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Local confectioner Cheryl Scripter, a familiar face for years at the Crescent City Farmers Market, has opened her own chocolate shop in Lakeview. Called Bittersweet Confections, the shop specializes in handmade truffles in varieties including praline, pistachio, mango, and passion fruit. She also makes chocolate-dipped local strawberries, and dessert catering for weddings and other events is available. Bittersweet Confections, 5331 Canal Blvd., 450-3149,

A new pan-Asian restaurant called Hoshun is spicing up the dining options along lower St. Charles Avenue. The menu spans dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cooking, as well as plenty of hybrids. Some familiar fare on the menu are potstickers, Thai beef salad, the classic Vietnamese beef noodle soup pho and a full sushi bar, while more unusual dishes include a "seafood martini" of fish and shellfish mixed with avocado, mango and strawberries or the Peking-style duck prepared with a crust of pumpkin seeds and a plum reduction sauce. Hoshun, 1601 St. Charles Ave., 302-9716.

A new option for upscale dining and Sunday brunch has opened in Lakeview along the resurrected Harrison Avenue commercial corridor. Lago is serving some offbeat dishes in a bright, contemporary dining room whose large bar area has quickly developed its own local cocktail scene. The menu starts with a selection of dips and includes such dishes as duck and tasso wontons, pasta carbonara with fried basil and seared scallops with Israeli couscous. At lunch, some options include duck tacos, a sloppy Joe sandwich and a burger made with ground buffalo. Lago, 900 Harrison Ave., 486-8282,

Look for Japanese script on the new sign now lighting up Frenchmen Street or just follow your ears for the sound of exotic DJ music to find Yuki Izakaya, a Japanese tavern specializing in small, traditional Japanese dishes called otsumami. Offerings here change frequently but might include crab dumplings, peppery French fries with wasabi mayonnaise, beef and lemongrass "salsa" with shrimp chips and steamed clams with sake butter. The menu includes extensive descriptions and tasting notes of the sakes on hand and Yuki also serves shochu, a clear, distilled Japanese liquor. Yuki Izakaya, 525 Frenchmen St.

The number of dedicated Korean restaurants in the area doubled overnight with the opening of Gimchi, a new Metairie restaurant that upped the local tally of Korean eateries from one to two–Korea House, a long-time standby in Fat City, is the other. The name Gimchi is an alternative spelling of the Korean national dish more commonly transliterated as "kimchee." Gimchi now serves plenty of kimchee, plus sushi and Korean-style barbecue that customers can cook themselves on individual table-mounted grills. Gimchi, 3322 N. Turnbull Dr., Metairie, 454-6426.

The husband and wife team of Slade Rushing and Alison Vines-Rushing is back in the kitchen at MiLa. The couple recently shuttered Longbranch, their Northshore restaurant that opened after Katrina. Now, they bring a fusion of flavors of Louisiana and Mississippi to this Central Business District location. The menu includes “Deconstructed” oysters Rockefeller, pig cheeks and langoustines, and New Orleans-style barbecue lobster. MiLa, 817 Common St., New Orleans, 504-412-2580.

If the Spaniards had ruled New Orleans a little longer, the city might be full of tapas bars like the one just opened by Río Mar. The excellent seafood-centric restaurant has featured a lunch menu of Spanish small bites for several years. With the new dedicated tapas bar adjacent to the dining room, you can now get a glass of Sherry and a plate of Serrano ham until late at night. Río Mar, 800 St. Peters St., 504-525-3474,

Leah Chase, the queen of Creole cuisine, is again simmering gumbo and frying chicken at Dooky Chase, her historic restaurant in the heavily flooded Treme neighborhood. With the help of many volunteers and a few corporate donors, the art-filled restaurant looks better than ever. At the moment, Dooky Chase is only selling food for carry out during the week, but it plans to reopen the dining room soon. Dooky Chase, 2301 Orleans Ave., 504-821-0600.

One bakery closes and another one opens. The much-loved bakery La Spiga closed recently. But now Steve “Cake Man” Himelfarb, who got his start peddling cakes door to door, has filled the void of sweet baked goods in the Marigny with the New Orleans Cake Café and Bakery. The cake selection includes red velvet, German chocolate and coconut cake with coconut frosting. The café also serves breakfast and lunch. New Orleans Cake Café and Bakery, 2440 Chartres St., 504-943-0010, .

Restaurant Patois opened recently Uptown in the former Nardo’s space. The chef, Aaron Burgau, spent six months as a manager for the Crescent City Farmers Market. He plans to use the connections he made with farmers and fishermen to create a light, French-influenced menu with a bounty of seasonal ingredients. Even the bar will mix drinks with organic produce. The neighborhood restaurant also serves brunch Sundays. Restaurant Patois, 6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, 504-895-9441,

Anton Schulte has returned. He first made his mark as the sous chef at Peristyle, and developed a following later as the chef at La Petite Grocery. Now, he’s struck out on his own with Bistro Daisy, named after his daughter. The Magazine Street restaurant, in the spot that briefly housed Civello’s, features Schulte’s signature modern American bistro fare. Bistro Daisy, 5831 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-899-6987.

High-end dessert shops are sweeping the nation, and Sucré brings that trend to New Orleans. The nationally known pastry chef Tariq Hanna, frequently seen on the Food Network, crafts gelato, delicate pastries and exquisite chocolates at the fashionable boutique. Don’t miss the dark chocolate flavored with thyme and the dense Xocolat chocolate cake. Sucré plans to sell pastry online and perhaps open more outlets throughout the region. Sucré, 3025 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-520-8311,

Chef Jason LaMotte honed his skills under John Besh at Restaurant August. Now he’s stepping out on his own at Ardoise. The Metairie restaurant, in the former location of Sal & Sam’s, is decidedly upscale. A signature appetizer is french fries perfumed with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. A good follow-up would be a juicy steak and, to conclude, a slice of six-layer carrot cake. Ardoise, 4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-885-5566.

At Grand Isle, restaurateur Joel Dondis built a menu of his favorite recipes that he collected over the years, among them the barbecued quail, Crawfish Cardinal and turtle soup with chunks of turtle meat. With any of them, down a beer served from a tap encased in ice and guaranteed to be cold. Dondis, the owner of Sucré and La Petite Grocery, is a well-known New Orleans caterer. Grand Isle is part of the growing collection of restaurants and shops clustered around Harrah’s new hotel on Fulton Street. Grand Isle, 575 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, 504-520-8530.

A favorite restaurant in Treme (the strong Creole neighborhood just past the French Quarter) has a new branch in the Central Business District. Li’l Dizzy’s Café, run by legendary restaurateur Wayne Baquet, opened a second location at The Whitney – A Wyndham Historic Hotel. The new location features the same down-home, Creole cooking such as fried chicken, the 7th Ward pork chop and Trout Baquet, a fillet of speckled trout topped with lump crabmeat. Li’l Dizzy’s Café at The Whitney, 610 Poydras St., New Orleans, 504-212-5656.

Chef John Besh of Restaurant August proved that he was fluent in French with the restoration and update of La Provence on the Northshore. With Lüke, his new Alsatian brasserie on St. Charles Avenue, he adds a German accent to his growing portfolio of restaurants. Inspired by the long-shuttered New Orleans German brasseries, Lüke’s menu features such dishes as wild boar pâté, choucroute maison and platters of glistening shrimp, oysters and mussels. Jared Tees, formerly of the Bourbon House, will be the executive chef. Lüke, 333 St. Charles Ave., 504-378-2840,

The down-home Henry’s Bakery in the Bywater opened a second outlet farther uptown on S. Claiborne Avenue. At the new place, the donuts and ever-popular apple fritters, along with the lunch specials, are just as good as at the original. Henry’s Bakery, 3400 S. Claiborne Ave., 504-894-8894.

In early January, executive chef Michael Collins was fired from the New Orleans Grill at the Windsor Court Hotel. According to a hotel spokesperson, the dismissal was due to a “personnel issue.” Collins took over the kitchen at the New Orleans Grill only last May. A search is underway for his replacement. New Orleans Grill, Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., 504-522-1992.

Michael Sichel has taken over the kitchen at 7 on Fulton, the latest project of restaurateur Vicky Bayley. Sichel bought and opened Restaurant Indigo the summer before Katrina and recently ran a restaurant at the Culinaria cooking school. He cooks carefully executed dishes that are equal parts traditional and daring, such as crabmeat with lemon mascarpone and curry foam or seared scallops with smoked tomatoes and almonds. 7 on Fulton, 701 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, 504-681-1034.

Guy Sockrider was named executive chef at Muriel’s Jackson Square. Sockrider, a certified executive chef, worked under Paul Prudhomme at Commander’s Palace. Muriel’s Jackson Square, 801 Chartres St., New Orleans, 504-568-1885.

It’s been a long time coming, but Mr. B’s Bistro finally reopens in April. The Creole classic, renowned for its gumbo ya ya and barbecue shrimp, suffered particularly heavy flood damage in Katrina. After an extensive restoration, the Brennan family restaurant returns with chef Michelle McRaney still leading the kitchen. Mr. B’s Bistro, 201 Royal St., 504-523-2078,

For generations, Camellia Grill satisfied the hunger of college students with burgers, freezes and chocolate-pecan pie hot off the griddle. When it didn’t reopen after Katrina, despite avoiding the floodwaters, loyal patrons covered the windows with post-it notes pining for its return. On April 20, just in time for Jazz Fest, new owners will reopen this restored landmark. Camellia Grill, 626 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-866-9573.

La Provence

After the death of La Provence’s chef Chris Kerageorgiou, new owner John Besh temporarily closed the restaurant for renovations. The home of French country cooking on the Northshore is back and more elegant than before. In addition to renovating the building, Besh added a kitchen garden, citrus trees and two acres of small livestock. Steven McHugh, the long-time chef de cuisine at Besh’s award-winning Restaurant August, is La Provence’s new executive chef. La Provence, 25020 US Hwy. 190, Lacombe, 985-626-7662.

Venezia, a Creole-Italian favorite, has finally returned after a post-Katrina renovation. Located in a heavily flooded section of Mid-City, the purveyors of pizzas, fried eggplants and pasta loaded with “red gravy” adds another classic option to an area quickly becoming one of the city’s best neighborhoods for casual dining. Venezia, 134 N. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, 504-488-7991.

La Divina Gelateria serves up sophisticated gelato and sorbetto, tasty panini and espresso that would pass muster in Italy. Owner Carmelo Joseph Turillo used to teach business in Madrid, but he was looking for a way to return to New Orleans. The charming new spot on Magazine Street became his ticket back. La Divina Gelateria, 3005 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-342-2634,

Dan Stein will be a familiar face to customers of Martin’s Wine Cellar’s now-closed location on Barone Street. Stein worked behind the cheese counter and managed the extensive beer selection. Now, he’s opening a Jewish deli in the Lower Garden District. The little shop features cheese, cured meats, fresh baked goods and classic deli sandwiches. Stein’s Market and Deli, 2207 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-527-0771,

The recently opened Anatole, inside the Lafayette Hotel, specializes in prime steaks and contemporary Creole dishes. During his three-decade career, chef and owner Raymond Toups has cooked at the Rib Room and at the Sazerac at the Fairmont Hotel. Anatole, Lafayette Hotel, 500 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504-274-0105.

Boston-based celebrity chef Todd English is known for his modern Mediterranean food, but at Riche he takes on the French brasserie tradition. The elaborately decorated restaurant features duck confit, skate meunière and a daily grill special. English also runs the adjoining 528 jazz club, which serves a menu of light Italian dishes. Riche by Todd English, Harrah’s Hotel, 228 Poydras St., New Orleans, 504-533-6117.

Pampy’s Creole Kitchen brings its upscale take on Creole soul food back to the 7th Ward. The restaurant, a favorite with political heavyweights, was the domain of the legendary chef Austin Leslie before the storm. Leslie passed away shortly after Katrina, but the recently reopened restaurant pays tribute to the master’s recipes. Pampy’s Creole Kitchen, 2005 N. Broad St., New Orleans, 504-949-7970.

Emeril Lagasse reopened Emeril’s Delmonico, the last of his three New Orleans restaurants to return after Katrina. The historic property, first opened in 1895 and then renovated and upgraded by Lagasse in 1997, suffered significant hurricane damage. The restaurant, with a menu of classic Creole dishes and dry-aged steaks, continues the old-world tradition of tableside preparations. Emeril’s Delmonico, 1300 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504-525-4937.

Local diners will have a strong sense of déjà vu at Mélange in The Ritz-Carlton. Half the dishes on the menu were made famous at other New Orleans restaurants, like Bayona’s goat cheese crouton, Clancy’s fried oysters with brie or Upperline’s fried green tomatoes with shrimp Rémoulade. Chef du Cuisine Eric Aldis will create original dishes for the other half of the menu. Mélange, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, 921 Canal St., 504-524-1331.

The steaks, the sizzling butter and the secluded booths with curtains are all back at Crescent City Steaks, a North Broad Street staple serving lunch, Wed.-Fri. and dinner, Wed.-Sat. The restaurant, opened in 1934, took a little longer than most to recover from Katrina. But it managed to open its doors in time for regulars to return for their annual pre-Lent beef feast on Mardi Gras day. Crescent City Steaks, 1001 N. Broad St., New Orleans, 504-821-3271,

Some call it the poor man’s Galatoire’s, with its hearty Creole menu and lively social scene. Mandina’s, one of New Orleans best-loved neighborhood restaurants, has finally reopened. While the heavily flooded Mid-City location was under repair, the owners opened new branches in Baton Rouge and on the Northshore. It’s hard to imagine, however, eating Mandina’s famed Gulf fish amandine without a view of Canal Street through the big dining room windows. Mandina’s, New Orleans, 3800 Canal St., 504-482-9179.

Chef Minh Bui is back in Mid-City. He recently closed Lemongrass, a high-end Vietnamese restaurant in the Central Business District. Now, he has returned with the small, but utterly stylish, Café Minh, located in the former Michael’s Mid-City Grill space and just a block from the original Lemongrass location. The fusion menu features lacquered duck, spicy beef udon soup and Asian-marinated pork tenderloin. Café Minh serves lunch and dinner, Tues.-Sat. Café Minh, 4139 Canal St., New Orleans, 504-482-6266.

Fire of Brazil

Meat eaters can celebrate. Fire of Brazil is bringing Brazilian churrascaria-style dining to the French Quarter. One price buys diners unlimited plates of steaks, ribs and lamb chops served by waiters garbed as gauchos. Fire of Brazil launched in Atlanta, GA, where it will soon open its third location in that city, is planning locations across the globe. The restaurant is scheduled to open in late-January—just in time for the madness of Mardi Gras. Fire of Brazil, 725 Iberville St., New Orleans,


News Bytes

New Location for Vizard's
Chef Kevin Vizard has relocated his eponymous  restaurant from the lobby of the Garden District Hotel on St. Charles Avenue to a little jewel box of a storefront space on Magazine Street, the location formerly occupied by the now closed restaurant Alberta. The new Vizard's serves a similar menu as before, with the chef's creative, often playful compositions of serious food, like his "greens, egg and ham" salad (with spinach and frisée, a breaded egg and lardon) and his "black and blue" dessert (chocolate cake with blue cheese). Vizard's, 5015 Magazine St., 529-9912,

Daniel Boulud Spotlights New Orleans
MOJO HD’s show “After Hours with Daniel” returned with new episodes featuring chef Daniel Boulud (of New York City’s Daniel and Bar Boulud) collaborating with chefs in Miami and New Orleans. On the series, Boulud visits with host chefs early in the day to prepare a special meal, which is later served to all the chefs plus invited food writers and local celebrities. Restaurants and host chefs selected in New Orleans include Bayona with Susan Spicer; Commander’s Palace with Tory McPhail; Restaurant August with John Besh; Stella! with Scott Boswell and Cochon with Donald Link. They will serve up Creole-infused dishes like petit turtle soup; stuffed redfish with buster crabs and mushrooms; and venison saddle with chestnut and petit farcis. Look for “After Hours with Daniel” on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

New Location for Chateau du Lac
The French bistro Chateau du Lac moved from its original Kenner address to a new, larger location closer to the city in Old Metairie. The restaurant, run by Frenchmen and chef Jacques Saleun, still offers its traditional menu of bistro classics, such as escargots Bourguignon, steak au poivre, Dijon-crusted rack of lamb with rosemary, roasted duck and blanquette de veau, a veal stew with mushrooms and onions. Chateau du Lac, 2037 Metairie Rd., 504-831-3773,

Feast for the Eyes
Former New Orleans restaurant critic Sara Roahen has a new book out charting her relationship with local foodways and the city's dining scene.  Called "Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table," the book is an intimate memoir offering a look at how someone new to New Orleans discovers, explores and embraces its fabled food culture.

La Thai on the Move
La Thai Cuisine has moved from its original Metairie location to a new spot in the heart of the cluster of popular Uptown restaurants. The Thai restaurant replaces Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Felix's original restaurant in the French Quarter remains open. La Thai Cuisine, 4938 Prytania St., 504-828-3080.

Brunch is Back
The streetcars are again running on St. Charles Avenue, and Mr. B’s Bistro jazz brunch is back. Two New Orleans traditions have returned. Mr. B’s serves Sun. brunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mr. B’s Bistro, 201 Royal St., 504-523-2078.

Soul Kitchen
The slick 7 on Fulton proves that it’s got soul with a new $21 prix fixe lunch of gourmet soul food. The menu includes andouille and seafood gumbo, Gulf fish with collard greens and cinnamon pain perdu. 7 on Fulton, 701 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, 504-525-7555.

Celebrity Charity
Emeril Lagasse gives back to New Orleans with a $250,000 grant to create the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Learning Center. The center, located above Café Reconcile in Central City, will prepare local students for culinary careers. Lagasse’s charitable foundation has donated $1.2 million to local charities since January 2006.

Luxury Lunch for Less
Chef Greg Sonnier has shaken up The Grill Room with his lusty Louisiana food. The former chef and owner of Gabrielle gave the ultra luxurious restaurant an accessible menu. Now try the new menu at an accessible price. During the weekday lunch, The Grill Room is serving a three-course lunch for only $24, plus tax and tip. The Grill Room, Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., 504-522-1992.

A Prize Catch
Local chef Tenney Flynn of G W Fins took second place at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off. The event, sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, pitted 19 chefs against each other in a two-day competition. The first-place winner was Tim Thomas of Georgia. Flynn cooked grilled blue-fin tuna with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, creamed leeks and veal jus on day one. The second day, he prepared sautéed red snapper with melon and mango salad. Both dishes regularly appear on the menu at G W Fins. G W Fins, 808 Bienville St., 504-581-3467.

The Next Iron Chef?
This October, eight top chefs from around the country will compete to join the ranks of Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto in the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, a new reality show that will award one chef with the coveted culinary title: Iron Chef. The series kicks-off on Sunday, October 7th at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Among the contestants battling for the honor will be local chef John Besh of Restaurant August, The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's, Lüke and La Provence. The winner will be revealed during the series’ finale on Sunday, November 11th, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will begin their reign as Iron Chef with the premiere of the new season of Iron Chef America on Sunday, November 18.

Palace Cafe

Some Like It Hot
The Palace Café’s “temperature lunches” might be the only good thing about summer in New Orleans. Through Labor Day, chef Darin Nesbit has a special, two-course menu priced at the high temperature from the day before (i.e. a 92º high on Tuesday means a $9.20 lunch on Wednesday). The lunch is a salad or a soup, including the classic turtle soup, with a rotating selection of main courses, such as grilled redfish, seafood Napoleon or coconut crusted shrimp. Palace Café, 605 Canal St., New Orleans, 504-523-1661.

Around the World in 8 Plates
Vega Tapas Café brings back its popular “Tour of the Mediterranean.” Through Labor Day, the small plates restaurant offers each week a multi-course tasting menu featuring a different country, including Egypt, Greece and Spain. The five- or six-course dinner costs $25. Regional wine pairings are an additional $15. Vega Tapas Café, 2051 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 504-836-2007.

The Bistro Is Back
The Bistro at Maison de Ville
is the French Quarter’s hidden gem. Now through the end of August, patrons may sample chef Greg Picolo’s delectable fare at lunch for only $20. At lunch, choose from a selection of nine savory dishes, which might include smoked salmon rillettes with frisée, panéed frogs legs with a potato gratin or goat cheese cannelloni with sauce Aurora, and two dessert options. The lunch includes a complimentary glass of wine. Bistro at Maison de Ville, 733 Toulouse St., New Orleans, 504-528-9206.

A Cold Blast in the French Quarter
New Orleanians love snowballs, the summer treat of shaved ice and flavored syrup. It used to be that French Quarter residents had to venture beyond their neighborhood to find one. Now, Rotolo’s Pizzeria has set up a snowball stand with 18 different flavors. The stand is open daily from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. Rotolo’s Pizzeria, 201 Decatur St., New Orleans, 504-948-EATS.

100 Days and Counting
The reopened and renovated Camellia Grill celebrated 100 days of operation–and 8,000 eggs served–on July 27 with a  $10,000 gift to area charities, including the Children’s Hospital, the Jewish Community Center and the Audubon Nature Institute. Camellia Grill, 626 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, 504-309-2676.

The Fine Art of Eating
The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts is best known for such famous graduates as Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis. This summer, the high school arts program will be training the next John Besh or Paul Prudhomme. Thirteen students from across the state were chosen for the hands-on course in the culinary arts. The pilot program is a partnership with Johnson & Wales University, the Hilton Riverside and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.

One Out of Two
Donald Link walked away with the award for best chef in the south at the 17th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. This was the second year in a row that Link was nominated in this category. His new restaurant, Cochon, was also nominated as one of the best new restaurants in the country.

Half a Million for Kids
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation distributed $500,000 in grants to youth organizations around the city. The money, part of the $2.5 million raised at Lagasse’s annual Carnivale du Vin charity event, brings the total amount given to New Orleans' organizations this year to $1 million. Beneficiaries included God’s Vineyard Seven Pepper Hot Sauce, the Edible Schoolyard at Green Charter School and the Contemporary Arts Center’s summer programs.

Truly Top Chefs
Palace Café and Vega Tapas Café were named “Best in Show” at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience. Seventy-five restaurants competed to win the favor of a panel of local food writers. On Friday, chef Darin Nesbit of Palace Café wowed the panel with citrus marinated yellowfin tuna with wasabi tobiko. The next day, Glen Hogh of Vega Tapas Café won with a chilled Creole tomato gazpacho with lump crabmeat and cucumber sorbet. Palace Café, 605 Canal St., New Orleans, 504-523-1661; Vega Tapas Café, 2051 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 504-836-2007.

Brunch Is Back
Emeril’s Delmonico again serves brunch on Sundays. The delicious menu includes a foie gras waffle with duck confit, poached and fried egg with crispy pork cheek and lots of aged prime steaks. Dessert is a must, with such treats as Mexican chocolate crème brûlée, bananas Foster and café brulot from which to choose. Emeril’s Delmonico, 1300 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504-525-4937.

Chef of the 7 Seas
Although some call New Orleans the northern most point of Caribbean Island cuisine, it  is as rare here as a cool day in August. Now through Labor Day, Chef Michael Sichel of 7 on Fulton cooks up a taste of the tropics. The $21, three-course lunch includes jerk chicken, spicy shrimp with fruity rice, and curry pork and gravy with fried plantains. The meal finishes with a choice of sweet potato pudding or lemon-buttermilk crème brûlée. 7 on Fulton, 701 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, 504-525-7555.

New Lunch Option
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, Cuvée’s exquisite modern Creole cuisine can now be enjoyed at lunch. The $23 prix-fixe meal might include a duck confit potpie appetizer, a slice of Kobe meatloaf and an espresso bombe for dessert. Cuvée, St. James Hotel, 322 Magazine St., 504-587-9001,

Anatole’s Swings
New Orleans, some say, is all about food and music. Restaurant Anatole’s Creole menu full of fresh Lousiana seafood and prime steaks is quintessential New Orleans cuisine. Now through August, the restaurant also serves up the city’s native music, when jazz singer Ellen Smith performs Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Anatole, 600 St. Charles Ave., 504-274-0105,

Once and Future Creole Queen
Legendary Creole chef Leah Chase is one step closer to reopening Dooky Chase thanks to a $175,000 gift from Starbucks Coffee Company. The donation is part of Starbucks $2.5 million commitment to work with the NAACP in support of programs that promote social and economic equality. The money should allow Chase to reopen in April. Dooky Chase, in the historic Treme neighborhood, has fed James Baldwin, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Dooky Chase, 2301 Orleans Ave., 504-821-0600.

The Triumph of Pork
For the second year in a row, chef Donald Link has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation as the best chef in the South for his work at Herbsaint. Even more impressive, Cochon, the pork-centric Cajun restaurant Link opened with co-owner Stephen Stryjewski, is nominated for best new restaurant in the country. The competition includes new restaurants by Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck and Joël Robuchon, which puts the Louisiana chefs in heady company no matter who wins. Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-588-2123,

7 on Fulton Restaurant

Lunch for the Ladies
Chef Michael Sichel of 7 on Fulton celebrates New Orleans Museum of Art’s new exhibit Femme, Femme, Femme: Paintings of Women in French Society with a special lunch of French classics. The exhibit features 19th century works on loan from France’s top museums. The $21, three-course lunch includes escargot in garlic butter, coq au vin and tarte Tatin. Both the exhibit and the prix-fixe lunch continue through June 3. 7 on Fulton, 701 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, 504-525-7555.

Baklava for the Teacher
On May 8, National Teacher Appreciation Day, Byblos Mediterranean Cuisine will honor the hard-working teachers of one area school with a catered lunch. Customers at the Byblos locations in both Metairie and Uptown are encourage to vote for the school they think deserves this honor. Byblos, 1501 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 504-834-9773, and 3218 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-894-1233.

Way Over the Hill
The Commander’s Palace turns 125-years old! Opened in 1880 by original owner Emile Commander, the establishment was eventually taken over by the Brennan family and has been a launching pad for such talented chefs as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon. Currently this mainstay’s culinary status is maintained by executive chef Tory McPhail. You can continue to find inventive Creole cooking on the menu with dishes like turtle soup au sherry; shrimp, cognac, and andouille grits; chicory coffee lacquered Mississippi quail and bread pudding soufflé. Commander's Palace, 1403 Washington Ave.

Commander's On Its Way
Commander’s Palace
, the garden district grand dame of Creole cooking, reopened October 6. Stop by and taste its signature Southern fare, or visit Café Adelaide, operated by the Commander’s Palace family of restaurants, which is now open in the Loews New Orleans Hotel.

Charity Chatter
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation raised over $2.5 million for New Orleans-area children’s charities at the annual Carnivale du Vin. Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich prepared a five-course feast for the gala.

In a little over an hour, Galatoire’s Restaurant raked in $54,000 for charity by auctioning off reservations for the Friday before Christmas. The downstairs dining room normally doesn’t take reservations, and people—often paid space holders—used to wait in line several days for a table. The money benefits Children’s Hospital and Covenant House of New Orleans. Galatoire’s Restaurant, 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, 504-525-2021.

Smoke Free City
It’s lights out for Louisiana smokers when a ban on smoking in public places, including restaurants and most restaurant bars, goes into effect on January 1, 2006

Gayot's Annual Awards wants to congratulate Restaurant August for its selection to our TOP 40 RESTAURANTS IN THE U.S. list published in our Annual Restaurant Issue for 2006.

Besh Buy
The James Beard award-winning chef John Besh (Restaurant August and the Besh Steakhouse at Harrah’s) first gained attention a decade ago as the chef de cuisine at La Provence. Now, Besh owns the restaurant. The purchase ensures the survival of the Northshore institution and provides security to executive chef Chris Kerageorgiou, Besh’s beloved mentor. The restaurant will close during the summer of 2007 for renovations. La Provence, 25020 Hwy. 190, Lacombe, 985-626-7662,

Palace Cafe

Café Society Creole-style
Café culture comes to America’s most European city. Dickie Brennan’s Palace Café, located along a recently upgraded stretch of Canal Street, has added outdoor seating and a light cafe menu. Guests are encouraged to drop in for a coffee, a cocktail or a snack, such as steamed mussels, Gulf oysters bordelaise or white chocolate bread pudding. Portable heaters will keep guests warm all-year round. Lunch is served Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. and brunch Sun. Palace Café, 605 Canal St., New Orleans, 504-523-1661,

Restaurant Closings

Anatole closed its doors at The Lafayette Hotel in the Central Business District, about a year and a half after the contemporary Creole restaurant and steakhouse first opened. The chef and owner Raymond Toups was previously executive chef at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel and the Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place. Hotel management says new, as-yet-unnamed operators will take over the location.

Madrid, the Spanish restaurant in Kenner, closed. Taquería Chilangos, a Mexican restaurant, has opened in that location. Taquería Chilangos, 2723 Roosevelt Blvd., Kenner, 504-461-9907. 

Alberta, a highly regarded Uptown bistro that opened in 2005, is no longer. Vizard’s on the Avenue, currently located in the Garden District hotel, will move to the spot. Chef Kevin Vizard hopes to have his restaurant relocated and open for business by New Year’s Eve. Vizard’s on the Avenue, 2203 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504-529-9912,

Alberta, a deluxe little bistro serving New American cuisine, has extended its summer vacation well into the fall with no signs of reopening. Although the owners have not officially announced the restaurant’s closure, its financial troubles have been reported by the local media. Alberta, 5015 Magazine St., 504-891-3015.

Chef Guillermo Peters closes Taqueros y Coyoacán on September 1. The upscale Mexican restaurant on St. Charles Avenue began as a smaller venture in suburban Kenner. Chef Peters has not announced his future plans.

The beloved La Spiga bakery and café in the Marigny has closed. The Italian-style bakery was also a fixture at the Crescent City Farmers Market.

The hip Fire, in the Lower Garden District, shut down recently. It stood out among New Orleans restaurant for its lighter, California-influenced menu and interesting wine list.

The Uptown neighborhood Italy restaurant Nardo’s no longer is open. Rumors suggest that a new restaurant will soon open in its place.

Jackson, an adventurous Creole restaurant in the Lower Garden District that opened fall 2005, has closed.

The Mexican restaurant Santa Fe, a long-time favorite in the Marigny, has closed. It’s rumored that a new restaurant will soon open in that location.

Mike’s on Lee Circle. a joint venture between chef Mike Fennelly and restaurateur Vicky Bayley, has closed. The restaurant, in the lobby of the Le Cirque hotel, opened last October. Mike’s on Lee Circle, No. 2 Lee Circle, New Orleans, 504-528-2205.

Restaurant Reopenings
As the rebuilding from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina continues, the New Orleans dining scene is burgeoning once again. Many of the city’s culinary treasures have now reopened, including Galatoire's, Emeril's, Arnaud's, Bayona, Herbsaint, Restaurant August, G W Fin's, Bacco, Peristyle, Palace Café, Lilette, Brigsten's, K-Paul's, Cuvée, Nola, Bourbon House, Broussard's and Antoine's. Neighborhood favorites such as Ralph's on the Park, Clancy's, Jacques-Imo's, Upperline, Cafe du Monde, Muriel's, Tujague's, Tommy's and Pascal's Manale are also welcoming diners. New spots are reopening every month, so keep checking back for updates.

R.I.P., Chef Chris
Beloved local chef Chris Kerageorgiou died suddenly on Sunday, February 4. For more than 30 years, Kerageorgiou cooked the cuisine of his native Southern France at La Provence, a charming little restaurant off the beaten path on the Northshore. Over the years, Kerageorgiou was also a mentor to many of the area’s top chefs, including John Besh. Last month, Besh bought La Provence. The restaurant is temporarily closed for renovations. During this time, Besh plans to upgrade the restaurant so that it continues to honor the work of Kerageorgiou for decades to come. La Provence, 25020 US Hwy. 190, Lacombe, 985-626-7662.

High Proof Society
Bourbon enthusiasts now have a club to call their own. Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House has formed the New Orleans Bourbon Society. The free membership provides invitations to Bourbon tastings, a regular Bourbon “E-Newsletter” and chance to meet fellow serious Bourbon sippers. Sign up at the Bourbon House Web site,

7 on Fulton Restaurant

Lucky Menu
The new Warehouse District restaurant 7 on Fulton added seven new locally inspired cocktails. Try a “7th heaven,” a “red hot martini” or a “green tea mint julep.” To complement the drinks, chef Michael Sichel put together a bar menu of small bites, like fried haricots verts, truffled pommes frites and a fish tartine sandwich. 7 on Fulton, 701 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, 504-525-7555.

Extra Sweet Charity
During Carnival season, every local gathering includes a purple, green and gold king cake. Buy a cake at Whole Foods in Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina, and the store will donate $1 to the White Boot Brigade. The White Boot Brigade, a project of Loyola University’s Market Umbrella, is a group of local shrimpers dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s wild shrimp industry. Whole Foods, 5600 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-899-9119.

A Carnival Cause
The Friday before Mardi Gras, the hottest tables in town are in the downstairs dining room at Galatoire’s, where reservations are never accepted. For the second year in a row, the 102-year-old restaurant held a charity auction for these sought after seats. In a single hour, the auction raised $99,350 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Angel’s Place, which provides relief to terminally ill children and their families. The bidders bought the right to hold a table from 11:30 a.m. until closing, but food, drink and tip are additional. Galatoire’s, 209 Bourbon St., 504-525-2021.

Over the Moon
Along with beads, trinkets and stuffed animals, Carnival krewes often toss the crowds a classic Southern treat: sweet, gooey Moon Pies. During the Mardi Gras season, Cochon will make a gourmet Moon Pie with two sugar cookies stuffed with homemade marshmallow filling and drenched with Scharffenberger dark chocolate. The seasonal dessert menu also features a Basque-style king cake. Just for Carnival, Cochon will open for lunch the Saturday and Sunday before Mardi Gras. Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, 504-588-2123.


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