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In the Kitchen
Zak and Ron Rahman
, owners of Schiro's Cafe & Bar (2483 Royal St., 948-1666) in Faubourg Marigny, recently commandeered Rolando Agustin to run the cafe's kitchen as well as Schiro's newly opened Guest House. Agustin, who worked at House of Blues (225 Decatur St., 596-2468) for five years, is a health-conscious vegetarian and will incorporate several vegetarian and international dishes -- like samosas with tamarind chutney -- into Schiro's typical New Orleans neighborhood menu. For more information on Schiro's Guest House, log on at www.schirosguesthouse.com.

A New Harbor
Rumors that the Rahmans purchased Harbor Restaurant & Bar (2529 Dauphine St.) are unfounded. The truth is that Chad Esmail bought the building, renovated the restaurant and reopened it two weeks ago as Cafe Unique (948-8884). Despite the name change, Cafe Unique remains a soul food restaurant, and Esmail has rehired many former Harbor employees; he says others will join the payroll once the new restaurant is on its feet.

Mardi Gras Menu
Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114) and Palace Cafe (605 Canal St., 523-1661) are among the restaurants along parade routes offering dining packages that include space in private viewing stands. Prices and menus vary -- call for more information. Neither restaurant will serve food on Mardi Gras Day, though Herbsaint's bar will be open.

Market Watch
Join the king cake taste-off this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Crescent City Farmers Market. Feel free to bring your own favorite. The Tuesday market is at 200 Broadway St. and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Thursday market is at 3700 Orleans Ave. and runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Saturday market is at 700 Magazine St. and runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 861-5898 or visit www.loyola.edu/ccfm.

The Grapevine
Stocking up on wine for Mardi Gras parties? There's a 10 percent discount on all case purchases at Bacchanal (600 Poland Ave., 948-7367). Check out Bacchanal's free wine tastings on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the cost is $8 after 4 p.m. This Saturday's theme is Zinfandellic Sensations. Bacchanal is open 2 p.m. to 9.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

B.Y.O.W.
Also on the wine tip, Chateaubriand (310 N. Carrollton Ave., 207-0016) now has a no-corkage policy on Mondays, so feel free to bring your own. This Tuesday, the Croziers' will host a four-course wine dinner at Chateaubriand featuring 1995 vintage Bordeaux wines. $95 per person.

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