Weekend Cheat Sheet: Jingle Bells

Revel in the festivities of the season and explore all of the wondrous sights, sounds, flavors and aromas the Crescent City has to offer.

 

Friday

Lunch at: Located in what used to be a single shotgun house on Banks Street in Mid-City, Fharmacy is the creation of Chien Nguyen and Nhat Nguyen — two good friends who worked together at Namese. With a background in fine dining, Chien has created a casual but eclectic menu with dishes like mussels and fries, boudin balls, a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich, Emergency Room wings tossed with cayenne and ghost chiles, mini-meat pies and burgers. Try the Dr. Seuss Burger with ham, Swiss and a fried egg with a side of crispy tots … what will cure your cravings? 2540 Banks St., (504) 324-6090, facebook.com/fharmacynola

Be bubbly at: Get your sparkle on at the French Quarter’s only Champagne bar, Effervescence. Owned by Crystal Coco Hinds (sister of NOLA Brewing founder Kirk Coco), the bar offers a huge selection of sparkling wines both by the glass and bottle, plus quite a few still wines for those who prefer their quaffs sans bubbles. Effervescence also features a small plates menu with dishes like mushroom pate, caviar, raw oysters and grilled octopus. 1036 N. Rampart St., (504) 509-7644, nolabubbles.com

Ooh and aah at: Presented by Pan-American Life insurance and created by the Arts Council New Orleans, LUNA Fête combines New Orleans’ iconic landscape with outdoor public artworks created with light and technology. Held Dec. 6-9 in Lafayette Square and along Lafayette Street towards Fulton Street, this multi-day celebrations features digital sculptures, video-mapping projections, animated art and illuminated installations intended to engage and inspire visitors of all ages. Artist Martin Benson recently kicked off this year’s event with his installation at the Aloft hotel, an array of colorful lights meant to represent the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Lafayette Square, artsneworleans.org/event/luna-fete

 

Saturday

Revive at: Grab a great cuppa joe in the Treme neighborhood at Fatma’s Cozy Corner Cafe. Owner Fatma Aydin has owned or been involved in the launch of lots of New Orleans eateries over the years, including Angeli on Decatur Street and Fellini’s on North Carrollton Avenue (now Blue Oak BBQ). Located in a tiny spot that used to be a bar called Joe’s Cozy Corner, Aydin has transformed the space into a cafe and bakery featuring specialty coffee drinks such as espresso and Turkish coffee. Fatma’s also offers breakfast and lunch in the form of salads and sandwiches, plus irresistible pastries like homemade baklava, fresh-baked bread and burek (a savory phyllo pie with spinach, feta and onions). 1532 Ursuline Ave., (504) 274-8460, fatmascozycorner.com

Reminisce about holidays past at: Self-named (and locally supported) as the most spectacular holiday lights festival in the country, the annual Celebration in the Oaks is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Held at beautiful and sprawling New Orleans City Park, this holiday celebration features our city’s famous live oaks swathed in hundreds of thousands of lights across 25 acres. There are historical presentations, train rides, the Botanical Gardens, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and more. You might want to grab the family and visit early this year because the crowds get bigger as you get closer to Christmas. 1 Palm Dr., (504) 482-4888, neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks

Dine at: Originally built as a coffee and concession stand for New Orleans City Park in 1860, Ralph’s on the Park is a gorgeous restaurant that offers a dining experience like no other. Executive chef Chip Flanagan offers a mixed menu with classic New Orleans dishes like chicken and andouille gumbo, and turtle soup with sherry, plus Asian-inspired cuisine like asparagus tempura with green miso and grilled shrimp curry. Whatever you do, don’t skip out on desserts created by pastry chef Brett Gauthier. We’re pretty sure you’ll die for a slice of chocolate doberge with crème anglais or the cinnamon bread pudding with brown sugar bourbon sauce.900 City Park Ave., (504) 488-1000, ralphsonthepark.com

 

Sunday

Brunch at: Escape to a tropical paradise … on the Westbank! Located in Harvey, Parrot Pete’s is a fun, family oriented restaurant heavily decorated with brightly colored parrots and palm trees, but don’t let the unusual decor fool you. The breakfast menu offers dishes like triple-berry waffles with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and mascarpone; Lafitte’s Pirogue with grilled biscuits topped with andouille and crawfish hollandaise; and Pedro’s Burrito with scrambled eggs, sausage, cheddar cheese and bell peppers served with salsa. If your breakfast isn’t sweet enough, try one of the many pastries like eclairs, German chocolate cake, Tiramisu and cannolis. A100 1901 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, (504) 362-9780, parrotpetes.com

Relax at: Get a taste of the Caribbean at Mangú, the new Dominican restaurant in Gretna. In collaboration with her vast family, Dariana Marte opened the new restaurant serving traditional Dominican cuisine plated in a more modern form. The restaurant is named after a mashed green plantain dish, which is commonly eaten for breakfast in the Dominican Republic. Try the Bolas de Yuca or cheese-stuffed and deep-fried yuca balls, empanadas, and (of course) Mangú topped with items like fried chicken cracklin’, smoked pork chops, sauteed shrimp, grilled tilapia or braised goat. Incredible juices are also on offer, such as the Morir Sonado (a.k.a. dreamsicle) made with orange juice, evaporated milk and sugar over crushed ice. 2112 Belle Chasse Hwy, Ste. 7, Gretna, (504) 324-9870, letsmangu.com

Warm your soul at: You don’t want to miss the Algiers Bonfire on the levee Dec. 3 from 5:30-9 p.m. This longtime tradition has become something of a festival with NOLA Burners and Brennan Steele creating a bonfire sculpture ignited at the pinnacle of the evening, Bag of Donuts performing live, a second line with the Landry-Walker High School Marching Band and food vendors like Diva Dawg and Theo’s Pizza. The celebration keeps going with an official after-party at the New Orleans Film & Event Studios on Newton Street with a minimal cover charge. 200 Morgan St., algiersbonfire.com 

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Weekend Cheat Sheet: Jingle Bells

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Revel in the festivities of the season and explore all of the wondrous sights, sounds, flavors and aromas the Crescent City has to offer.

 

Friday

Lunch at: Located in what used to be a single shotgun house on Banks Street in Mid-City, Fharmacy is the creation of Chien Nguyen and Nhat Nguyen — two good friends who worked together at Namese. With a background in fine dining, Chien has created a casual but eclectic menu with dishes like mussels and fries, boudin balls, a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich, Emergency Room wings tossed with cayenne and ghost chiles, mini-meat pies and burgers. Try the Dr. Seuss Burger with ham, Swiss and a fried egg with a side of crispy tots … what will cure your cravings? 2540 Banks St., (504) 324-6090, facebook.com/fharmacynola

Be bubbly at: Get your sparkle on at the French Quarter’s only Champagne bar, Effervescence. Owned by Crystal Coco Hinds (sister of NOLA Brewing founder Kirk Coco), the bar offers a huge selection of sparkling wines both by the glass and bottle, plus quite a few still wines for those who prefer their quaffs sans bubbles. Effervescence also features a small plates menu with dishes like mushroom pate, caviar, raw oysters and grilled octopus. 1036 N. Rampart St., (504) 509-7644, nolabubbles.com

Ooh and aah at: Presented by Pan-American Life insurance and created by the Arts Council New Orleans, LUNA Fête combines New Orleans’ iconic landscape with outdoor public artworks created with light and technology. Held Dec. 6-9 in Lafayette Square and along Lafayette Street towards Fulton Street, this multi-day celebrations features digital sculptures, video-mapping projections, animated art and illuminated installations intended to engage and inspire visitors of all ages. Artist Martin Benson recently kicked off this year’s event with his installation at the Aloft hotel, an array of colorful lights meant to represent the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Lafayette Square, artsneworleans.org/event/luna-fete

 

Saturday

Revive at: Grab a great cuppa joe in the Treme neighborhood at Fatma’s Cozy Corner Cafe. Owner Fatma Aydin has owned or been involved in the launch of lots of New Orleans eateries over the years, including Angeli on Decatur Street and Fellini’s on North Carrollton Avenue (now Blue Oak BBQ). Located in a tiny spot that used to be a bar called Joe’s Cozy Corner, Aydin has transformed the space into a cafe and bakery featuring specialty coffee drinks such as espresso and Turkish coffee. Fatma’s also offers breakfast and lunch in the form of salads and sandwiches, plus irresistible pastries like homemade baklava, fresh-baked bread and burek (a savory phyllo pie with spinach, feta and onions). 1532 Ursuline Ave., (504) 274-8460, fatmascozycorner.com

Reminisce about holidays past at: Self-named (and locally supported) as the most spectacular holiday lights festival in the country, the annual Celebration in the Oaks is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Held at beautiful and sprawling New Orleans City Park, this holiday celebration features our city’s famous live oaks swathed in hundreds of thousands of lights across 25 acres. There are historical presentations, train rides, the Botanical Gardens, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and more. You might want to grab the family and visit early this year because the crowds get bigger as you get closer to Christmas. 1 Palm Dr., (504) 482-4888, neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks

Dine at: Originally built as a coffee and concession stand for New Orleans City Park in 1860, Ralph’s on the Park is a gorgeous restaurant that offers a dining experience like no other. Executive chef Chip Flanagan offers a mixed menu with classic New Orleans dishes like chicken and andouille gumbo, and turtle soup with sherry, plus Asian-inspired cuisine like asparagus tempura with green miso and grilled shrimp curry. Whatever you do, don’t skip out on desserts created by pastry chef Brett Gauthier. We’re pretty sure you’ll die for a slice of chocolate doberge with crème anglais or the cinnamon bread pudding with brown sugar bourbon sauce.900 City Park Ave., (504) 488-1000, ralphsonthepark.com

 

Sunday

Brunch at: Escape to a tropical paradise … on the Westbank! Located in Harvey, Parrot Pete’s is a fun, family oriented restaurant heavily decorated with brightly colored parrots and palm trees, but don’t let the unusual decor fool you. The breakfast menu offers dishes like triple-berry waffles with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and mascarpone; Lafitte’s Pirogue with grilled biscuits topped with andouille and crawfish hollandaise; and Pedro’s Burrito with scrambled eggs, sausage, cheddar cheese and bell peppers served with salsa. If your breakfast isn’t sweet enough, try one of the many pastries like eclairs, German chocolate cake, Tiramisu and cannolis. A100 1901 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, (504) 362-9780, parrotpetes.com

Relax at: Get a taste of the Caribbean at Mangú, the new Dominican restaurant in Gretna. In collaboration with her vast family, Dariana Marte opened the new restaurant serving traditional Dominican cuisine plated in a more modern form. The restaurant is named after a mashed green plantain dish, which is commonly eaten for breakfast in the Dominican Republic. Try the Bolas de Yuca or cheese-stuffed and deep-fried yuca balls, empanadas, and (of course) Mangú topped with items like fried chicken cracklin’, smoked pork chops, sauteed shrimp, grilled tilapia or braised goat. Incredible juices are also on offer, such as the Morir Sonado (a.k.a. dreamsicle) made with orange juice, evaporated milk and sugar over crushed ice. 2112 Belle Chasse Hwy, Ste. 7, Gretna, (504) 324-9870, letsmangu.com

Warm your soul at: You don’t want to miss the Algiers Bonfire on the levee Dec. 3 from 5:30-9 p.m. This longtime tradition has become something of a festival with NOLA Burners and Brennan Steele creating a bonfire sculpture ignited at the pinnacle of the evening, Bag of Donuts performing live, a second line with the Landry-Walker High School Marching Band and food vendors like Diva Dawg and Theo’s Pizza. The celebration keeps going with an official after-party at the New Orleans Film & Event Studios on Newton Street with a minimal cover charge. 200 Morgan St., algiersbonfire.com 

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