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Tracking Progress
At long last, Liuzza's by the Track (1518 N. Lopez St., 943-8667) now serves dinner on Saturday evenings (the kitchen used to shut down by 4 p.m.). Drop in for barbecue shrimp po-boys, Reuben sandwiches, gumbo and killer salads until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. We must still fast on Sunday.

Tending the Garden
Corbin Evans announces that, as of this week, LuLu's in the Garden (2203 St. Charles Ave., 586-9956) is serving Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In addition, the restaurant now has a liquor license and a wine list, though you may still bring your own wine for a $5 corkage fee. And diners who arrive prior to 7 p.m. may take advantage of a $22.03 early bird menu (at 2203 St. Charles Ave. -- get it?). Besides Sunday brunch, LuLu's in the Garden serves breakfast Monday through Saturday, lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

While some restaurateurs expand their hours, others have locked their doors and disconnected their telephones. Such is the case with Belle Forche (1407 Decatur St.), the restaurant Chef Matt Yohalem opened like a Hollywood blockbuster in December 2001 with backing from Robert DeNiro. Gamay Bistro (320 Decatur St.) has also halted its food service. No one from Gamay returned messages for comment by press time.

Gumbo, Ya-Ya
Coinciding with the first gush of cool weather, the United Way's fourth annual Got Gumbo? Experience will go down from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. this Friday at the Chateau Sonesta Hotel (800 Iberville St.). The cook-off features gumbos from 20 area chefs; this year, for the first time, several chefs will also compete in a dessert competition. Celebrity judges, including Marcelle Bienvenu and Paul Corliss of the New Orleans Saints, will pronounce their conclusions at 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $15 in advance by calling 827-6894 or visiting; the cost is $20 at the door.

Early Birds
The glossy food magazines have been showing off this year's turkey portraits for a good month; Commander's Palace is already booked for Thanksgiving Day. Home cooks should consider revving up for their own holiday chores by visiting knife sharpener Doyle Hansen. He sets up his stone every Tuesday, and every second and fourth Saturday, at the Crescent City Farmers Market.


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