A Season of Change

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New restaurants open their doors and fall menus get a revamp

Busy, busy November—the start of the holiday season, filled with food and fun. New Orleans’ ever-dynamic restaurant and dining scene keeps our dance card and our stomachs full.

OPEN, OPEN, OPEN

  • Ian Schnoebelen and Laurie Casebonne shuttered their beautiful Carrollton restaurant, Iris, to open in the French Quarter at the Bienville House hotel, at 320 Decatur St.
  • Also newly opened in the Quarter is an outpost of Felipe’s Taqueria, 301 N. Peters St., a favorite Mexican joint beloved for its margaritas, burritos, tacos, tostadas and more, all made to order.
  • Enjoy small-plates? Check out Rambla in the International House Hotel, 221 Camp St. New-to-town chef Fernando Echeverri riffs on French and Spanish cuisine with a decidedly modern Louisiana flare.
  • More big news is the reopening of Café Sbisa, now owned by Glen Hogh (of Vega Tapas), Michael Mauberret and Jake Frank. Lovingly restored, the restaurant serves contemporary Louisiana cuisine in a dressy-casual bistro environment at 1011 Decatur St.

FALL INTO NEW MENUS
’Tis the season for menu shifting in restaurants. As we head into fall, things start to get gamey—in a good way! Check out the new menu at Pellicano Ristorante, where wild boar ribs play a starring role (and taste fabulous with chef Chris’ repurposed red wine barbecue sauce). Other new menus can be found at La Petite Grocery, Cochon and Dante’s Kitchen, among others.

DASH TO DINE
The Rib Room’s chef, Anthony Spizale, traveled to France this year as part of his annual culinary education, extended by Omni. He returns to the kitchens of the “Royal O” right here at home, where, throughout November and December, we can Savor the Flavors of France, starting with a smart aperitif that prepares the palate for classic French cuisine like escargots, coq au vin, entrecôte with mustard sauce, gorgeous French wines and lush desserts.

On November 21, WYES continues its Season of Good Tastes dinners, at Dominique Macquet’s Bistro 38, in the New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway. Chefs Steve Meilinger and Dominique Macquet whip up a five-course meal with one dish incorporating Community Coffee. The whole shebang, including wine, costs $85, with all proceeds going to WYES.

COCKTAIL CULTURE
Join Dale DeGroff, America’s best-known mixologist and author of The Essential Cocktail, at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, where you can discover the techniques and elements for making extraordinary cocktails—the classic, dramatic and notorious ones that have been presented by barkeeps worldwide. Monday, November 3, 6:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Mall. $20 per person.

ALE AND ALTRUISM
On Wednesday, November 19, Morton’s The Steakhouse is pouring on a Taste of Tradition with a Chimay Ale tasting. For $45, including tax and gratuity, you can sip several ales while feasting on Morton’s signature hors d’oeuvres. Part of each ticket will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

FOOD PHILANTROPY
Beginning November 1 and continuing for one full year, Whole Foods Markets and Sal & Judy’s products will kick off a campaign aimed at helping the Café Reconcile Project. Called a Future of Opportunities, proceeds will go toward renovating the entire building and creating more jobs for neighborhood residents.

BOOK IT
Dale Curry, one of New Orleans’ most beloved food editors and writers, has authored New Orleans Home Cooking (Pelican, 2008). Join her on November 8, from 10 to noon, at Rouses in Covington, where she will be autographing her cookbook.

Head over to the Garden District Book Shop on Saturday, November 15, at noon, where Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker will discuss and sign their book Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found From the Times-Picayune of New Orleans.