Festivals, food, and celebrations kick-off yet again after the comparatively slow month of September with the Louisiana Seafood Festival. Celebrate the Gulf's richest resource this month from October 11th - 13th at City Park's festival grounds. Enjoy food from vendors like Antoine’s Restaurant, Barcadia, Bourbon House, and Katie’s Restaurant, plus music by John Papa Gros, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, Wild Magnolias, Better Than Ezra and much more. Not to mention a ton of cooking demonstrations from great chefs based all over Louisiana. For more information about this free festival, please visit LouisianaSeafoodFestival.com.
In other news, Felipe's Taqueria recently opened a third location in Mid City on N. Carollton Avenue. That makes three in the GNO in addition to the French Quarter and Uptown locations. The new shopping center that also houses Pizza Hut, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Panera Bread, and Pinkberry, now offers Mid City residents Felipe's Taqueria with its fresh, Mexican-inspired cuisine. Set in an inexpensive bar/cafeteria configuration, Felipe's newest location also features outdoor seating with table service and a bar.
Chef Octavio Ycaza of the recently opened Cibugnu seems to have joined a slew of chef changes in the Crescent City. Ycaza left the St. Charles Avenue restaurant “to pursue another endeavor.” Not to worry, Cibugnu's kitchen is now under the creative efforts of Chef Benjamin White who is a graduate of the John Folse Culinary Institute and former employee of Mario Batali's Del Posto Restaurant in New York City. White joined the culinary team at Cibugnu in May of 2013 and was an integral part in the creation of the new menu and concept. “Hand-crafted, Sicilian-inspired” cuisine remains the restaurant's focus.
Another favored chef to temporarily leave the ranks is Micheal Gulotta, formerly Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant August. His spot was filled by Chef Todd Pulsinelli, a longtime Besh cook who moved over from Besh Steakhouse inside Harrah's Casino. Meanwhile, Gulotta plans to open Mopho Midcity, a Southeast Asian-style restaurant near Delgado with his brother Jeff. They hope to have the new restaurant open this winter.
As if that was not enough, the talented Ricky Cheramie has left The Bombay Club and named Executive Chef at the ever-changing Dijon Restaurant on Annunciation Street. Owner Kurt Brodtmann has struck gold again with the acclaimed local chef. Cheramie, grew up hunting and fishing in the bayous of Lafourche Parish and has worked in top kitchens like K-Paul's, Emeritus, and Commander's Palace. Dijon's menu will remain focused on contemporary Creole/French cuisine with the continued emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients. With Cheramie's magic touch...who knows what could happen?
On a sad note, a Mano Italian Restaurant in the Warehouse District recently shut their doors. Chef/Owner Adolfo Garcia closed the restaurant for business reasons, citing that a Mano was not performing well compared to La Boca, Ancora, High Hat Cafe and Gusto. It seems that lovers of the fresh, house made pastas and charcuterie will now be forced to look elsewhere for their fix.
Finally, on the flip side of the food business spectrum, there's a new pop-up in town serving up Asian cuisine dubbed Super Moon Wokery. Chef Grantley Rushing of Cafe Degas and Alex Siler are offering “simple stir fry” out in front of Pal's Lounge in Mid City on Sunday nights in addition to a full menu of Asian-inspired cuisine. Not only is Rushing having fun managing the complexities of Asian-style street cooking, but the tongue-and-cheek dish names on the menu display another level of silliness with items like “P-Nut Sauced Chicken” over “Noodz” and “My Best Friend's Rice (Director's Cut) with Shrimp, Eggs and Vaggies.”