Susan Hoffman literally invites people into her home at Cafe Amelie (912 Royal St., 412-8965). Hoffman, a movie producer behind Single White Female and the soon-to-be-released Pool Hall Prophets , lives in three French Quarter townhouses built in 1836. The location, known as the Princess of Monaco Courtyard, has always been available for private events. This summer, however, Hoffman opened a restaurant in the courtyard catering to both tourists and French Quarter residents. It's not Hoffman's first restaurant; nearly 20 years ago, before she became a producer, Hoffman helped start the Bear Cafe in Woodstock, N.Y. Cafe Amelie's kitchen is under the command of Chef Jerry Mixon . A Chalmette native, Mixon made his mark cooking Caribbean-inflected New Orleans cuisine at the Kaibo Yacht club in the Grand Cayman Islands. At Cafe Amelie, Mixon builds his menu around the produce he finds each day at the farmers market. The small plates menu might include pan-seared salmon with a dill creme fraiche, Louisiana crabcakes with a citrus drizzle or a salad of beets, apples and grapes.
What could be better than a good meal for a good cause? During the 14th annual A Season of Good Taste , some of the city's best restaurants team up with Community Coffee and area wine distributors to raise money for PBS affiliate WYES (Channel 12). For $80, tax and tip included, diners enjoy a multi-course meal carefully paired with wine. The full price of the meal benefits WYES, which last year earned more than $50,000 through A Season of Good Taste. The first dinner will be held at The Pontchartrain Hotel (2031 St. Charles Ave., 524-0581; www.pontchartrainhotel.com) on Aug. 22, followed by a special tequila tasting dinner at Coyoacan Cocina Mexicana (1432 St. Charles Ave., 525-9996) on Aug. 25. The dinners continue through December. Other participating restaurants include Ristorante Da Piero (401 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-8585), The New Orleans Grill (300 Gravier St., 522-1992; www.windsorcourthotel.com) and Etoile (407 N. Columbia St., Covington, 985-892-4578). Complete menus and a full schedule can be found on WYES's Web site (www.wyes.org).
Memories of a Meal
Have you ever eaten an unforgettable meal at Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com)? Through December, the Garden District institution will be collecting memories of meals at Commander's Palace to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The restaurant will post many of the memories on its Web site. The people with the best stories will win dinner for four at Commander's Chef's Table, a prize worth nearly $500. Entries can be sent to email@example.com or Memories Contest, Commander's Palace, 1403 Washington Ave.