city’s best fried chicken. 

– Shoofly story by Ellis Anderson

We’re a little obsessive about New Orleans here at Glover Gardens and are revving up for another Jazz Fest jaunt later this year. Shoofly’s tribute to fried chicken adds complexity to our journey, because we are already stressed by the “so little time, so many great meals to choose from!” dichotomy. But we’ll figure it out, and if we have to make extra trips to NOLA to sample the crispy chicken delights highlighted in the magazine, we’ll do it.

Photo from Shoofly Magazine by Ellis Anderson: the Roosevelt Hotel’s Monday night chicken

Give the article from Shoofly a read, and think about joining us at Jazz Fest later this year when we’ll be tasting the chicken and jamming to the tunes. Thanks to the folks at Shoofly Magazine for adding to the never-ending lure of NOLA.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

A Little Bit of Americana Deep in the Heart of Texas

Round Top Chili Cookoff
Photo by our friend David

The Grill-Meister and I met some friends yesterday at the chili cookoff in tiny Round Top, Texas (population 90 in the 2010 census). It was overcast and gray and didn’t really seem like a good day for an outdoor festival, but we were committed, so we donned sensible shoes for trodding in mud and brought our appetites. It was a wonderful experience!

The chili was great, but the people-watching was even better.  I didn’t take enough pictures and none of them will win any awards, but I was struck by the sheer Americana of the scene and had to share it.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Arepas Revisited, with Input from Edinburgh and The Pleasant Peasant

It Started with Breakfast Club

Arepas are a traditional bread from the native tribes of Venezuela that resembles both pita (in shape) and fried cornbread (in texture).  I learned about them from a colleague when she brought them to our Breakfast Club at work last year (click here).

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The shredded beef arepa was topped with cheese and a creamy green sauce and served alongside a mango mousse and grapefruit juice at Breakfast Club

And Then Came the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market at Castle Terrace

A few weeks ago, I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, and there was a farmers’ market and street festival right in front of my hotel. Score!  The smell of the arepas was amazing, although I was too full from lunch to enjoy them.  I took loads of photos to share here in the blog, and of course I sent a few to my Venezuelan coworker.  (Irritatingly, auto-correct changed “arepas” to “arenas”…I guess my iPhone thought it was smarter than I was.)

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There was a long, long line for these handmade-on-site arepas at the Castle Terrace farmer’s market in Edinburgh

The Pleasant Peasant Tried Arepas and Now Calls Them His New Favorite Food

And now I’ve seen a marvelous post about arepas from another blogger I follow, who rolled up his sleeves and mastered the art of making them.  Don’t those vegetarian arepas from The Pleasant Peasant look great?!  You can read all about his process and yummy vegetarian fillings via the link in the Resources section below; the photos are from his blog post.

I’m going to give arepas a try one day soon, and will share the results with you.

More to Come about the Edinburgh Experience

I haven’t done the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market in Castle Terrace justice with this post and will share more on another day.  It is charming, and somehow you feel so connected to the past when shopping in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.  The city really knows how to blend the richness of its past with its present.  There was also a jazz festival going on, and a palpable sense of celebration under the chilly gray Edinburgh sky.

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Happy crowds munch on farmers’ market food while listening to jazz in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle

Resources

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook (cover photo and cooked arepas pics courtesy of The Pleasant Peasant)

New Orleans Jazz Fest Anticipation: Food at the Festival and the Foodie’s Dilemma

The seventh post in a series about the New Orleans Jazz Festival covering food (restaurants and recipes), fun, music and travel tips.

In the run-up to our Jazz Fest trip in early May, we are building anticipation by looking back at past good times in New Orleans and sharing our travel tips.

Today, we discuss a rather serious situation:  The Foodie’s Dilemma.

How to Enjoy Festival Food and Yet Save Room to Experience NOLA’s Restaurants?

The issue at hand is:  the festival food is so wonderful, so food-truck-trashy-tasty good, so “mama’s been making it for years just like this” authentic,  that any self-respecting foodie simply has to eat it.  And yet,  as a proud foodie, you want to save room for the dinners at the myriad of super-fine restaurants New Orleans has to offer, like Bayona, which was profiled in an earlier post.  It’s a difficult thing.  I’ve been to Jazz Fest five times and still don’t have the formula right for solving the Foodies’ Dilemma.  The best advice I have is to do a lot of walking and make room for more!  Since there are nine different food locations all around the festival offering over 250 menu items, you can do a lot of your walking just trying to make up your mind!  The other strategy we deploy is to skip breakfast, make a reservation for an early lunch at a foodie’s choice restaurant, then head out to the festival and start the serious snacking in mid-afternoon.

How to Choose from All the Mouthwatering Goodness?

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Crawfish Monica photo from EatDrinkCulture blog

And that’s the second part of the Foodie’s Dilemma: once you’ve realized you’re just going to be stuffed the whole time, and not really as ashamed about the gluttony as your Mama taught you to be – how do you pick between all of mouth-watering goodness provided by the 70+ vendors?  With the memory-laden lure of your old favorites, how can even a foodie branch out and try something new?  I’ve never had the Crab & Crawfish Stuffed Mushrooms that Prejean’s restaurant brings to Jazz Fest, but how could I pass up the Crawfish Monica or Crawfish Strudel that I always have?  In the crawfish department alone, there were 18 different selections featuring this delicious little crustacean in 2016.  So many options, so little time!  The Foodie’s Dilemma is actually a Foodie’s Delight.

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I snapped this pic while in line for Crawfish Strudel; notice all the hats (read here about the importance of hats)

Festival Food Photos

So today, for your culinary daydreaming pleasure, here’s a look at some of the delectable festival food, just random pics I’ve snapped during a few of our Jazz Fest journeys.  Some of the food was mine; some was in the hands of strangers.  People are always really nice about letting me photograph their food.

People are always nice at Jazz Fest, period.  It’s like a great big family reunion, but, instead of genes and upbringing, the thing you have in common is a love of music and food.

Catfish Almandine, Potato Salad and Creole Stuffed Crab

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Crawfish Strudel

Jazz Fest Food - Crawfish Strudel

Fried Crawfish and Greek Salad with Gyro Sandwich

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Crawfish Bread

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Have these photos piqued your interest?  The resources below include a link to the food section on the Jazz Fest web site.  There’s a lot more there to see and salivate over.

Crawfish Monica Recipe from Emeril’s Test Kitchen

Did you know that the amount of rotini pasta used to make the Crawfish Monica sold at the festival in a single year is 6 tons???  That stuff is hurt-yourself good.  So here’s a Crawfish Monica recipe via GoNOLA, with a video from chef Chris Wilson, the director of culinary operations at Emeril Lagasse’s test kitchen.

Resources

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook