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Final Countdown: NOLA's James Beard Nominees

A Quick Look at the 2017 Contenders



New faces and repeat contenders alike grace the ranks of this year's James Beard Awards finalists, announced earlier this afternoon. After a strong show in the semifinals, eleven locals made it into the finals of the Oscars of the culinary world. The indulgences of Carnival season and the holidays may be too close in our collective memory for us to handle dining out to the hilt, but try to explore some of the city's top offerings before the James Beard Foundation announces the 2017 winners at a ceremony in Chicago on May 1st. 


Wahlberg Brothers' Burger Chain is Coming to NOLA


It's a big day for food in the Big Easy. On the same day it was announced that 11 local bars, restaurants, and chefs are finalists for the coveted James Beard Awards, the celeb fast-food chain Wahlburgers announced it will open not one, but two locations in New Orleans.  


NOLA Chefs Among James Beard Awards Finalists


Local New Orleans restaurants, bars, and chefs once again found themselves on one of the most coveted lists in the industry today, as the 2017 James Beard finalist nominations were announced.


Bean Madness Takes NOLA


Whether chowing down on a plate every Monday, or sipping a beer inspired by the signature dish of the city, most New Orleanians are aficianados when it comes to red beans and rice. Members of the Krewe of Red Beans and Camellia Brand Beans are asking the all-important question: who is serving up the best red beans in the city? 


Chasing the Green Fairy

NoDef's Absinthe Day Guide



Ten years ago, the nationwide ban on absinthe was lifted in the United States after almost a century. Given how quickly the anise-flavored herbal spirit has become a staple in cocktails, it's hard to believe that for over 96 years New Orleanians lived without green frappés, drips, and daiquiris. Today (3.5) is National Absinthe Day, so how better to celebrate the spirit's rise from madness-inducing elixir of the bohemian set to the superstar ingredient in cocktails nationwide than with a comprehensive guide to the city's best absinthe-minded offerings. From tours of distilleries and museums to cocktail crawls across the Vieux Carre, read on for NoDef's guide to absinthe in New Orleans. 


Fryday Friday

Fish Fry Season Kicks Off As Lent Begins



For most NOLA locals, the days following Mardi Gras are a time to take a break from the booze, king cake, and general debauchery that has dominated these last few weeks. For the more faithful out there, this time marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days and 40 nights where Catholics will abstain from any number of vices — including meat on Fridays. Starting tomorrow, churches across the city will host fish frys for Lenten observers, offering the perfect opportunity for the faithful to observe their religious traditions and the rest of us to indulge in some tasty seafood. 


Bitter Sweet

Negroni Week Begins



In New Orleans, we really don’t need any excuses to drink, but that doesn’t stop us from finding new reasons all the same. For example, for the next five days, we will be celebrating Negroni Week. As part of a national charity campaign sponsored by Campari and Imbibe Magazine, bars across the United States will be serving this classic Italian aperitivo cocktail and donating $1 or more to charity. Here in the Crescent City, the United States Bartenders’ Guild and Tales of the Cocktail have partnered to support the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation, a nonprofit providing medical assistance to local musicians.


Wind in Their Sales

Pirate's Alley Battles to Stay Open



Another French Quarter institution is danger of disappearing amidst a zoning dispute. Locals are rallying to save Pirate’s Alley in advance of a June 11th meeting scheduled to determine the future of the small bar.


Excellent Elixir

National Chartreuse Day Celebrated



Today is National Chartreuse Day! While the liquer is not a staple in the United States, it enjoys vast popularity in NOLA. Before NoDef’s staff departed to drown themselves in the green sea, we chatted with the guys from CureCo to learn a little about the libation and snag a few recipes. 


Mexican Standoff

NOLA's Many Opportunities to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo



With all the fleur-de-lis decorating New Orleans, it is evident that the city puts our French heritage in the spotlight. So, finding a place to party for Cinco de Mayo, the celebration of Mexico’s defeat of France at the Battle of Puebla, can be a bit tricky. NoDef has a list of all the specials and parties honoring the holiday tonight.


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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

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