New Orleans Roadfood Festival rolls in March 24-25

new orleans foodThat New Orleans is a food town is no secret. What I just discovered, however, is that it’s host to a food festival spawned by one of my favorite pastimes ever: road food (and no, I’m not referring to this kind). Way back in the day, when I was a wee college student, I discovered the late, great Gourmet magazine, and became obsessed with “Roadfood,” a column (now a website) written by the road-trippin’, big-eatin’ couple Jane and Michael Stern.

In every issue, the Sterns would choose a micro-region of the U.S. and a local specialty on which to focus their column. Each month, I read about chicken and dumplings in Indiana, pasties from Montana, green chile from El Rito, New Mexico, or barbecue from Owensboro, Kentucky. Then I’d wipe the drool off of the pages and stash each article away in a manila folder to be saved for future road trips, both real and imagined.

Apparently, nearly half a decade ago, while I was lost in some “best roadside diner biscuit” reverie, the Sterns helped create the New Orleans Roadfood Festival. The 4th annual food fiesta will be held March 24-25 in the city’s historic French Market. It will provide a showcase for over 30 restaurants across the country, which will serve the dishes that made them famous. Attendees will be able to street-feast upon Texas and Memphis barbecue, Tucson’s best tamales, custard from upstate New York, Cajun and Creole delicacies from across Louisiana, and many other regional culinary specialties. There will also be cooking demos, live music, a beignet-eating contest for the N.O. Fire Department, and a kickoff party featuring the Sterns, local chefs, and noted cookbook author Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

And get this: admission to the festival is free. You’ll still have to pay for those good eats, but a portion of the proceeds will benefit Cafe Reconcile, a non-profit restaurant that uses innovative strategies to provide life skills and job training to youth from at-risk communities in area. Just in case you need a guilt-free reason to indulge. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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[Photo credit: Flickr user Adam Melancon]

SkyMall Monday: Reel Marshmallow Roaster

skymall monday reel marshmallow roasterDespite the fact that spring is off to a chilly start here in the Northeast, we’ve begun to plan some camping trips for the upcoming summer. If you want to book the best campsites, you have to reserve early. As such, we’ve started taking a look at our camping gear over here at SkyMall Monday headquarters to make sure that everything survived the winter. On any camping trip, you want to have the proper gear and ensure that it’s all in working order. That way, once you’re at the site, you can just enjoy the great outdoors, relax and savor those sweet, sweet s’mores. However, s’mores-making technology hasn’t advanced much since people learned how to search for sticks in the woods. We’re still poking marshmallows onto dirty twigs and rotating our arms in ways that put tremendous stress on our wrists and elbows. Most people assume that our proximity to the fire is the most dangerous part of making s’mores, but it’s actually the physical labor. Thankfully, we can save ourselves a trip to the orthopedist thanks to SkyMall. The next time we go camping, we can roast our marshmallows with the Reel Marshmallow Roaster.I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like s’mores. The combination of gooey marshmallow, melty chocolate and crispy graham crackers makes them the perfect camping snack. Plus, lighting marshmallows on fire is just plain ol’ fun. However, there’s nothing in the world more tedious than rotating your marshmallow (not a euphemism) to get it roasted evenly. After a night of binging on s’mores, you may find your wrist sore, swollen and tender. It’s a condition commonly referred to as Roasting Wrist. Most doctors treat Roasting Wrist with months of physical therapy, pain killers and the Hershey’s S’mores candy bar. It’s a long and arduous road filled with disappointment every time you taste that underwhelming confection. Thankfully, we can now avoid that with advances in modern s’more technology.

Think that sticks are the perfect s’mores tool. Believe that operating a fork attached to a fishing reel actually puts more stress on the human wrist than previous s’mores-making devices? Well, while you suffer through a charred marshmallow, we’ll be reading the product description:

Give it a spin, and you’ll never go back to a plain old stick again. Simply put your hot dog or marshmallow on the tip of this fishing reelpowered roaster, and crank it until it’s perfectly cooked on all sides.

Look, anything that gives you the excuse to say “crank it until it’s perfectly cooked” is a good thing. Am I right, ladies?

It’s not wishful thinking to suggest that Memorial Day will be here before you know it. With that comes camping trips, long hikes and, yes, s’mores. Get your gear in order and pick up some new gadgets to make your camping trips perfect.

See you by the campfire.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.