Eating Your Way Through Jazz Fest: My Top Picks for Parents and for Kids

If you are looking for things to do in New Orleans with kids, might we strongly recommend Jazz Fest? Happening over the course of two different weekends in late April and early May every year, Jazz Fest in New Orleans offers some of the country’s best live music (from a variety of local and national musicians) and the most delicious food on the planet. Contrary to what some may say, Jazz Fest in New Orleans is absolutely a family-friendly event if you would like it to be (though you can always leave the kiddos with a sitter, if you prefer). Whether you are traveling to New Orleans with small children or live here year-round, New Orleans Mom hopes to make your time in the city joyful, fun and stress-free.

Eating Your Way Through Jazz Fest: My Top Picks for Parents and for Kids

There is absolutely nothing I love more than Jazz Fest. Ok, there is Mardi Gras and the Saints and beignets. But, Jazz Fest packs everything I love about New Orleans into two weekend: culture, crafts, music, friends and FOOD!!!! The food vendors at Jazz Fest serve up the very best that our area has to offer. Each year, I spend the days leading up to the fest making my “to-eat to-do” list. Of course, I have my staples and then I add on a dish or two that I’ve never tried before or that is new to the menu.

When we first decided to take our small children to Jazz Fest with us many years ago, one of the first things people asked was, “what will she eat?” To tell you the truth, I hadn’t actually thought that all the way through. So for the first time Festers among you, or for those who are taking the whole family for the first time, I thought I’d guide you through the Fest one bite at a time.

Food Area One

Panorama Foods Crawfish Bread :: we cannot leave the Fest without this delectable treat (although rumor has it that there will NOT be crawfish bread at the 2023 event so take note). It’s gooey and cheesy and filled with delicious mudbugs. And it’s a dish that you can easily take on the go with you from one stage to the next. Also, you can learn how to make this at home if you are ambitious!

Love at First Bite Cochon de Lait Po-Boy :: this one’s a messy one, but oh man is it worth it. The slow cooked pork topped with a spicy cabbage slaw hits the spot for me every time. Top it with cracklins (found at Food Area Two) and your food world will forever change.jazz

Joyce’s Lemonade Fruit Salad and Lemonade :: my daughter absolutely loves this fruit salad. It is cool and refreshing and the pieces of strawberry, grapes, apples, melon, and oranges are chopped so small that kids think it’s made just for them.

Papa Ninety Catering Boudin Balls :: I tried these for the first time several years back and can tell you I look forward to them for the next 365 days after I eat them. They are perfectly crispy and magically seasoned. The only downside was that everyone we were with wanted to try them!

Sunshine Confections Rosemint Herbal Iced Tea :: Oh heaven on a hot day; this stuff is insanely good. If they could find a way to set me up with an IV of it at the Acura Stage, I would consider myself the luckiest girl in the world.

Food Area Two

Mrs. Wheat’s Foods Spicy Natchitoches Meat Pie :: This is my must have every year. The pie shell is buttery and flaky and would make your grandma proud. And it’s stuffed with a ground beef mixture so savory and spicy that you will be glad you grabbed yourself a tea.

Fatty Cracklins Cracklins and Sweet Potato Chips :: You’re welcome. Honestly, that should say enough. If you haven’t tried cracklins before, you will be so glad you did when you taste these crispy, salty, amazing snacks. The brown paper bag they are served in makes them easily transportable to food area one where you will get your cochon de lait! The sweet potato chips are a perfect midday snack for the little ones.

Kajun Kettle Foods Crawfish Monica :: This dish is so popular the Fest made room for its booth to have five lines to keep the crowd moving along. It’s a good one to put down as a foundation for a long day of Festin. This is another one that is easy to learn to make at home with a little patience.

Congo Square

Cafe Reconcile Strawberry Lemonade :: You can get rehydrated and support an amazing cause all at once. I like to alternate between the tea and the strawberry lemonade.

Bennachin Restaurant :: Everything they serve!!! The jama-jama (sautéed spinach) is to die for and kind of a refreshing change of pace from all of the rich and fried food you consume all day. For the tots, the chicken on a stick is perfect. It’s seasoned but not spicy, and what kid doesn’t like food on a stick? My daughter also loves their fried plantains. They give you a large helping so it’s plenty to feed your little ones and yourself.

Kids Food Area

Let’s be honest. Sometimes our kids can’t help but want something they are used to eating. When that’s the case in your family, be sure to check out these kid friend vendors:

Joyce’s Lemonade :: PB&J and rice krispie treats

Lil’s BBQ :: mini corn on the cobs and cupcakes

Ms. Linda’s Catering :: baked macaroni and cheese

Do you plan on going out to the Fest this year? What’s your favorite dish?


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