RESTAURANT INSIDER

September is a cruel month. Yeah, I know what T.S. Eliot says about April, but in New Orleans, September is when things just start to cool down a little, only for the heat to come pummeling back like Mel Gibson on a bender. Now that’s cruelty, my friends.

Eatventful (eatventful.com) is a new social networking group that hosts social functions for people who love good food at local restaurants. The aim is to make networking comfortable and to bring people together in the settings of some of New Orleans’ best restaurants. It is the brainchild of Leslie J. Almeida, who brings a background in catering and event planning to the operation. She envisions Eatventful as a way for folks looking for a new job to find an employer; for employers to find potential hires; and for people to meet others who share an interest in food and drink. The inaugural event was held on Aug. 5 at Capdeville; the tickets were $15, which included food, drink discounts from Capdeville and discounts for professional services from local businesses.

Tartine (7217 Perrier St.), above, has opened and is serving breakfast; salads; sandwiches; and desserts such as bread pudding, crème brûlée, chocolate mousse and a selection of sweets and pastries. (See related story, facing page). New Orleans native Cara Benson attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City; there she met the man who would become her husband, Evan. After a year in New York, the pair moved to New Orleans, where Evan is the executive chef at Joel’s Grand Cuisine and Cara worked as the pastry chef at Muriel’s Jackson Square before opening Tartine.

A tartine is essentially an open-faced sandwich, and your options are pâté and pork rilletes – both made by Evan – and ham. All of the breads are made in-house, and Benson also serves more traditional selections. Benson caters and bakes cakes to order as well, such as coconut cream, carrot, chocolate fudge and vanilla almond.

Tartine is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call the restaurant at 866-4860 for more information or to place an order.

Little Vic’s Gelateria (1912 Magazine St.), below, opened recently and serves breakfast and lunch. Breakfast consists of a number of sandwiches made with croissants, and lunch features a few salads and panini such as the Papa Vic, with Italian sausage, red gravy, fresh basil and provolone; the Stromboli, with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto and mixed greens; and the Mr. New Orleans, which is ham, Swiss, mixed greens and mayonnaise. All of the sandwiches come on ciabatta bread with a choice of a pasta salad or the soup of the day. Vic Caracci, who owns the restaurant, told me that he can fit 18 gelatos in the case, but he’s got 40 or more in his repertoire. He learned the trade at his grandfather’s gelateria, Papa Vic’s, in Jackson, Miss. His family is originally from Sicily, and Caracci clearly has a love of the craft.

The gelato selections change frequently, so call Little Vic’s at 309-8236 for today’s availabilities.

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

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