Besties Who Brunch

Gianna, the Italian restaurant nominated for Best New Restaurant in America 2019 by the James Beard Foundation, has introduced an all-day menu on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and a rustic Italian brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Friday all-day menu features antipasti favorites (think ribollita soup and grilled lion’s mane mushroom), plus items like spaghetti and clams, pesce del giorno and fire-roasted chicken. Several brunch items also make a special appearance on the all-day menu. The brunch menu includes dishes like semolina pancakes, lamb sausage gravy with creamy polenta, ricotta gnocchi, eggs alla Gianna and much more. 700 Magazine St., 504-399-0816, giannarestaurant.com


Culinary Journey Through Egypt

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt is a new exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art on view through July 17. In honor of the exhibition, Executive Chef Chris Montero of the museum’s restaurant, Café Noma—in collaboration with Dina Daniel and Khaled Hegazzi—is presenting dishes that showcase Egyptian culinary customs and the culinary evolution from ancient to modern times. Menu items may include Gebna Maleyah, (fried feta cheese), Haman Mahshi (stuffed quail), Kunafa (pastry with rose water and pistachio), along with falafel, hummus, dolmas and more. Also be sure to check out Nefertari Hour—an afternoon happy hour featuring flatbreads, wines, cocktails and floral teas. 1 Collins Diboll Circle, 381-5107, cafenoma.com


Mexican Food Memberships

Otra Vez, the South Market District Mexican restaurant owned by award-winning chef, restaurateur, TV-personality and cookbook author, Akhtar Nawab, has started two monthly membership programs. With the “Journey Through Mexico Experience,” members can enjoy Chef Nawab’s acclaimed recipes and cuisine in the comfort of their own home. And with the Mexican Pantry and Provisions Club, members will receive ingredients that will level up their home cooking. Local delivery is available as is nationwide shipping. 1001 Julia St., 354-8194, otraveznola.com

Top Toques

This year, the James Beard Foundation’s chef and restaurant award nominees include several names that are tops in New Orleans. Best Chef: South nominees (presented by Capital One, by region) include Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith of Saint-Germain,  Melissa M. Martin of Mosquito Supper Club and Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery. Meanwhile, the Emerging Chef nominees (presented by S. Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water) includes Serigne Mbaye of Dakar Nola. And Brennan’s, a grande dame of New Orleans dining, has been named as a nominee in the Outstanding Restaurant category. jamesbeard.org


Besties Who Brunch

Cooking School is in Session

The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute has announced its lineup of 2022 Enthusiast Classes—the first that will be open to the public since the start of the pandemic. Led by local chefs, the interactive classes cover everything from regional foodways to international cuisine. On May 6 from 6-8 p.m., join Adolfo Garcia (La Boca and High Hat Café) for a lively demonstration dinner while learning about different empanada types and fillings. And on May 21 from 6-8 p.m., join Hieu Than (formerly of Kin) for a ramen intensive covering everything from homemade noodles to flavorful broths and the best condiments to use. 725 Howard Ave., 504-891-4060, nochi.org


Besties Who Brunch

From Paris With Love

Couvant, the French brasserie connected to the Eliza Jane Hotel, recently reopened after a hiatus  brought about by COVID-19. Executive chef Ryan Pearson, who recently returned to New Orleans after spending several years in New York and Paris, describes the new menu as “elevated French cuisine infused with Southern soul.” Offering both breakfast and dinner (with brunch and lunch service coming later this year), the restaurant features photo-worthy interior décor, artwork from a rotating group of New Orleans artists, updates to the restaurant’s raw bar (now serving as a semi-open kitchen), new outdoor café table seating on Magazine Street, expanded courtyard dining and more. 315 Magazine St., 504-342-2316, couvant.com.

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