Midtown Lunch is going to New Orleans!

Tomorrow is a very special edition of Midtown Lunch.  I will be live photoblogging my lunch (normal)… at Jazzfest in New Orleans (not normal).  And by “lunch” I mean everything I eat between 11am (when the gates open) and 7pm (when they kick me out).  It’s my first trip to Jazzfest, but anyone who has ever been knows that it’s all about the food.  Who cares about seeing Rod Stewart and John Mayer… there’s crawfish bread to be had!  It’s time to see how another city lunches… and I’ll be bringing it to you live tomorrow starting around 1pm.

“But Zach.”  You say.  “Jazzfest is not in Midtown.  Seeing those pictures will just make me jealous and angry.”  To that, I say- too bad.  It’s a friday, and that’s where I’m having lunch.  So you will be forced to read about it.  Midtown Lunch is going to New Orleans!!!  (Not quite as exciting as “The Simpsons are going to Japan!”, but certainly more exciting than “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?”)

When it comes to New Orleans food, I feel as if Jazzfest is my final culinary stone left unturned.  Beignets at Cafe du Monde, Boiled Crawfish, Raw Oysters, Muffallatta at the Central Grocery, Fried Chicken at Dunbar’s, meals at Bayona, Jacques-Imo’s, Dick & Jenny’s, Lilette, Mother’s, Casamento’s, Commander’s Palace, Clancy’s, Upperline, Camellia Grill, Crabby Jack’s, Emeril’s, and of course- the meal served at my wedding.  But I’ve never had crawfish bread.  Or crawfish monica.  Jazzfest, here I come!

Not convinced that the food is more important than the music?  Check out the list of food vendors they publish *in advance* on the website.  Right now my must-haves are crawfish bread, crawfish monica, fried crawfish tails, and the soft-shelled crawfish po-boy (what????).  I guess it’s going to be a crawfish kind of weekend.  Got any suggestions (besides ‘Don’t die from overeating’)?  Feel free to leave them as comments…  photos will start around 1pm EST on Friday, and go up throughout the day (as I eat stuff), and maybe on Saturday if I haven’t exploded.


  • Crawfish >bread

  • My Aunt and Uncle have lived and run a store in New Orleans for the past 30 years, and the place they go for lunch all the time is Koops on 1109 Decatur St. You will love this place, cheap, down to earth and great food. I would recommend the Fried Chicken with deep fried alligator bits for a starter.


  • jazz fest is awesome. have a blast, zach. looking forward to your food pics. sunblock and tums will get you through in one piece. :)

  • at jazz fest, crawfish monica rocks, but pretty much everything is amazing.

    in the city, i love the praline connection and clover grill has amazing burgers and great breakfast – definitely hit it up.

  • I’m a big fan of the Mirilton Casserole for something to coat the stomach. The Fried Oyster and Spinach Salad is amazing. The Ribs by the Blues Tent are delicious as well. don’t think you can really go wrong with anything at the Fairgrounds.

  • i never weigh in on the blogs i read, but being a NO native for 26 years who has lived in NY for the past 2 (and is moving back to NO in a few months), i have to help a brotha out…ok, now that i’ve tried to give my credentials, this is my comment:
    the crawfish beignets are also good to continue with your theme, and if you get a change to try the cochon de lait po-boy, i’d say go for it (roast pork po-boy? hell yeah!). the iced teas are all good, but here’s the thing: you HAVE to get the Mango Freeze sold by local radio station WWOZ…this is the only time/place you can get this in the city.
    also, and i can’t condone this on the books, but if you happen to, say, find a way to get a little dark rum into the ‘fest (they don’t sell hard liquor, only beer)…then i suggest you combine it with the mango freeze for the most refreshing, delicious drink.
    on other notes, i agree with Dan above about Coops Place on Decatur, and after seeing your impressive list of restaurants- i can only add that brunch at Dante’s Kitchen would be a fine addition. it is superb.

  • You have to try the crabmeat poboy- at least once while you’re at the Fest!

  • The cuban sandwich is the way to go! and for a refreshing treat in the hot afternoon sun, the mango freeze will not disappoint. and also, drink plenty of rose mint iced tea! see you out there…

  • I was disappointed in the soft shell crawfish po’ boy – stick with the soft shell crab. It’s amazing. I would also be sure to get the fried eggplant with tasso ham sauce. Other standouts are the crawfish sausage, the crawfish enchiladas and, of course, the crawfish monica, which is basically the hamburger helper of crawfish (with pasta). The one DO NOT MISS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES item is the pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo. Missing out on this is one of the worst things about missing JazzFest for the first time in four years. Enjoy!

  • What do you have against Coops. It’s good local food.

  • Nothing! I definitely agree with you that Coops is a good recommendation (and that the food is good, cheap, and the place is just a good haunt with a lot of locals ).
    (wait, am i being paranoid or are you referring to my comment?) i was just trying to add a recommendation that i hadn’t seen mentioned anywhere too, in addition to giving other ones a ‘thumbs up.’ oh, and i thought of another one:
    Cochon. it was just nominated for a James Beard award under the ‘best new restaurant’ category…you might need reservations, but its great.

    Already one step ahead of you. We have reservations at Cochon for tonight. I’m very excited. -zach

  • Sorry N.O., I somehow read your comment as you disagreeing about Coops, not agreeing. My fault.

    By the way, while you are there you should also stop by my aunt’s jewelry store. It used to be called Bedazzle, she changed the name to something I can’t remember post Katrina, long story. It’s at 635 St. Peter Street. You can say her nephew Dan says hi from NY through a blog posting. She will be confused at first since she is not to tech savvy, but will catch on.

  • I’m jealous – despite actually having a plane ticket for this weekend, I can’t make it this year after having gone for the last six years (due to the birth of my daughter 4 weeks ago). Some random thoughts (apologies for the long post):

    - Camellia Grill only just reopened, and under new management so I’d be interested to hear if it’s still as good (great chocolate pecan pie warmed on the grill).

    - If you go to Commander’s Palace, be forewarned that they require a jacket (which caused me to buy the cheapest one I could find on Canal Street, think Miami Vice white). The bread pudding souffle with bourbon sauce still stands as one of my favorite desserts of all time.

    - If you go to Jacques-Imo’s, don’t let the girl “tending bar” in the alley next door tempt you into doing a shot of Chartreuse no matter what.

    - Cafe du Monde get ridiculously crowded from morning through midday; since it’s 24 hours, I recommend going between 2am and 6am. And yes, the beignets are worth it.

    - As for the fairgrounds, apart from what has been mentioned already, I used to like the fried pork chop sandwich (lightly battered pork chop deep fried and served between two slices of white bread), but it wasn’t as good last year.

    Enjoy! We look forward to hearing about your exploits (culinary and otherwise) next week!

  • That’s ok, Dan…i always worry about being misunderstood since i don’t normally partake in online commenting…
    but, and i know this is WAY off-topic…your aunt’s place is AMAZING! i’m REALLY glad to hear that its still around, because the last time i was in and saw that Bedazzle was closed, i was really sad. the modern jewelery that she sells (especially the cool, sleek titanium rings) are beautiful, and i’ve coveted them for for years (used to work in the quarter and would walk by on lunch breaks).
    good to hear she’s still there…hey! online sharing can be rewarding!

  • P.S. i can’t wait to hear all about your meal at cochon…even their salad (yes, just the one) is amazing. of course, it has bacon in it.
    mmm…i’m so homesick right now. you and my family have been taunting me with pics from the ‘fest all day.

  • Oh SO JEALOUS! I was away for a while and missed the fact you were going to NO. so hungry looking at your pics. I’m going down memorial day weekend and plan to eat more food than a human should hold in their stomach. missed the crawfish monica though….damn.

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