Food News - January 26, 2014

01:00 January 26, 2014
By: Kim Ranjbar
[Courtesy of Taj of India]

Southeast Asian cuisine with a Louisiana twist is what Chef Micheal Gulotta's eatery is all about. The former chef de cuisine of John Besh's Restaurant August threw open the doors of MoPho Mid-City last month, much to the appreciation of local fans. Located near Delgado Community College on City Park Avenue, MoPho offers diners an eclectic mix of Vietnamese and Cajun/Creole cuisine with dishes like the Blue Crab Salad with acorn squash, ginger, Vietnamese sausage and spiced pecans or a Crispy Glutinous Rice Cake with Chappareela lardo, grilled avocado, roasted chili and anchovy. Chef Gulotta is also offering a "build-your-own" pho option where you pick a broth and up to three garnishes with choices like chicken dumplins, red pepper braised tripe and sliced pork belly.

Ask and you shall receive.Folks in New Orleans have been clamoring for more ethnically diverse restaurant options and they got it...sort of? Sarah's Bistro, which was an eclectic mix of Indian, Thai and Creole cuisine, has completely changed its tune becoming solely an Indian restaurant. Taj of India is the latest incarnation of this Riverbend restaurant, serving a relatively inexpensive lunch buffet for only $11.50 per person and a la carte dinner. The menu features traditional, Indian dishes like pakoras and samosas, kababs, lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka masala and aloo gobi.

And another... Not one but two Another Broken Egg Cafés opened in the Crescent City less than a week ago. Partners Larry Griggers and NOLA native Kevin Armantrout of the Hoosier Hospitality Group launched with free food and fundraising for Café Reconcile, who will also aid in the staffing of the two, brand new cafés. The first Another Broken Egg Café is located on Magazine Street, in the space formerly occupied by Café Rani and more recently, La Fin du Monde.

The second cafe is in Lakeview on Harrison Avenue in the building that once housed the Gingerbread Café. Similar to the other locations, the two New Orleans Another Broken Egg Cafés will serve the typical breakfast fare with omelets, pancakes and waffles, several different eggs benedict dishes, baked goods like muffins and cinnamon rolls, plus a whole mini-menu devoted to healthier breakfast options.

Speaking of breakfast... Brad Wilkins, owner of the Oak Street Café has doffed his apron and sold the business to two former employees Clare Leavy and Helena Hjort. These two industrious ladies have quickly re-opened the restaurant, changed the name to Live Oak Café, and are serving a more health-conscious, artisan menu with locally-sourced produce and house made items like sausage and bread. The new restaurant still has old, green and white tiled floors (from the McKenzie's that once graced the building) and live music, but the menu has changed up a bit offering both breakfast and lunch with dishes like Eggs Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, and Croque Madame.

By any other name... When Chef Shane Pritchett closed the doors to his St. Charles Avenue restaurant, folks believed that would be the end of the Fat Hen, but the grocery carries on. C.J. Williams Jr. has purchased the business and the name and is now running Fat Hen Grocery with Chef Gason Yen Nelson at the helm. The new incarnation is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. serving breakfast and lunch featuring classic southern dishes like Shrimp & Grits, Sweet Potato Pancakes and Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. Additionally, the new version intends to "make good" its name as a grocery with pre-made meals and fresh, local produce.

….in with the new. Much to the dismay of its loyal fans, One Restaurant & Lounge has shuttered its doors for good. Co-owners Lee McCullough and Chef Scott Snodgrass closed the Riverbend restaurant on New Year's Eve. But, on a more positive note in the new year, the space was recently purchased by Chef Jason Goodenough who plans to reopen the restaurant under the name Carrollton Market sometime next month. The menu will be "focusing on the bounty of ingredients that Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico have to offer."

Fresh health and fresh food... As part of the Broad Community's ReFresh Project, a brand new Whole Foods Market opens this month, reusing the old Schwegmann's building on the corner of Broad and Bienville. Whole Foods Market is part and parcel of a community reinvigoration project that includes Liberty's Kitchen, a full service café and youth development program, The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University and additional office and community space.

Outside accolades... Local cooking school Langlois Culinary Crossroads was recently ranked among the "world's best cooking schools" in Travel & Leisure Magazine, in good company among institutions like the International Culinary Center in New York and Le Cordon Bleu. Proprietor and chef Amy Cyrex-Sins opened the school a little over a year ago inside a turn-of-the-century Italian market building in the Marigny. Langlois offers both hands-on classes and cooking demonstrations and has become a popular destination for both locals and visitors to New Orleans.

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