Category Archives: wine


There is a new little bar/restaurant in the Quarters! Sylvain is a super-chic little place with a craft cocktail bar and upscale comfort food. Sean McCusker, a New Yorker and food and music writer, came down here to open Sylvain, which has been up and running for about a week now. This is totally where you take a date you want to impress–very cool and casual, and no one knows about it…yet.

I dined there on Monday (open Monday!), and it had the feel of a brand-new place–over-staffed and eagerness in the air, but oh so promising. I had a Pressure Drop, a cocktail borrowed from the menu of Death and Co. in NYC., and my husband had a Sazerac, both a little sweet, but good. The wine list is great. We shared a couple of appetizers, chicken liver crostini and roasted beet bruschetta, also good. The shaved Brussel sprout salad was very good, and the beef cheek entree that we shared was heavenly. I literally had a dream about it.

The room itself is very cool, very New York–pressed tin ceiling, a boar’s head mounted on the wall. They have  a lovely courtyard, too. They’re also open seven days a week, and late! All the elements are there: a lovely room, a cool menu, great hours, good location–iron out the little brand-new-place kinks, and we’ve got a super-chic new spot in the French Quarter. Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30-11pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-midnight, Sunday 5:30-10pm. Lunch: Friday and Saturday 11:30am-2pm.


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Running of the Bulls

The world famous Running of the Bulls in Pamplona Spain looked like so much fun, that we here in New Orleans had to create our own version. San Fermin in Nueva Orleans is an annual festival in New Orleans which features an Encierro, except our bulls are roller derby gals from the Big Easy Rollergirls and members of other roller derby leagues from around the country.

This weekend features several events centered around the actual Encierro, which is Saturday morning at 8am. Here is the route.

This evening the festival begins with El Txupinazo (pronounced el choo-pee-naht-so) from 6-9 at The Chicory. There will be a paella contest (among some of the finest Spanish restaurants in town), drinks, flamenco music and dance, and more. Wear red and white $30.

There are additional festivities on Saturday evening and Sunday…

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Wine Tasting at the Track

It’s already gotten to that point in the summer (I know it technically started two days ago, but it’s been hot for eight weeks already) where I am seeking out inexpensive wine tastings on two consecutive nights. Whatever you have to do to get through, right?

The Fair Grounds Race Course kicks off its wine tasting series this evening from 6-8. It’s $25 to taste 25 wines–which seems to be the going rate. This week is a sampling from Oregon and Washington State producers–my favorite wine region. Varietals include chenin blanc, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel and more.

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Bouche Summer Wine Festival

Bouche is a swanky wine bar over on Tchoupitoulas. But, what really interests me is their food menu. They serve “partailles,” which, apparently, is a French term for bigger than a small plate, smaller than an entree. This sounds like the perfect size to me, especially in the summertime. And, the prices are quite reasonable.

Today from 6-8 they are having their inaugural Summer Wine Festival. The entrance fee is only $20, and they will be sampling 25 wines and some of their extensive menu. Sounds like a great way to get to know this wine bar? cigar bar? restaurant? “destination?” Also, $5 of your entrance fee goes to Gulf Coast family assistance projects, as well as some raffles, also to benefit said projects.

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Royal Street Stroll

The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience continues today. The signature event of the “experience” is the Royal Street Stroll, which takes place this evening from 5:30-8:30 in the 200-900 blocks of Royal Street. If you’ve put off getting tickets until today it is $90-which will get you much food and drink. (21 & over).

Here’s what NOWFE has to say about the Stroll:

A definitive evening event of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, which brings together New Orleans’ greatest gifts: rare antiques, fine art, live jazz and stunning historic architecture with the world’s outstanding wines. Shop the enchanting galleries of Royal Street while experiencing wine offerings at each stop, as live jazz music fills the air. As always, we will be joined by the Krewe of Cork, as they parade down Royal Street.

Here’s who’s cooking: Rouse’s Catering, Antoine’s, Bourbon House, Court of Two Sisters, Cucos, Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters, GW Fins, NOLA, & Phil’s Grill.

Rain or shine.

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New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

The annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience gets under way today.–You know, the past ten years of my life could be categorized as a “New Orleans wine and food experience.”–Anyway, the “experience” is a non-profit festival in its nineteenth year, and one of the most prestigious of its kind. It continues through the weekend.

Tonight at 7 are myriad wine dinners at notable restaurants throughout the city. Each dinner is accompanied by offerings from a different winery. The meals are all-inclusive and run between $75-$125 a head. Some of them are sold out. Here’s a link.

Before dinner, however, do check out Wine Lovers: a Musical. Apparently, it’s some kind of romantic comedy about a couple of yuppies people falling in love at a wine tasting. But, here’s the kicker: this show is interactive, and the price of admission includes six glasses of wine. Yes, six! The play is in conjunction with the festival, but is continuing its run at Le Petit Theatre past the weekend.

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Birthday Date Night

Alright, people. I know you’re supposed to go to Jazz Fest today, and then after go see, like, more music at one of the many clubs around town, but…it’s my birthday. And, I am a firm believer that you should do what you really want to do on your birthday, not what you’re supposed to do. Sometimes that means laying around and watching VH1 marathons and eating Ben & Jerry’s, sometimes that means throwing massive parties. Today, I am feeling somewhere in the middle…Speaking of feelings, when I was watching the last Treme, the Susan Spicer-inspired character demands to be taken to Feelings, the restaurant, which made me realize that it has been far too long since I’ve been there. In fact, I haven’t been there since before the storm. And since the city will be overrun with people tonight, and with this recent exposure, Feelings may soon not be so under-the-radar, and since it is walking distance from my house, I realized that’s where I want to have dinner. I haven’t heard much about the quality of the food lately (I’ll get back to you), but their courtyard is one of the most romantic places in town.

But what to have? In perusing the menu, I am tempted to create a tasting menu. They have a bunch of intriguing special appetizers, for instance:

Mushroom Boudin (Seasoned Shitake and Button mushrooms, sauteed in coconut oil with roasted garlic jasmine rice, rolled in a corn husk and then steamed to perfection) 5.75. A Vegetable Terrine (Thin carrot strips encased layers of zucchini, roasted red peppers, roasted tomatoes, eggplant, poached leeks with chive and roasted garlic puree, served on a bed of lettuce topped with a smoked tomato sauce.) 5.25 Mirliton and Corn Roasted Salad (Slivers of Mirliton marinated in rice vinegar topped with kernels of roasted fresh corn, topped with a smooth basil pesto and chopped red bell peppers.) 5.50. Beet Salad: Chilled roasted beets, served on lettuce, toped with a pecan vinaigrette, blended with pomogranate molasses, Meyer lemon and Louisiana raw cane sugar. 5.50–I just love anything in a terrine. And, I adore beets. And, I just have to know what mushroom boudin is. I just realized all these special apps are vegetarian. Huh. Then moving on to the regular appetizer menu, maybe a seafood course of Oysters en Brochette (7), Crab Cakes (7.50), Salmon Mousse (5.75) and Barbecued Shrimp (7.75). All with a bottle of Cava, Spanish Sparkling Wine. (27).

Then what? You know, I have had such a fun week, filled with people, but I’m a little tired. I think I want to go see Date Night, with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. Because this is my date night, dammit, and Tina Fey is one of the things (well, people, actually) who makes me happiest. It’s playing at the AMC Westbank. Showtimes this weekend are: 11:20am  1:50  4:25  6:55  9:10  11:30pm.

Then, after that, I will probably get a wild hair and end up seeing at you at one of these crazy 2 am shows.

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