Coolinary fills seats in Nola’s favorite restaurants
It’s so hot you can fry an egg on the banquette (an old New Orleans word for sidewalk). But who needs to cook when Coolinary is in full effect?
Modeled after similar “restaurant weeks” in cities like New York and Los Angeles, New Orleans’ Coolinary is a month-long celebration where participating restaurants offer a prix fixe menu at incredibly affordable rates to entice locals to dine out and tourists to book trips during the hottest month of the year.
Running from August 1 to 31, two-three course lunch menus are available for $20 or less and three course dinner menus are $39 or less. And new this year, brunch is also on offer at some locations with three courses for $39 or less.
Coolinary is a wonderful way to visit multiple restaurants on your bucket list and eat a captivating meal at each. It allows you to experience the setting and service at a known price, and then budget for add-ons like cocktails and perhaps a noted dish from that particular chef.
Another reason I love Coolinary is it can help plan “occasion” dinners or future trips to Nola. While you are dining from the special menu, you can also review the standard menu and ask your sever about interesting items. What is a favorite that is always offered? Which dishes are seasonal? And you can find out about pricing and plan for your next visit to their restaurant.
Over 80 restaurants are participating for the month of Coolinary and a list can be found here. Culinary institutions like Commander’s Palace and Galatoire’s participate, as well as newer stars on the rise like Cane & Table and Meauxbar.
The website is extremely navigable and allows you to sort options by cuisine, neighborhood or meals offered. It also has a map function for visitors not as familiar with the names of neighborhoods and the layout of the city. You can also explore it to find recipes, deals on transportation and parking, and of course, a little lagniappe, which include some additional specials on drinks, oysters and other offerings.
One thing to remember: it’s a classy move to tip your server based on the normal prices of the menu items, rather than their discounted prices. And if it’s a special dish not typically on the menu, consider bumping up that tip anyway. August can be a challenging month for our service industry and we all know how hard those folks work.
Don’t forget to save the date for the “We Live to Eat Restaurant Week” as well, scheduled for September 14-20, 2015.