Humpday HappyHour Review: Bacchanal Wine Bar in NOLA

ImageSo in spirit of my idea on having special “theme” days each week, I thought it might be neat to do a Happy Humpday Hour on Wednesdays, in which I review all the snazzy bars, restaurants, and café’s I can manage, preferably minus the beer belly/ food baby side effects. I’ll try my best to find all the hip places with some great happy hour specials, but happy hour specials or not, I’ll definitely find great spots to chill out at when you’re trying to get through the work week hump. I’m thinking I’ll post sometime before you would go out after work, like around 4 or 4:30 (CST). Oh, and I will try my best not to stick to one specific city, but since I DO live in Dallas, be prepared for more Dallas reviews than anything else (yay for my Dallas fans!). That being said, I DID just return from a hazy, fun-filled, foodie-gasmic adventure in NOLA so I’m going to kick off my first review with a bar we went to that really impressed me for it’s very jazzy, hip ambience, and of course, food.

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Bacchanal is tucked away in the ninth ward of NOLA in the Bywater area, where you may spot a boat or two if you are looking hard enough past the smoke and the musical notes hanging in the air of the outdoor patio. Walking in, it feels like you are walking into a boho wine cellar meets hipster bodega. The aisles are brimming with a pretty darn good selection of wines you can peruse, snatch up, and purchase up front, all market priced, which is just genius. They also have a nicely stocked fridge-full of cheeses, again at market cost…what-what!, that you can purchase with your wine that they will take back to the kitchen and plate up real nicely for you with grapes, olives, pita bread, and other various a cou tre mon. Outside, twinkling Christmas lights are scattered along the fences and trees, with no real rhyme or reason, further accentuating the  wild untamed spirit of the place. The live music is soulful and hip, and just very New Orleans-y. The patio is also a garden of interesting artsy, hipster types, which puts you in a funky frame of mind.

And now on to the food: A Chef runs the kitchen of this bar/restaurant/bodega-wine cellar? But of course. Chef Joaquin Rodas is the man behind the kitchen, and from what we tasted of his offerings, he knows what to do with a knife and a flame. After ordering through the old school style back window, we were shortly thereafter greeted by a pretty trio of yummy and interesting-looking plates. The steamed mussels with the chorizo and creamy wine sauce were straightforward deliciousness. Fresh mussels, nice smoky chorizo, in a rich garlic dappled broth. Perfect sauce for leftover pita bread dunking. The confit chicken leg was also equally impressive and actually reminded me of something my grandma might have made back in the day, which is a good thing. The chicken was tender and braised with a hearty and rustic white bean and thyme sauce. The bacon wrapped dates were small, but packed a really flavorful interesting punch. Obviously bacon makes anything taste THAT much better, but with the peppers and roasted tomatoes wrapped in the bundle, they are like a little flavor explosion of goodness.

Bacchanal may not have an actual traditional happy hour, but that would be too cliché for this random, interestingly bohemian haunt. And besides, the at-cost wine makes it happy hour for everyone who visits from open to close. Check it out if you’re in the NOLA area and feeling like something mysterious and unexpected.

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