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Palmer Swims Downriver

Cecil Palmer, the Jamaica-born chef whose Caribbean Fish is a Jazz Fest mainstay, has moved kitchens for the third time in three years -- once again, this one is his own. At Palmer's Jamaican Restaurant (801 Poland Ave., 947-2323), the chef and his wife, Betty, serve roughly the same menu that was available at Palmer's Restaurant in Mid-City until it closed in 2000, and at Cafe Negril (606 Frenchmen St., 944-4744) until recently. Appetizers include Jamaican pepperpot and ceviche; his renowned escoveitched fish and curried goat make the entree list; and there's sweet potato pudding for dessert. Palmer's is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and for dinner on Saturday. Lou Theriot, owner of the Faubourg Marigny's Friendly Bar (2301 Chartres St., 943-8929), purchased Cafe Negril. Wendy Smith, a former kitchen manager at Silky O'Sullivan's (309 Decatur St., 525-1011) is developing a new menu for Cafe Negril that will include pastas, salads and seafood dishes, in addition to the traditional bar-and-grill fried munchies and burgers. Cafe Negril now serves lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday and brunch Sunday.

Beer 101

Attention brewhounds: a four-week Beginners Beer Course begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Martin Wine Cellar (714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 896-7300). The course, to be continued on the following three consecutive Tuesdays, will begin with an introduction to beer and brewing basics and conclude with a class on beer and food pairings. The cost is $50. Reserve in advance by stopping by or calling either Martin Wine Cellar location (the Uptown store is at 3827 Baronne St., 899-7411).

Light Touch

In other brew news, two weeks ago Abita Brewing Company released its newest beer, Abita Light. In line with the company's principle of brewing beer with grains rather than corn or rice, Abita Light is made with malted barley, hops, German lager yeast and Abita Springs' artesian water. Company spokesperson Heidi Thiess told me that, despite its mere 119 calories, Abita Light "is a light beer with flavor, as opposed to (other light beers) which taste like water." According to sales manager Leo Basile, Abita Light is available in stores and bars "from Chalmette to the West Bank and all points in between." Purchasers at Emeril's and Emeril's Delmonico called to reorder after just one week.

And Finally ...

Casamento's (4330 Magazine St., 895-9761) is back from summer vacation, a harbinger of the cooler weather and more full-bodied oysters to come.


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