How cool is that? Besh cooking at the Arena....heck opposing players may be late to the games. I love what's going on in NOLA and with the Pelicans.
« Tour of the Renovated New Orleans Arena
Trew 2 the Game #17: John Besh for MVP
(Hey, heads up! On November 5th at 6:00p on your way to the Pelicans game, stop by Little Gem Saloon to witness a live podcast recording of Trew 2 the Game. We’ll have special guests (including other writers on this very site) as well as fun giveaways)
It’s hard to pin down the NBA equivalent to New Orleans-based restauranteur, chef and philanthropist John Besh. Is it Grant Hill (Seven All-Star game appearances, Besh owns seven restaurants)? Is it Vince Carter (1999 rookie of the year, Besh was named one of the ten best new chefs by Food & Wine in 1999)? Is it Chris Paul (original savior of professional basketball New Orleans, Besh is largely credited with the revitalization of Big Easy cuisine)? Like I said, it’s hard. But let’s get something straight - John Besh knows what he’s doing in the kitchen.
The photos and tweets from yesterday got the architect and interior designer in all of us giddy. So much about our NBA team is different, from the people running the organization to the product on the court to the building we’ll call our second home at least 44 times this year (our first round playoff series is going 7 games). As a food obsessed New Orleanian who maintains a terrible raging jealousy over every sports facility with great food, I was most excited by the news that John Besh was getting involved with the New Orleans Arena.
Dallas has a gourmet cookie bar. Los Angeles has a dessert cart. Portland has a cigar bar and salmon fish tacos. Sacramento, buffet. Toronto, poutine hot dog. Maine lobster mac and cheese in Chicago. Sure, we’ve had some pretty good selections like jambalaya for a while now, but Denver has a fancy chef (Weston Schroeder) responsible for beef medallions. Madison Square Garden boasts a prime rib sandwich that likely makes watching J.R. Smith more bearable. Isn’t it our turn? Shouldn’t visiting NBA fans taking in a game at our Arena leave with not only a loss but with a belly full of local cuisine?
John Besh to the rescue. You guys can take Anthony Davis, I’m getting a John Besh jersey. Navy blue, number 8, “Besh” personalized on the back. Naturally, I have important questions. Like:
- Is it going to be a full restaurant inside the Arena?
- Is it going to be a new restaurant or will we get something like a Besh Steakhouse?
- Will Mr. Besh put his spin on classic “sports food”?
- Will John Besh wear Pelicans gear for his next Food Network appearance?
- Does John Besh want to come over to my house sometime to cook food and watch basketball?
- If Baron Davis is at All-Star Weekend how huge will his Besh restaurant tab be?
- Will the menu change with each opponent? If so, I look forward to Denver, Chicago and Milwaukee. Might skip out on Toronto, San Antonio and Brooklyn.
(Besh’s people have been contacted – as soon as I hear back from them this post will get updated with new information)
You know the saying: New Orleanians live to eat. We talk about dinner when we’re having lunch. We love our sports, too. Is it possible to love the food where you watch sports? For defined palates and picky diners (ahem), that’s not likely. Should New Orleans be the place where that rings true? Absolutely.
Chris Trew is a comedian living and working in New Orleans, La. He performs at The New Movement (1919 Burgundy) and hosts the weekly New Orleans sports podcast, Trew 2 the Game. Look for live podcast recordings before select Pelicans games at Little Gem Saloon on Poydras!