If dining out is part of your plan for Tuesday, Aug. 29 Ñ which is the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Ñ you can make your meal matter more by patronizing one of the restaurants participating in the fundraiser that day for Share Our Strength (www.strength.org). For the second time since Katrina, this national hunger-relief nonprofit has organized a coast-to-coast event, called Restaurants for Relief, with hundreds of restaurants contributing portions of their sales to help rebuild school cafeterias, support community meal programs and provide assistance for displaced restaurant workers, among other projects in the Gulf Coast region. There are 15 restaurants in the New Orleans area participating, from high-end places like the Metairie location of RuthÕs Chris Steak House (3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 888-3600; www.ruthschris.com) Ñ which is donating proceeds from all wine sales that night Ñ to more casual places like the new Carrollton-area eatery Uptown Cajun (7708 Maple St., 304-7256; www.uptowncajun.com) Ñ which is donating 25 percent of its sales to the effort. People who want to participate in the fundraiser can also make a direct contribution to Share Our Strength. Go to the Web site for details and a list of participating restaurants. Share Our Strength raised more than $1.2 million from the first Restaurants for Relief dine-out event and other efforts.
Flat Bread Rising
The owners of the local MonaÕs Caf chain of Middle Eastern restaurants have rebuilt and reopened their pita bakery, which is located off Elysian Fields and was badly flooded after Katrina. The 6,500-square-foot bakery supplies pita bread to the four MonaÕs restaurants that have reopened since the storm and to many other Middle Eastern restaurants and grocery stores in the Gulf Coast region. MonaÕs began reopening restaurants in October, buying pita bread from a supplier in California while its own bakery was out of commission. MonaÕs pita bread is once again available at the grocery stores attached to several of its restaurants, including the original location in Mid-City (3901 Banks St., 482-7743), which has been rebuilt since the flood with an attractive new interior design of curtained booths and a fountain.
The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society, the nonprofit that hosts the Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com) festival each summer, has published a new book of cocktail recipes called In the Spirit. The 80-page book includes recipes for classic New Orleans drinks, cocktails created for the festival and favorite recipes from the authors, mixologists and others involved with the festival. The book was designed by Phillip Collier, a local graphic designer whose previous work, Missing New Orleans, was published in 2005 by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. In the Spirit is $10. To place an order, email firstname.lastname@example.org Ñ McNulty