As spring approaches, a young man’s thoughts turn to ... turn to ... well, it’s probably not a good sign that I can’t remember what a young man’s thoughts are supposed to turn to but at least I have a column for you – what more could you possibly want? I mean, from me, anyway.

China Rose, one of Lakeview’s most beloved Chinese restaurants, is now open at 3501 North Arnoult Road in Metairie. The restaurant serves all the dishes you’d expect to find at a Chinese restaurant but also has an “Authentic Chinese” menu with more exotic fare. The “authentic” menu includes a number of dishes cooked with Chinese pickled mustard greens, tons of noodle dishes and a slow-cooked pork belly dish served with a sweetish sauce and baby bok choy that’s just outstanding (Dong-Po Pork). The appetizer/dim sum menu isn’t as extensive as what you’ll find at Royal China (600 Veterans Blvd.), but then again, to my knowledge no other local restaurant can top Royal China’s dim sum selection. I haven’t yet worked my way through the menu at China Rose by any means but based on what I’ve eaten there so far, it’s a definite goal.

Technically it’s not a New Orleans restaurant, but I recently had a chance to sample the appetizer menu at Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge (17451 Perkins Road), and everything I had was excellent. I get nervous when a place I love changes, or looks like it’s about to change, but in this instance, new equals good. Most of what I consider the hits at Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St.), are on the menu at the bistro; you can stick to Soufflé potatoes, Fried Eggplant, Oysters en Brochette and Shrimp Remoulade for example. But you can also order escargot in puff pastry with herbsaint cream, a killer duck crêpe with homemade boursin cheese, a port-cherry garnished with pistachios, and a really nice version of barbecue shrimp with crabmeat that’s served over a thick slice of fried eggplant. I think taking the menu in a different direction is a much better idea than trying to recreate an ersatz Galatoire’s away from its natural habitat on Bourbon Street.

It is cliché among food writers these days to note that in post-Katrina New Orleans the options for Latino food have never been better. But operating on the principle that there’s safety in numbers, let me add my voice to the rest of the gang and point you in the direction of Taqueria Guerrero Mexico (208 N. Carrollton Ave.), a nifty little restaurant just down the street from Venezia and Angelo Brocato’s. The menu at Guerrero is fairly extensive but you may not make it past the antojitos (“appetizers”) because that’s where you’ll find outstanding tacos, tortes (“sandwiches”) Gorditas and Quesadillas which you can fill with things like chorizo, beef tongue, barbacoa (“barbecue” or grilled pork) or chicken. The restaurant is open 7 days a week, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., though their late opening is a little odd considering they also serve a bunch of egg dishes on the breakfast portion of the menu. I haven’t encountered barriers of any kind, language or otherwise, so add them to your list!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email Robert Peyton: rdpeyton@gmail.com.

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