With corona virus cases ticking up in New Orleans and mass public gatherings, such as the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade, cancelled for this weekend, some will choose to hunker down while others will want to take precautions while getting out as much as they can in the event of an a-la-Italy mandatory in-home quarantine.
While I love my home and garden I am among the later: I am pretty much willing to walk through a door curtain or sanitizer spray to be out and about while I can. I have also invested in several 1,500 piece puzzles just in case… Bookstores are a great resource.
Here are my picks for things to do for the next week. I hope to see you out there.
Café Normandie in the new Higgins Hotel (1000 Magazine St., 504-528-1941, higginshotelnola.com) recently began offering Sunday jazz and song brunch beginning at 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Chef Virgile Brandel is turning out a host of beautiful dishes with which to start a leisurely meal, including his most noteworthy buckwheat crawfish- Stuffed crepes.
The newly reopened and revamped vegan and vegetarian restaurant Seed (1330 Prytania St., 504-417-7333, seedneworleans.com) recently started opening daily for breakfast in addition to the bar, lunch and dinner programs already offered. The exciting plant-based menu features colorful, playful dishes that push the culinary envelope with underpinnings related to our local cuisine. New breakfast dishes include black ice porridge with avocado, mango, macadamia, cilantro, fresno chilies; avocado tacos on corn tortilla with avocado, onion, cilantro, oat mole; and a short stack of blueberry buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup.
Next Thursday, March 19, is St. Joseph’s Day. Avo (5908 Magazine St., 504-508-6550, restaurantavo.com) will host an altar. St. Joseph’s Day altars began as a custom brought to New Orleans by Sicilian immigrants honoring St. Joseph, who is said to have ended the great famine in their country. As a third-generation Sicilian, this cultural tradition plays an important role in Chef Nick Lama’s focus and philosophy in preserving his heritage and melding it with his New Orleans roots. Chef Nick grew up making offerings with his mother and grandmother as a donation to the altar in his neighborhood. Now, he pays tribute in the Avo courtyard with a full display of food, wine and flowers, created with the help of his family. The alter will be open to the public for viewing from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. , with a blessing at 11:30 a.m. The St. Joseph’s altar at Avo will showcase decorative breads, pignolatti, cuccidati (fig cookies), citrus, fish, artichokes, pasta, cakes, wine and lucky fava beans. All altar donations will go to nearby St. Francis of Assisi Church. Chef Nick will also prepare a selection of off-menu dinner specials that evening beginning at 5 pm.
Also next Thursday from 4:30 – 7 p.m. and in honor of St. Joseph’s Day, International House Hotel (221 Camp St., 504-608-0662, ihhotel.com/loa) and loa cocktail lounge will host an open-to-the-public altar with a display of varied Italian cookies, hearty loaves of bread, Sicilian pizza, and handcrafted statues, artifacts, and symbolic relics.
Additionally, a chalk artist will be at work creating purposeful, temporal sidewalk art on the steps and sidewalk of the hotel, illustrating that life is a gift. Italian aperitifs and cocktails like Limoncello and the Belucci will be on offer at loa along with Sicilian wines.
As always, have a great week, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love. Take extra care to practice acts of kindness and help others whenever you can in this time of uncertainty.