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In Fall’s Full Swing

We are in the swing of fundraiser season and there are lots of charity events coming up destined to raise money for worthy causes. In other cities, these sorts of functions too often serve up bland chicken breasts and steamed veggies almost as an afterthought for the guests. Not so in New Orleans. Here, great food becomes a part of the event, and oftentimes its biggest selling point. So get your paddle ready for Galatoire’s Holiday Auction to be held on Monday, December 1. Up for bid are tables for their popular Friday-before-Christmas lunch. The auction kicks off with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and includes hors d’oeuvres by Executive Chef Brian Landry and sparkling wines by Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin. Proceeds will go to benefit WRBH, the Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped, to cover outstanding expenses incurred from Hurricane Katrina. Proceeds will also go to benefit the Southern Food and Beverage Museum’s children’s programs, which offer among other things a free culinary camp for public school students, and a food art project with McDonough 32 elementary school students, whose artistic efforts will be exhibited in the spring of 2009.

The bidding begins at 6:30 p.m. Tables are purchased by the seat for the lunch seating on December 19, and the bid doesn’t include the cost of the meal. Pre-registration for the auction is required. To reserve your paddle, call Christi Gaudet at 525-2021.

Tapas fans will find a lot to love at the 18th annual Azucar Ball to be held November 22 at the Intercontinental Hotel. Chef Adolfo Garcia of Rio Mar is serving as this year’s food advisor and coordinator, so you can bet on some delicious bites. Notable restaurants serving up small plates include Bayona, La Boca, Rambla, Laurentino’s and Lüke. Along with the great food, the black tie event will feature music by Julio and Cesar and Rumba Buena.

The theme of this year’s event is “Noche de Magia,” or “Magical Night,” and proceeds from the fundraiser will go to benefit The Foundation Scholarship fund, which provides scholarships for outstanding Hispanic students to attend private high schools citywide. Last year, 24 scholarships were awarded. For ticket information, contact Rosa Rodriquez at 523-2600.

Pellicano Ristorante in Kenner is rolling out its new fall menu. Highlights include Wild Boar Ribs with a red wine barbecue sauce, jicama slaw and chipotle corn bread, along with a pepper-rubbed Colorado Rack of Lamb served with wilted spinach, Israeli couscous and Gorgonzola cream. Hearty starters such as Potato and Leek soup with Sambuca-flamed shrimp will get the meal going. Early diners can catch a good deal with Pellicano’s early dining special Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring three courses for $30.

Celebrate the short but sweet Dutch Harbor Alaskan King Crab season at GW Fins through the month of November. As is the case with other subtle-flavored crustaceans such as Stone Crab, there’s a world of difference between previously frozen King Crab and King Crab that’s freshly caught. GW Fins is one of the few places in the South that features the crab fresh. Fished from the Alaskan waters for just a limited time, Chef Tenney Flynn will feature the rare prize in a simple presentation designed to highlight the crab’s delicate flavor. Served chilled with a Creole Mustard Cream for dipping alongside a spicy blue crab slaw, it will be available as both an entrée and shared appetizer. Before you go, be sure to call ahead to double-check availability, as demand far exceeds supply with this special treat.

Chef John Folse continues to offer an ever-widening scope of products through Bittersweet Plantation. Louisiana dairy meets European tradition with his array of delicious yogurts. Rich and creamy and almost a meal in themselves, they will blow you away. Try the Lemon Curd or the Golden Raisin and Pecan flavors. Other good Bittersweet plantation offerings include lots of cheeses, including jars of a mild, goat-milk Feta marinated in a pepper and garlic-infused oil. Also, his Fleur de Lis is a silky triple-cream made from cow’s milk whose eight-ounce individual size makes it an ideal item to bring to dinner parties and other small gatherings – it’s both an artisan product and locally made.

Try This
The Barbeque Lobster appetizer at MiLa offers up a new take on the crawfish’s big, tasty, cold-water brother. The tender tail and claw meat is poached then served with Creole-seasoned butter, garlic confit, and gets an herbed twist from fresh thyme.

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