Cooler temperatures are on the way, along with a handful of fetes that feature a certain culinary genre or food item — from barbecue to boudin. The next couple of months present an opportunity to splurge on your favorite eats and, perhaps, delicacies that you’ve never tried before, like flammkuchen at the Oktoberfest or vegan gumbo at the Treme Gumbo Festival. So, mark your calendars and let the celebrations begin.
Louisiana Seafood Festival
During the three-day Louisiana Seafood Festival, more than 20 New Orleans area restaurants will serve succulent seafood dishes, prepared with fresh Louisiana ingredients. A few participants include: Café Reconcile, Jacques-Imos, Red Fish Grill, Lüke, and Drago’s Seafood Restaurant.
On Saturday, the festival showcases a cook off between several of the city’s top chefs. The winning seafood dish will be decided by the audience. And, in between live music acts, chefs will perform cooking demonstrations.
This year, the festival will contain a craft beer garden — a covered area, close to the stage — with an Oktoberfest theme.
“It’s an escape for those who want to be in the Oktoberfest atmosphere and drink craft beer all day,” said Tony Abadie, event chairman, foundation executive vice president and director of catering and events at Hilton New Orleans Riverside.
Since the free event falls on a Saints bye weekend, Abadie is expecting an especially large crowd.
WHAT: 2014 Louisiana Seafood Festival, produced by The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
Saturday, Oct. 11, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
WHERE: City Park Festival Grounds
Prepare yourselves for a German feast.
The menu of this year’s Oktoberfest offers both German festival foods and fare that is inspired by traditional home-cooked meals. Entrees include: haus German meatloaf with carrots and bacon; smoked pork loin with apple and sauerkraut, slow-cooked in Riesling wine and caraway; and boneless chicken breast, roasted with German herbs. The entrees come with side options, such as sauerkraut and red cabbage.
Hearty soups, like the haus potato soup, which is loaded with bacon and topped with caraway and sour cream, are also on the menu. Kielbasa on a stick, char-grilled hamburgers and flammkuchen (German pizza) will be offered for the first time. And, of course, festgoers can sample a variety of sausages, such as weisswurst and knackwurst.
Oktoberfest features a wide selection of brews, including: Bitburger Pilsner, Köstritzer, Spaten Oktoberfest Beer — the “World’s First Oktoberfest Beer” — and Heiner Brau Heiner Kolsch, a German beer created by Covington Brew House.
WHAT: Oktoberfest, presented by Deutsches Haus
WHEN: Oct. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25; Fridays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
WHERE: Deutsches Haus; 415 Williams Blvd; Kenner
Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest
Barbecue and live music — it’s a winning combination. At this weekendlong festival in Lafayette Square, guests can sample barbecue dishes, prepared in all sorts of ways, while sipping Abita beer and listening to the likes of Los Lobos, Valerie June and Little Freddie King, among others.
Though some details have not yet been finalized, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is shaping up to be fun-filled event, with an abundance of savory food options. Bring an appetite.
WHAT: 2014 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, produced and presented by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Lafayette Square Park, 540 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans
25th annual Mirliton Festival
Celebrating one of New Orleans’ favorite, albeit oddly-shaped, vegetables, the Bywater Neighborhood Association will host the 25th annual Mirliton Festival with a variety of mirliton-laden dishes. Although the music stage, along with the beverage stands and information booth, is in Mickey Markey Park, the festival is spread throughout the Bywater area. Participating restaurants include Maurepas Foods, Suis Generis, Sugar Park, Bacchanal, Sneaky Pickle, Red’s Chinese and Booty’s Street Food. Attendees can take a free pedicab ride to one of these locales and enjoy the featured mirliton dish of the day at a festival price.
WHAT: 25th annual Mirliton Festival
WHERE: Mickey Markey Park (700 Piety St., New Orleans, LA, 70117) and throughout the Bywater Neighborhood
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 25, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Emeril Lagasse fundraisers
Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s annual fundraising weekend, which brings together the top names in wine, bourbon and craft brews, includes the Louisiana-inspired outdoor festival, Boudin, Bourbon & Beer and wine auction, along with a black tie gala dinner — Carnivale du Vin.
On Friday, in Champions Square, event co-chairmen Emeril Lagasse and Donald Link, with the company of 50 premiere chefs from around the country, will present their unique twist on boudin and other artisanal sausages. Attendees can also partake in a cigar tasting.
The Saturday evening portion of the event invites patrons indoors for a glitzy gala. The 10th anniversary of Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin, at Hyatt Regency New Orleans, features guest chefs and “Honorary Bacchus” winemakers.
Lagasse will prepare a signature four-course wine pairings seated dinner.
WHAT: Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Champions Square (Poydras and LaSalle streets)
WHAT: 10th annual Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin
WHEN: Nov. 8, 6 p.m. to midnight
WHERE: Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave., Empire Ballroom, New Orleans
ADMISSION: Carnivale du Vin: Individual: $1,000; sponsored tables available; purchase tickets online at www.carnivaleduvin.com
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival
The seventh annual Treme Creole Gumbo Festival honors a signature dish of New Orleans — gumbo — prepared in a variety of ways. The event includes the Vegan Gumbo Contest.
“I’m looking forward to a bigger and better Vegan Gumbo Contest,” said Scott Aiges, the director of programs, marketing and communications at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. “There are a lot of new vegan restaurants in town, so I’m curious to see how their gumbos will stack up against some of our mainstays, like Miss Linda’s.”
The Treme Creole Gumbo Festival also contains an arts market and a kid’s area, along with performances by student bands and several of New Orleans’ most beloved brass bands.
WHAT: Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, produced and presented by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 9, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St., New Orleans
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
From traditional fried oyster po-boys to Asian-inspired delights, this popular festival has a flaky French bread sandwich for everyone.
Set on the commercial strip of Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood, Po-Boy Festival has grown exponentially since its conception in 2007. And so have the offerings.
Wondering where to start? Some attendees employ the simple strategy of starting at one end of Oak Street and strolling towards the other, grabbing whatever food item catches their eye first.
But with all of the options available, this method may include plenty of detours that lead to the contemplation of one delicious po-boy, after the next.
With activities, panel discussions, live music and libations, settling on a dish (or, two) will likely be the most challenging decision you make on an otherwise ideal day.
WHAT: Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
WHEN: Nov. 24; 11:a.m. to 7 p.m.
WHERE: Oak Street at Carrollton