Commons Club at the new Virgin Hotels New Orleans is offering a decadent three-course prix-fixe dinner just in time for Valentine’s Day created by executive chef Alex Harrell. Also be sure to try the special raspberry truffle martini, made with Godiva white chocolate liqueur, Skyy raspberry vodka, Chambord and blackberry syrup served in a cocoa rimmed glass with Luxardo cherry garnish. 550 Baronne St., 

Youth Empowerment

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation recently granted $350,000 to two nonprofit organizations—Son of a Saint and Youth Empowerment Project—based on the shared mission to support youth through culinary, nutrition and arts education with a focus on life skills development. The foundation also awarded a grant following its annual Carnivale du Vin fundraising weekend to The Watering Hole Foundation and its Kids Education Program. This program sponsors elementary and middle school visits to the Alex Beard Art studio, where creating art is combined with learning about endangered wildlife and the environment. 829 St. Charles Ave., 212-2222,


King Cake Season

For the first time in its 75-year history, Brennan’s is offering a regal trio of king cakes. Executive corporate pastry chef Brett Gauthier and the culinary team are offering a traditional king cake, a pink parade king cake (strawberry cream cheese) and a bananas Foster king cake (from the restaurant where the beloved dessert originated). Cakes serve 15-20 people. 417 Royal St., 525-9711,

King Cake Hub, which offers more than 60 different varieties of king cakes from a number of local bakeries (such as Hi Do, Bywater Bakery, Sugar Love Bakery and Brennan’s), has two new locations for the 2022 Carnival season. The main King Cake Hub will share space with Zony Mash Beer Project (1464 S. Broad St.). Zony Mash and King Cake Hub also have collaborated on a special-edition King Cake Stout beer. The second pop-up location is at The Gift Shop at Historic New Orleans Collection (520 Royal St.). The partnership with HNOC coincides with the new Making Mardi Gras exhibition. Also be sure to try the 2022 King Cake Coterie, a different king cake that’s being offered each week during the Carnival season. 4800 Canal St., 518-2953,

And at Cochon Butcher and La Boulangerie, Link Restaurant Group’s executive pastry chef Maggie Scales is offering several flavors and sizes of king cakes through Feb. 25. Try the Elvis, a soft brioche filled with peanut butter and roasted banana, topped with house-cured bacon, toasted marshmallow, and Mardi Gras sprinkles. In place of the iconic small plastic baby, all of Scales’ cakes feature a petite pink pig. At La Boulangerie, be sure to try the traditional French Galette des Rois (two rounds of puff pastry filled with delicate almond cream) or the savory pretzel king cake (decorated with Mardi Gras-colored salt and served with Cochon Abita mustard). 930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-7675,; 4600 Magazine St., Ste. 1518, 269-3777,

Bring on Brunch

Ruby Slipper will open a second Metairie location this summer near Clearview Mall, offering both indoor and outdoor seating with brunch favorites like eggs Benedict, beignets and bananas Foster pain perdu, plus eye-opening cocktails. 4236 Veterans Blvd.,

Mister Mao’s Sunday brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., features Kashmiri hot chicken Benedict on a Hawaiian pineapple roll with Vidalia onion milk gravy; gentleman’s relish (smoked pork shoulder, anchovy butter toast, soft scrambled eggs); and hot veg Sunday (turmeric creamed greens, buttered turnips, crispy fingerling potatoes, sunny-side-up eggs). For cocktails, try the Walk of Shame (vodka, passionfruit, rose water and lemon) or Hellfire Mary (Tabasco mash-infused vodka, tomato and sumac pickle). 4501 Tchoupitoulas St., 345-2056,