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Belated St. Patty's Option
This Monday (March 17), St. Patrick's Day, consider the French Quarter Bar in the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (921 Canal St., 524-1331). Chef Matthew Murphy, an Irishman from Blackrock, is serving corned beef and cabbage, beef stew and Tipsy Cake.

On to St. Joseph's Day
In honor of St. Joseph's Day this Wednesday, Andrea Apuzzo is cooking a special Sicilian menu all month long at Andrea's (3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583). His festive dishes include fava beans, stuffed artichokes, pasta Milanese, lobster, baby goat, and cannoli. Andrea's is also among the Italian restaurants presenting a St. Joseph's altar this week. Angelo Brocato's (214 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-0078) has one of the easiest altars to just pop in on for a lucky fava bean or two (despite the Carrollton Avenue traffic) -- the ice cream is a perk.

That's Italian
Therese Neyrey Alberti sells Italian-inspired goodies year-round under the name La Petite Cuisine (277-0790), both out of her home and on Saturdays at the Crescent City Farmers Market. Stop by her booth to inquire about stuffed artichokes, eggplant lasagna, tomato gravy, fig cookies and veal Parmesan, among other Creole and American dishes.

Recent Takeover
Among this spring's restaurant hatchlings, Mango House (8115 Jeannette St., 862-5848) recently took over the location formerly known as Ninja, and then briefly Charleston Cafe. Chef-owner Anne Lloyd is serving the foods of the West Indies, Jamaica and Trinidad in the always-quaint, now colorful space.

Recent Takeover, Part II
Cafe Ambrosia (2037 Metairie Road, 833-7887) has made its home where Odyssey Grill used to live. The long menu covers America and the Mediterranean. According to manager Barbaros Gunes, the weekend brunches are unstoppable. BYOB for now.

Evans Expands
Lulu's (307 Exchange Alley, 525-2600) Chef-owner Corbin Evans is bringing his fresher-is-better cooking to the new Garden District Hotel (2203 St. Charles Ave.) in April. He'll continue to serve lunch Tuesday through Sunday at the original French Quarter cafe, while the new 65-seater Uptown restaurant will open for dinner only. Lulu's BYOB policy will apply at the new restaurant, though diners will also have access to the hotel bar. Evans reports that he's working with "a real pastry chef," who will bake desserts, biscuits and breads.

Grand Opening
The latest Pho Tau Bay (1565 Tulane Ave., 524-4669) offshoot opened downtown near Tulane and Charity Hospitals. The Vietnamese menu is slightly abbreviated to accommodate the harried lunch crowds, but all the major players are present. Open for weekday lunches only.

Coffee, Anyone?
The owners of Puccino's (402 Carrollton Ave., 482-0071) are passing out free Illy coffee. The shiny new cafe also offers Internet access, all-you-can-drink filtered water and zeppole, which are like small beignets.


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