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A Trifecta of Southern Classics at Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer

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Photos and text by Sarah Baird
Photos and text by Sarah Baird

A holy trinity of Southern favorites converged recently for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s third annual ode to three classics: Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer. More than 50 chefs and cocktail artists from across the South and country gathered on an unusually chilly New Orleans night to pay homage to Louisiana’s native sausage and wet the whistles of diners with elaborate bourbon and rum-based cocktails.

Now in its third year, thousands of hungry boudin-lovers waited in a line the wrapped the block for a chance to not only eat and drink, but do so in support of a number of local charities, including the culinary arts center at the New Orleans Creative for Creative Arts.

Among a number of sausage standouts was the Vietnamese bahn mi boudin created by New Orleans-based mastermind Philip Lopez of Root. The boudin, which was complimented by a charred onion cilantro aioli, “faux gras” pate, and bourbon smoked pickled jalapenos, was one of the few dishes that attempted to combine two of the night’s signature ingredients—and did so with rousing success.

Alex Harrell of Sylvain, a restaurant darling of the French Quarter, rolled out a seasonally appropriate turkey leg boudin that was perfectly balanced with nutty, tangy roasted pumpkin apple mustard. Tenney Flynn created a simultaneously rich and light monkfish liver and lobster boudin with uni hollansaise.

Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a couple of wacky getups from the celebrity chefs. Mario Batali and John Besh’s teams of scampering sous chefs took outfitting cues from Super Mario Brothers and the Beastie Boys, respectively, while Buffalo Trace allowed others to get in on the costuming act by handing out fuzzy buffalo hats and shots of bourbon.

As the night drew to a close, diners were able to sip their last cocktail and listen to the sounds of Grace Potter, fully embracing an evening full of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry.