12 Best NOW&FE Wine Dinners:
Ralph’s On The Park, Swanson Wines
Ralph’s bird’s-eye view of City Park is as inviting a venue I can think of for a wine dinner in springtime. So all that’s left is for Chef Chip Flanagan to come forth with an alluring menu. He has done so, as you see below. Now, the wines. Swanson is pretty close to the dead center of the best Cabernet Sauvignon growing area in the Napa Valley, with big, chewy reds. Beyond that, the Swansons have some family connection with New Orleans that I never seem to remember when I need to. Anyway, they like us and we like them.
Tuna Tartare and Sesame Crackers
Escargot Tartlets with Tomato and Fennel Jam
Housemade Boudin Balls with Pepper Jelly
Wine: Swanson 2010 Napa Valley Pinot Grigio
Corn Fried Louisiana Crawfish Salad
Blair Farm’s lolla rosa, green tomato chow-chow, Creole mustard vinaigrette
Wine: Swanson 2011 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Smoked Rabbit Sauce Piquant
Mississippi rabbit, red and poblano peppers, cream cheese grits, country ham rolled loins, pearl onions, roasted pepper strained yogurt
Wine: Swanson 2009 Oakville Merlot
NOLA Irish Channel Glazed Rack Of Lamb
Pistachio crust, roasted Brussels sprouts, crispy lamb belly, green onion colcannon
Wine: Swanson 2009 Napa Valley “Alexis” Cabernet Sauvignon
Coconut Milk Tart
Fresh pineapple and mango, guava sauce and gelee, crushed pink peppercorns
Wine: Swanson 2007 Oakville “Tardif”
The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, like all the other NOW&FE dinners. The price is $120 inclusive. Reservations are essential at the number below. I’ve selected twelve of the menus as the ones most likely to be the best, from the field of thirty-eight. They will appear in this space, in no particular order, every day until the big night. Left out: dinners that are already booked up (!), and those that didn’t publish their menus on the NOW&FE website.
Ralph’s On The Park. City Park Area: 900 City Park Ave. 504-488-1000. www.ralphsonthepark.com.
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