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What’s for Dinner: New Food Options at the New Orleans Arena
Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a menu tasting at The New Orleans Arena. Food was sampled, chefs were spoken with and bellies were filled up. For years New Orleans basketball fans have been clamoring for better culinary options at the Arena. Well, congratulations, people who fill out surveys, people who eat food and people who care about good food, we got what we wanted.
There’s waffle fries. There’s macaroni and cheese. There’s nachos. All of which come in special versions like “Nacho Waffle Fries” and “Roast Beef Debris Waffle Fries”. It’s going to take a while for all of us to burn through the new food offerings, especially as we begin to single out favorites. I’m excited for problems like “I want to try the beef macaroni and cheese but this pizza has been doing me right.” Oh yeah, there’s going to be freshly made pizza. No more hot boxes. I repeat: No more hotboxes. The arch-nemesis of good arena food has been vanquished.
The best thing I tasted was the fried bread pudding, which will be available outside section 117. Kernell Jupiter, General Manager over at Centerplate, said the best seller at last week’s preseason contest was the Prime Rib Sandwich. What was Kernell’s favorite? Same answer. What are you most likely thinking about right now? Prime. Rib. Sandwich.
Centerplate Regional Vice President Steve Trotter said that the team still buys local whenever possible. The bread is Leidenheimer and all the seafood is, of course, still Louisiana Seafood. Many of the meats and vegetables are local as well. Regardless of how much more expensive it is in some cases, they understand the need to support local farms.
Executive Chef Lenny Martinsen was fired up over the waffle fry options (“something for everyone”) as well as the nachos (“our nachos are on another level”). He was also stressing that the kettle chips are homemade.
John Besh, who’s official title is “consultant”, wasn’t at the tasting due to a new book launch, but this quote did make its way to our inbox.
“It was both exciting and meaningful for me to help Centerplate bring these authentic, delicious Louisiana foods to fans and guests of the city. It’s fantastic to have a major company like Centerplate helping to preserve our local culture and foodways.”
Basketball is here. Our new team is here. New food is here. How exciting is this?