Ah, August … Traditionally a  time when restaurants live or die by local patronage. If you can brave the heat, why not visit a restaurant you haven’t visited in a while?  
By the time you read this, Rambla may very well have opened in the International House Hotel (221 Camp St.). Designed by Kenny LaCour and Kim Kringlie to be a semi-casual Spanish restaurant with French influences, it will take the space that was formerly occupied by Lemon Grass.
Rambla will have communal tables in addition to more standard seating and will emphasize authentic tapas using local ingredients. The restaurant is named for a street in Barcelona and, like that Basque city’s cuisine, will include some food that would also be at home in Southern France.
As befits a hotel restaurant, Rambla will be open seven days a week and will serve a Continental-style breakfast aimed mainly at hotel guests. They also plan to stay open until 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on the weekends. The restaurant won’t close between lunch and dinner service and the menus will be the same, with some variation between lunch specials and those served at dinner. Rambla will start with a wine list of between 50 and 75 bottles, most priced under $50.
Speaking of wine, GW Fins’ Tenney Flynn and Michael Nelson are hosting a dinner on August 13, featuring the wines of Hendry Vineyards. The cost for the five-course meal is $95, inclusive of tax and tip (800 Bienville St.). As you might expect at GW Fins, the menu is almost entirely seafood, with dishes such as Serrano-wrapped Shrimp with Summer Melon Salad, served with a Pinot Gris, and Sautéed American Red Snapper with Summer Succotash, Mashed Potatoes and Porcini Mushrooms, paired with a Pinot Noir.
Baru Bistro & Tapas (3700 Magazine St.) is a stylish Latin small plates joint now serving lunch. The menu is dominated by tapas with a Colombian emphasis. Mashed fried plantains, for example, are served with a chile sauce made from a Colombian pepper, and empanadas filled with ground beef have a cornmeal crust. Baru still doesn’t have a liquor license but the corkage fee is only $8.
The St. James Cheese Company (5004 Prytania St.) has been hosting a series of dinners that continue this month, starting on August 7, with a “Locavore” dinner with Chef Anne Churchill focusing on local products. On August 14, Chef Greg Sonnier will be cooking and August 21, sees a return of Chef Churchill for a vegetarian dinner. The dinners feature five courses and cost $50. The events are all BYOB but luckily the Wine Seller (5000 Prytania St.) is next door. For reservations at one of the dinners, call 899-4737.
The Absinthe Museum of America (823 Royal St.) has opened. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email Peyton: rdpeyton@gmail.com.