The bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and a current exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), Jefferson's America & Napoleon's France, have inspired New Orleans chefs to create dishes that reflect the state's history. Chef Robert Simms of Napoleon House, the lead sponsor of this ongoing "Plat du Jour" event, designed a tasting menu that includes bacon-wrapped scallops with meuniere sauce and Louisiana caviar, a cured salmon and Creole cream cheesecake, and a Napoleon pastry for dessert. The other participating restaurants are Muriel's Jackson Square, Arnaud's, Bacco, Bayona, The Bistro at Maison de Ville, Bourbon House, Cafe Degas, Chateaubriand, Commander's Palace, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, The French Table, Galatoire's, Mr. B's Bistro, Palace Cafe, Rene Bistrot, Sazerac (Fairmont Hotel), Upperline, Veranda and The Grill Room. Through August, diners partaking in the unique bicentennial menus will also take home specially designed porcelain dinner plates.
Chef John Besh of Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777) recently announced plans to open The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's in July.
Sample award-winning Italian wines for free from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Morton's of Chicago (365 Canal St., 566-0221). The tasting, featuring recipients of Italy's 2002 Gambero Rosso Award, is the first in a monthly series of complimentary wine tastings.
In keeping with the continuous wine feasting at Chateaubriand (310 N. Carrollton Ave., 207-0016), a five-course, $55 dinner beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday will feature Robert Chadderdon Selections such as Chateau de Mambray Sancerre.
Marisol's (437 Esplanade Ave., 943-1912) springtime Patio Pooch Party is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Pet portraitist Simon Baxter is equipped to accommodate all breeds. No admission. Bassist Walter Payton is back at Marisol for Sunday brunch (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) with his Snap Bean Band, following a Broadway engagement.
The Easter Bunny will make an appearance with his personal photographer during Easter brunch at Arnaud's (813 Bienville St., 523-5433). The live music of the Huey Bourgeois Trio, and a four-course menu for $38.50, will run from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Easter brunch in the Intercontinental Hotel's La Salle ballroom (444. St. Charles Ave., 585-4383) includes Champagne and the Gregg Stafford Quartet's live jazz. The cost is $40 for adults and $20 for children. The choices for Mr. B's (201 Royal St., 523-2078) three-course Easter brunches, offered from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., include strawberry crepes and Parmesan-crusted Gulf fish.