This is another quiet week, which is fine with me. Excitement is not something I seek at this point in the season.

On Tuesday, the Renaissance Publishing team visited Herbsaint where Chef de Cuisine Tyler Spreen prepared a heat-busting Watermelon Gazpacho topped with Crabmeat Salad. The vibrant cold soup makes easy use of the tomatoes and watermelon that are so abundant right now and it comes together in a blender.  Check out the video here. If crabmeat is too expensive for you to contemplate right now, I offer a method for substituting shrimp or even avocado in my monthly column, “The Nosh,” for New Orleans Magazine. You can check that out here.

Though an enthusiastic cook, by the time August rolls around I want nothing to do with a heat belching oven, roiling liquid in a hot pot, or even hot food. I am in the mood for cool, refreshing soups, crisp salads, light vegetable-forward sandwiches, raw anything (pretty much) and fresh sushi. How fortuitous for me: I have plenty of company in my seasonal culinary aversions and New Orleans is loaded with spots at which I may indulge my passion for cold fare.  Right now we have the added benefit of the ongoing COOLinary dining special whereby diners can  enjoy prix fix lunch dinner and brunch menus at thrifty prices through August 31.

The Best Cooling Foods to Beat the Heat

I decided to check out the COOLinary menu at Haiku, my neighborhood sushi joint on Magazine Street. To enter Haiku one must first cross a covered, raised outdoor porch to reach the entrance. The intimate, jewel-like interior pretty much lacks natural light and is, instead, subtly lit to reflect the tiny metallic flecks in the stone counter of the sushi bar, and hung with serene art. The overall effect is c-o-o-l. I go here when I want to forget there is a hot, powerful sun shining outside.

The extensive menu includes hibachi options and delicious house-made ramen offered with choices of tonkatsu, kansu, shoyu and miso broths—all of which I enjoy but currently eschew in favor of fresh unadorned slices of sashimi and inventive rolls, my favorite being the White Ninja combining yellowtail and transparent slices of both lemon and jalapeño with a splash of Ponzu sauce.

Haiku’s COOLinary menu is an eye-popping value. Guests have a choice of iced tea, soft drink, beer, wine, or sake, followed by a choice of one of three soups or two salads. Next comes a choice of edamame, vegetable spring roll, gyoza dumpling, or shrimp shumai dumpling. This is followed by a choice of one of six rolls, all of which are on the lighter side like California roll and Spicy Tuna Roll.  The “entrée” course is a choice of one of six heavier, more elaborate rolls including a brilliant Rainbow Roll and a Crispy Calamari Roll. After all of this you get the dessert of the day, which might be something like Fried Cheesecake or Mochi Ice Cream. This bounty of screamingly fresh, artfully prepared food will cost you $36. I have no idea how they can possibly do this, but I recommend it to anyone who enjoys sushi.