The weather is getting cooler, you're drinking your morning coffee hot again and All Hallows Eve is right around the corner...who doesn't love this time of year? Carve a grisly jack-o-lantern, plan the perfect costume and get ready for a sackful of treats (and possibly a few tricks) before this auspicious month comes to a close.
To begin, Petite Amelie, an extension of the romantic Cafe Amelie, opened recently on Dumaine and Royal in the French Quarter. The new cafe specializes in what they label "cuisine rapide" for both breakfast and lunch. The café is an upscale specialty food shop/market seeking to fill a need in the Quarter for high quality, freshly prepared foods and fine grocery items. The menu features items like fresh pastries, savory and sweet pies, smoked salmon and bagels, panini "waffle-melts," soups, salads and gourmet sandwiches.Petite Amelie is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 am to 7 pm.
In other news, Chef Robert Bruce has left the recently opened Little Gem Saloon to take over the kitchen at Mr. John's Steakhouse on St. Charles Avenue. Locally born and raised, Bruce has worked in kitchens all over New Orleans including Upperline, Commander's Palace, Ruth's Chris and Emeril's. Appreciating the local fan-base for the popular steak house, Bruce plans to keep the classic menu intact and enjoy a position that allows him time off with his wife and family.
Speaking of family, Broussard's, one of the city's oldest family restaurants, recently re-opened. The 93-year-old, Creole French restaurant has been known as one of the "grande dame" establishments in New Orleans, opened by the eminent Chef Joseph Broussard. Although the restaurant's ownership has changed hands a few times over the years, Broussard's was purchased from the Preuss family (the most recent owners) and is now a part of Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, a local corporation that also opened establishments like Kingfish with Chef Greg Sonnier and the Royal House Oyster Bar. At the brand new Broussard's, Chef Guy Reinbolt is at the helm, offering dishes like Farm Raised Rabbit Rillette with Louisiana figs, Caribbean Lobster Tail & Tropical Mango Salad, Filo Crusted Goujounettes of Gulf Drum Fish and Austrian Stroh Rum Crème Brûlée. Broussard's is open for dinner daily.
Other new restaurants are springing up like Freddy Krueger look-a-likes on Halloween night, for example Dolce Vita Wood Fired Pizza on St. Charles Avenue.After an unfortunate accident allegedly involving a drunk driver and Baton Rouge's popular pizza truck, Chef/Owner Bogdan Mocanu ditched mobility for permanent digs right here in New Orleans, just a short skip up the Avenue from Lee Circle. Using a hand-crafted, Stefano Ferrara Italian oven, Mocanu is offering his irresistible pies like clams with puttanesca, mozzarella, fresh basil and a drizzle of black truffle oil or New Orleans BBQ Shrimp.
Look out CBD denizens, G&O Food Co. is yet another choice eatery that just opened in your hood. David Hughes and Britten Knickerbocker are the masterminds behind this shiny new cafe offering breakfast and lunch (and more recently cocktails at happy hour). Like many fine restaurants and cafés in New Orleans these days, G&O is serving espresso and cappuccinos brewed from French Truck Coffee along with an assortment of pastries like quiches, muffins, scones, croissants, donuts, etc. (almost all of which are baked in house). You can also enjoy a healthy lunch with dishes like a Roasted Eggplant Sandwich on ciabatta bread or a "Superfood" salad with kale, romaine, spinach, beets, carrots, tomatoes and edamame. G&O is open Monday through Friday and is located near the corner of Gravier and O'Keefe inside the New Orleans Exchange Centre.
Finally, although it'll be out of town, it certainly won't be out of our minds, Chef Phillip Lopez of one of the city's hottest new restaurants, Root, has been invited to cook as a guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City on November 20th, 2013. Preparing a meal at the Beard House is an honor reserved for both promising and established culinary masters, a kind of "opening night" for chefs to show off their skill and talent. The theme for Chef Phillip's six-course dinner is "Food of the New New Orleans." Chef Phillip's menu focuses on the progressive "no holds barred" cooking that has earned him numerous awards. Diners at the Beard House on November 20th will indulge in Chef Lopez's delightful creativity with dishes like Puffed Lobster Crackers with Tarragon Caviar and Lobster Bergamot Mousse, Monkfish Liver Parfait with young coconut "snow" and truffled green peaches, Sable Fish Veronique with toasted marconna almond puree and Indian Falooda with fresh Louisiana citrus and blueberry "vermicelli."