RESTAURANT INSIDER

In some parts of the U.S., August represents the tail end of the summer heat. Not here, of course, where we can expect high temperatures and humidity for a couple of months to come. What is a man to do? Sweat, mainly, and go out to eat. At least that’s my solution.

A branch of the German-based chain Vom Fass (5725 Magazine St.) opened without a great deal of fanfare at the end of 2009. The shop sells artisanal oils, vinegars, wines, liqueurs and liquors. Some of the oils, such as the Moroccan argan-seed, are hard to find elsewhere and despite the boutique setting, the prices didn’t seem to be too bad for the fresh, high-quality products being offered. There is also a small selection of wines, but where the shop excels is in the spirits and liqueurs, the majority of which aren’t available from other purveyors. The oils and vinegars are always available for tasting, and on Saturdays the shop often holds tastings of one of its liqueurs and a spirit. When I stopped in, I picked up a 200-milliliter bottle of a 13-year, cask-strength Caol Ila single malt scotch that’s fantastic if you like smoky Islay whiskies.

 Vom Fass is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call co-owners Christine Herman or Denise Dussom at 302-1455 if you have any questions.

Chef Adolfo Garcia, whose restaurants Rio Mar, La Boca and A Mano are within blocks of one another in the Warehouse District, has expanded his geographic reach with his newest venture. Gusto Cafe and Bar opened in the Theatres at Canal Place at the very end of May, providing moviegoers with food that has never before been available at movie theaters in New Orleans. It is a limited menu, featuring small plates and flatbread pizzas, salads, sandwiches and souped-up popcorn flavored with parmesan and black pepper, white truffle oil and pimento or garlic in addition to the standard “theater” popped kernels.

You can eat at small tables set up next to the cafe’s bar in the theater’s lobby, but servers will also bring your selections to you in the theater. The seats in the theater’s stadium-style screening rooms are assigned when you purchase your tickets, and they’re comfortable, featuring small tables with slots designed to hold wine glasses. The service during a movie can be a little intrusive, but the seats are laid out with ample space for the staff to move in and out, and the brief interruption when your neighbor is served is well worth the tradeoff.

Gusto opens at 11 a.m. daily and serves food and drinks as long as there are movies showing.

Little Tokyo Small Plates & Noodle Bar (1340 South Carrollton Ave.) has opened in a space that in the last few years has seen multiple restaurants come and go. The folks behind Little Tokyo, however, are skilled restaurateurs, and the concept behind this restaurant – sushi, appetizers and noodles – including the little seen in these parts ramen noodles – is a good one.

 The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 to 2 a.m. and on Sunday from noon until 9 p.m. Call them at 861-6088 for more information.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail Peyton: rdpeyton@gmail.com.

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