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On this edition of the NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias, we chat with the gang from the new Top Taco New Orleans that is a food and drink event and competition happening for the first time in town next week. We also welcome Andrew Lohfeld, co-founder, of the new Roulaison Distilling Co. that focuses on local craft rum production.

Pictured above from left: Bryan Dias of NOLADrinks, Alex Cassara and Richard Papier of Araña Taqueria y Cantina, and Shane Finkelstein of Nacho Mama’s.

NOLADrinks Show – 3-16-17 – Top Taco New Orleans and Roulaison Distilling Co.

We start off the show with some musings on cocktail tours, hot sauce, and cheesy pick-ups in bars. We also discuss some new developments in the ongoing proposed security measures that could affect bars and other businesses in the city.

We’re then joined by Shane Finkelstein, organizer of the new Top Taco New Orleans event taking place next Thursday, March 23 here in town. Shane is also the owner of Nacho Mama’s restaurant located in the Elmwood area just outside of NOLA. He is joined by Richard Papier, chef/owner, and Alex Cassara, bartender, of Araña Taqueria y Cantina located in Uptown New Orleans. They were the first of, now, 40 restaurants that will participate in this terrific event serving up tacos and cocktails, all for a charitable cause – One Heart NOLA.

We talk about the event, how the judging works, the great live music line-up, the charity component, and how folks can attend. We also discuss how the event got started and took shape. We cover some of the participating restaurants that include Mexican establishments as well as many that you may not think of! We then chat about their two respective restaurants and touch on the growing popularity and rising quality of tacos and broader Mexican cuisine in New Orleans. Of course, we taste a couple delicious cocktails that each restaurant will be entering in the competition and everyone can taste if they attend!

Special note – thanks to Shane and Top Taco New Orleans for asking me to be a judge at the event! I will be on the cocktail side and can’t wait to taste both the traditional and interesting creations. There are four categories – Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Cocktail, and Top Traditional Margarita. Guests can also vote for these categories, as there is a People’s Choice award for each.

We then welcome Andrew Lohfeld, co-founder of the newly opening Roulaison Distlling Co. Andrew, along with his partner, Patrick Hernandez, are focusing on producing interesting craft rums. So far, they are producing a terrific white rum that is very aromatic and tasty. They are looking to bring “the funk” (which, in both the world of rum and New Orleans, is, of course, a great thing!) They will soon be producing other rums including an upcoming barrel-aged version.

We discuss their story and approach, which includes making rums exclusively from locally-grown sugar cane. We talk about their distillery and tasting room as well as their grand opening event taking place this weekend on Sunday, March 19. We taste the white as well as a delicious traditional punch that Andrew whipped up where the rum is front-and-center. We also taste the proto version of the barrel-aged rum, which is also delicious. The white rum will be available around town very soon with more products to follow down the road!

Below the map that features some of the locations discussed on the show, you can subscribe to, download, and stream the NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias podcast.

Cheers, You All!

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