As unapologetic fair-weather Saints fans, we like the scene in the Who Dat Nation. It’s fun to people watch. Over the next few weeks, we will get into the spirit by thinking of favorite places to observe without being in the thick of the crowds and madness. Some of these are before-the-game places to be part of it. For actual watching of the game, it is hard to beat Walk-On’s near the Dome. We also really like the upscale atmosphere of Vitascope Hall in the Hyatt, because it is right in the thick of it, but not. Reservations are required for a cozy space at this glamorous sports bar, but walk-ins are welcome. Prepare to wait.
Good places in the heart of the Who Dat Nation are Johnny Sanchez and Willa Jean, whose happy hour we love. There is Borgne at the Hyatt, and if eclectic is your thing, a pre-game happy hour at Bar Marilou is worlds away from the Dome.
But our favorite is Copper Vine Wine Pub, which has fine food in a great location, and excellent wines on tap. The hordes of revelers will provide built-in entertainment if you are on the balcony. And there is bottomless popcorn. They have their own popcorn machine with gourmet versions of this, but all of them need basic salt. We love the fresh-cut fries cooked in duck fat with a tangy rich aioli. We like this food. Everything we have had here, including the flatbreads, is not brilliant, life-changing food, but it will be quite satisfying while being part of the scene.
This is our favorite way to spend an afternoon and evening hanging around the Who Dat Nation. On the way back from the game, particularly with a Saints victory, Henry’s Gin Bar at the NOPSI Hotel should be hopping. This is a large and very comfortable bar - a fun place. They will have a tailgate before on their wonderful patio featuring $5 select beers and $7 Bloody Marys. There will also be bar bites like sliders for $10. Great place for this.
And if you are just going to watch the Saints opener from the comfort of your living room, please yourself with these Game Day Nachos, Also great any other day.
One large bag Tostitos chips
1 lb smoked brisket, chopped
1 lb Pepper Jack cheese
I medium purple onion, chopped
I jalapeno, finely minced
½ red bell pepper, chopped small
I or 2 avocados,
I bunch cilantro, chopped
I small container grape tomatoes, halved or chopped
1 cup black beans rinsed and drained
You’ll need two large cookie sheets with a layer of parchment on each.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spread chips evenly on each cookie sheet
Cover evenly with chopped brisket
Add salsa here if you are using it
Scatter black beans over the pile
Grate cheese and cover brisket with cheese
Place both cookie sheets in the oven and keep an eye on them. Cheese should be totally melted and brown in areas, but be careful not to over-toast the edges of the chips.
Chop the cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and halve or chop tomatoes. Carefully dice the avocado.
When the chips are done, scatter all the other ingredients on top of them and serve immediately.
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