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Beard Birthday Bash

The New York-based James Beard Foundation will celebrate its 20th anniversary this week with restaurant dinners in 20 cities including New Orleans. On Friday, Sept. 28, three local restaurants host dinners featuring a meal prepared by a pair of chefs working together. Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.restaurantaugust.com) will feature chef John Besh and guest chef Donald Link of Herbsaint and Cochon . At Galatoire's Restaurant (209 Bourbon St., 525-2021; www.galatoires.com), chef Brian Landry is joined by guest chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Miss. At the New Orleans Grill (300 Gravier St., 522-1994; www.windsorcourthotel.coms), chef Greg Sonnier teams up with guest chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's Restaurant . The chefs — or, in the case of Galatoire's, the restaurant itself — were selected because they have been nominated for or have won a James Beard Award in the past. The dinners cost $150 and a portion of proceeds will go to the James Beard Foundation and the local chapter of Meals on Wheels . For menus and details, visit www.jbftasteamerica.com.

 

Meatless at the Market

Drama Café (430 Barracks St., 525-0330) is a new vegetarian-friendly restaurant turning out casual, inexpensive meals from a hole-in-the-wall spot previously home to Barracks Street Café near the French Market. The menu has burgers and a few sandwiches made with deli meats, but the specialties are clearly entrees like soba noodles or curried tofu and brown rice with peanut-ginger sauce with grilled vegetables and sprouts. There are a few baked polenta options with various cheeses, sauces and vegetables, salads and a fried green tomato sandwich with remoulade sauce. Drama Café has a full bar and some interesting lower-octane beverages including ginger lemonade and lemongrass lemonade.

 

Two for Lunch

Restaurants run by two of the city's most ambitious restaurateurs have now added lunch to the mix. La Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St., 891-3377), the Uptown bistro owned by Joel Dondis , is now open for lunch from Tuesday through Saturday. In Lacombe, La Provence (25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, 985-626-7662; www.laprovencerestaurant.com) offers lunch on Fridays. A Northshore institution for decades, La Provence was taken over late last year by John Besh , who got his start there in the '90s. He recently brought on chef René Bajeux to run the kitchen. Friday lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a three-course meal for $25.

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