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May 10, 201710:50 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

The Fat Lady Never Sings

All photos from www.nowfe.com

The phrase, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” was popularized, but not invented, by the great baseball player and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra.

Berra had a whole bunch of interesting comments attributed to him, such as “When you come to a fork in the road, take it;” “You can observe a lot just by watching;” and “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”

But the fat lady remark was actually first attributed to Texas Tech Sports Information Director Ralph Carpenter in 1976. Ralph’s remark, specifically directed to the outcome of a basketball game between Tech and Texas A&M, was an oblique reference to Wagnerian operas, which often concluded with a heavy aria sung by an equally heavy lady – breast-plates, horned chapeau and all.

The headline reference here was not specifically to all that, but I thought the phrase’s origins an entertaining feint to occupy you and then to turn you towards a new thought. I started out with the idea that New Orleans’ celebrations are never over, never done – always ongoing and always demanding attention to high-quality and fun diversions. And now we are moving on. Thankfully.

We are now concluding “Festival Season,” which has been in full force since Carnival reached a crescendo in late February, and prior to that, well, if we have to explain to you what happens here during Carnival we can only assume that you are getting more sleep than you really need.


Upcoming, in some chronological order:

May 13 is World Cocktail Day. Proceed at your own speed and in your own way.  

Coming up on May 25, less than two weeks away, is The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. It’s the 25th edition, no less. This amazing festival uses the entire city as the backdrop to fine wine, excellent cuisine, and informative seminars.

There are some significant changes this year. First of all, there is only one Grand Tasting, and it will take place at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World on Saturday, May 27, at 6:00 p.m. If you are anxious to see what’s being poured, you can enter early with a now-on-sale VIP pass. Plus there will be a special lounge area that will be available to those who have paid for the privilege.

More than 30 restaurants have been paired with the highest caliber wines to offer amazing dining experiences the evening of Wednesday, May 25. As always the downside of these dinners is that they are all happening at the same time so you can choose only one. A real life version of the proverbial good news/bad news conundrum.

During the weekend, there will also be seminars, high-end wine tastings, special shows, and, of course, the ever-popular Royal Street Stroll. Full information and event tickets, including special packaging, are all noted at www.nowfe.com.

Without missing a beat, and creating quite a few along the way, New Orleans then dashes to the Oyster Festival in Woldenberg Park, June 3-4; the amazing Creole Tomato Festival in the French Market, June 10-11; and the Cajun Zydeco Festival at Armstrong Park, June 24-25.

July starts with Essence, slides into Go Forth on the River for the Fourth of July, which is then closely followed by a truly fun and new tradition, the San Fermin Festival – also known as the Running of the Bulls. It’s not Pamplona. Then again, there is just as much emphasis on good beverages and instead of getting gored, a good spanking is a possibility, all from “bulls” on roller skates, none of whom will ever be confused with bulls. Don’t ask. It’s New Orleans.  

Then it’s traversing the Pyrenees and moving from Spain to France, without leaving the semi-tropical humidity and heat, in mid-July for Bastille Day celebrations, and finally the festival that caused well-made, hand-crafted cocktails to take their rightful places in the world of beverages, Tales of the Cocktail, July 18-23.

More in this column on those latter events, particularly Tales, as we move closer to their dates. But as we said initially, the sun does not go down on New Orleans’ good times. It does, however, shine brighter on the fun stuff. Stay in shape and stay tuned.





Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life," hosted by Tim every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans. Previously broadcast episodes are available for viewing at http://www.wlae.com/appetite-for-life/



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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


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; 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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