So much more than a place to score exceptional baked goods, top-notch bagels, stunning cakes, or something delicious and savory for lunch, Bywater Bakery (3624 Dauphine St.) also serves as an art gallery, community center, music spot, and whatever other incarnation it may need to assume to meet the needs of its extended community. Beginning today Chef Chaya Conrad and her spouse and co-owner Alton Osborn, will unveil a beautifully leaden Sicilian St. Joseph’s Altar they built in collaboration with their staff and Chef Gina Montalbano of Mama Giovanna’s Sicilian Specialties. On Friday morning at 11 a.m. Chef Montalbano will open her pop-up restaurant at the spot to sell handmade Sicilian goods including pastas, stuffed artichokes, bread, and many varieties of cookies. Live music will begin at 1 p.m. and will run all afternoon with appearances by Mardi Gras Indians and several brass bands. At 6 p.m. on Friday the altar will be broken down and the food will be distributed to feed the community.

Stuffed Artichoke At Bywater Bakery
Stuffed Artichoke at Bywater Bakery

“I love what we have created here,” Conrad said. “Bywater Bakery has become everything we ever dreamed it could be.”

Chef Chaya Conrad Of Bywater Bakery
Chef Chaya Conrad of Bywater Bakery

Also, on Friday the Ace Hotel will continue its Poolside Movie Club at Alto at 7 p.m.  “The Avengers”will be aired with a 3-course dinner from the chefs at Josephine Estelle. Optional wine pairings are available. The menu: First Course grilled asparagus “Caesar”; Second Course – lemon braised chicken thighs with corn spoonbread, baby carrots, snap peas; Third Course – strawberry crostata with cardamom honey, and Creole cream cheese ice cream. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for cocktail service and free popcorn. Film and first course start at 7:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. All seating is outdoor and heated. For tickets (mandatory) click here.

This month, in celebration of Women’s History Month, chapters of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) around the world are hosting a series of virtual events focused on women, food, beverage, and the hospitality industry. “Table Talks with Les Dames” will feature tastings, food and drink classes and demonstrations, one-on-one interviews with industry luminaries, panel discussions on industry issues and more. On Monday (March 22), LDEI New Orleans will host its own “Table Talk”: Missing New Orleans? Drink & Learn History with Two Famous Cocktails. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. the virtual event and cocktail tasting will feature New Orleans drink historian and dame Elizabeth Pearce, founder and owner of the podcast Drink & Learn. Guests from around the world are invited to celebrate and learn about the history of New Orleans’ cocktail culture, while whipping up and enjoying famed NOLA cocktails the Sazerac and Hurricane. Registration is $20 and a portion of the proceeds will help philanthropic efforts in New Orleans. A full list of ingredients for each cocktail, along with a zoom link, will be provided to all registered participants. Registration is required in advance and available here. For more information

Elizabeth Pearce

Also taking place in March is the continuation of LDEI’s virtual culinary book club which is available free of charge to those interested in discussing food-related fiction and nonfiction. On Saturday, March 20, guests will discuss Rebel Chef by Dominique Crenn. Registration is required and available at  Les Dames Book Club.

Be safe, be kind, and have some fun celebrating the city and the culture we love.