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Events

The Eater’s Guide to Jazz Fest

The Mango Freeze at Jazz Fest (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Jazz Fest is seven days of endless music, over 130 craft vendors and, more importantly, 70 food booths across 5 different main areas. None of the food I’ve had at Jazz Fest has been bad, but you still need a plan to maximize the room in your stomach and your Festing dollars. These are some of the favorites from each area (check the map on the Jazz Fest page):

FOOD AREA 1

Food Area 1 is easily the largest collection of food vendors, so there is definitely lots to try here!

Panorama Foods: The crawfish bread and the sausage & jalapeno bread are consistently crowd favorites. Both are full of cheesey, gooey tastiness. We always have to have at least one!

Vaucresson Sausage: A New Orleans fixture since 1899 and an original vendor of pretty much all of New Orleans’ great festivals, Vaucresson has seen it all. While the crawfish sausage is great, the Creole Hot Sausage Po Boy is their standout.

Love at First Bite: A veritable to-die-for cochon de lait po boy. Love at First Bite hides the fixings under the pork to ensure nothing, including the great flavor, slips out.

jazz fest po-boy
The cochon de lait po-boy at Jazz Fest (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Food Area 2

Food Area 2 is the other large food vendor collection at the Fairgrounds. Always easy to get to on your way to Congo Square or the back of the Acura Stage crowd.

Conseco’s Markets: The Cuban sandwich is as simple as it gets. At first, I thought it might be a little too simple, but then I took a bite. In this case, simple means simply delicious.

Mrs. Wheat’s Foods: A Natchitoches style meat pie is a must try if you’ve never had one. Spicy meat filling in a crisp, crescent shaped pie.

CONGO SQUARE
Cafe Reconcile: Easily the biggest draw for the Congo Square group, the strawberry lemonade might not technically be food, but on a hot Fest day it will cool you down.

HERITAGE SQUARE
Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine: Spring rolls, Vietnamese egg rolls and bun (vermicelli noodles with shrimp or beef). While the spring rolls and bun are my favorite, the only mistake you could really make here is not stopping by.

KID’S FOOD
One of the few remaining Fest secrets (until now) is the Kid’s Food Area. There aren’t many vendors, but its secluded location means it’s likely you’re not going to be facing huge crowds.

Lil’s BBQ: The BBQ chicken sandwich will knock out your hunger pains, but the jazzy cupcakes will satisfy your sweet tooth! That you can usually get the two as a combo makes the deal sweeter.

Which Jazz Fest dish is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
April 29-May 8

For more fun with food and drink in New Orleans, be sure to join us Just Off the Red Streetcar Line!

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