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Food News 

Taking the Cake
We all have our king cake preferences, but sometimes the home or office doesn't provide much in the way of comparison shopping -- we either stop off at this store or that. The downtown version of the Crescent City Farmers Market (CCFM) will offer the spice that is variety with a chance for shoppers to taste and choose their favorite king cake beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. King cakes will be provided by Gambino's, La Spiga Bakery, Randazzo's and The Savvy Gourmet Cooking School, while shoppers can offer their own favorite entries, according to CCFM staffer Darlene Wolnick. The winner will receive a purple, green and gold ribbon, and a gift certficate at the CCFM. The Market will be held at the corner of Magazine and Girod streets. For more info email ecoinst@loyno.edu.

Hospitality Sweet
Cafe Adelaide
and The Loews New Orleans Hotel (300 Poydras St. 595-3305; www.cafeadelaide.com) present their inaugural Mardi Gras Celebration as a way to entice Carnival revelers to make the hotel their home base. Reservation packages available from Saturday, Feb. 5, through Fat Tuesday, Feb. 8, priced at $60 per person (including tax and tip) per day, and include breakfast and lunch, parking at the Loews garage, bathroom access throughout the day, and a table to use for dropping beads or to just take a break. (You'll be met there with a complimentary Brandy Milk Punch.) Special kids' rates are also available.

Bacchus Would Be Proud
Vega Tapas Cafe
(2051 Metairie Road, 836-2007; www.vegatapascafe.com) will host a special Winemaker Dinner with Susie Selby -- owner and winemaker of Selby Winery in Sonoma County, Calif. -- at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3. The six-course meal includes a butternut squash bisque paired with a Selby Russian River Valley Chardonnay (2003) and sherry-braised beef short ribs paired with a Selby Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (2000). The price is $65 plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required.

A Giving Mood
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOW&FE) announced contributions to two culinary institutions. The group donated $25,000 to the Louisiana Restaurant Association's School-to-Career Program, which helps young people interested in careers in the food-service industry, and $5,000 to the University of New Orleans' School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism. NOW&FE will be held May 25-29. Visit www.nowfe.com for more info.

Winning Attitude
Chef Duke LoCicero of Cafe Giovanni (117 Decatur St. 529-2154; www.cafegiovanni.com) received the Restaurateur of the Year award from the Greater New Orleans Chapter of the Louisiana Restaurant Association at a Jan. 18 ceremony. Also at the ceremony, Ralph Brennan of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group was inductived into the LRA New Orleans Chapter Hall of Fame.

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