Once known as the New Orleans Fringe Festival – a week-long bash of alternative theater and art – 2015 brings the re-formatted and expanded Faux/Real Festival of Arts. Newly minted executive director Ben Mintz has tapped in to the hugely popular culinary and cocktail culture with the addition of food, drink, and pop-up restaurant events. Check out Faux/Real’s color-coded calendar for details. (Food and drink events are highlighted in yellow.)
How things work: Make a one-time purchase of a $5 Faux/Real festival button in order to attend events happening now through Nov. 22, plus be sure to purchase event tickets where required. Buttons also are good for food and drink specials at more than 50 participating restaurants and bars as well as for after-party events in or near festival central in Marigny/Bywater (box office is at the New Orleans Healing Center).
Here are some week-by-week highlights to get excited about — faux real.
Sparklehorse, Thursday, Nov. 5: Kajun’s Pub hosts a cool Southeast Asian pop-up by Sparklehorse starting at 9 p.m. Slow-cooked, smoky meats like ribs in chili sauce, seafood dishes like charred shrimp or simply grilled vegetables and salads have that culinary sparkle.
Crescent City Character Crawl, Sunday, Nov.8: This ticketed event features Courtyard Brewery guru Scott Wood leading a French Quarter tour of his favorite pub jukeboxes and frozen drinks. Tour starts at 10 p.m., tickets $40.
Barlesque, Tuesday, Nov. 10: A 9 p.m. cocktail competition at Barrel Proof — with burlesque. Local bar stars Paul Gustings (Broussard’s Empire Bar), Chris Hannah (French 75), Nick Dietrich (Cane & Table) and Lucy Weed (bartender and cocktail entrepreneur) will craft cocktails alongside some of New Orleans’ sexiest, sassiest burlesque artists as they perform their choreographed routines.
Throw Down in the Round, Thursday, Nov. 12: Get involved in the city’s burgeoning coffee scene with a “Throw Down in the Round” at French Truck Coffee at 7:30 p.m. This free event features the city’s top baristas battling in a latte art competition. Sip coffee, talk coffee, make coffee friends. Free.
Po Boys and Rich Girls, Tuesday Nov. 17: Spitfire Bar and Killer Poboys partner to serve creative cocktails perfectly paired with unique takes on the iconic local sandwich starting at 10 p.m. Local burlesque group Vixens & Vinyl will simultaneously bring their signature “hot chicks and hi-fi sounds” with a vintage R&B, soul, and rockabilly dance party. Tickets $25.
Play with Your Vegetables, Nov. 18: Play with your vegetables at Sneaky Pickle at 8:30 p.m. Chef-owner Ben Tabor is holding a four-course vegetarian supper (non-vegetarian available) with wine pairings that highlights locally sourced, in-season produce from area farms. Tickets from $40.
Let’s Get Weird, Nov. 19: A so-called “evening of unexpectedness” features a menu with familiar flavors presented in a surprising way. Chef Matthew Kopfler will also have artwork available for sale during the dinner, which starts at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $55.
Ciao, Nov. 19: Local foodie favorites Pizza Delicious, Keife & Co. Wine Merchants, and Cure jointly present a multi-course Italian menu on Piety Street at 6:30 p.m.. Dishes like Roman Square Pizza al Taglio and Suppli (fried beef ragu risotto balls with mozzarella in the center) are literally just the beginning. Tickets are $69.
Old Portage at Black Penny, Nov. 21: The bar on North Rampart Street gets a culinary lift from pop-up chefs Old Portage starting at 6 p.m. Think oyster pan roast and the “Upper Quarter Pounder” burger. For dessert? Chocolate chess pie with whipped buttermilk, caramel, and pretzel crumble. No ticket required.
Indigenous Thanksgiving, Nov. 22: Lush and lovely Paradigm Gardens hosts a finale dinner that incorporates Louisiana’s native foods. Small bites and libations kick off at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets from $55.