When plentiful supplies of wine and food are at stake, folks aren’t going to let a little rain stand in their way. Despite the less-than-favorable weather most of the day Thursday, the annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) Royal Street Stroll that evening proved to be a success yet again. With umbrella in one hand and wine glass in the other, folks strolled up and down Royal Street, between Bienville and Dumaine Streets in the French Quarter, sampling food and wine in countless stores and galleries along the way. Due to the weather, the restaurants and wineries set up indoors to pass out their offerings, instead of on the customary tables along the street.
The Caliche & Pao Gallery served crab cake bites from Oceana Grill, paired with the unmistakable bright blue bubbly known as “Blanc de Bleu.” Galerie Rue Royale offered coconut panna cotta from Sylvain and a selection of Bordeaux wines. And at the sweet-smelling soap shop Savons dans le Quartier, Royal Street Strollers could score food from Tava Indian Streetfood and wine from Stella Rosa Wines. Latrobe’s had an entire buffet of gourmet eats, including a “Drunken Pig Cone,” which is oak-smoked pork braised in PBR habanero with serrano slaw and bourbon barbecue sauce, all served in a waffle cone. There was even food at the Chase Bank branch. Only in New Orleans can you stop by the ATM for a few bucks and come away with grillades and grits from chefs Tom Ramsey and Ryan Hughes.
In addition to food and wine, the event also featured live music, body painting, plenty of beautiful artwork, shopping—and beer, cider, and liquor. The iconic Krewe of Cork paraded along Royal Street as well, towing coolers of wine and passing out their famous wine-themed throws.
And then, a miracle occurred. God looked down from the heavens and said, “Let there be food and wine!” And with that, he parted the clouds and cleared away the rain, and the only drops falling were those coming from wine bottles. And the Royal Street Stroll went off without a hitch. To have a dreary, rain-filled day clear up shortly after the start of the Stroll can only be the act of a merciful and wine-loving god, or perhaps simply the power of wine itself.
But then again, a little rain in your Chardonnay never hurt anyone.
If you missed the Royal Street Stroll, never fear. The weather may have dried out (temporarily), but the wine didn’t. NOWFE has two Grand Tasting events on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6. For more information or to buy tickets, go to nowfe.com.