Restaurant Insider

Felipe’s Taqueria has opened a second location in the French Quarter (301 N. Peters St., at the corner of Bienville Street). The spot formerly housed a Hooter’s and should pull in a big nighttime crowd from nearby locations such as the House of Blues and Tipitina’s. Since a fire shut down the only Tex-Mex spot in the CBD – Nacho Mama’s (which has a location in the Garden District) – the new Felipe’s proximity to Canal Street should also draw from those of us who work downtown during the lunch hour. Felipe’s original location on S. Miro Street remains a popular joint that marries freshly prepared Tex-Mex favorites such as burritos, tacos, chimichangas and quesadillas with “authentic” fillings such as Carnitas, Carne al Pastor and Mexican chorizo. 
Cake Café (2440 Chartres St.) recently celebrated a year in existence at the location of the much-missed La Spiga bakery. In addition to the titular cakes, Steve Himelfarb and his staff crank out some excellent sandwiches on house-baked bread. I had an unusually thick-sliced Reuben recently with homemade sauerkraut on some fantastic rye bread. The standard lunch menu is abbreviated but there’s something for just about anybody, including a good chicken salad (of the grapes and curry variety), a roasted vegetable sandwich and grilled tuna flavored with teriyaki, wasabi and ginger. 
I had noted the relative dearth of Indian restaurants in the New Orleans area previously in this column, so the news that Taj Mahal (923 Metairie Road #C) is expanding its menu to include South Indian specialties is welcome – and it should be much easier to locate now that their new sign is up. In addition to dosas, the crêpe-like Southern Indian specialty that are filled with a variety of good things, the restaurant plans to offer food from the island state of Goa. Specialized equipment necessary to reproduce the new items is on order as I write this and should be well on the way to operating by the time you pick up this magazine. Call them to find out whether South Indian cuisine has made it to the menu: 836-6859.
Carondelet Café (222 Carondelet St.) has been in business for around five months now in the CBD. The cafe serves a concise menu of sandwiches, salads and soups, and features desserts prepared by the folks at Sucré. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch during the week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restaurant doubles as a coffee shop, and that side of the business is also open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Most of the selections on the menu are deli standards but the addition of Gruyere cheese and egg salad to the “Ultimate” club was new to me and it was excellent. 
In this, the month before the holiday season, you may be looking for ideas on gifts. I am flattered that you would think of me but I hope you won’t go to any trouble. If, however, you’re looking for gifts for other people, you might consider Adler’s collection of Galatoire’s branded dinnerware. The line of plates, stemware, and accessories is available at Adler’s (722 Canal St.) and on their Web site: 

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail Peyton:

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