Chef Nina Compton is inviting guests to indulge in a special a la carte Mother’s Day brunch. Amongst starters are Buttermilk Biscuits with mango jam and whipped ricotta and Tater Tots with creme fraiche and caviar. Entree options include Shrimp and Grits with Creole sauce; Beef Bolognese with potato and ricotta gnocchi; and Fried Chicken & Biscuits with hot honey. Desserts include a Mango Crème Brûlée and Bread Pudding with stewed local berries, Chantilly Cream, and mint. Guests can also enjoy an array of boozy brunch cocktails. Reservations can be made on Resy. For more information and full Mother’s Day menu visit www.comperelapin.com.
The second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans is celebrating Mother’s Day with a feast (pictured). On Sunday, May 14th, enjoy Executive Chef Gus Martin’s decadent Mother’s Day prix-fixe (priced $46 - $58, based main entree), featuring elevated Creole dishes including Boudin Balls with pepper jelly; Crawfish Au Gratin - Louisiana crawfish tails folded into mornay sauce with gruyere cheese, baked and served with French bread crostini (+$3.50); BBQ Shrimp and Grits - pan sauteed shrimp simmered in a New Orleans-style BBQ sauce, served over stone ground grits; Veal and Crawfish - pan seared veal medallions, served with asparagus, new potato mash and a smoked tomato beurre blanc, topped with Louisiana crawfish tails; Grilled Filet Mignon - 6oz filet of beef, served with asparagus, roasted pearl onions and sauce chasseur. For dessert, indulge in a sublime Bread Pudding with rum sauce. Full menu can be viewed at https://tujaguesrestaurant.com/menus/#Dinner, and reservations can be made on OpenTable.
Serving up savory dishes and craft cocktails, Bakery Bar wants to treat mom to a laid back brunch featuring Latin America-meets-Louisiana fare. Relish in the Mother’s Day Benedict - mixed greens, fried tomatillo, grilled ham, poached egg, and jalapeno avocado crema; Fried Tomatillo Benedict; Basura Patatas - home fries, sautéed onions, bacon, beer cheese; and Fried Chicken Sandwich - with spicy relish on a bun. The cocktail program is as creative as the menu, with drink names nodding to pop culture. Inspired by the theme “PRETEND,” a cocktail to try during your visit includes Abolish the Monarchy! - Pimm's, Lillet Blanc, cucumber bitters, green chartreuse. For dessert, guests can satisfy their sweet tooth with the Peach Cobbler Flan made by Chef Solano or a slice of Pecan Praline Doberge – a pecan studded white cake separated by layers of caramel pudding and covered with a pecan praline fondant. Take home a whole doberge cake for Mom or order online at www.debbiedoesdoberge.com and GoldBelly.
The lively restaurant located inside the Garden District’s Pontchartrain Hotel, Jack Rose, will feature specialty offerings this Mother’s Day, curated by Chef/Owner Brian Landry. Mother’s Day specials include Admiral Oysters with pink lemon mignonette; Crawfish Benedict with buttermilk biscuit, and creole hollandaise; Halibut with baby vegetables and citrus vinaigrette; and Duck Confit Hash with sunny egg, and orange beurre blanc. Jack Rose is located inside the Pontchartrain Hotel at 2031 St Charles Avenue. Reservations can be made on OpenTable. https://www.jackroserestaurant.com/
On Sunday, May 14th, Mister Mao will host a very special Mother’s Day Dim Sum BBQ. Perfect for those looking for an alternative to the traditional Mother’s Day brunch, the family-style menu will feature close to a dozen different small plates from the recently-returned “Here Comes the Chuck Wagon” roving carts. Price - $55per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Reservations available on Resy
This Mother’s Day, Birdy’s invites locals and visitors to indulge in favorite brunch offerings like Fried Chicken Biscuit with crispy chicken thigh, chicken sausage, jalapeño, and cane syrup country gravy, sunny side egg; Avocado Toast with farm radish, sunflowers seeds, orange, chili flakes, with a farm salad; Birdy’s Burger with two smash patties, Hook’s white cheddar, mustard aioli, lettuce, tomato, pickles, brioche bun, served with a side salad; French Toast; and the Birdy’s Brunch Board served with a donut, granola, slab bacon, hot coppa, bubble waffle, fruit, seasonal jam, mini cookies, mini pancakes, house syrup, triple cream cheese, and soft boiled eggs. www.birdysnola.com
Couvant will be open early for normal brunch (9 am – 2 pm) and dinner service (5 – 10 pm) with a Mother’s Day Brunch Special, the Fried Oyster, Bacon & Brie Omelet: Crispy Fired Gulf Oysters, Triple Cream Brie, Hickory Smoked Bacon and a Lemon Bur Blanc. Couvant will also feature 20% off all sparkling and champagne bottle options on Mother’s Day. Couvant’s weekend brunch features $25 bottomless brunch cocktails (Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Paloma, Sangria and brunch punch) plus some amazing brunch dishes with French/Southern Flare including Duck Confit and Waffles, Croque Madame, Pain Perdue, Louisiana Crawfish Hash, Shrimp and Grits and more.
Yo Nashi’s multi-course Omakase experience ($89) is the perfect intimate dinner experience to wow your mom on Mother’s Day (open 5-10 pm). Make the meal even more special with a Wagyu beef upgrade with the finest Wagyu Beef from Japan. For an earlier night, Yo Nashi offers daily happy hour from 5-6:30 pm featuring half-price beers and sake by the glass, with an a la carte menu for those not wanting a full Omakase experience. Those celebrating earlier in the week, Yo Nashi has teamed up with “The Sake Ninja,” aka Chris Johnson, to create a special omakase dinner with unique sake pairings this Thursday, May 11. The seven-course meal is $145++ and reservations can be made anytime between 5-10 pm (reservations via Open Table).
Saint John will be open for normal business hours (brunch 11 am – 4 pm, dinner until 9 pm). Saint John now features Mumm champagne varieties at the lowest prices in town – Bottomless Mumm Mimosas: Choice of Mumm Napa Brut Prestige or Brut Rose for only $45, G.H. Mumm by the Bottle for ONLY $75 (Over $40 difference in savings when you dine for brunch). Saint John also offers Bottomless Bloody Mary’s featuring Kettle One Vodka and Zatarains to the brunch menu ($25). Saint John also added some amazing new menu items sure to make any mother happy: Crawfish Bread and Breakfast (brunch), Pork Chop Yakamein (dinner), Chargrilled Filet (dinner), Brown Butter Seared Scallops (dinner) and River Road Crawfish Etouffee (dinner).
Copper Vine will be serving its regular brunch (10:30 am – 3 pm) and dinner service (3 – 9 pm).. Enjoy brunch on Copper Vine’s lush outdoor courtyard or indoor picturesque space with standout dishes including Creole Shakshouka, Cornflake Fried Chicken and Waffles, Gulf Fish Amandine, and Cochon de Lait Grits. Copper Vine also offers $25 bottomless mimosas throughout brunch.
fine dining at home: Moveable feast
Built by 12 Founding Restaurant Partners, Moveable Feast is a new platform for award winning independent restaurants to connect with guests at home across America. Their first product is Dinner Party.
Dinner Party is a culinary journey, featuring one new award winning restaurant each month. They source the finest seasonal and sustainably grown ingredients, largely drawn from the bounty of local farms near their open and collaborative kitchen in downtown Napa.
Now, from anywhere in America, you can not only read about restaurants that win Michelin stars, James Beard awards, and rise to the top of “best of” lists, you can experience them at home.
Check out their website: Moveable Feast
couvant brunch update
Couvant is excited to announce that starting this week, the restaurant will extend its weekend brunch service to Friday, now offering brunch Fri – Sun, 9am – 2pm! Couvant’s weekend brunch features $25 bottomless brunch cocktails (Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Paloma, Sangria and brunch punch) plus some amazing brunch dishes with French/Southern Flare including Duck Confit and Waffles, Croque Madame, Pain Perdue and more! Couvant has also added a few new brunch menu items, including:
DUCK AND BRIE SPRING ROLLS: Duck Fricassee, Apple, Pepper Jelly Aioli, Brie.
LOUISIANA CRAWFISH HASH: Sauce Nantua, Sweet Corn, Rosemary Garlic Potatoes, Sunny Side Up Egg.
SHRIMP & GRITS: Grilled Gulf Shrimp, Sautéed Onions and Peppers, Chorizo Sauce, Stone-Ground Grits
In addition, Couvant has also added new items to its dinner menu, including:
CRAWFISH GNOCCHI: Sauce Nantua, Sweet Corn, Chili-Garlic Crisp.
LEEKS VINAIGRETTE: Blanched Leeks, Eggs Polonaise, Fried Capers, Sauce Ravigote.
COUVANT OYSTERS: Lemongrass Velouté, Kaluga Caviar, Finger Lime.
BERKWOOD FARMS PORK CHOP: Pan Roasted Pork Chop, Dijon Panko Crust, Peas and Lima Bean a la Louisiane.
cinco de mayo offer
Bakery Bar has some special offerings for Cinco de Mayo. Known for its Latin American-meets-New Orleans cuisine, Bakery Bar is helmed by Costa Rican native Chef Lydia Solano. On May 5th, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Chef Solano will feature a special Taco Trio featuring a Boudin Ball & Latin Slaw Taco; Cajun Tongue & Mushroom Taco and an Alligator & Salsa Taco. In addition, the restaurant will offer a specialty dessert, Horchata Coffee Rum Gelato and $8 Spicy Margaritas all day long. Bakery Bar is located at 1179 Annunciation. www.bakery.bar.
review: closer to heaven
Heaven deadly sins: Closer To Heaven
Review by Paul Oswell
I once saw a touring Broadway production of Kinky Boots, a musical set in the factories of a provincial English town. Nothing in the musical references England (geographically or linguistically), though, and so the artistic decision to have the entire cast perform in strikingly bad British accents baffled me.
Closer To Heaven is set in London, but with its script full of flats and birds and wankers, there’s nowhere to hide, and it would sound much stranger in American accents. Thankfully, this cast of UNO students do a better job than the Kinky Boots professionals, and likely only my fine-tuned British ear picked up on a few minor wobbles.
With music by pop veterans the Pet Shop Boys and book by collaborator Jonathan Harvey, Closer To Heaven is a disco drama, framed by a London nightclub and populated by a sea of lost souls. Innocent Shell (Adrienne Simmons) arrives in the big city to meet aging raver and club manager Vic (Aaron Brewer), her estranged gay father. Wide-eyed barman Straight Dave (Mason Willis) is trying to make his way as a pop star and club host Billie Trix (Laurel Tannehill) is a chaotic, Teutonic diva dining out on past glories and narcotics.
The plot strands (Shell and Vic fight, Dave falls in love but is sexually confused, Dave vies with a mercenary pop mogul) take place in variously seedy corners - the club, back offices, bedrooms, saunas. The world building is drug and sex fuelled, though I wish slightly more of it had evolved on the dance floor, as the chorus numbers with their more intricate choreography are where the lights shone most brightly for me.
Adrienne Simmons and Laurel Tannehill stand out, the former with notably elevated dance moves and a note-perfect accent, the latter with spectacularly dramatic psychedelic breakdowns and rants, peppered with touching moments of maternal clarity. Mason Willis’ driven but naive ingénu is impulsive and charismatic, and there’s good energy between him, Shell, and Jose J Figueroa as Mile End Lee, the cheeky yet tragic neighborhood drug runner.
I very much enjoyed (perhaps not ‘enjoyed’? You know what I mean) the Weinsteinian creepiness of Bob Saunders (Max Corcoran), an odious music industry boss, wielding predatory power from under a bath towel. Payton Wright as sidekick Flynn is also a treat, with some of the night’s best camp quips and a hilarious ketamine-tinged diatribe. Aaron Brewer handles Vic's redemption arc with graceful aplomb.
The songs (not Pet Shop Boys singles, sadly, but numbers written for this musical) edge towards balladry rather than bangers, although second-half opener It’s Just My Little Tribute To Caligula, Darling! is a fun, hi-octane romp. The ambience is more atmospheric dinge and low-lit gratification than shiny, glitter-strewn dancefloors.
Kudos to L Kalo Gow’s direction, and the lighting and set design for believable, near-seamless flits between shady city corners. The world feels aesthetically and emotionally consistent, and the dangers, inspiration, hedonism and tragedies of young love, queerness and urban life are creatively delivered. Shout out to the chorus, who danced and sang with entertaining gusto, and pathos when called for.
There are some bravely-undertaken explicit scenes, and as they’re played for truth rather than titillation, it’s kind of an unsure, exploratory eroticism. It’s not an easy ask for young actors to perform love scenes in front of a live audience, but there’s an impressive honesty to it - sincere credit to Adrienne Simmons, Mason Willis and Jose J Figueroa for navigating these with artistic integrity.
It’s a tricky show to pull off, what with the accents and the material and the choreography, but I left uplifted, and there’s a poignant celebration of queer legends as a finale. Come with an open mind, and you’ll surely get the most out of this show’s big heart.
Closer To Heaven runs at the Robert E. Nims Theatre on UNO’s campus through May 6th. More info and tickets.
Saint John's Locals Lunch 20% Discount
Saint John will be offering “Local’s Lunch” every Thursday and Friday – NOLA residents who show their ID (only one ID per table needed) on Thursday and Friday during brunch will receive 20% off the table! Saint John’s newest brunch item, the CRAWFISH BREAD & BREAKFAST and NEW Bottomless MUMM-Mosas PLUS a 20% discount! Just in time for spring and summer lunch/brunches, Saint John is excited to give locals some love for the support they’ve received since opening.
Saint John also recently announced new brunch and dinner specials, along with amazing Mumm’s Champagne bottomless brunch specials + by-the-bottle dinner specials. Details are below. Would love your help in spreading the word!
MUMM’s BRUNCH (available daily, 11 am – 4 pm):
Bottomless Mumm Mimosas: Choice of Mumm Napa Brut Prestige or Brut Rose for only $45.
G.H. Mumm by the Bottle for ONLY $75 (Over $40 difference in savings when you dine for brunch!!).
Saint John is also adding Bottomless Bloody Mary’s featuring Kettle One Vodka and Zatarains to the brunch menu ($25).
MUMM FOR DINNER:
Mumm Napa, Brut Prestige: $16/gl $62/bottle
Mumm Napa, Brut Rose: $16/gl $62/bottle
G.H. Mumm, Grand Cordon Brut $30/gl $118/bottle
Jazz Fest Specials at Restaurants & Bars
Costa Rican Chef Lydia Solano will be featuring an Elote Crawfish Bread from Friday, April 28 – Sunday, May 7th. Keeping in tune with Bakery Bar’s Latin American-meets-New Orleans cuisine, the Elote Crawfish Bread combines a Jazz Fest favorite (which will be sorely missed) with classic Latin American street food and features housemade crawfish dip served atop half a New Orleans French Bread loaf with grilled corn, queso fresca, sliced jalapeños and crema. Bakery Bar is located at 1179 Annunciation. For hours and information, visit www.bakery.bar.
The restaurant will feature an array of Jazz Fest Specials, perfect for indulging pre or post fest. Available during dinner and weekend brunch April 28 – 30 & May 4 – 7, specialty dishes follow:
Dirty Rice Arancini
bbq aioli, pepper jelly
seafood fumet, mascarpone
Smoked Double Cut Pork Chops
Creole beans, braised greens
Jack Rose is located at the Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St Charles Avenue/www.jackroserestaurant.com
In addition to the very intimate and special Jazz Fest Dinner & Show on April 30th, Bayou Bar will also run a variety of specials both weekends. Guests can enjoy free live music Tuesdays – Sundays, featuring all-star ensembles curated by Peter Harris, along with the following Jazz Fest-inspired treats:
lemon, cherry peppers
Hot Sausage Po Boy
creolaise, lettuce, tomato, pickle
Alligator Sauce Picante
smoked sausage, crispy duck confit
Bayou Bar located at 2031 St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District / www.bayoubar.com
review: beau is afraid
Little Beau Creep
Review: Beau Is Afraid
If you don’t already suffer from anxiety going into this movie, you may want to prepare for an immersive experience. In this epic cinematic fever dream, Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) answers the question, what if Uncut Gems was remade by Charlie Kauffman but instead of an Ethiopian opal, it’s your mother’s judgment?
The first hour is stress porn at its most visceral. Beau (Joaquin Phoenix) is a psychologically-delicate loser living in squalor in an unnamed city. In this movie, though, he doesn’t become Joker, he instead attempts to visit his remote but domineering mother. Increasingly horrifying developments prevent this from happening. Beau lives in an urban hellscape with dangers - many imagined but some perhaps real - that are at his throat as soon as he opens his front door.
Set upon from the start by a tidal wave of anxiety and Cronenbergian levels of psycho-physical violence, Beau’s only solace lies in his drug-administering therapist. Even at rest, he is tortured by memories of his mother, which swing between overly-affectionate and abusive. Escaping from the incredibly choreographed unhinged venality and street terror propels us into Beau’s voyage, much of which experiences passively, tossed along on an unpredictable stream of random circumstance and hallucination.
Aster’s own tropes are present from these early scenes, his fascination with decapitation, devils hanging from ceilings and people jumping off ledges all touched on. They appear in various guises throughout Beau’s odyssey - the foreshadowing tapestry in the opening of Midsommar is replaced by a video tape that seems to predict an inescapable future. People as puppets or painted models or characters in a play - another of Aster’s fixations - is another theme.
Beau lands in a suburban sanctuary that becomes more sinister by the day, and then escapes to a dreamlike woodland camp, before arriving at his mother’s house for a final reckoning. The plot is really a series of increasingly surreal, horrific tableaux, each with their own stakes. What if swallowing pills without water killed you? What if you left your apartment door open and unattended in a feral neighborhood? What if every single feeling of safety that you ever felt was an illusion? It’s a series of rug pulls, with the added feeling that mother is watching at all times.
The cast is a parade of national treasures: Nathan Lane, Parker Posey, Amy Ryan, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Richard Kind and Patti LuPone. There are also some gasp-inducing cameos that I won’t spoil. Phoenix delivers his exasperating milquetoast of a man with impressive discipline, and in flashbacks Armen Nahapetian is excellent as young Beau, as is Zoe Lister-Jones as his mother. Kylie Rogers also stands out as the suburban couple’s chaotically unhinged teen daughter.
It’s all here. Comedy, body horror, animation, post-modern framings, Black Mirror-esque weirdness and relentless Freudian symbolism. At three hours long, it might be a stretch for some, but the pacing, cast and sheer variety of Aster’s cinematic toolbox were compelling. You might not love all of it, but you can’t help but admire the ambition. (PO)
Beau Is Afraid is playing at the Prytania Theater Canal Place and across the city.
To the Bat Cage!
If I have any complaints about this high-octane gore fest, it’s that it could have used more Nicolas Cage. I mean, that’s my complaint with almost all movies, but here especially. We’ll get to his performance, but the upshot is an absurd vampiric romp that slashes its bloodthirsty way through New Orleans, seen through the eyes of young Renfield (a foppish Nicholas Hoult).
Dracula (Cage) is living in the abandoned Charity Hospital after centuries of adventures with his familiar, Renfield. We’re shown some very satisfying black and white flashbacks, Cage doing his best Bela Lugosi in the flickering footage. Times are hard, though, and fighting the church’s vampire hunters has taken its toll. Dracula needs fresh victims, and in his weakened state, it’s down to Renfield to supply them.
Our boy is experiencing a kind of class consciousness, though, relating the exploitative relationship he has, and slowly coming to the conclusion that Dracula is kind of abusive. Inspired by a support group for toxic relationship survivors and the goriest meet cute ever with a local cop Rebecca Quincy (played by Awkwafina), Renfield moves out of the derelict hospital, determined to make his own way in the world.
The subplot is a chaotic mix of police corruption within the “PDNO”, as an organized crime group flexes its muscles. The crime family is fronted by a manic son (the hilarious Ben Schwarz), doing his mother’s bidding (Shohreh Aghdashloo as the hard-nosed matriarch).
Renfield tries to escape Dracula’s clutches as he also helps Quincy and pursues self-improvement in the group. Dracula is a tenacious boss, though, and chases Renfield down. It’s here that Cage excels, delivering a wonderfully camp portrayal, mixed with sinister undercurrents of bullying. He obviously relishes every word, and every flamboyant body movement.
There are a couple of large fight scenes, each doused with such cartoonish amounts of blood and carnage that it’s hard to be squeamish about. People are beaten to death with another person’s limbs, heads and legs are detached and fly through the air, and it feels like the director (Chris McKay) is just seeing what he can get away with. The effects are great, Cage becoming a smoke cloud or a colony of bats as he terrorizes just about everyone.
There are some good local jokes, it being set in New Orleans and being a great addition to the canon of NOLA media post-lockdown [see our feature on that here]. Renfield and Quincy escape a fight and need to meet to regroup and one of them yells, "Meet me at Cafe du Monde!", you know, WHERE THE LOCALS MEET. Quincy also delivers a good bit about the Sysyphian task of sobriety traffic stops in a city that has drive-through daiquiri stores.
Is the movie ridiculous? Yes. Is the plot, even within its own universe, completely goofy? Hell yes. Would I almost immediately see it again because it was a fun time? Absolutely. I wish Dracula had a few more dramatic flourishes, but hey, I’ll stick my neck out for Renfield. (PO)
New New Orleans Media! (feature)
cookbook creation classes
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) and the Meraux Foundation are excited to announce the return of SoFAB’s popular Cookbook Creation Class. Thanks to the generous support of the Meraux Foundation, the class will be offered free of charge. The cookbook creation class offers participants the opportunity to learn how to produce a cookbook in a step-by-step way.
At the end of the program, the participants will have the knowledge and skills needed to develop their own cookbook for self-publishing or digital distribution. The class is taught by SoFAB Founder and multi-cookbook author Liz Williams (pictured), with help from specialists in food photography and design.
“Our cookbook creation class has been one of our most popular offerings since SoFAB opened nearly 15 years ago,” said Liz Williams, SoFAB founder and teacher of the cookbook class. “It’s very exciting to bring the program to our library in St. Bernard Parish and to have the support of the Meraux Foundation so that we can make the class accessible to anyone in the community.”
The class is free but spots are limited to 40 people. Refreshments served at each class. Single session sign-ups are not available and participants are encouraged to attend each session.
WHEN: Classes will take place from 10AM - NOON and will be offered at the SoFAB Research Center at Nunez Community College. The class is structured as a 4-session program, and during each session a different element of cookbook production is discussed and explored.
at 3710 Paris Rd, Chalmette, LA 70043. The Research Center contains over 40,000 books, 5,000 menus, and thousands of culinary pamphlets and other culinary ephemera. All of the materials in the library and archive will be available for class participants, providing inspiration for stories, recipes, photography and design of their books. Register HERE
Previews, reviews, offers and news in New Orleans