NOWFE and Off-NOWFE Wine Dinners

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The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (May 19-23) is a festival with many faces, from the freewheeling Royal Street Stroll with participants drinking their way from one French Quarter shop to another, to the Grand Tastings at the Superdome to this year's new celebrity chef gala.

But on the Wednesday evening of the festival, May 20 this year, NOWFE consists mainly of wine dinners hosted at 34 area restaurants, where representatives from wineries featured at the festival have planned multi-course meals with the chef. Often, the winemakers themselves attend and discuss their wines with each course.

Those considering attending one this year should start making reservations now. Many of the dinners sell-out early, and in fact Commander's Palace, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse and Restaurant August are each already fully booked for the event. NOWFE's Web site lists participating restaurants and their wine dinner menus.

Prices range from $75 up to $125, with most between $85 and $100 per person, all-inclusive.

Off-NOWFE

Plenty of restaurants not officially participating in NOWFE take advantage of the wine crowd in town to the event and host their own dinners, though these aren't as easy to track down. One interesting entry in this off-NOWFE category is coming up on Saturday, May 23, at Savvy Gourmet. Chef Sheana Davis of the Sonoma Valley-based food company The Epicurean Connection will be in town to lead the dinner, which features her own cheese and wines from her neck of the woods to go along with the dinner. Here are the dinner details.

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