For a man who writes about food and restaurants, I don’t get out much in the evenings. It is not because I am afraid of the dark, or at least not only because I am afraid of the dark. It is also not entirely because we have 3 kids; we also have grandparents and friends on whom we can foist the two who are not technically old enough to be left alone, after all. It is not solely because dining out is expensive; it can be, but the truth is that my wife and I both place a great deal of value on eating well, and one doesn’t need to splurge to eat well in New Orleans. Sure we’re both tired when we get home from work, but it’s not like cooking dinner is any less effort than dining out.

So while all of these things are factors, the bottom line is that I am a homebody at heart. I’d rather be home, cooking and hanging out with the family on most nights than out on the town.

That said, when we do go out, it’s nice when everything comes together in a pleasant way. Last week when my glorious mother in law, Pamela, offered to take our daughters for the evening, my wife and I decided to get a drink and dinner. We wanted something casual, but with good food and interesting drinks. That’s not exactly a limiting set of criteria in New Orleans – we could have easily chosen a half dozen places within a five minute drive – but we settled on a place we hadn’t been in about six months: Tana at Treo.

Chef Michael Gulotta is cooking some great Italian-inspired food at the place; fritters with corn and pickled chanterelle mushrooms, roasted fish with chermoula, and though it wasn’t on the menu at my most recent visit, charred octopus are all standouts. The drinks are excellent as well; I tried the Catching Flights, which is blended Scotch, ginger liqueur, Angostura bitters and cardamom. The Mai Tai was delicious, too.

Then, despite my hermetic ways, on July 14th I will be attending the second of Tujague’s 160th anniversary guest chef dinners, when the restaurant’s executive chef, Marcus Woodham, will be joined by Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery and Alex Harrell, of Angeline for a bourbon-paired five course meal. You can check out the menu here, where you can also sign up to attend. I’m really looking forward to it, and hope to see you there.