New Orleans Food and Wine Event
I've seen the site for this, can anyone comment on the events? The Royal Street Stroll sounds fun, or I could do the event at the Superdome on Friday. Has anyone attended any of these events in the past? Are they worth the ticket prices? Thanks!
Have not attended post-K, but was there for our fourth time, just before.
Here are my observations:
1.) Great event.
2.) Decent blend of technical/analytical and fun.
3.) Tasting event pretty good, but features a lot of "generic wines." Many other events (trade and public), that we attend have a better line up of wines.
4.) Winemaker dinners can be really off, on hit the mark. The committee sometimes gets it very wrong. Many restaurants and winemakers are mis-matched. Having more than one night, with one selection, would be great. Go for a combo of winemaker and restaurant. some of the bigger names and most popular are NOT the best.
5.) Technical lectures are mostly good, with a few duds. Unfortunately, some of the best are at the same time. Some lectures overlap, i.e. you might have a good one that is 1.5 hrs. and a competeing one that is only 1 hr. You have to choose one vs the other. Again, spreading these out a bit would benefit. Still very good.
6.) Royal St. "crawl" is more fun, than about wine. Food is pretty light, but the fun quotent is pretty high, if not too hot.
Your "fun quotent" will depend on what you want to get out of the event. I do many events on a semi-pro basis, so I get to attend a bunch. For a "full-fledged wino," it's a bit light-weight. For a fun couple of days, with good wine, often great food and lots of fun in NOLA, it's tough to beat. When schedules permit, we'll definitely do it again, with a couple of friends.
Remember! Last visit to NOWFE was May, pre-K. Things have very likely changed. I'm surprised that more is not posted here on the event. I've even posted questions on it, since our last visit, and get a very few comments, if any at all.
As to the worth of the tickets, I'd say yes, though that would be predicated on what you want to get out of it. I'd love to do it again for the fifth time, including an airline flight from PHX, if that is any indication.
The Royal Street Stroll every is very fun. However, I would caution you against one thing. Summer in New Orleans has a habit of raining buckets at around 3-5 o clock in the afternoon. Making the early evening hours absolutely miserable. I would wait to buy tickets to this event until after you see what the weather is doing, fairly certain you can buy tickets at the door. But if the weather holds, by all means go. Especially if you like a little art with your wine.
I have had more luck with the wine dinners pairing out then the Spirited Dinners at Tales of the Cocktail. There is generally a feeling of bonhomie at the wine dinners that make it seem more like a party then a lecture. Co your research find a winery you like or what to try and chances are the meal will be fairly good. But just my two cents, I would stay away from the Brennan quasi-chains, you can have better meals elsewhere on that night.
Wolfe's looks good, both the one in the warehouse and on Rampart. Also, Melange in the Ritz, Galatoires, MiLa, and the Grill Room would also be good spots.
Royal Street Stroll usually sells out way before the event. If you find that it is sold out, you can still stroll down the street and visit galleries and pop in bars/restaurants along the way and buy your own. Many galleries stay open later than the allotted time of the stroll, so you can always make a night of it after an early dinner somewhere.
I've been w/tickets and w/o tickets and had fun either way. I'm not saying don't buy tickets if they are still available, but you can still experience the stroll if tickets are sold out, just not getting to taste the wines and food in the galleries.
I used to go to the Grand Tastings, but w/ticket prices going up, I always felt like I was trying to beat the clock to try some nice wines. The food stations are always good, but usually very crowded. Guess for this event, I feel like for the money, I could go out w/friends and have a better meal and time of it.
Speaking of wine dinners, I just got a release from Maximo's. Tonight they have Abe Schoener, winemaker of the Scholium Project. I love this guy's wines, especially the verdelho and Sauvignon Blanc (unfiltered). Price is $85 for a five course meal (with pairings). Looks like a steal, wishing I didnt have plans...
re: edible complex
I like your "clock" analogy, regarding the Grand Tastings. At many other events, that we frequent, there is usually a few hours, reserved for those, who bought a full package. Then the doors are thrown in for those, who just bought tickets to the tasting. That has been a better scheme, in my book. Same for the trade/public tastings, that we do - trade gets about 2 hours first, then the public comes in. In two hours, I can taste almost everything that I need to.
I also agree on the Royal St. event. The wines are usually not impressive, and the food stations nothing to compare to normal NOLA culinary events. The fun is open to most, especially after the event itself. Still, we always did it, because we purchased the full event package.
If I were ever approached by the NOFWE committee, the first rec. that I'd make would be to do two evenings of the "winemaker dinners."
From the outside, it appears that, in years past, most restaurants sell out because of their food and fame, and not the winemaker, with whom they are paired. Also, it seems that there is little consideration of pairing restaurants with the appropriate winemakers. This has hopefully changed, but last event that we did, Joel Peterson (Ravenswood) even commented that he'd been paired with a seafood restaurant, and only does one white wine, and no lighter reds. He noted that one steakhouse had been paired with a winemaker, who only does several white varietals and no reds at all. Even some of the winemakers question how these pairings come about.
Still, I'd fly in to do it all over again, and would purchase the full package. My problem has just been schedule.
The ability to have fun, get some good food (maybe not at the Royal St. event), and sample a bunch of wines - some better than others.
re: Bill Hunt
They did change the wine dinners this year. This year, from what I understand having talked to Chuck Subra of La Cote Brasserie, the restaurants were given an option of choosing a winery to pair with this year. I am not sure how the "draft" went but I do know that restaurants were given more leeway to decide who to pair with. I hope this results in a more appropriate system.