Food Network star, newly minted New Orleans resident, James Beard Award recipient and a generally great guy who always seems to be having the grandest of times, chef Aarón Sánchez recently hosted a Coca Cola-based pop-up dinner at Johnny Sanchez, his hip, colorful Poydras Street restaurant, to kick off a new partnership with the iconic American soda giant.
The menu for the evening included Coke-based cocktails, Michoacan-style crispy pork carnitas made with a Coca-Cola glaze and served with chipotle salsa and homemade tortillas and Coca-Cola and dulce de leche ice cream floats. As part of the new partnership, Sánchez, a lifelong fan of the classic beverage, will be featured in a documentary-style television commercial, airing nationally in English and Spanish, within which he will celebrate his Mexican heritage through cooking and demonstrate how Coke pairs well with meals across all cultures. Throughout the year-long partnership and series of commercials, Coca-Cola will showcase variety of occasions where Sánchez will demonstrate the best dishes to serve with a Coke.
New small plates on the chef’s everyday menu include crispy Brussels sprouts with butternut squash, Cotija cheese and jalapeño vinaigrette; Gulf Cobia ceviche with habanero-passionfruit and crispy hominy; a Gulf tuna tostada; and crispy pig’s ears chilaquiles.
New entrées include arroz con pollo with grilled chicken and crispy rice; and Louisiana crawfish enchiladas.
Weekdays 2-6 p.m. all beers, wine by the glass, house margaritas and well drinks are half-off and $2 tacos are offered. Taco choices include pork carnitas, spicy chicken, albondigas (spicy meatballs) and Des Allemandes fried catfish.
Dramatically less high-brow but no less delicious, Las Cazuelas Mexican Grill, a sprawling family owned joint on the West Bank, offers house margaritas on Sunday afternoons for $3.50. Pair your relaxing libation with a sampler platter for two (two chicken quesadillas, four bean nachos, two beef flautas and two beef mini-chimichangas served with sour cream, guacamole and cheese dip) and the excellent and complimentary house-made salsa and fresh tortilla chips, and you and a pal are out the door for less than $35 including tip. A lunch menu, offered daily 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., features an array of options, the priciest of which, the El Favorito platter (featuring a choice of one burrito, one taco, one chalupa and one beef enchilada plus rice and beans), will set you back $8.50.
Also noteworthy on the Hispanic-influenced dining scene, Juan’s Flying Burrito, New Orleans’ homegrown, “Hencho en NOLA Creole Taqueria,” took a turn to the east with the recent addition of Vietnamese-style Banh Mi Tacos offered in chicken, pork, steak and tofu varieties and served with pickled vegetables, Sriracha sour cream and fresh jalapeños. Also new at Juan’s are $2 Taco Tuesdays (Do we detect a theme?) when a variety of tacos are offered all day for, you guessed it, two bucks apiece.
In the same vein, long beloved Taqueria Corona is offering weekend brunch at the Magazine Street location Saturdays and Sundays 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Menu options include huevos rancheros, chorizo con huevos, a breakfast burrito, ham and eggs flautas and a carne asada breakfast tostada. Brunch cocktails are also offered for five bucks and change.
Chew on this shameful statistic: Nearly one in six children in this country struggles with hunger, including more than one in four in Louisiana.
On June 5, chef Nina Compton of Compère Lapin, one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs in America for 2017,” will host a multi-course dinner and live auction to benefit the nonprofit No Kid Hungry to raise funds toward ending childhood hunger in America. Joining her in the kitchen are guests Aaron Brooks of Edge Steakhouse at the Four Seasons Miami; Michael Pirollo, Macchialina on Miami Beach; and Food & Wine’s “2016 Best New Chef” Michael Gulotta of Maypop and MoPho. The event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $150 per person, inclusive.
(in the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery)
535 Tchoupitoulas St.
930 Poydras St.
Juan’s Flying Burrito
2018 Magazine St., 569-0000
4724 S. Carrollton Ave., 486-9950
515 Baronne St., 529-5825
Las Cazuelas Mexican Grill
1122 Manhattan Blvd., Suite B Harvey
5932 Magazine St.