New Orleans Roadfood Festival: March 23-25

Celebrating the glory of roadside eats, this festival serves everything from po’boys to red and white 'hots'

The list of foods on offer at the New Orleans Roadfood Festival alone is enough to make anyone want to start a juice cleanse — there is no stone left unturned when it comes to celebrating Southern and Creole flavors at this festival. Restaurants from Texas to New York and from Louisiana to Arizona come together to serve mouthwatering dishes like soft shell crab po’boys, char-grilled oysters, pulled pork sandwiches, bananas Foster, grilled cheese sandwiches with boudin balls, and pecan turtles to hungry festival-goers.

The festival defines roadfood as "great regional meals along highways, in small towns, and in city neighborhoods"; basically roadfood dishes are all the guilty pleasures and savory memories of road trips from coast to coast. And what started in 2000 has become a popular food fest destination — with so many eateries from so many spots on the map, it’s easy to see why. Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas, will bring their beef brisket this year, while Dunbar’s from right there in New Orleans will offer their fried catfish, Big Daddy’s Hotwater Cornbread (from Arizona) is bringing their fried cornbread, and Abbott’s Frozen Custard is coming all the way from Rochester, N. Y.

Few food festivals would be complete without an eating contest, and the Roadfood Festival doesn’t disappoint. This being New Orleans, they are hosting a Beignet Eating Contest with members of the New Orleans Fire Department competing for the title and the World Champion Beignet Eating Belt.