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Sweet Home Varnedoe

If holiday travels are taking you into Alabama this year, you might consider looking up New Orleans alum Chef Scott Varnedoe. His latest venture is Restaurant Varnedoe in Fairhope, Ala. (251-928-0029), where he's continuing to cook the sort of eclectic fare we tasted when he ran the kitchen at Cafe Marigny (1913 Royal St., 945-4472). The cuisine is mostly Louisiana, he says, with Asian, Southwestern and French twists thrown into the pot. Restaurant Varnedoe is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, plus brunch on Sunday.


New Mood at Indigo

And there's yet a fresh toque in the kitchen at Restaurant Indigo (2285 Bayou Road, 947-0123): Chef Tucker Fitz-Hughes, a native New Orleanian who has helped launch the restaurant's new Sunday jazz brunch. Look for calas, chilled fruit soups, poached eggs and a classic Spanish tortilla. The fledgling restaurant is where Food & Wine magazine discovered Chef Randy Lewis last winter before he moved on to pastures yet announced.


Rethinking Reveillon

If you missed Maison Bleu (228 Camp St., 571-7500) consulting Chef Christian Guillot's discussion of Beaujolais Nouveau wines last week, sign up to learn the French take on Reveillon dinners. On Nov. 30, Chef Guillot will speak about traditional holiday customs in his homeland. A three-course Express Lunch featuring a special dessert and brief cooking demonstration will follow. The education plus lunch costs $17. Call for reservations ASAP.


Affordable Filet

From now until Dec. 2, log on at www.ewrma.com/upload/smith/web/swoffer.html to download a certificate for a $30.01, three-course dinner at Smith & Wollensky. The promo allegedly was inspired by a successful Restaurant Week in New York City, which aimed to encourage people to support the city's dining establishments. In any case, two of the main entree choices are indeed filet mignon.


Who's Who

The who's-who photo of some of the city's finest chefs on the cover of this year's edition of New Orleans Cuisine is one of its most enticing features. And inside, there is a professional collection of menus from (and general information about) 70 area restaurants. At $9.95, its makes a reasonable coffee table book or addition to the guest bedroom for visitors to peruse. You'll find the book at area booksellers and both Martin Wine Cellar locations (714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 896-7350; 3827 Baronne St., 896-7380). Visit www.cuisineofneworleans.com for an electronic version. For more information call 833-8664. -- Roahen

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