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Maximo's, Act II Chef Paul Cattoche will soon be back in the wide-open kitchen at Maximo's (1117 Decatur St., phone N/A), serving dishes like crawfish diablo, rack of lamb, beef carpaccio and fire-roasted fish. A new ownership group led by local real estate investor Vincent Marcello has bought Maximo's and plans to reopen the upscale Italian restaurant in mid-January. First opened in 1987 by Jason Anixter , the restaurant has been shuttered since Hurricane Katrina. Marcello and his partners are now conducting a light renovation to the dining rooms and bar and an overhaul of the kitchen. The restaurant will retain its high-backed, blond-wood booths, its balcony tables overlooking Decatur Street and its long "dining bar" facing the open kitchen. Cattoche, who had been chef at the restaurant since 1994, says Maximo's will reopen with a core group of its pre-storm cooks and managers. Cork & Casing Lunchtime regulars at Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114; www.herbsaint.com) know the lamb sausage made in-house at the CBD restaurant is a great match with chef Donald Link 's pappardelle pasta. This week, they'll get to see how a whole array of the restaurant's sausages go with flights of wine. The Mid-City wine shop Cork & Bottle (3700 Orleans Ave., 281-4384; www.corknola.com) is hosting a sausage-and-wine pairing event on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Cork & Bottle is now stocking a selection of Link's cured meats in its retail deli case and at the tasting they will be paired with wines both from Herbsaint's list and the store's shelves. The tasting begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $25. Call Cork & Bottle to reserve a spot. A Cannoli Christmas If you didn't happen to have an Italian grandmother to show you how to make traditional Italian desserts, you can get a primer when culinary instructor Sandra Scalise Juneau passes on a few lessons from her family. This Wednesday, Dec. 19, Scalise Juneau hosts a class on preparing sweetened ricotta desserts, such as cannoli, cassata and cassateda, at Just Italy Deli & Italian Marketplace (708 Aris Ave., Metairie, 832-9292). The class costs $30 per person and begins at 7 p.m., and reservations are required. The Metairie deli also stocks Italian cookies and pastries baked in-house in case the lessons don't take. — McNulty

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