May is here, and with it the consistently warm weather that some of you have been looking forward to for months. I would never live anywhere else, but the prospect of seven months of high temperatures and humidity is daunting. I hope those of you who complained about the unseasonably cold winter a few months ago feel the same way in August …

Patrick’s Bar Vin has opened in the Saint Louis Hotel (730 Bienville St.). Patrick Van Hoorebeek, the long-time maître d’ of the Bistro Maison de Ville, brings his combined love of wine (he’s the founder and perennial king of the Krewe of Cork) and his passion for entertaining people to the new venture. In addition to wine, a small menu of chef Agnes Bellet’s food will be available, with dishes such as onion soup, a charcuterie plate, pommes frites with aioli and tarte tatin on offer. Patrick’s Bar Vin is open from 4 until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The kitchen is open from 4 to 10 p.m. You can learn more by visiting

Ralph Brennan has opened Heritage Grill in the Heritage Plaza building (111 Veterans Memorial Blvd.). The restaurant is open Monday through Friday for lunch only, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and features a menu of “New American” food designed by Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group executive chef Haley Bitterman. Designed as a destination for power lunches, the menu includes soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches, as well as entrées such as blackened redfish, lobster and Gulf shrimp ravioli, and filet with a red wine demi-glace, blue cheese compound butter, fries and grilled asparagus.

For more information, call 934-4900.

When I saw the sign for the recently opened Red Gravy Café (125 Camp St.), I assumed it was another of the many “Creole Italian” restaurants this city hosts. A little digging revealed that the restaurant is the product of a native of New Jersey, Roseann Melisi Rostoker, whose combined love of New Orleans and cooking led her to leave her home and start a new life here. I’m a fan of our local Italian cooking, but it’s also nice to see some more variety in the casual Italian arena.

Red Gravy Café is open for breakfast and lunch, and serves the expected Italian standards such as lasagna with meat and ricotta, angel hair primavera and pasta carbonara as weekly specials. There is a wide variety of sandwiches available as well, including deli-style turkey, ham or tuna; and a roast special that changes daily and includes brisket, pork or turkey served on French bread, and you can order them with brown gravy, greens and provolone, or dressed New Orleans-style. Some specialty sandwiches are named for members of Rostoker’s family, such as the GrandDad, which is Genoa salami, ham and provolone, and the Sarah, made with marinated and grilled portobello mushroom and roasted red peppers. Both sandwiches come with lettuce, tomato and oil and vinegar. Red Gravy is open during the week from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and on Saturday for brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 561-8844 for more information or visit the website:

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail Peyton:

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