Loretta Harrison is no stranger to Jazz Fest, and neither are calas. This year, though, both have a new slot in the food line up as the fest rolls on.
Harrison's Marigny-based business Loretta’s Authentic Pralines has served sweets here for years. More recently, she's been adding to her creative Creole repertoire with beignets both savory (try the ambrosial crabmeat beignet) and sweet (the chocolate, my God).
Last year, Loretta’s also served calas during a one-year residency at the Cultural Exchange Pavilion. Now they are in the main food line up, with a new booth in Food Area 2.
Calas deserve the marquee attention. These rice fritters were once as common around New Orleans as beignets, though today they’re much harder to find. Whenever they turn up it feels like a revival.
The Old Coffee Pot is getting a new lease on life from a familiar name in French Quarter food.
Made from rice and flour, these fritters were once a thrifty way to make a new meal from leftover rice, that cornerstone of so many New Orleans dishes. Through history, they were linked to the African American women who sold them on the city streets.
In addition to the conventional calas topped with powdered sugar, she has sweet potato and savory shrimp versions.
Her sweet potato calas have a texture like bread pudding shot through with rice, and they’re topped with a thick, sweet syrup with hunks of sweet potato.
My favorite, though, was still the traditional calas, with their crinkly-crisp shell and soft inner texture. At $4 for three calas, it’s also a good deal among the Jazz Fest snacks.
What’s on your itinerary for Jazz Fest? Ask some New Orleanians that question and you might hear the name crawfish Monica before Alanis Morissette.
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