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Eatin' on the Ritz

Victor's (921 Canal St., 524-1331), the Ritz-Carlton's fine-dining restaurant, is extending its incredible summer dining special until the end of the year. Monday through Thursday evenings, Chef Frank Brunacci's seven-course degustation menu (the petits fours tray makes eight) costs only $45, a $30 discount. This is not an advertisement; this is a very strong suggestion from someone who's been there: save up for this. You'll discover tastes you didn't know existed, and more eclectic ones than those you might expect to find at the Ritz. Of course they hope you'll splurge on wine, but I noticed no slack of service when I penny-pinched with the least-expensive bottle on the list last summer.

Back in the Game

Casamento's (4330 Magazine St., 895-9761) is open again after the usual summertime hiatus. Reports are that rains have plumped the oysters more than usual this season. Down the street, a Mona's Cafe sign is hanging outside the former location of Toyama Sushi (4126 Magazine St.). The new Middle Eastern cafe and retail shop is slated to open in mid-October.

New to the Game

Mid-October will also bring the unveiling of Rene Bistrot (817 Common St., 412-2580). The new restaurant's chef, Rene Bajeux, recently left the Windsor Court's Grill Room to work with Rene Bistrot General Manager Leonardo Verde. They are accepting reservations.

Slow Fall

The fall schedule for our local Slow Food convivium is full up with events for both members and wannabes. On Sunday, Oct. 7, join the Mauthe Family (of Creole cream cheese fame) for an afternoon of education and potlucking on their Folsom dairy farm. In addition, a tour of the Gendusa Bakery is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23. To register for either event, or for more information about Slow Food, call Poppy Tooker at 899-7374 or email

Market Watch

Slow Food will play a significant and ongoing role in another upcoming event, a third Crescent City Farmers Market. If plans run as scheduled, beginning Oct. 25 you'll find fresh produce, live plants and locally prepared foods every Thursday evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the site of the renovated American Can Company in Mid City. On the first Thursday of every month, Slow Food will fry calas to sell at the market. The sweet fried rice balls have been traced back to African slaves and were regular street food fixtures in the French Quarter prior to World War II. The international Slow Food community recognizes calas as an endangered recipe of historical significance. -- Roahen


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