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Perfect Pairings: Jazz Fest Food and Headliners

Find out the best food to pair with the incredible lineup of headliners at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival!

Nothing is more satisfying than basking in the New Orleans sun, while listening to one of your favorite bands of all time play live, all while eating some of the best food you’ve ever had. At that moment, all stars will be aligned and nothing can go wrong. In order to ensure our readers the very best Jazz Fest experience, we’ve preselected those magical moments by pairing this year’s 2013 New Orleans Jazz Fest headliners with the perfect Jazz Fest foods. If you consider the extensive array of food and music at the fest, endless combinations are possible – but these are some we’re sure will put a big, goofy smile on your face. To see what pairs the best with New Orleans artists, check out our local edition of Jazz Fest food and music pairings!

GoNOLA’s 2013 New Orleans Jazz Fest Food and Music Pairings: Headlining Artists Edition

Hall and Oates and Boudin Balls

new orleans jazz fest food
Delicous Jazz Fest boudin balls will create a match to remember with Hall and Oates!

Like boudin balls, Hall and Oates add up to more than the sum of their parts.
At first glance, both appear composed of two ingredients: meat and coating, a blonde and a brunette. But like all deceptively simple recipes, it’s comes down to technique, the heat and the details, like the meat to rice ratio and spice mix. And the result in both cases offers a surprisingly substantial bite, one whose popularity never wanes — witness the eternal appeal of “Rich Girl,” “Sarah Smile” and “Every Time you Go Away” live while you chomp down on this Cajun delicacy. Sensitive at its center yet undoubtedly masculine, undeniably addictive, always filling. This one’s for you, Maneater. See Hall and Oates play Jazz Fest on Sunday, May 5 at 4:00 p.m. on the Gentilly Stage and find boudin balls at Papa Ninety Catering in Food Area I!

Allison Alsup

The Black Keys and Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

A great duo band is tough to find. But Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of The Black Keys are up there with Sonny & Cher if you ask me. My advice: jam to the rhythm of this guitar and drums combo with a bowl of Fireman Mike’s Shrimp and Okra Gumbo in hand. There’s nothing like pairing the perfect music duo with the perfect gumbo duo. See the Black Keys at New Orleans Jazz Fest on Sunday, May 5 at 3:45 p.m. on the Acura Stage while enjoying Shrimp and Okra Gumbo from Fireman Mike’s Kitchen in Food Area I.

Ann Marshall Thomas

Frank Ocean and Loretta’s Pralines

Let the sounds of Frank Ocean wash over you while you snack on Loretta's Pralines (Photo courtesy of streogum)
Let the sounds of Frank Ocean wash over you while you snack on Loretta’s Pralines (Photo courtesy of stereogum.com)

When Frank Ocean wrote “Sweet Life”, I highly doubt that he was talking about a saccharine-induced coma that one gets from Loretta’s delectable pralines and sweet potato cookies, but alas, it fits.  The Grammy Award-winning twenty something hails from New Orleans (a John Ehret alumnus) and has taken the music industry by storm with his eclectic R&B song-craft.  What’s fantastic about this pairing is that Loretta’s pralines and sweets are the perfect indulgence in the middle of the afternoon and just the sugar kick you need to put some pep in your step and a groove in your bones.  Frank Ocean’s rhythms paired with a pecan praline from Loretta’s will keep you dancing. See Frank Ocean play on Saturday May 4 at 5:25 p.m. on the Congo Square Stage and find Loretta’s Pralines Around the Grounds.

Kate Grace Bauer

Maroon 5 and Strawberry Lemonade

I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but come May 3 around 5 o’clock I will be one place and one place only: in New Orleans, at Jazz Fest, in front of the Acura Stage, dancing furiously to Maroon 5. Whether it’s their upbeat songs or insanely good looking front man, Adam Levine, there’s just something about this pop group that has me hooked. And speaking of hooked, if you’ve ever been to a New Orleans summertime festival and managed to get your hands on Café Reconcile’s Strawberry Lemonade, then you understand what all the fuss is about. Just one sip of this deeply sweet, icy cold, and seriously refreshing blend of strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and ice, and you’ll be wondering how you ever lived a summer without it. Maroon 5’s songs “This Love” and “Misery” are seemingly upbeat and sweet, but if you listen hard enough to the lyrics you’ll know they’re really breakup anthems; sweet at first but sour at the core – a lot like Reconcile’s lemonade. So while Adam (and his chiseled abs) sing about failed relationships, sit back and sip yourself into a long-lasting love affair with the best lemonade New Orleans has to offer, served at the Congo Square food area.

Emily Smith

Anders Osborne and Alligator Pie

Anders Osborne has long been a staple of New Orleans music scene.  It’s the place he calls home, though originally this particular southern gentleman is originally from Sweden.  On his journey here, he also spent time in New York and Stockholm, but at the end of the day Louisiana has been his stomping grounds for nearly 30 years.

Louisiana is not only home to Anders, but also to Alligators.  Not only have alligators become a staple for South Louisiana as well, showing off their stuff to folks on airboats and lounging in the sunshine during their free time, but they’ve also inspired the name of the record label Alligator Records, which now represents Anders Osborne and many other excellent artists.  The two of them, alligators and Anders have more than a few things in common outside of the record label – both are mysterious, people pay to see them perform, and nowadays more than ever, they’ve been engrained as a part of Louisiana culture.

That’s why when Friday, April 26 rolls around this Jazz Fest, you’ll find me eating some Alligator Pie from Cajun Nights Catering (in Food Area I), promptly at 2:30 p.m., watching the very first song of Anders’ set.  Care to join?

Thomas Rush

Earth, Wind and Fire and Snoballs

new orleans dessert
Enjoy some delicious ice with your Earth, Wind and Fire at Jazz Fest!

Sassypantses who don’t “get” it have long made feeble jokes about Earth, Wind, and Fire. “Where’s the water?” they ask, then carefully explain the four classical elements to you while you try to shut them up so you can keep listening to Earth, Wind and Fire. This year at Jazz Fest, round out the group without the drama by enjoying a Sno-Ball from AJ’s Sno-Balls, which will be running a stand in the Congo Square section. An added perk is that the waves of cool rolling off Earth, Wind and Fire performing on Sunday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. on the Congo Square Stage are likely to keep your Sno-Ball good and frozen while you eat it.

Chris Turner-Neal

B.B. King and Roman Chewing Candy

Life’s been good for Riley King, better known as “B.B.” (short for Blues Boy) King: he’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received numerous honorary doctorates, become friends with both Republican and Democratic presidents, had museums and XM radio stations named after him, and received international recognition for being a crazy-good blues guitarist. King is especially known for touring like a madman, and he’s performed more than 15,000 times. Watch King and his infamous guitar “Lucille” take the stage this year while you satisfy your sweet tooth with some Roman Candy, delicious taffy that’s only available in New Orleans! The Roman Candy Company has been around since 1915, and just like King, is here to stay. See B.B. King play Jazz Fest on Sunday, April 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Blues Tent.

Nikki Carter

George Benson and Mango Freeze

george benson
George Benson jamming out

Whether you enjoy George Benson for his orignal tunes, such as “Breezin,” or his covers (“Here Comes the Sun,” and “On Broadway,” to name two), the 10 time Grammy winner is bringing his smooth jazz stylings to this year’s Jazz Fest. After his mega-success in the late 1970s, Benson continued to grow as an artist, doing solo projects and collaborating with Chet Atkins in the mid-1980s. He teamed up with jazz legend Al Jarreau in 2006, for the album “Givin It Up.” Benson’s latest release was in 2011, an album titled “Guitar Man,” which is a collection of jazz and pop standards played as only a master guitarist can deliver.

A guitarist as smooth and cool as George Benson needs a smooth-and-cool pairing with a jazz flavor. WWOZ’s Mango Freeze fills that bill perfectly. This fruity, frozen concoction is a long-time favorite at the Fest, a great way to cool down and mellow out.

Ed Branley

Willie Nelson and Vaucresson Sausage Company

For my Jazz Fest food and music pairing, high profile edition, I choose Willie Nelson and Vaucresson Sausage Company, because they’ve both been around forever and are still crowd favorites.  Willie Nelson started making music in the 1950s and has been going strong ever since.  Willie’s been churning out chart busting hits like “Shotgun Willie,” “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “If you’ve got the Money, I’ve Got the Time,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Always on My Mind,” and “City of New Orleans” for decades, yet you still can’t get enough of Willie after all these years.  Much like Willie, Vaucresson has been there forever.  Vaucresson was started in 1899 and has the distinction of being at every single Jazz Fest since the beginning.  And despite the fact that I can always count on Vaucresson to be there, I can’t pass up an opportunity to grab a sausage po-boy from them.  Time after time, Willie and Vaucresson always have me coming back for more.

Willie Nelson and Family appear Friday, May 3 on the Gentilly Stage and the Vaucresson Po-Boys are in Food Area 1.

Red Streetcar

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