Don't let the heat get you down this hottest of hot months in New Orleans! There are all kinds of things happening in the Crescent City restaurant scene that will be sure to keep you on your toes and ready for the next great, local culinary adventure. For example, though August may be the month of steep temperatures and highly coveted shade, it's also a month to enjoy our city's annual COOlinary dining rewards.
"Celebrating dining in America's most delicious city," the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau encourages restaurants all over the city to play host to locals, who are the industry's primary customers during the slow season, by offering affordable prix fi xe lunch and dinner menus. Participating restaurants include Brigtsen's, Antoine's, Arnaud's, Cafe Adelaide, Muriel's, Vacherie, Tableau, the Pelican Club, Coquette and many, many more. Check out the special menus and restaurant listings at COOLinaryNewOrleans.com.
In other news, Cam Boudreaux and April Bellow of Killer Po-Boys, the unique po-boy shop inside the tiny Erin Rose Bar on Conti, launched another pop-up inside another favorite local watering hole: Molly's on the Market on Decatur Street. Instead of po-boys, the new spot is a taco stand that took its fi rst steps in sync with the fi rst days of the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail event. Like Killer Po-Boys, the new taco stand offers interesting, cross-cultural variations on the traditionally Mexican taco.
Speaking of Latin inspiration, the new Metairie Road restaurant Cocina Mizado is getting closer and closer to completion. The restaurant was conceptualized by the founders of Zea's Rotisserie & Grill and Semolina, and the menu will be infl uenced by the cuisines of Central America and Mexico. They hope to throw open the doors to Cocina Mizado near the end of September.
The Green Restaurant Association based in Boston recently granted Carmo restaurant & Bar a 3-star rating, establishing the Julia Street eatery as the fi rst restaurant in the entire state of Louisiana to earn such accolades for sustainability. The GRA is a national nonprofi t organization that helps restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable and has been certifying restaurants for over 20 years. Carmo was awarded 189.6 Green Points on the GRA's rigorous certifi cation scale that graded for categories like water effi ciency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable food, energy usage and disposables. Carmo's owner and GM Beth Korn continues looking forward, "...we want to maintain our current practices, as well as increase our level of sustainability. We're already working towards a 4-star certifi cation, which is a bit of a steep hill, but I'm certain we'll make it."
In an unexpected switcheroo, Chef Chris DeBarr left his fairly new restaurant located in the American Can Company Building in Mid-City for other opportunities in Houston, Texas. Meanwhile, chef Gabriel Beard has taken over the helm at Serendipity, and launched a new menu in late June. Beard, who has worked for local greats like Frank Brigtsen and Susan Spicer, offers his own dishes that, while still unique, seem a bit more approachable for the average diner. New items include paneed pork topped with a poached egg and served with corn fl our dumplings, lemon verbena Gulf shrimp with house-made egg noodles, and hanger steak drizzled with marrow sauce and served with green bean casserole and pan-roasted potatoes. Is it American comfort food or something a whole lot more? You'll have to decide for yourself...
The long-awaited McClure's Barbecue fi nally opened last month on Magazine Street across the way from Le Bon Temps Roule. After serving his mouth-watering "Q" to avid fans at a pop-up inside Dante's Kitchen in the Riverbend, McClure decided to open his own brick and mortar space. The new eatery offers the typical barbecue fare: you'll fi nd juicy ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, and smoked chicken with several house-made sides, including Spicy Sweet Cole Slaw, 4-Cheese Macaroni, and Pork & Pork & Beans. Check out McClure's menu and catering services at McCluresBarbecue.com.
Finally, Benji Lee of the Saint bar on St. Mary Street hopes to launch a new "high-end" coffee shop, dubbed HiVolt Coffee, on Sophie Wright Place sometime this month. The new java spot will be located in the abandoned, angular storefront located across the street from the Half Moon and will specialize in "third wave" coffee. What? Well, third wave coffee is a movement to produce high quality product that involves betterment at all stages, from improved methods of growing and harvesting to "micro-roasting," or roasting in small batches on-site at individual coffee shops. The shop will also offer a small food menu with very simple, seasonal dishes, like house-made yogurt and an open-face tomato sandwich.