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Ralph Brennan’s restaurant group began operating the Courtyard Café at the New Orleans Museum of Art, right, in mid-November. The 72-seat café serves breakfast, lunch and snack items on Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The menu includes dishes such as Turtle Soup from Ralph’s on the Park, Alligator Sausage & Seafood Gumbo by Red Fish Grill, and Roasted Gulf Shrimp Salad with lemon Parmesan dressing from Bacco. Brennan’s run at the cafe coincides with the “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio” exhibition, but there’s a chance he’ll continue to operate beyond the current end date of March 14.

This new year sees the release of The P&J Oyster Cookbook, authored by Kit Wohl and the Sunseri family, the owners of the venerable New Orleans Oyster House. The cookbook is well-designed, with recipes divided by method of preparation. The book starts with raw presentations and ends with recipes for gratins, stuffings and dressings. In between are directions for just about any oyster dish you can imagine, including those featuring the bivalves grilled, fried and baked, and in soups, stews and gumbos.

Wohl managed to get dozens of local chefs to contribute recipes including Oysters Al Ajillo from Adolfo Garcia’s Rio Mar, and Baked Oysters with Asparagus and Crabmeat from Frank Brigtsen’s eponymous restaurant. She also includes recipes from restaurants that are only memories now, such as Warren LeRuth’s Oysters Carnival and “Angels On Horseback,” Tom Cowman’s classic from Restaurant Jonathan. Antoine’s contributes Oysters Foch though, of course, not the recipe for Oysters Rockefeller. That recipe appears twice: once from Arnaud’s and once from the Sunseri family.
The book, which is published by Pelican, is photographed beautifully by Wohl. Her images are principally close-up shots of the various preparations, which I find helpful.

Although the Food & Drug Administration’s recent attempt to ban the sale and consumption of unprocessed raw oysters during six months of the year has been put on hold, now is a perfect time to pick up a book that demonstrates just how versatile and important oysters are to our local cuisine. You can find The P&J Oyster Cookbook at most local stores, online or directly from Pelican, by calling (800) 843-1724.

One Restaurant (8132 Hampson St., 301-9061, www.one-sl.com) is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and takes reservations. That is good news, as I’m always looking for a new lunch spot. If you haven’t been, it’s good news for you as well, because One is an excellent restaurant. Chef Scott Snodgrass had a breakout hit with his grilled oysters with Roquefort and red wine vinaigrette, and many of the other appetizer selections from the dinner menu are also available at lunch. The entrée selection is more limited, but that’s understandable for lunch service, and the prices reflect the difference.

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


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