Mindy Rutkovitz and Medardo Agurcia worked in the front of the house at restaurants across New Orleans for 20 years. Now the husband-and-wife team entertains guests at their new Latin American restaurant, The Kitchen (5055A Canal St., 488-3676). They both love cooking huge feasts for friends, and The Kitchen, says Rutkovitz, is "a small place that echoes what we do at home." The restaurant seats only about 20 guests, with some tables in the open kitchen. The small menu features Mexican and Latin American cuisine, including tacos, Honduran nachos and a yucca salad with chicharron. Classic Latin American drinks, such as frappes and horchata, are also available, but alcohol is strictly BYOB. Overlooking St. Patrick's cemetery, the former snoball stand next to the Herb Import Company also boasts a killer view.
The new Whole Foods Market (3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-8225; www.wholefoodsmarket.com) will host a free cheese talk at 6 p.m. Friday, July 22. John Hannon , a member of Whole Foods' "specialty food team," will explain how milk is transformed into blue, fresh, washed-rind, surface-ripened and processed curd cheeses. As Hannon explains the ways of curds, students can sample a variety of cheeses. Hannon first became interested in cheese while working at the now-defunct Whole Foods on Esplanade Avenue. When his wife got a job in the United Kingdom, he lived in London and learned more about European cheese production. Along with the rest of the "specialty food team," Hannon tends to the more than 375 artisanal cheeses sold at Whole Foods in Metairie. The store hopes to offer more free classes in the future to take advantage of the extra space at its new location. The Whole Foods in Metairie also plans to sell "flights of cheese," where a cheese expert will lead customers in a tasting of several cheeses. Reservations are required for the two-hour cheese class.
Tom Wolfe has added a third restaurant to his growing empire: Wolfe's in the Warehouse (Fulton Street between St. Joseph Street and Julia Street, 613-2888). Part of the restored Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center , the restaurant is located in a 150-year-old former cotton warehouse. Wolfe serves as a consultant to the restaurant, and the food will be familiar to regulars of Wolfe's of New Orleans (7224 Pontchartrain Blvd., 284-6004; www.wolfesofneworleans.com). The menu includes smoked Kobe beef ribs, a cowboy-cut rib-eye on apple wood-smoked bacon and "duck-duck-goose," or pastrami-cured duck breast, duck rillettes terrine and a foie gras tourchon.