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Johnny Sanchez celebrates Blessing of the Animals Jan. 17 

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John Besh and Aaron Sanchez's Mexican restaurant Johnny Sanchez (930 Poydras St., 504-304-6615; www.johnnysanchezrestaurant.com) launches a dinner series highlighting Mexican holidays and celebrations with a Blessing of the Animals Feast on Jan. 17.

  It celebrates the feast day of St. Anthony the Abbot, the guardian and protector of animals. In Mexico, the tradition includes bringing a favorite animal to Mass for an annual blessing and asking for protection and blessing of livestock.

  Executive chef Miles Landrem's five-course menu includes a crispy pig ear salad with winter greens, garlic-citrus vinaigrette and a chili-cured egg yolk; a lamb tartare tostada with adobo, charred onion aioli and foie gras; duck carnitas with masa dumplings, truffle butter, manchego and duck skin chicharron; mole-crusted New York strip steak with roasted root vegetables, jalapeno, gremolata and marrow jus; and pan de chango, or Mexican monkey bread.

  "I think it's important for us to represent the history and customs of Mexico at our restaurant and we chose to do so by honoring the animals we will serve during this dinner and paying our respects to nature," Landrem said in a statement.

  The meal costs $90 and includes wine and tequila pairings. Tickets are available on the restaurant's website.

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