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Kitchen Switch

Daniel Benn is now running the kitchen at Kelseyçs (3923 Magazine St., 897-6722), the incandescent-yellow Uptown restaurant Benn and partner Michal Marcyn bought from Ina and Randy Barlow in December 2001. Benn replaces Chef Dione McPhail. ÒWhen you own a joint itçs hard to give up total control of the kitchen,Ó he says. The scope of Kelseyçs menu -- contemporary Louisiana cuisine -- remains the same.

From Turkey to Africa

Bennachin (1212 Royal St., 486-1313), a West African restaurant formerly located in Mid-City, has moved in next door to Mona Lisa Restaurant (1212 Royal St., 522-6746) in the French Quarter. The intimate space has been altered minimally from its previous incarnation as Midnight Express, a Turkish restaurant.

Grand Opening

The Rizzo Brothers of La Boulangerie (4526 Magazine St., 269-3777; 3143 Ponce de Leon St., 940-0577) have opened a sit-down coffee shop and a third outlet for their artisan breads, pastries and traditional French king cakes at 625 St. Charles Ave., between Poydras Street and Lee Circle. Hours at the new location are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Fare Deal

While Smith & Wollenskyçs Doc Smithçs Lounge (1009 Poydras St., 561-0770) welcomes post-game Hornets fans until 2 a.m. (daily), GW Fins (808 Bienville St., 581-3467) is now offering a pre-game meal deal: $35 buys three courses, plus a cab voucher good for a ride to the New Orleans Arena and a return trip to any downtown destination. Menu choices include lobster dumplings, seafood gumbo, short-smoked Canadian salmon and grouper with crawfish etouffee. GW Fins also validates parking at Standard Parking and both U-Park Garages on Iberville Street.

Latin Lover

Uptown Latino food enthusiasts should tune in to Salçs Grocery/Comida Latina (4714 Magazine St.), where a blackboard advertises breakfasts and lunches such as baked chicken with boiled yucca, baleadas (griddle-cooked flour tortillas filled like an oversize taco), carne asada (char-broiled steak), fried chicken and various soups. Over at El Palaceno (corner of Marigny and Dauphine streets) in Faubourg Marigny, fresh chicharron (cracklinç) fill the small grocery with the clingy scent of fried pork skins. I cançt recommend the roasted sandwich I got there last week, but Içll bet my next king cake on El Palacenoçs chicharron and flaky fried meat pies.

Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to Upperline (1413 Upperline St., 891-9822), which turned 20 on Saturday, Jan. 11, and to Andreaçs (3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583), which celebrates 18 years this Tuesday.

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