Vega Tapas Café's Sweet 16

This Friday, Nov. 30, Vega Tapas Café  will celebrate its 16th year of business with a dinner. Current chef and owner Glen Hogh welcomes the restaurant's original chef and owner, Alison Vega, as guest chef for the dinner, which will also feature the wines of local winemaker James Moises of Bizou Wines.

In keeping with the theme, the dinner will feature 16 courses, including such Vega standards as coriander tuna with avocado-tomato relish, chicken in phyllo with mushrooms and Moorish pork with fried spinach and horseradish cream. There will also be a few new dishes on the menu, such as beef meatballs in almond béchamel sauce and tomato-paprika octopus. There is limited seating for the dinner, which costs $80 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are required, and you can call 836-2007 to make them. Vega Tapas Café is located at 2051 Metairie Road, and is open Monday through Saturday for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m.

Benefit for Chef Quan Tran

When chef Dominique Macquet opened Tamarind by Dominique in the Hotel Modern at the tail-end of 2011, he intended to serve as a consultant, with his long-time sous chef Quan Tran operating the restaurant on a day-to-day basis as chef de cuisine. Tamarind closed earlier this year, in unfortunate conjunction with Tran's diagnosis with stomach cancer. The result of the closing is that Tran is on the cusp of losing his insurance coverage. He has the option of continuing that coverage through COBRA, and while that is an expensive option, it is far less expensive than paying for his treatment out of pocket. As a result, Macquet decided to organize a benefit for Tran, and it's set to go off on Dec. 17 at Le Foret, which is located at 129 Camp St. When I spoke to Macquet about the event, he stressed that much should go to his business partner in the soon-to-open Dominique’s on Magazine, Mike Schexnayder, who also owns the host venue. 

As is often the case when the local restaurant community gets together to help one of its own, there's a lot of talent involved in this benefit. Chefs participating include Macquet, Brendon Felder of Le Foret, Matt Murphy of the Irish House, Brian Landry of Borgne, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, Chuck Subra, Jr. of the JW Marriott New Orleans,  René Bajeux  of René Bistrot and Alon Shaya of Domenica, along with pastry chefs Zak Miller of Coquette, Sofia Bruno of Macquet’s new Dominique’s on Magazine and Gonzalo Gimenez of the Hyatt Regency. It wouldn't be a benefit in New Orleans without cocktails, which will be provided Ian Julian of Dominique’s on Magazine, Abigail Gullo of SoBou, Steve Yamata of the Hotel Modern, Michael Glassberg of the Hotel Monteleone and Neal Bodenheimer and Nick Detrich of Cure.

That's a hell of a lot of great chefs, and it's a hell of a good cause, folks. I hope to see you there. The event starts at 6:30, and will include live entertainment and a silent auction. Guests will also have the opportunity to donate Christmas gifts or money directly to the Tran family. Tickets cost $125, and can be obtained by calling Le Foret (ask for Michelle) at 553-6738.