Food News - December 15, 2012

00:00 December 15, 2011
By: Kim Ranjbar
Jamba Juice [Courtesy of Casey Mancino]

The holiday bustle has calmed and a new year has dawned bringing with it the arrival of new restaurants, new chef appointments, mysterious foodie experiments and more! First, the long-awaited Manning's Restaurant is due to open on the 19th of January. Former Saints' quarterback Archie Manning has stretched his throwing arm into the restaurant industry, partnering with Harrah's to create a place to "eat, drink and cheer." The restaurant that has been long under construction on Fulton Street will feature Southern cuisine with accents from both Louisiana and Mississippi and plans to provide a family atmosphere in which to dine well, while also enjoying televised sporting events. After all, what one thing do New Orleanians love more than food and drink? Plus, we all know the food will be nothing short of spectacular with Chef Anthony Spizale at the helm.

Another local chef should be making a big debut this season with the launch of his new Cajun restaurant in Mid-City called, most appropriately, Toups' Meatery. Chef Isaac Toups and his wife Amanda plan to open their new digs in the former, longtime home of Mediterranean Cafe at 845 N. Carrollton Avenue. Their focus is to offer fine food in a casual setting, with a special emphasis on what Chef Toups does best, his own house-made charcuterie. For more information, you can find Toups' Meatery online on Facebook and at

In other news, since the departure of Chef Dominique Macquet from his self-named restaurant "Dominique's" at 4729 Magazine Street, everyone has been postulating about what will become of his former eatery. Well wonder no more! Not only has the restaurant changed it's name to "Apolline"—a name inspired from the paintings of local artist John Preble, several of which hang in the restaurant - they have also named Matthew Farmer as the new executive chef. Farmer has completely overhauled the menu featuring dishes like Pork Confit Ravioli and Pepper Crusted Beef Carpaccio. General Manager Jenny Smith is certainly pleased with the new arrangement, citing that Chef Farmer's "enthusiasm is contagious and his team leadership is amazing."

Though sure you've heard of all the pop-ups appearing all over town, there is one mysterious dining adventure you may have not yet come across called Dinner Lab. Surreptitiously organized by Brian Bordainick, Blake Haney and Paco Francisco, Dinner Lab involves fairly small, late night dinners that are set in strange locations like warehouses and rooftops that begin after midnight. The three originators claim on their website that Dinner Lab was created to "bridge a gap in New Orleans cuisine: a serious lack of quality, diverse ethnic food." The first experiment was held at Capdeville with a New Orleans-influenced Thai menu created and cooked by Chef Lalita Kaewsawang with dishes like Tom Yum Gumbo and Roasted Tilapia with a basil/soy infusion. We'll see what the Dinner Lab cooks up next...

French Market Coffee has perked itself up with the introduction of new packaging, as well as its expansion into new markets. Everyone has tasted French Market Coffee in restaurants all over town and they want to encourage you to bring that rich flavor home to your own maker. Also, in cooperation with artist Terrance Osborne, French Market Coffee is reaching out to the young artists of New Orleans with the sale of "The Flavor of New Orleans." Proceeds from the sale of these limited edition prints will benefit the student of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. "At French Market Coffee, we've been following our passion since 1890. Now, we're helping a new generation follow their passion for the arts." Order your print when you visit

With the help of Chef Joseph Mongrue, Nacho Mama's has introduced its most ambitious menu yet with new and exciting ingredients and techniques to improve food quality. They're using freshly made torta buns instead of Sysco egg buns, Salvadorena Crema instead of sour cream, pickling their own vegetables like mirliton and jicama and using adobo seasoning instead of Tony Chachere's. They are also featuring new menu items like Buffalo Chicken Nachos, Arbol Chili Marinated Steak and Taquitos! You'll want to try it for yourself and see how much they've changed...
Jamba Juice is keeping the holiday season healthy by offering the new Apple Cinnamon Cheer Smoothie and the ChillbusterHot Apple Cider for a limited time. The new Apple Cinnamon Cheer smoothie provides a healthy alternative to the common indulgences this time of year with two servings of fruit, a good source of vitamin C, 0g trans fat and no artificial preservatives. "We wanted to give our fans something extra to celebrate this season and what better way than to launch a new healthy holiday treat," said Susan Shields, senior vice president and CMO, Jamba Juice Company. "Not only do we have delicious, convenient, better-for-you smoothie and food options for breakfast, lunch or a snack, but we can satisfy your holiday sweet tooth with a healthy treat alternative." Jamba Juice is also offering their New Year's Resolution smoothies including the Weight Burner and Protein Berry Workout smoothie!

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