New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Rolls Down Royal (PHOTOS)

Food in New Orleans is serious business as our chefs continue to rack up James Beard Awards (Emeril Lagasse, John Besh, Susan Spicer, Donald Link, Frank Brigtsen and Cochon's Stephen Stryjewski). A New Orleans chef character, with input from Spicer and Anthony Bourdain, are in HBO's Treme. Speaking of Bourdain, alcohol is also a top draw. New Orleans watering holes garnered 10 of Esquire's top bars slots (Spotted Cat, Chart Room, Tujague's, Napoleon House, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, Harry's Corner, Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, Coop's Place, Carousel Bar, Hotel Monteleone, and Arnaud's French 75 Bar).

So it's no surprise that the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has been growing exponentially. Here are 10 photos by Jeff Beninato of the NOWFE Royal Street Stroll kickoff. Fine wines were served at art and antique galleries, and food booths included Shrimp Regua from Antoine's; Crawfish Etoufee over Cheese Grits from the Pelican Club; Barbecue Shrimp at GW Fins and Bourbon House; and the life changing Chargrilled Oysters from Drago's.

Still ahead are grand tastings, vintner dinners, seminars and more. Details are available at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience Web Site. Save room in your belly if you're here. And if you're not, it's time to make reservations for NOWFE 2012.

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience