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Where There's Smoke
Fire A Restaurant (1377 Annunciation St., 566-1950; www.firearestaurant.com) is neither a temple to spicy food nor an homage to Donald Trump. The new Lower Garden District restaurant takes its name from the restored early 20th century fire station where it is located. The menu at Fire, which will be updated seasonally, features food in the style of California's wine country with a focus on fresh produce. Much of the produce will be unusual items flown in directly from California. Chef Sunny Groom , who was executive chef at Napa Valley's St. Supery winery (www.stsupery.com), has created an initial menu featuring entrees such as braised short ribs in a wine reduction and orange-crusted scallops with a ginger couscous and lemon basil aioli. The carefully selected wine list of 150 bottles focuses on Australia, New Zealand, Oregon and California. Many wines are available by the glass. At the Thursday happy hour, Fire offers specials on wine, beer and martinis. The bar and large patio are great places to enjoy a drink after work. The old firehouse may no longer be the home of Engine Company No. 1, but the restaurant does have a firefighter tending bar.

 

Vegetarians Beware!
Poppy Z. Brite's new novel, Prime, is a celebration of beef. To celebrate the novel, Chef Peter Vazquez of Marisol (437 Esplanade Ave., 943-1912; www.marisolrestaurant.com) will prepare a nine-course extravaganza of red meat at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 12. The meal starts at the tongue with tacos de lengua and ends at the tail with oxtail ravioli in reduced veal jus. In between, diners will sample veal sweetbreads, crisp calves brains with Madeira sauce and a peppered hangar steak with sweet-and-sour rhubarb and gnocchi Parisienne. Each course will be matched with wine. The Prime dinner costs $95, including wines, tax and tip. Brite will be the guest of honor, and signed copies of Prime will be available for $15. For reservations, call 943-1912.

 

Sweet History
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum
's (www.southernfood.org) first exhibit explored New Orleans cocktails. The second exhibit, Tout de Sweet: All About Sugar , skips from drinks to dessert. The collection of texts, drawings and photographs shows why sugar is more than a sweetener; it has played a central role in the history, politics and economy of Louisiana. The exhibit, curated by Elizabeth Pearce, will be on display at the Riverwalk Marketplace through the end of the year. An online version of the exhibit will be launched in late June on the Southern Food and Beverage Museum's Web site.'

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