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In the Mix Nick Mautone, a bartender graduated to ³master mixologist,² will bring his skills and latest book, Raising the Bar: Better Drinks, Better Entertaining (Artisan Publishers), to St. Joe¹s Bar (5535 Magazine St., 899-3744) at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Along with signing and selling his book, Mautone will mix cocktails featuring Level Vodka (attendees get one free drink) and offer tips during a Q&A session.

Vine Dining The wine dinner series at Rene Bistrot (817 Common St., 412-2580) continues at 7 p.m. on Thursday, when Chef Rene Bajeux will present five courses paired with Rhone wines. Here are some highlights from the menu: Kobe beef short ribs with braised napa cabbage, a salad of diver scallops, shrimp and asparagus, and Valrhona chocolate cream. The cost is $75.

Gourmet Good Cause The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (921 Canal St.) will host the March of Dimes¹ annual Gourmet Gala, which is to begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Both local and national chefs cook for the event; this year¹s New Orleans roster includes Dominique Macquet, Tory McPhail, Tom Wolfe, Erik Veney, Joy Jessup, John Besh, Tenney Flynn, Ross Ehrich, Rene Bajeux, Susan Spicer, Anne Kearney, John Folse and Matt Murphey. All proceeds are earmarked to help prevent birth defects and infant mortality. Tickets begin at $150. Call 522-0865.

Lots of Z'otz A second 24-hour Z¹otz Coffeehouse has opened at 8210 Oak St. (861-2224), adding a Goth/bohemian/gutter punk element to a neighborhood already electrified by the evening crowds at Jacques-Imo¹s, the Maple Leaf Bar, Ninja, Margaux¹s (formerly Zachary¹s) and Rue de la Course. The original Z¹otz, which sets the bar for non-alcoholic beverages in the Faubourg Marigny, is located at 2003 Royal St. (943-9689).

High Five Local entrepreneur (and 2002 Gambit Weekly 40 Under 40 honoree) Brad Gordon has opened a fifth Bayou Bagelry & Deli with an expanded menu at 4622 Hwy. 22 in Mandeville (985-845-1081). Grilled burgers and chicken sandwiches, as well as fried chicken fingers and French fries, augment the chain¹s longstanding bagel, soup and salad inventory. The new bagelry is open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily.

Half Is Good Oenophiles and lightweights take note: The wine menu at Muriel's Jackson Square (801 Chartres St., 568-1885) recently acquired 50 half-bottles, including some sparkling wines and Champagnes, starting at $18.


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