Home FOOD & DINING Tasting Notes: October 2013

Tasting Notes: October 2013

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Everyone is gearing up for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer event, happening November 8 at The Foundry. BBB2013-logoAs in previous years, the 2013 food and drink extravaganza will feature boudin created by chefs like Mr. Lagasse himself; the famous Italian chef Mario Batali; Donald Link of Herbsaint, Cochon and (most recently) Pêche; Bart Bell from Crescent Pie & Sausage Company and many more. Boudin, Bourbon & Beer will also offer Abita beer, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and wines from Au Bon Climat. Proceeds from this event benefit the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which seeks to “inspire, mentor and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances.” boudinbourbonandbeer.com

Eclectic and unusual, Casa Borrega recently opened on the up-and-coming Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The new Mexican restaurant is owned by artist Hugo Montero and his wife Linda Stone, founder of the Green Project. Casa Borrega features Latin cocktails, musicians and “street food” like Chipotle Bacon Guacamole, Gulf Fish Tacos and Chicken Soup with chorizo and hominy. You can enjoy the artistic atmosphere and tunes from local bands like The Iguanas and Otra while munching on authentic Mexican cuisine Wednesday through Saturday from 5 pm-midnight and at Sunday brunch from 10 am-2 pm.

Mister Gregory’s Fast and French recently threw open its doors on Rampart Street in the French Quarter. Florida native Gregory Gajus’ Vieux Carré venture offers, among other items, Orleans Coffee Exchange java, ground and brewed to order; fresh-baked pastries like croissants and seasonal fruit tarts; deli-style sandwiches and hot “croque” sandwiches, too. Even the oil-cured tuna and farmer’s cheese are made in-house; the exception is the bread, which Gajus sources from Bellegarde Bakery. My mouth is already watering for the Dijon Beef Sandwich with rare shaved roast beef, blue cheese and crispy fried shallots on a chewy baguette.

In addition to its French Quarter and Uptown locations, Felipe’s Taqueria recently opened a third location in Mid-City on North Carrollton Avenue. Located in a brand-new shopping center that also houses Pizza Hut, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Panera Bread and Pinkberry, Felipe’s now offers Mid-City residents fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine in an inexpensive bar/cafeteria configuration. The newest location also features outdoor seating with table service and a bar that focuses several cocktails around pisco, a brandy developed by Spanish settlers in Peru and Chile as an alternative to orujo.

Chef Octavio Ycaza of the recently opened Cibugnu on St. Charles Avenue has left the restaurant, reportedly moving on “to pursue another endeavor.” No one is sure of the reason for his sudden departure, but the kitchen is now under the creative efforts of Chef Benjamin White, a graduate of the John Folse Culinary Institute and former employee of Mario Batali’s Del Posto restaurant in New York City. White joined the culinary team at Cibugnu in May of 2013 and played an integral part in creating the menu and concept of “hand-crafted, Sicilian-inspired” cuisine that remains the restaurant’s focus.