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Defender Picks



May 30th

Down on Their Luck Orchestra

Music at the Mint, 2PM

Jazz at the Old U.S. Mint


Craft Happy Hour

Ogden, 6PM

Learn to make paper magnolias with Suzonne Stirling


Vibrational Sound Therapy

Glitter Box, 6PM

Discover the energetic magic of Himalayan Singing Bowls with Faun Fenderson


Monty Banks

Mahogany Jazz Hall, 6PM

Trad Jazz, rat pack era swing and more



Peristyle in City Park, 6:30PM

High Intensity Interval Training



Champions Square, 7PM

Feat. O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield


Gender 101

LGBT Community Center, 7PM

Expand your understanding of gender


Thinkin' with Lincoln

Bayou Beer Garden, 7PM

Trivia on the patio


Spring Wrap-Up Show

Arts Estuary 1024, 8PM

Performances and screenings by the artist residents


High Profile

Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM

NOLA drag stars host a variety talent show, The Stage


May 31st

Abe Thompson

Market Café, 3:30PM

Feat. The Doctors of Funk


Food Waste Collection

Children’s Resource Center, 5PM

Bring your frozen food scraps to be composted


Weird Wine Wednesdays

Spirit Wine, 6PM

Free wine tasting


Free Spirited Yoga

The Tchoup Yard, 6:30PM

Food, drinks, yoga


CeCe Winans

Orpheum Theater, 7PM

Part of the “Let Them Fall In Love” tour


Dance for Bathrooms

Three Keys, 8PM

Benefitting Music Box Village


Rooftop Cinema

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

A showing of But I’m A Cheerleader


Major Bacon

Banks St. Bar, 10PM

Sizzlin blues and free BLTs


Caleb Ryan Martin

Check Point Charlie, 11PM

Acoustic blues and roots


June 1st

Jazz in The Park

Armstrong Park, 4PM

Jon Clearly + the Absolute Monster Gentlemen


Book Signing

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

Signing of My Love Looks Back by Jessica B. Harris


Mardi Gras Concert

Tipitina’s, 6PM

Benefitting Marty Hurley Endowment Center


Summer Of Sustainability

Aquarium Of The Americas, 630PM

Enjoy oysters in a unique setting


Magical Burlesque

The Willow, 7PM

Harry Potter themed burlesque show


Bonnie Bishop

One Eyed Jack’s, 9PM

Sweet country rock



14 Parishes, 9PM

Roasts, toasts and laughs


Una Walkonhorst

The Circle Bar, 930PM

Also feat. Patrick Sylvester


Lost Stars

Balcony Music Club, 11PM

Support by Mighty Brother 



June 2nd

Symphony Book Fair

Lakefront Arena, 9AM

Benefitting the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra


Summer Kick Off Film Party

Second Line Stages, 5PM

Supporting BREASTS the film


Nateus Photography Opening

Cherry Espresso Bar, 6PM

Photos as a medium of self expression, snacks included


Dinner and a ZOOvie

Audubon Zoo, 6PM

Showing of the movie Moana


Self Absorbed


A peek inside fifteen artists


Lagniappe Performance Series

Loyola Univeristy @ Marquette Hall, 7PM

Performance by Mikhala W. Iversen


As One

Marigny Opera House, 8PM

A transgender musical odyssey


Joel Wilson

The Building, 9PM

Also featuring Simon Lott as Context Killer



Blue Nile, 11PM

GoGo Brass Funk band 



June 3rd

Grand Opening Party

Parleaux Beer Lab, 11AM

Pouring on all 12 taps


Water Words

New Orleans Public Library, 11AM

Exploring the special role of water in our city and in life


Basics of Beekeeping

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Learn how to start your own apiary


First Saturday Gallery Openings

Arts District, 6PM

Check out new and returning exhibitions


Harrison Avenue Stroll

Harrison Avenue, 5PM

Food, drinks, fun


Louisiana Wetlands

Carol Robinson Gallery, 5PM

Original art by Dave Ivey


Moonlit Paddle

Manchec Swamp, 545PM

Enjoy an evening of paddling close to home


Final Gala Concert

Jazz and Heritage Center, 8PM

Closing out the Birdfoot Festival


Canine Karaoke

Homedale Inn Bar, 9PM

Supporting the Love A Pit Foundation



Poor Boys Bar, 12AM

Resident DJs, along with special guest


June 4th

June Puppy Social

Louisiana SPCA, 10AM

Toys, treats, low impact agility


Jazz Brunch

Josephine Estelle, 11AM

Live sounds served sunny side up



The Drifter Hotel, 12PM

Presented by Techno Club


Book Discussion

Garden District Book Shop, 12PM

C.D. Colins discusses her memoir


Summer Reading Kick Off

NOPL Youth Services, 1PM

Feat. Roots music and books by Johnette Downing


Saving Abel

Southport Music Hall, 6PM

With support by Akadia and First Fracture


Open Mic and Slam

Ashé Cac, 7PM

Team SNO + Jahman Hill


Edge Film Festival

Zeitgeist Center, 730PM

Short film screenings + awards


Frontier Ruckus

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Enjoy some multi genre rock

A Well-Dressed Guappo

Creole Cookin' with Chef Anthony Scanio Explores Italian Salad

Chef Anthony Scanio of Emeril's Delmonico reaches back through Arabi Spaghetti Dinners and Treme to arrive at his take on Italian Salad.


Growing up in Arabi, most church or playground fundraisers took the form of a Spaghetti Dinner. Because the church and ballpark were adjacent to one another, I can’t even distinguish in my memory what fundraiser belonged to which organization. Maybe the same families cooked for both the school and the playground, but I really don’t think that’s it. I’ve eaten enough Spaghetti Dinners over the course of my adulthood to know that they are all pretty much the same.


First, you start with your overcooked thin spaghetti. And it has to be overcooked and real mushy because that’s just way it is done. In fact, I was an adult before I realized there was any other way to cook or eat pasta. Next you ladle your smooth, sweet red gravy atop your macaroni (all pasta was called macaroni when I was a bambino). There’s probably a meatball as well, and finally you top everything with some cheese. The only question is, do you go with the green can of parmesan, or the red can of Romano? Even the grocery store brands followed the same color scheme.


On the same paper plate, or in a separate bowl if you’re the fastidious type, you have your salad, which is our real subject of interest here. If it’s the ‘70s of my childhood, it’s called a “wop salad” or if it is a Spaghetti Dinner of a more recent vintage it’s simply “Italian salad.” Whichever name it’s called, you’re getting the same thing—chopped iceberg lettuce topped with olive salad and more of the stuff from the green can.


On menus all over city and throughout the suburbs you can find our hero—the Italian salad—fancied up or not. Of course, restaurants such as Venezia’s or Vincent’s specialize in this New Orleans or Creole-Italian fare. Meanwhile, other beloved New Orleans institutions that survey a broader swath of Creole cuisine such as Mandina’s or Liuzza’s serve Italian salad next to gumbo and trout meuniere and shrimp remoulade. Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, Leah Chase includes an Italian salad recipe in her “Dooky Chase Cookbook.” Likewise if you drop in to Dooky Chase for lunch, it’s quite possible that you’ll see Italian salad offered on the buffet. This is perhaps testament to the fact that once upon a time Treme was home to a large Sicilian-American population. Louis Prima was from Treme. My grandfather peddled strawberries on the streets of Treme. My father grew up in the neighborhood. As a kid, I recall visiting the St. Ann Grotto on Ursulines St. where, in true Italian-American fashion, there’s a statue our family sponsored of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with an angel.


At Delmonico we are very inclusive in our approach to Creole cuisine. We embrace the classic French-haute Creole, as well as the more humble but equally valid and delicious home-style Creole of our grandmothers. We explore the Spanish and Afro-Caribbean roots and influences of our cuisine. We look afresh at Creole-Italian cuisine, and in this vein we offer our guests a New Orleans “Guappo” salad.


A what, you say? “Guapo” in Spanish means handsome or elegant. In Spanish-dominated Southern Italy and Sicily, “Guappo” came to mean a sharp-dressed guy who was rather full of himself. When spoken by Southern Italians and Sicilians, however, the end vowel tended to be dropped and the beginning “G” sounded more like a “W.” Hence, there is your “wop”—never mind that “Without Papers” nonsense people have been passing along for years. Ironically enough, it has always been local Italian restaurants that have adopted the Wop salad moniker. A few holdouts such as Rocky and Carlo's continue to embrace the name “wop” despite its ethnic slur connotations. In fact, it is the Sicilian-American embrace of the slur that rendered it largely harmless. In essence, it belongs to us, we embrace it and it is thereby disarmed.


Yes, at Delmonico we offer our guests a New Orleans “Guappo” salad. And you, too, can offer your guests at home this wonderful salad. Just turn on a little Louis Prima—“Oh Mama, Zooma Zooma Baccala!” —and we’ll be on our way. First and most importantly, you must have a nice New Orleans olive salad. Of course, I know you have some in your ice box because you read my last column and dutifully made a batch. Oh, you ate it already? Didn’t get around to actually making any? No worries, I won’t hold it against you.


Next time you’re making groceries, just pick up a jar of olive salad. It won’t be as good as the one you could make at home, but it’ll do. Now, if you have a nice homemade olive salad you may want to chop it up a bit. Or maybe you don’t want to at all. (Home cooks, particularly novice cooks, always want exact quantities and directions. Chefs, on the other hand, are always saying, “a little bit of this, a little bit of that, make it however you want it.” In this case, I’m the chef and I’m saying that an Italian or Guappo salad is less an exact recipe and more of a theme with variations.)


One way or another, we have some olive salad chopped up or not. Now we need some lettuce. For pure retro thrills you could certainly use iceberg, but I believe we can do better. I like some torn heart of romaine leaves for structure and a bit of crisp texture. I also want a handful of beautiful arugula leaves. Their pepperiness will balance nicely with the tang and brine of the olive salad. Finally, I would love a bit of herbal sweetness, so we’ll tear a few fresh basil leaves and toss them in with the lettuces. It’s always a wonderful surprise in most any salad really to enjoy the pop of some fresh basil. So, let’s say we have about 3 cups of lettuces per salad. For that amount, fold in about half a cup of drained olive salad. If it’s chopped up, you may want a little less. Like I said, it’s up to you.


Next, we need a vinaigrette. Nothing too fancy. The olive salad is already going bring a lot of flavor and tang to your salad. Often, recipes suggest a three-to-one ratio between vinegar and oil. In this case that would be far too acidic. Four-to-one is better for our purposes. Let’s use a quarter cup of vinegar. Red or white wine vinegar are both acceptable. I prefer red for a Guappo. Distilled vinegar, however, is not acceptable regardless of what I said earlier about making it however you want it. About a teaspoon of dried oregano would be nice in our vinaigrette, as would about two teaspoons of fresh minced garlic. A little salt and pepper as you wish. Finally, whisk in about a cup of extra virgin olive oil. This isn’t an emulsified French vinaigrette. Instead the oil and vinegar are hanging out together, kind of intermingling, but never quite becoming homogenous.


We’re almost there. We have vinaigrette and olive salad tossed with lettuces. Now we need a few more “goodies” as we call them at the restaurant. A little cheese would be nice. No cans here. Parmesan is fine. Parmesan is always fine. But what is really nice in a Guappo salad is coarsely grated aged provolone. Not the mild, sliced provolone you put on a muffaletta, but a firm, slightly spicy version. Toss a little bit in the salad and then garnish with a few vegetable peeled curls on top. Another interesting cheese option would be ricotta salata. If you can find some nice tomatoes, feel free to throw those in your salad as well. Grape or cherry tomatoes are a good choice when our delicious Creole tomatoes are not available. A few slivers of sun dried tomato would also be fun.


Remember the Guappo salad is simply a theme with almost endless variations. Add anchovies if you like. Or a bit of artichoke. Poached shrimp will turn your salad into a light lunch. Grilled jumbo shrimp will turn your salad into a lunch entrée at Delmonico on Fridays. Julienned or diced salami is a fantastic addition. If you’re feeling flush, toss some jumbo lump crabmeat with a bit of the vinaigrette and put that atop your Guappo! Asparagus? Hard boiled eggs? Go for it. Roasted sweet peppers? Why not. 


Well, in a few paragraphs we’ve come a long way from ‘70s Arabi. Thank goodness. ‘70s Arabi is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Our New Orleans is a much more open, inclusive, welcoming place. Still , we can reach back into our past and examine something like a “wop” salad and maybe learn a little about ourselves. More importantly, we can make a glorious Guappo salad and enjoy with our friends and our family. 


Chef Anthony Scanio is chef de cuisine at Emeril's Delmonico. The views expressed in the article are opinion, and do not reflect the opinions of the NoDef editorial board.  

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