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NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters, Benedick and Beatrice, in a war of words and wits
1445 Pauger Street (6:00 PM)
Cultural philanthropists Dorian and Kel Bennett have opened their historic Marigny home for this inaugural event with music, theater and dance performances
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Punk rock on Lee Circle
Walter Wolfman Washington
d.b.a. (10:00 PM)
Fiery blues on Frenchmen - every week
Curren$y's Jet Lounge
Blue Nile (10:00 PM)
The NOLA rapper's weekly party
Banks Street Bar (10:00 PM)
Blues rock and BLTs!
Country Club (All Day)
Weekly Wed Gig- $3 martinis and free admission for the service industry folks.
Tom McDermott and Meschiya Lake
Chickie Wah Wah (8:00PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- Piano man meets a golden voice.
Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses
Weekly Wed Gig- Gypsy jazz upstairs in the Marigny
Hi-Ho Lounge (8:00PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- from the street to the stage. Midnight Snax throwdown follows at 10pm.
dba (7:00 PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- The world's premiere washboard-sousaphone-guitar trio.
Treme Brass Band
Candlelight Lounge (9:00 PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- Pass on by and see the 6th Ward’s home band
NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters in a war of words and wits
City Park’s Botanical Garden (5:00 PM)
New Orleanian songwriter performs at the weekly outdoor concert series
The Ogden Museum (6:00 PM)
Singer/ songwriter who has recently performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival and provided tour support for Raul Malo and the Wood Brothers
The Foundation Gallery (6:00 PM)
A screening of Maya's award-winning animation "Pareidolia" followed by a Q &A with the artist
Snug Harbor (8:00 & 10:00 PM)
The third evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Hi Ho Lounge (9:00 PM)
Hip hop artist raps on St. Claude with his album Trap Hop
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Performing tracks from the new album 'What a World'
BBQ at the Avenue
NOLA Smokehouse Finds Room to Grow on St. Charles
NOLA Smokehouse (ex-Smokin' Buddha BBQ) found themselves with a weekly gig at Avenue Pub, and the arrangement worked out so well they're moving to twice a week. Ryan Sparks checks out the many influences of these BBQ buzzworthies.
For a city noted both for its food and music, it seems of late that up-and-coming mom and pop food operations are grabbing the lion’s share of the attention in both the traditional and social media. It may be easier to create a buzz nowadays with a few lines from your resume and a proposed take on a cooking style than with a list of influences and a Soundcloud single. What is happening in NOLA right now might more accurately called an “indie scene” rather than a rash of pop-ups. At least in the case of BBQ upstart NOLA Smokehouse, it was the venue that sought out the weekly act rather than getting the menu in the hands of the right booking agent.
Rob and Emily Bechtold are a husband and wife team that has been cranking out slow-cooked meat since last August. When their initial incarnation Smokin’ Buddha BBQ in Metairie fell victim to a leasing hiccup, Rob and Emily took their show on the road, offering their barbecued meats and sides delivered to your door on a day’s notice. They’ve built up a steady clientele through tweets, likes, and word-of-mouth, and, like a musical group feeding off of grassroots fame, they’ve put a lot of miles on their odometers trying to, as Rob puts it, “serve the whole 504.” When the Avenue Pub came calling looking for an up and comer to relieve their own kitchen staff one day a week, the Bechtolds knew they had a chance at a steady gig.
While they started out working Sunday lunches and serving ‘til the food ran out, NOLA Smokehouse will be expanding their presence in the Avenue to Tuesdays as well starting next week. Rob attributes their growing popularity in the BBQ bubble in New Orleans to what he calls support for “the underdogs.” The arrangement has become open-ended and mutually beneficial. Customers can take their BBQ to go, or stay at the bar and get both $1 off of the huge variety of drafts the Avenue offers and a $1 off their meal.
“I definitely think there’s a new wave of BBQ coming through from people who are putting some deep smoke and some love into it," he said. "Cutting to order is so important and that’s where I see a bunch of the commercial barbecue places getting away from. You can’t throw it in a microwave, it just doesn’t work. People now in New Orleans—I believe—know the difference and are open. From what I’ve seen they continue to support the people who are doing it right and have a lot of heart in it.“
Bechtold came up under Chef Paul Prudhomme at K-Paul’s and spent some time at famed DC seafood salon the Oceannaire, but decided to break out on his own with smoked meat, hoping to fill the same BBQ void in New Orleans that others have noticed. Bechtold has long been serving up BBQ to friends and family, but decided now was the time to, as a friend of his put it, “make my vacation my vocation.”
NOLA Smokehouse offer brisket, pulled pork, and ribs as well as burnt ends and tips, a portion of meat that is more at home in Kansas City than the Deep South. Burnt ends come from the excess pieces of smoked brisket that are carved away because they are oddly shaped and not as tender as the rest of the brisket. They can be returned to the smoker to continue to gather flavor, added to stews or baked bean recipes to lend their distilled flavor, but over the years many BBQ fans have come to love the intense smoky taste bound inside these chunks on their own or dipped into sauce.
Bechtold wasn’t aware of this phenomenon when he started out, but when a friend clued him in he knew he had to include it in his repertoire. Transplants from around the country have been excited to see them appear in NOLA.
“It’s almost like barbecue candy,” he said. “Baste the meat throughout the entire smoking process. What you get left are these gnarly tasty bites. I use 100% of the brisket from top to bottom. “
NOLA Smokehouse offers homemade sides and sauces to go along with their meat. Rob’s wife Emily works hard at his side prepping and executing. While the sides often evolve, they have three core sauces that are the result of months of taste-testing, each of which represent a different region. Emily hails from Vermont, where the family evacuated after the federal flood. Exposure to an apple orchard there led to an apple cider vinegar based sauce. It might seem strange to BBQ traditionalists, but has remained popular. There is also a NOLAQ sauce, a sweet and spicy number that avoids comparison to other forbears. While not overly hot, Bechtold describes the sauce by saying, “if there’s gonna be some NOLA, it’s gotta have some spice and some kick.”
Like a band seeking a record deal, the long term goal for NOLA Smokehouse is an end to the long van rides and set up a brick and mortar establishment. Rob envisions a menu that highlights his BBQ while also offering seafood and soulful southern food, true to his Chalmette roots. Of course, it’s the singer, not the song that’s important, so he would prefer a chef-run approach.
“Food first. Without good food, ain’t good service," he said. "Never gonna make it.”
NOLA Smokehouse headlines the Avenue Pub (1732 St. Charles Ave.) Sundays and Tuesdays from 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Catering and delivery is available via nolasmokehouse.com.
Please note that Avenue Pub is a bar. All patrons must be 21 or older!
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
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