Blogger's Note: Attending Jazz Fest is a long standing tradition for the Woods family. We all have our favorites that we go back for year after year. This is a faithful fan's guide to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 'Must Have Eats.'
(Above): So many choices at the Jazz Fest fair grounds, what is your 'must have' food option?
10. Crawfish Bread:
Get in line early, as this is a fan favorite! We encourage the Festival newbie to grab 'one to go, and one to stow,' as these are addictive once you have experienced the gooey, seafood flavors of this 'one-hand' snack. If you missed the crawfish, the shrimp bread is a close runner up. Similar flavor to a rich and cheesy Alfredo sauce with a thicker consistency.
9. Jama Jama and Plantains:
For a healthy option, that doesn't skimp on the flavor, grab a Jama Jama plate and make sure to have the Plantains on the side. Jama Jama is a Jamacian jerk-flavored spinach, and the Plantains are fried crispy and delicious in hot oil. Your taste buds with thank you for this journey off the beaten path.
8. Softshell Crab Poboy:
As classic as the shrimp poboy is to Louisiana culture, not much is said of it's long-suffering cousin, the Soft Shell Crab Poboy. Worthy of eating for shock value alone, the crispy deep-fried legs of this specialty crab are a delicious nosh, add lemon and tarter sauce for the full sensory experience.
7. Pink Lemonade Snoball:
Where the love affair began. Known for syrupy-sweet flavors cloyingly like melted jolly ranchers, the Pink Lemonade stands above all others as a refreshing supplement on a hot 'Fest day. It crosses the boundary of kid favorite, well into the zone of festive adult drink quite easily. And as always, at the 'Fest you got to keep hydrated! Hydration is key and so are these.
6. BBQ Turkey Wings, Meaty White Beans, and Cole Slaw:
The basis of an honest-to-goodness "hungry man" meal. Filling and full of great authentic BBQ flavor, an equal opportunity supplier of pleasant feelings post meal. This plate could single-handedly solve the world's problems if given to key leaders around the globe. It is that good.
5. Spicy Crawfish Sushi:
Now skeptics will question the validity of having an ultra-perishable food item at an open air concert venue, during the summer, in southern Louisiana. Don't knock it till you've tried it. Seriously. This is actually where the Woods family first discovered sushi. Also, there are no raw goods used in the preparation. Delicious, and harmless. Pro tip: opt for the pre-mixed soy sauce/wasabi combo, makes for better packing.
4. Bun of Vermicelli:
A cooling treat to cleanse the palate, this plate has more to offer than meets the eye. Tender noodles, well-seasoned shrimp, and a tangy sweet sauce to dip. You will start looking forward to the respite these plates provide on warmer 'Fest days.
3. Crawfish Sack:
As arbitrary and unappealing as the name may sound, this plate is what the title implies. Nestled away in a crunchy golden sack of pastry is a delicate gravy of crawfish, bell pepper and other delights that ooze their way around the plate once cut open with your fork. Are you drooling yet? You should be. Comes with a completely decadent lagnappe in the form of a seafood-topped puff pastry and crawfish beignets that share the plate. Extra yum.
2. Rosemint Iced Tea:
Once you get to the Fairgrounds, you soon realize what a vast and hot the terrain it can be, especially on days with big acts, like Santana this year. Rosemint tea is a Jazz Fest exclusive, brewed the night before on 'Fest days, with the sole intent and purpose of rescuing the thirsty masses. Hydration.
1. Mango Freeze:
An undercover standout, there is a physical transformation that happens once the "Freeze" takes effect. Many years this humble, unassuming frozen treat of pure mango puree has stood by the wayside, but no longer. Mango Freeze is a revelation experienced best on a hot balmy day in the middle of Jazz Fest.
Thank you for visiting our list, please share if you enjoyed it! Jazz Fest is a special time of the year in Louisiana. The food is amazing, and to be celebrated.