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Tasty Tennessee
In this food-obsessed city, it's no shock that popular demand resulted in more food-related events than ever during this week's 17th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. On Friday, beginning at 4 p.m., Esquire magazine's John Mariani and Southern Living's Scott Jones will discuss New Orleans' Italian cooking traditions at Muriel's Jackson Square. The $25 tickets include hors d'oeuvres. On Saturday at 5 p.m., at Brennan's, Gourmet magazine wine consultant Michael Green returns for "Tennessee Sips: A Wine and Word Pairing." The $35 tickets include hors d-oeuvres and wine. On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Hotel Monteleone will host the sixth annual "Cooks and Books" event. Indulge in a panel discussion about comfort food; sample foods from some of the city's most beloved chefs, as well as wine from Pontchartrain Vineyards; hear the food-themed music of The Rites of Swing; and get cookbooks and food-related books signed by your favorite chefs and authors. Tickets are $30. Or you can participate in this year's festival simply by eating at one of the many restaurants featuring menu items and cocktails inspired by the playwright. Inquire at Restaurant August, The Grill Room, French Quarter Bar, Victor's, Quarter Scene, Gumbo Shop, Palace Cafe, Peristyle, Bistro at Maison de Ville, Upperline, Arnaud's, Bourbon House, Brennan's, Chateaubriand, Cobalt, Desire Oyster Bar, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, Dominique's, Fortissimo, Herbsaint, Hunt Room Grill, Indigo, Marisol, Midi South of France, Muriel's Jackson Square, Red Fish Grill and Stella! For more information on the festival, call 581-1144 or visit www.tennesseewilliams.net.

Catch of the Day
At the most Lent-appropriate restaurant year-round, GW Fins (808 Bienville St., 581-3467), Chef Tenney Flynn is currently working with seasonal fish such as Dover sole, Alaskan halibut and red snapper. You can't even walk into a barbecue joint this time of year without benefiting from Lenten specials: Voodoo BBQ (1501 St. Charles Ave., 522-4647; 8550 Ponchartrain Blvd., 283-8301; 8853 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 496-0005) has barbecue shrimp platters and seafood gumbo. And the devilish folks at Cork & Bottle (3700 Orleans Ave., 934-1386) are holding a Lent Busters Contest. If you declare your intentions at Cork & Bottle to give up alcoholic beverages until Easter, and if you cheat, you get a 10-percent discount on your first purchase there. Plus, everyone on the Lent Busters list who does cheat is entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate.

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