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

jane and meThere 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.

Last year when we decided we’d take Jane to Jazz Fest with us, 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 :: Mark cannot leave the Fest without this delectable treat. 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.

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 :: Jane 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 last year and can tell you I have been looking forward to them for almost 365 days. They were 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.

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? Jane also loves their fried plantains. They give you a large helping so its 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? What’s your favorite dish?

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