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Jan 13, 2014 10:17 AM

Jazz Fest music lineup coming 1/14/14.. food lineup too?

First time JF pour moi.

Heard from trusted music-food source here in California that JF is the best festival food they have ever experienced -- and that no outside food is allowed.

Your feedback as I think about my dining itinerary:

a) Do you expect that the 2014 food list coincide with the music lineup list? Just curious, and want to get my drool on.

b) Should I entertain plans for mid- to high-end dinners out *only* for the non-JF dates? (Th, M, T) because there will just be so many food options at the festival? Certainly doable for me and might help the old pocketbook.

That said, if it is just too challenging to wait in line for festival food, I may need/want to make some weekend rezzies for wish list spots, as per my previous post:

Thanks, friends, and I am really sorry about Saturday's game and those gol darn Soggy Birds. Ouch.

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  1. I certainly wouldn't make plans for dinner after a day at the FairGrounds You might want some cold cuts or similar light fare in case your tummy growls about 8:00 but if you;ve been chomping all day you'll be pretty full. We used to go to Mandina's afterwards and then..because of got crowded in a hurry so we would go to College Inn or get dressed up and go out (that is usually a god time to go out sine festival goers are not likely to shower and change). But I didn't graze all day and sometimes had sandwiches with the performers I know.

    The lines are horrendous now. And people continue to toss their plastic plates etc on the Pony Graves, something we frown on.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hazelhurst

      Thanks, hh.

      Sad about the graves and the lines. We will not toss plastic plates, no way.

      I think we might want to do the shower/change, and late dinner; since we are staying on St. Charles, near Riverbend, we could do some Uptown/Riverbend spots on my list, even if for small plates.

      We are going to be super close to Superior Grill, so that might be our back-up plan, albeit weird for me in NOLA:

      1. re: karendor

        well, Clancy's would be perfect if you left jf at 5 ;00 or so.

      2. re: hazelhurst

        Everybody develops their own Fest strategy. Mine differs from a lot of what people here are posting. I love a lot of the food at Fest, but I prefer not to overdo it, as I generally like what's being offered in the restaurants better. (And NOLA's restaurants are better than ever right now.) That said, some would prefer to graze all day at the Fest and not go out to eat after. Another consideration is timing: if you stay at the Fest until close (7pm), it will be close to 8pm before you get to your hotel. You'll need to shower and change, and likely will want to rest up, so making dinner before 9pm could be problematic. A long dinner could then bleed into whatever nighttime activities you have planned, and in my mind the music at the clubs is what it's all about. That said, these shows often don't start til 11 (notwithstanding earlier posted start times), so often everything can be squeezed in. (BTW, I disagree that the lines for food at the Fest are long. Some can be long, but it's not at all unusual to walk right up and get your food. It's difficult to generalize, except to say that the lines almost always are manageable.)

        As for transportation, I often rent a car, but would not necessarily recommend it for those who don't know how to negotiate traffic and parking around the fair grounds. It is very easy to avoid traffic and park for free if you know your way around and don't mind a short walk to the fair grounds. But it's also easy to get caught up in traffic and overpay for parking if you're a rookie. Similarly, cabs can be problematic in that the line for a cab after Fest can be an hour or more long, unless you know where to go to catch a cab without waiting. I may look into renting bikes this year, which I would think would be an ideal way to do Fest.

        1. re: Blumie

          Thanks, Blumie.

          I know I will want to sample and savor Festival Food, and beers!

          Now that we have seen the schedule, we have a pretty good dinner strategy, for both Uptown and FQ restaurant needs/desires. Love your comment: And NOLA's restaurants are better than ever right now.

          Really appreciate the festival advice, keep it coming!

      3. You can always look at the previous year food list, doesn't change much year to year. It can take a while to get a cab after the fest, so plan accordingly. The city bus is really the best way out of there. If you get to the Fest ealry (11 am) the lines for food are very small especially on thurs/fri of 2nd weekend. Looking forward to the lineup tomorrow.

        1 Reply
        1. re: stevuchan

          great advice on all counts, esp. bus. we come in for friday of 2nd weekend, and have family member w/car fot at least one of the weekend days.

          hh, tks for food/water/sun prep advice. all feedback appreciated.

        2. I should stress here that a LOT of JF food is rich and you will likely slug down several overpriced beers. Water is ESSENTIAL to getting through the day, obviously moreso if it is hot (the first weekend can sometime be downright pleasant--the second is almost always hot--excluding rain of course). you should hydrate (slowly) before going out there. Also, a broad brimmed hat helps. Sunblock 2,000 or whatever number you can find (I know it supposedly makes no difference beyond a certain point but I feel as though I am beating Evil Mr Sun if I have a higher number SPF) Also arrange a meeting place for hook ups or if lost and do NOT use the flagpole--everyone else does.

          You'll get the general idea fairly quickly and no doubt some Old Hands will assist. As with Carnival, pacing is all important.

          1. Jazz Fest lines are long, but they move fast enough. It’s worth the wait. For most people, after Fest is about going out to see more music. The typical protocol is nap for two hours and wake up for an 11show or nap longer and go to one of those late night 2am shows. Depends on your style. Since you’re coming from the west coast, you won’t mind the late nights as much. The other option is to eat a late dinner (10 or 11) and go out afterward. You really do have a big advantage coming from Cali. Don’t worry about breakfasts, your first meal of the day should be at the Fairgrounds.

            8 Replies
            1. re: shanefink

              Thanks, sf.

              My friend has more music/crowd stamina, I have more food/lines stamina, LOL. Others have confirmed your "worth the wait" statement.

              Are the 2 am shows at the Fairgrounds or in town?

              Coming in from West Coast: We were able to do midnight shows for FQF, but not sure about 2 am shows? Would need lots of caffeine which would defeat hh's hydrate advice. Haha.

              On the Monday after FQF '13, I recall not being able to get spaces to sit at the bar in Mr. Bs and/or get my reservation any earlier than 8:45 for GW Fins. Fair warning that without rezzies I may have trouble getting into my preferred spots -- even sitting at the bar.

              Great advice about the breakfasts. I will just keep watching this board.

              1. re: karendor

                The music at the fairgrounds ends at 7. All music after that is scattered around the city.

                1. re: karendor

                  The Faigrounds close at 7pm and everyone pours out of there. I recommend renting a car because the cab/bus lines are horrendous. Parking is in the $20/day range. It’s usually very hot at jazz fest so most people need to rest afterward and try to bounce back for the late night. Other people try and nap and wake up at 7 the next morning. Depends on the person. Sometimes, I’ll power through, but the older I get, the harder that gets. Grab a frozen coffee on the way out of the festival.

                  1. re: shanefink

                    Good point about the cab line---and the buses crowd up too. I have secret parking places and don't mind walk but I always leave before the Fair Grounds closes (note: it is two words). It has been years since I wanted to see any late acts--or if I wanted to I did not want to BOTHER to.

                    And if I am going out to the usual haunts I need to go clean up, maybe nap, and change. I like to be at Clancy's or wherever by 6:00 or sooner. It is a similar game as at the Ball, QUeen's Supper,and be up early the next day. (as a youth I used to go home and change into street clothes forl later night partying. Some people would put on white tie to pretend they'd been at the ball. declasse, donchankow)

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      I'm a grant writer, so I like to use the correct terms:

                      Fair Grounds.

                      Thank you, hh.

                      P.S. Not sure which trip, but I am definitely getting to Clancy's in 2014.

                      1. re: karendor

                        It is probably a losing battle but welcome to The Cause.

                        1. re: karendor

                          karen, i've been enjoying your enthusiastic reviews for awhile now, and i love reading them. i can unequivocally attest that Clancy's is wonderful, and you must go there. We did lunch our last trip and thought it to be one of the best neighborhood restaurants in the city. You will definitely like! I took hh's advice and had the smoked soft shell crab and it was out of this world sublime. Service excellent, as well.

                          1. re: Christine

                            Thanks, Christine. You have made my day with your nice comments, plus I can fantasize about smoked soft shell crab all day! My enthusiasm for New Orleans food and drink just keeps growing, so I appreciate your feedback.

                            My dilemma is that my May trip -- focused around JF, of course -- is with a less foodie-focused friend (veggie). This is also the person that was not too fond of Galatoire's. Also, we won't have a Th or a Friday available for Clancy's lunch due to arrival and JF. I believe Th & Friday are Clancy's only lunch days.

                            My October trip is with a more sophisticated eater & shared foodie experiences friend, so a better strategy (for my own personal enjoyment) may to to postpone Clancy's until the first lunch of the October trip. Build-up!

                            At this moment, for da May adventure, I am going to set my sights on Gautreau's (walking distance from Hotel 1), Marti's and Bacchanal, the latter with my DD and her amazing young local friends.

                            Again, thanks! Gotta see if that schedule is up.

                2. One more thing I'd like to add: I love, love, love Clancy's (chose it for my New Years Eve dinner this year), but that's one restaurant I'd prefer to dine at on a non-Fest day, because Clancy's is a place where I tend to stuff myself, and Fest, followed by Clancy's, followed by night time shows, is just too much for me! Monday is a good night to do Clancy's because (1) there's no Fest that day, (2) many of the other higher end restaurants are closed on Monday, and (3) the evening shows early in the week tend to be more tame.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Blumie

                    Good point. I never do the late-night stuff anyway, though, so if I am at the bar at Clancy's by 5:30--or at a Galatoire's table by the same time--I am set for the night. But I'll do them on a Friday without a problem (although not with the facility I did thirty years ago!)

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      Thanks, Blumie & Hazelhurst.

                      We'll be in CBD by Monday night so I think I will save Clancy's for my October (b-day!) trip and stick with Gautreau's as my one fine dining spurge this trip since we can walk from our first (St. Charles) hotel.....I am sure I will be very very very well fed!

                      1. re: karendor

                        Have you been to Lilette? I'd like a comparison between it and Gautreau's. For some reason I have it in my mind these two restaurants are comparable. True? BTW, this is not for JF planning, just dining planning in general.

                        1. re: Christine

                          Christine, I am Ok with Lillette and could try it again: it was a bit too cramped for me and the night we went our server was snooty.

                          Service/menu @ Lillette reminded me of what I can get in a few Sonoma County or Bay Area bistros -- but I know there are a few dishes that other chowhounders really appreciate. I just did not find the experience very special in comparison to all the other choices. Check the board for any recent reviews, this was 2.5 years ago.

                          The ones that are new for me that I really want to do in 2014:

                          a) Gautreau’s
                          b) Marti’s (a new opening by the Gautreau folks)
                          c) Brightsen’s
                          d) Mariza’s
                          e) Bacchanal
                          f) Napoleon House Muffaletta (on the patio w/Pimm’s cups!)
                          g) Toup’s Meatery
                          h) Lucky Rooster
                          i) Cane & Table
                          j) Bar at R’evolution and/or R’evolution
                          k) Oxalis

                          The above are modified from my post …..and I greatly hope my dear chow brothers and sisters are not getting bored with me. :] I know my family is.

                          So plan is: a, b, e, f, & i for May…. and c, d, g, h, and the last two for my week in October. But things change and by fall will be a bunch of new ones to look forward to. And I have to get Parkway in pretty much each visit.

                          1. re: karendor

                            For someone who lives in the Bay area, I wouldn’t waste a meal at Lucky Rooster. It’s good, but not memorable.

                            1. re: karendor

                              karen, i can wholeheartedly recommend both Brigtsen's and Napoleon House. Brigtsen's (no h) will always be remembered as our first dinner in New Orleans on our first trip. It was wonderful. And Napoleon House is one of those unique only-in-New-Orleans kinds of places. This may sound weird, but the vibe and people-watching at that FQ corner is both exciting and relaxing, at the same time. I'm sure you will love it.