Jan 28, 201012:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Imagination

Forget Miami. The French Quarter is the place to be for the Super Bowl.

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You cannot let this moment pass and just hope for the best.

This is a time to take decisive action, be proactive and assure that you have developed and set into motion A Great Plan.

The topic here, as if you did not know, is how to experience the upcoming Super Bowl. We’ve waited a long time for this result, and now to just sit back and think that you’ll maybe do this or you might do that is not acceptable. Not even a little bit.

New Orleans has never been in the Super Bowl. Oh, sure, we’ve been at the Super Bowl, watching those fans from Dallas or Miami or Denver or Green Bay, Wis., come to our city to party and revel in their glorious civic pride, celebrating what their communities’ football teams have accomplished.

And every year, without fail, no matter where else the Super Bowl is staged, we always say: “Why don’t they award that game to New Orleans on a permanent basis? Who else can do the party like we can?”

OK, now the pressure is on us.

Now, assuming you don’t go to Miami just to be near the action, you have a duty to make this a celebration even the Super Bowl has never seen before. The Saints have put us in the game, and now we have to respond appropriately.

If America’s Party City cannot throw the grandest Super Bowl celebration ever when its own team is on the field, then I’m ready to toss in the towel and let such pretenders-to-the-throne as San Francisco, Denver and Miami take our crown from us without so much as a scuffle.

Well, I for one am not willing to let that happen. In the immortal words of future U.S. Sen. Blutarski, “Did we lay down when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” No, indeed. And we are not going quietly now.

Adding to our enviable task is the fact that Super Bowl Sunday is being held on a day when there are already many Carnival parades, a mere nine days away from Mardi Gras itself. That scheduling was very considerate of the stuffed shirts at the NFL (No Fun League) offices.

Another reason to celebrate (really, there’s more?) is that Feb. 7 is the Day After Election Day. There are lots of offices up for grabs, and in at least one or two instances, you will want to toast to a change of regime at some level of government. I can think of several reasons right now for celebration, and I don’t have a clue who’s going in. The important thing is that someone else is going in.

OK, so now we have all this pressure to perform and all these good reasons for doing so. Intense stuff.

Bloody Marys to begin the day are always a good base. Stanley’s on Jackson Square makes a good one. If Brandy Milk Punches are more your speed, stop by Brennan’s on Royal Street. Both places also do superb breakfast and brunch. Don’t neglect getting some food into your body. It’s going to be a long day.

Two warning notes here: 

No. 1: If you like mimosas, you can go to just about any bar and get your drink. Mimosas are simple concoctions that anyone behind any bar is capable of making. So if others in your party want something that takes a bit more preparation and presentation, such as the aforementioned Bloody Mary or Milk Punch, yield to wherever those folks want to go. They have more at stake in the outcome of their beverages than you.



No. 2: Do not think that beignets suffice as a meal. Yes, we love them with a great cup of café au lait, but fried dough with sugar is not the way to go to begin this particular day. You will not last until 3:30.

OK, so now you’ve laid the base. Head for the next event on your Gigantic Super Bowl Sunday, a parade. Because you are already in the Quarter, which will be Party Central for the entire Super Bowl ramp-up, you can be right on St. Ann or St. Peter for Krewe of Barkus. This always-cool parade featuring doggies (and their owners) begins its stroll at 1 p.m. If you happen to remain Uptown, Carrollton rolls at noon, followed by King Arthur (though times are still subject to change at this point).

You are going to want to watch some of the pre-game shows on TV. If you are in the Quarter, you may even be on one of the pre-game shows on TV. No doubt camera shots of our celebration will be seen by the rest of the world about as often as Miami views.

Keep it simple. This is not the time to complicate matters. Head for the 700 block of St. Louis. Here you will find three places, all new to the scene this year, with decent food, good bars and television sets all over the establishment. Hermes Bar at Antoine’s serves Antoine’s fare, as well as bar snacks. K-Joe’s bar in the middle of the block has seen a lot of history. In recent times, it has been Patout’s and Gennifer Flowers Club. The Royal Café was for years known as Tortorich’s and now has a good oyster bar, New Orleans-style cuisine and poor boys and creates a decent drink.

Just across Royal from these is the Omni Royal Orleans with the Rib Room Bar and, a bit further on Royal Street, the always-hopping Touché Bar. If you want to go further afield, Felipe’s on Decatur serves fine Mexican fare –– think good chips and salsa and great margaritas and mojitos.

All the bars and establishments mentioned have TV.

As for you, don’t go to one place. Spread the wealth. Spread the joy of being a Saints fan in your own hometown. Go to all of them.

Another idea (I am just full of them today): Book a room in a Quarter or CBD hotel. There’s your base of operations. Want to put your feet up? Don’t want to worry about parking or traffic? Want to party late and sleep late? Don’t want to drive home after a full hard day of partying and upholding your heritage with worries about DUI?

It makes a lot of sense to simply move into the neighborhood where the real Super Bowl action will be.

One more thing: You will want to take Monday off. Celebrating the Saints is not going to end after the game. We have 44 years of drought to catch up on.

Go Saints! And thank you for bringing great joy to our beautiful and beloved city. We have always been proud of New Orleans. You have made us prouder. 

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

about

In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.

 

Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.

 

Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.

 

Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.

 

They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.

 

Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.

 

Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

 

Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.

 

It’s a good gig. 

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