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Hours of Operation
With its new, unorthodox opening hours, Basil Leaf (1438 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-9001) recently became one of few full-service restaurants Uptown where it's possible to catch a late-afternoon bite. The ambitious Thai restaurant now opens at 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and serves food continually through dinner. The kitchen offers several late afternoon/early evening specials, and two-for-one happy hour deals run until 6 p.m.

Now Serving
Eleven 79 (1179 Annunciation St., 299-1179), meanwhile, starts serving lunch this week. The covert yet well-populated Italian restaurant now opens for lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Having a Ball
Among the food-related perks planned for the CAC's annual SweetArts Ball, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, is a wedding outfitted with a wedding cake from Zoe's Bakery; a groom's cake constructed of nothing but Krispy Kreme doughnuts; and a ChamBull -- a waterfall bubbling with Champagne and Red Bull. More than a dozen local restaurants and caterers will provide less eccentric provisions. Proceeds from the ball will benefit the nonprofit arts center. Tickets start at $50 for CAC members, $75 for non-members. For tickets or info, stop by the Cyber Bar & Cafe at the CAC (900 Campt St.), call the box office at 528-3800 or visit www.cacno.org.

Station Agent
The sweet of choice is chocolate at WYES/Channel 12's second annual Chocolate Sunday, scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, at the Renaissance Arts Hotel (700 Tchoupitoulas St.). Chocolate sculpture, chocolate samples and chocolate martinis are on the menu. The event benefits the public television station. Tickets are $25 in advance (call 486-5511) and $30 at the door; seniors pay $20.

Through the Grapevine
Cork & Bottle Fine Wines (3700 Orleans Ave., 934-1386) bids aspiring wine geeks to attend its first WINESense seminar, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18. A representative from the Robert Mondavi Family of Wines will lead a discussion on the four main components of wine -- oak, tannin, sugar and acid. The one-hour seminar costs $15. Reservations required, as space is limited.

Grapevine, Part II
It may also require advance planning to reserve a space for Martin Wine Cellar's «Wines of South Africa» tasting, to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The cost is $17. Tastings take place at the Metairie store (714 Elmeer Ave., 896-7300), though participants may register at the Uptown location (3827 Baronne St., 899-7411).

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