Tacos, Bread, BBQ and more!


After having been postponed earlier this spring due to inclement weather, New Orleans’ third annual Top Taco (toptaconola.com) festival kicks off this evening at 6 p.m., at Woldenberg Park with chefs and bartenders from over 50 restaurants competing for the coveted awards in four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Tequila Cocktail, and Top Traditional Margarita. Tickets start at $75 and a portion of proceeds will benefit Foster Nola, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in the city’s foster care system as they transition into adulthood. Check it out.

I have mentioned before that I strive celebrate and explore the culinary culture of others through my role as menu planner for the Feed Justice Team (FJT) at First Unitarian Universality Church (2903 Jefferson Avenue, corner Jefferson and S. Claiborne, 504.866.9010, firstuuno.org). The cornerstone of the Unitarian philosophy is to welcome anyone seeking community regardless of their religious beliefs(or lack thereof), sexual orientation, political affiliation, or whatever other differences people manufacture to keep us apart from each other. We practice “radical hospitality,” welcoming whomever shows up. As part of this practice, FJT hosts community dinners on the third Tuesday of every month. We strive to make our menus fresh, economical, seasonal, interesting and relevant.  For this month’s dinner, next Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m., we are joining with Chef Houcine Harrabi in recognizing the Muslim community as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. Ours is to be a non religious get together and all members of the New Orleans community are welcome in keeping with the Ramadan custom of sharing iftar, the evening meal, with extended family and friends in the spirit of Generosity, Peace and Love.

The menu will include: Romano beans with olive oil (vegan); Couscous with roasted goat (meat will be served separately); Salade Tunisienne of fresh cucumber, bell peppers, apples, tomatoes, onions, and olives with olive oil (vegan); Salade Mechouia of grilled vegetables; Orzo soup with fish; Baklava; Decaf green tea with mint. Guests are welcome to bring wine or other beverages of their liking. A minimum donation of $10.00 is suggested to benefit the Feed Justice team but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Our dinners are becoming increasingly popular so RSVPs are appreciated (feedjustice@firstuuno.org).

Moving to the opposite end of the spectrum, on Sunday, May 19, from 1-3 p.m., Daniel Robert, curator of Meat Science Programs at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) – 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504.267.7490, southernfood.org – will continue his Master of the Craft series with Let’s Talk About RIBS!, a professional-level barbeque class, in celebration of  National BBQ Month. The class will demonstrate, with the use of smokers and grills, every step involved in barbecuing pork ribs from start to finish. Discussions will include the importance of flavorings, such as marinades, rubs and sauces, and the different classifications of pork ribs (baby back, spare ribs and country style).  The class will be held in the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jennair. The cost is $55 per person ($50 for SOFAB members and $25 for culinary students with school ID). Classes are limited to 30 persons, they sell out quickly, and you get to eats lots of delicious ribs! Admission to the Southern Food & Beverage Museum included in the ticket price.

Have a child who likes to cook or want to learn how? The SoFAB Kids Culinary Camp is a wildly popular week-long, half day camp (9a.m. -12 p.m.) dedicated to teaching nutritional literacy through food preparation, nutrition activities, food history, games, and, the best part, eating!  Thirty spots are available for each week and they book quickly. A membership to the National Food & Beverage Foundation (the parent organization to SoFAB) supports the museum and gives a discount on camp as well as Kids in the Kitchen programming tickets year round. All weeks except the Teen +/- Week (11-15 year olds) and Week #5 (7-12 year olds) are for 7-11 year olds, absolutely no exceptions.

Registration Prices
Regular Registration- $130 per week
Member- $110 per week
Regular Multiple Weeks (per child)- $110
Member Multiple Weeks (per child)- $100

  • June 10th-14th– Week #1
  • June 17-21st– Week #2
  • June 24th-28th – Teen +/- Week! (11-15 year olds) SOLD OUT
  • July 8th-12th– Week #3 SOLD OUT
  • July 15th-19th– Week #4
  • July 22nd-26th (7-12 year olds)– Week #5

Visit natfab.org/events to register.



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