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THE

Defender Picks

 

Lundi

June 26th

Pizza For Pitbulls

Reginelli’s, 11AM

Eat pizza to help dogs, really. Benefitting the Love A Pitbull Foundation

 

Justin Molaison

Chickie Wah Wah, 5:30PM

Happy hour tunes

 

Let’s Get Quizzical

Port Orleans Brewing Co., 6:30PM

Food, drinks, trivia

 

Salves + Infused Oils Workshop

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Last class of the Heart of Herbal Medicine Series 

 

Choral Festival

St. Louis Cathedral, 7:30PM

Presented by the N.O. Children’s Choir

 

Breathe LOVE Yoga

Revolution Fitness, 7:30PM

Hatha Yoga Basics

 

Little Tybee + Cliff Hines + Friends

Hi Ho, 8PM

Elements of folk, jazz, psych, and bossa

 

Mondays with Tasche

Mags, 8PM

Vintage soul and modern blues

 

Charlie Gabriel & Friends

Preservation Hall, 8PM

Joined by Taslimah P. Bey, Djallo Djakate, Marion Hayden

 

A Motown Monday

Circle Bar, 9:30PM

With DJ Shane Love

 

Monday Music Therapy

Lucky’s, 10PM

With CSE & Natasha Sanchez

 

MARDI

June 27th

Movie Screening

Broad Theater, 5:30PM

An intimate screening of America Divided

 

Book Signing

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

Appearences by Courtney + J.P. Sloan

 

Movie Screening

Café Istanbul, 6:30PM

Trapped: A story of women + healthcare

 

Song Writer Sessions

Foundation Room, 7PM

Supporting NOLA’s songwriting community

 

MORBID ANGEL + Suffocation

House of Blues, 7PM

With support by Withered

 

Astrology | Transits

School for Esoteric Arts, 7PM

A lecture on reading transits in natal charts

 

Boston

Saenger Theatre, 8PM

Get ready for a giant sing along

 

Blato Zlato + Toonces

Siberia, 8PM

Balkan tunes + art-rock

 

Progression

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Static Masks, Shame, Annette Peacock Tribute

 

MERCREDI

June 28th

Noontime Talk

NOMA, 12PM

Jim Steg: New Work, with Curator Russell Lord

 

Books Beer & Bookworm Babble

Urban South Brewery, 5PM

A fundraiser for Friends of New Orleans

 

Local Intro to Oils

Monkey Monkey, 6PM

Get the 411 on essential oils

 

Rye Tasting

Grande Krewe, 6PM

A flight of rye

 

Stick To Your Guns

Republic, 6PM

With support by Hawthorne Heights

 

Free Yogalates

The Mint, 6:30PM

Part of Wine Down Wednesdays

 

WNOE Summer Jam

House of Blues, 7PM

Jerrod Neimann with Michael Ray and more

 

Comedy Gold

House of Blues, 7PM

Stand up comedy from the Big Easy

 

Corks & Colors

NOLA Yoga Loft, 7:30PM

Let the paints and wine flow

 

Weird Wednesday’s

Bar Redux, 9PM

The Extra Terrestrial Edition

 

Mighty Brother

Saturn Bar, 10PM

With Grace Pettis

JEUDI

June 29th

Essence Festival

Superdome, 10AM

All your favorites in one place

 

Talkin’ Jazz

Jazz Museum, 2PM

With Tom Saunders

 

Ogden After Hours

The Ogden, 6PM

Featuring Andrew Duhon

 

Movie Screening

Carver Theater, 6PM

FunkJazz Kafé: Diary Of A Decade 

 

Bleed On

Glitter Box, 6PM

Fundraising for We Are #HappyPeriod, powered by Refinery29

 

Book Signing

TREO, 7PM

SHOT by Kathy Shorr

 

BYO #Scored

Music Box Village, 730

Presenting “Where I’m From”

 

JD Hill & The Jammers

Bar Redux, 8PM

Get ready to jam

 

Henry & The Invisibles

Hi Ho, 9PM

With support by Noisewater

 

Soundbytes Fest Edition

Three Keys, 9PM

With PJ Morton + Friends

 

Trance Farmers

Dragon’s Den, 10PM

Support by Yung vul

 

Push Push

Banks St Bar, 10PM

With Rathbone + Raspy

 

VENDREDI

June 30th

Electric Girls Demo Day

Monroe Hall at Loyola, 1:30PM

Check out the newest inventions

 

Field to Table Time

NOPL Youth Services, 2PM

Learn how growing + cooking = saving the world

 

Dinner & A ZOOvie

Audubon Park, 6PM

A showing of Trolls

 

Movie Night in The Garden

Hollygrove Market, 7PM

A showing of Sister Act

 

Songwriter Night

Mags, 9PM

Ft. Shannon Jae, Una Walkenhorst, Rory Sullivan

 

Alligator ChompChomp

The Circle Bar, 9:30PM

Ft. DJ Pasta and Matty N Mitch

 

Free Music Friday

Fulton Ally, 10PM

Featuring DJ Chris Jones

 

Spektrum

Techno Club, 10PM

Ft. CHKLTE + residents

 

The Longitude Event

Café Istanbul, 10PM

Presented by Urban Push Movement

 

Foundation Free Fridays

Tips, 10PM

Ft. Maggie Koerner & Travers Geoffray + Cha Wa

 

Gimme A Reason

Poor Boys Bar, 11PM

Ft. Tristan Dufrene + Bouffant Bouffant

 

SAMEDI

July 1st

SLOSHBALL

The Fly, 12PM

Hosted by Prytania Bar

 

Organic Bug Management

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Learn about pests + organic management

 

Mystic Market

Rare Form NOLA, 2PM

Author talk, live music, art and more

 

Girls Rock New Orleans

Primary-Colton, 2:30PM

The official camper showcase

 

Serious Thing A Go Happen

Ace Hotel, 4PM

Exhibit viewing, artist talk, and after-sounds

 

Art NO(w)

Claire Elizabeth Gallery, 5PM

An eye popping opening reception

 

Antoine Diel Trio

Three Muses, 6PM

With Josh Paxton + Scott Johnson

 

CAIN Ressurection

Southport Music Hall, 9PM

Support by Overtone plus Akadia

 

Grits & Biscuits

House of Blues, 10PM

A Dirty South set

 

Jason Neville Band

BMC, 11PM

With Friends for Essence Fest

DIMANCHE

July 2nd

The Greatest Show On Earth

Prytania Theater, 10AM

Dramatic lives within a circus

 

THINK DEEP

The Drifter Hotel, 2PM

Ft. RYE, Lleauna, Tristen Dufrane

 

Night Market

Secondline Arts, 6PM

With Erica Lee

 

The Story of Stories

Académie Gnostique, 7PM

Learn about the practical magic of fairy tales

 

Silencio

One Eyed Jacks, 8PM

A tribute to David Lynch

 

Alex Bosworth

Bar Redux, 9PM

With Diako Diakoff

 

Church*

The Dragons’s Den, 10PM

SHANOOK, RUS, KIDD LOVE, ZANDER

 

International Flag Party

Howlin Wolf, 11:30PM

The hottest dance party of the year

 

New Creations Brass Band

Maple Leaf, 12AM

A special closing performance

 

Bowl of Mystery

Sifting Through the Clouded History of Ya Ka Mein



Staring down into a pot full of brown liquid, the smell of soy sauce fills the air. Spaghetti noodles, beef, and green onions absorbing the broth. While beginning to spoon out the soup, a hard-boiled egg bobs like a buoy in the muddy waters of the Mississippi.

 

At the risk of losing a true experience, this writer passed on the egg. But then the mixture of the soup hit the tongue with a surprising gratification.

 

The contents of the bowl in question is ya-ka-mein. A New Orleans dish that has been around for decades, many remain unsure of where it came from, or how it started.

 

For most locals the pronunciation is ya-ka-meat, though the "t" is rarely heard. So it comes out sounding like ya-ka-mee. Non-natives tend to pronounce it as ya-ka-mein, which gives the locals a laugh.

 

A much easier nom de guerre for the dish is Old Sober. This name refers to the claims that this is the best hangover cure usually prepared at the end of Carnival season to usher in Lent.

 

Like the broth,  the origin of the dish is murky. But it boils down to two different scenarios.

 

In the first, African American vets from the Korean War brought back the dish after having a taste of the food in the Pacific and recreated it with local ingredients.

 

In the other, Chinese workers came to New Orleans to help build the railroads, and the construction crew cooks had to satisfy both the African and Chinese workers.

 

Most people seem to agree with the former statement of the origins, but it may never be validated.

 

Still, the latter statement seems to hold some weight as well simply because of where most ya-ka-mein can be found in the city.

 

Lacking seafood and traditional Creole flair, some might question the validity of ya-ka-mein as a New Orleans dish. But, like most New Orleans dishes, it is a mixture of different cultures blended to make something new.

 

New Orleans band Galactic understands this well. They named their eighth studio album Ya Ka May because it blends two very different genres, R&B/soul and sissy bounce. Ya-ka-mein is a blend of Chinese and African-American cultures.

 

Chinese restaurants around New Orleans serve ya-ka-mein with a slightly different spelling of the dish, however the most common place remains neighborhood corner stores.

 

The standard barer is Manchu on N. Broad, which has been deemed the best place to get a good bowl of ya-ka-mein. Besides the corner store, the next best place to get ya-ka-mein is from street vendors. Street ya-ka-mein usually has a homecooked feel and taste.

 

"I tried ya-ka-mein from other places and it was never to my liking so I added some secret spices to make it my own that I only know about," said Donna Bentley, of ya-ka-mein purveyor Bentley's Meals on Wheels. "My husband doesn't even know what I put in there. "

 

Most people come to Bentley's Meals on Wheels specifically for Mrs. Bentley's ya-ka-mein but it is only served on Tuesday nights and Sundays.

 

Bentley said the cast and crew of a certain HBO series has taken a liking to Mrs. Bentley's ya-ka-mein. " They usually wipe me out," Mrs. Bentley said of the Treme crew.

 

The Bentley's Meals on Wheels is usually located in front of Bullet's Sports Bar and Lounge on A.P. Tureaud Ave.

 

Ya-ka-mein is actually more associated with street food than anything else. Usually found at second lines, it received a more mainstream introduction when served at the first Jazz Fest held in Congo Square in the 70s. After the second year it was no longer offered. But, in 2005, the Ya-ka-mein Lady Linda Green brought it back to the Fest.

 

Though its inclusion at Jazz Fest makes it more accessible, the dish is still is on the verge of distinction. 

 

Many corner stores have not come back after the storm, and probably will not for many reasons. There has been an increase in street vendors who specialize in ya-ka-mein, but they are sometimes hard to find.

 

With that being the case, ya-ka-mein is returning to the days where recipes and preparation methods are passed down orally. It can be found in some cookbooks and on websites but, mainly, this is a dish that is verbally passed down through the generations.

 

Like many other New Orleans dishes, the recipe for ya-ka-mein differs depending on the cook. But it is not considered true ya-ka-mein to most if it does not include the hard-boiled egg. The egg is usually cut in half and placed on top or in the middle.

 

Most ya-ka-mein is served with the ingredients mixed together, but when it is home cooked people tend to let others make it to their liking. The noodles and broth are served in a bowl while the me at, seasoning, egg, and vegetables are added to taste.

 

Slowly on the verge of dying out, the disappearance of ya-ka-mein would represent yet another major loss for New Orleans if it disappeared. The history of ya-ka-mein may be a mystery, but this dish should not be.

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Contributors

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

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily