Although New Orleans is the birthplace of the cocktail and continues to grow as a cocktail connoisseur’s playground, the wine enthusiast has plenty of options to explore when out and about in New Orleans. Particularly this week with the 20th annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience happening all week.
NOWFE is popping all over the Vieux Carre from May 22 – 25, 2013. Our excursions this week will focus on the more casual wine enthusiast, taking you to wine experiences all over town. However, let’s get started with the big guy, NOWFE’s Royal Street Stroll. This Thursday evening a stroll on the most prestigious blocks of the French Quarter will be the quintessential New Orleans wine experience. That means wine, food, music, art, antiques, architecture and of course a parade. Or as the presenter proclaims, “the most unique wine tasting in the world.”
Three hours may not be enough time to enjoy all that is going on, but I trust you will do your best to stroll the eight blocks that features some of the best New Orleans jazz from Leroy Jones, some of the best New Orleans food from Antoine’s, the Bourbon House, G.W. Fins and more, plus they’re keeping with the times by having one block dedicated to the emerging food truck scene of New Orleans, some of the best art galleries (my favorite is the Martin Lawrence Gallery with their collection of Erte’s, Picasso’s and Chagall’s), antique shops (M.S. Rau may be the most well-known, but don’t miss the collection at Ida Manheim’s gallery in the 400 block).
Oh yeah, and of course, some of the best wines from around the world. Your entry free gets you a glass and a wristband to start your journey. At some point, the Krewe of Cork will be parading. Perhaps you should be a participant and wear a wine themed outfit to join in the second-line.
Friday evening, the Pitot House located on scenic Bayou St. John offers another New Orleans wine and food experience at their monthly Vino on the Bayou. The Pitot House is the only Creole colonial country house that is open to the public on Bayou St. John. Hopefully their will be a cool breeze off the bayou to sip the wine of the month, enjoy creole cuisine, and take in more jazz sounds amidst this impressive historic landmark.
As mentioned, there are many places about town that offer a unique wine experience. Like most things New Orleans, they include food and music. Saturday night, head uptown to OAK, on Oak Street. They offer live music weekly, Thursday thru Saturday. This Saturday it’s Sunpie Barnes. Dine on an inspired small plates menu created by chef Aaron Burgau of Patois. Ask their knowledgeable staff to pair the wine and food for you. A delightful experience.
Sunday, head down river to Bacchanal in the Bywater neighborhood. This little neighborhood gem is always a lively scene. Nestled in the corner by the river and the industrial canal in a 200 year old storefront with a large courtyard. Get your wine and cheese upfront, and your food and music in the courtyard. Menu changes regularly so you’re guaranteed fresh ingredients in Chef Joaquim Rodas international dishes. (note: cash only for food). Bacchanal presents live music seven nights a week. The young, hot bands presented always use this venue as an opportunity to stretch out from their more “mainstream” gigs. So the whole experience is going to be avant-garde.
Some other wine bars of note include Swirl, Clever, W.I.N.O, Tommy’s, Delachaise, and the pre-eminent Patrick’s Bar Vin nestled in the courtyard of the Hotel Mazarin in the French Quarter (formerly the St. Louis Hotel). Patrick’s was named one of the top ten wine bars in the country. They even offer private wine lockers available for annual rental which includes a 20% discount on bottles and cases.
Stop by on a Tuesday or Thursday when the affable owner Patrick Van Hoorebeek offers Patrick’s best kept secret…a $5 glass of one of his select French wines. Always an edumacation and a delightful experience.
See you out and about in New Orleans with a glass of wine in your hand.
Every thing lovely,
Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.