Ho, ho, hot and sour soup? … The Lower Garden District is booming with the recent opening of Blue Giant (@bluegiantnola), an American-Chinese restaurant by Bill Jones and Richard Horner, former cooks at the ever-popular Warehouse District spot Cochon Restaurant. The duo wholly acknowledges that their food-not unlike that of Red's Chinese in the Bywater-is a far cry from traditional Chinese cuisine, and rather an "homage to the Chinese-American food of our youth," growing up in South Louisiana. Located on the corner of Magazine and Thalia, Blue Giant offers a menu featuring dishes like pan-fried shrimp and pork dumplings, duck lo mein, char
siu pork, and sesame banana cake with
1300 Magazine St., (504) 582-9060, bluegiantnola.com
Bring on the barbecue! … Formerly of Blue Oak BBQ, pitmaster Shannon Bingham is now smoking his own trail with the opening of Emmylou's BBQ (@emmylousnola) inside St. Roch Market. This new spot for 'cue is serving up dishes like Frito pie with smoked beef chili, smoked beef cheeks, St. Louis spare ribs, and pulled pork sandwiches with sides such as coleslaw and pinto beans. There is also a daily, house-smoked selection of charcuterie; pickles; and desserts like pecan pie with rosemary and smoked miso. 2381 St. Claude Ave., (504) 267-0388, strochmarket.com/emmylous
Vegetarian donuts? … Longtime vegetarian restaurant Seed has sprouted anew under the creative trio behind District Donuts. Sliders. Brew. After purchasing it from the original owner Edgar Cooper, Chris Audler, Stephen Cali, and Aaron Vogel set to work redecorating both the restaurant and the food. Touting an "approachable plant-based menu," Audler and Seed's head chef Dan Causgrove are offering dishes like a Cauliflower Katsu sandwich on purple yam milk bread, eggplant shawarma with pickled cabbage toum, and, during brunch, sweet potato breakfast tacos and black rice porridge. Naturally, the restaurant offers their own small-batch coffee drinks, plus a cool collection of signature cocktails, wines, and (of course) craft beers on tap. 1300 Prytania St., (504) 417-7333, seedneworleans.com
Speakin' of vegan … Artisan, plant-based bakery and café Breads On Oak has branched out beyond its namesake with a second location on Carondelet in the CBD. Located on the bottom floor of the Hampton Inn Suites, the Downtown location (Breads on Carondelet?) features everything you know and love about the original, from their famous seeded mutigrain and pain au levain to the savory and sweet-stuffed brioche and king cakes, plus their all-day breakfast and lunch. Breads On Oak part deux is open Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 222 Carondelet St., (504)841-9432, breadsonaok.com
You don't look a day over 100! … Antoine's, one of the oldest family-run restaurants in the country, is celebrating its 180th anniversary with special events, menus, and other festivities, all year long. "Antoine's is a testament to New Orleans and its legacy of culinary excellence. New Orleans has one of the most respected and revered culinary scenes in the world, and we very much want this year to serve as a celebration of this rich city-wide heritage," said fifth-generation CEO and proprietor Rick Blount. From its humble beginnings in 1840, Antoine's has endured under the Alciatore family's direction for five generations, helping make New Orleans one of the great dining centers of the world. The name has become synonymous with fine dining, and no visit to New Orleans should exclude a meal there. 713 St. Louis St., (504) 581-4422, antoines.com
Spicing things up … Thai pop-up and Auction House Market vendor Long Chim has scored its own digs in the tiny space previously occupied by Superfood Bar on Magazine St.. Owned and operated by May Mananya and Kirk Cohen, this new itty-bitty spot offers "Thai st. comfort food," like pork and shrimp dumplings; "unicorn" noodles (or glass noodles) topped with your choice of mushrooms, pork, or shrimp; and Tom Yum Goong Noodle Soup, made with shrimp, mushrooms, and rice noodles. 4113 Magazine St., (504) 982-0046, facebook.com/longchimnola
Opa! … Acropolis, a Greek restaurant in Metairie on Veterans Blvd., has opened a second location on Freret St.. Situated in the space that formerly housed sandwich shop Wayfare, the Uptown spot is offering the same menu as the original-think spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, pita wraps, gyros, kabobs, and pizza. They also feature weekly lunch specials, such as moussaka and lasagna. Acropolis is open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner. 4510 Freret St., (504) 309-0069, acropoliscuisine.com
Keepin' it fresh … According to NOLA.com, Big Easy Fresh Market opened recently on the corner of Canal St. and South Broad Ave.. Store founder Zahran Bazzar has made it unique with an emphasis on international offerings, from Latin America and the Middle East to Asian cuisine. Stop by to try the hot bar, which has everything from fried chicken to pork ribs, eggplant, and empanadas. Big Easy Fresh Market is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. 2669 Canal St., (504) 226-2213
We all scream! … Australian soft-serve ice cream chain Aqua S recently opened a shop in the Warehouse District. Located on the ground floor of The Beacon, a mixed-use apartment building on Girod, Aqua S offers a rotating menu of their signature sea-salt flavors, like mocha, cranberry cherry, butter toffee, mojito, Thai tea, coconut, tiramisu, and many, many more. Among their flavors, they feature soft-serves that are gluten- and dairy-free. Aqua S is open daily. 1000 Girod St., (504) 459-2846, aquas.us.com
So sad to see you go …
As is always the way in any industry, with an influx of the new, there's a departure of the old. Over the past month or so, we've lost a few favorites, such as Café Rose Nicaud. After a quarter of a century in business, serving breakfast and lunch on Frenchmen St., owners Kenneth and Melba Ferdinand have decided to retire. The longtime neighborhood café will surely be missed.
In other news, while McClure's BBQ isn't closing, per se, it is curtailing its daily 'cue offerings at NOLA Brewing Tap Room. Kitchen installment owner and operator Neil McClure will still be cooking, but the BBQ will only make weekly appearances, making room for an expanded menu of burgers, specialty sandwiches, snacks, salads, and a few vegetarian options.
Finally, Toups' South inside the Southern Food & Beverage Museum shuttered. Chef Isaac Toups and his wife Amanda cite other developments-like another cookbook, product line, and increased television opportunities-as the reason for their second location's closure. We're sad to see you go, though thankfully, Toups' Meatery remains in full swing.