The Savvy Gourmet, a local cooking school that's expanding its services by the minute, is selling holiday gift baskets of food and kitchen tools this season. Ranging in price from $25 to $120, the baskets may include samplings of Louisiana satsumas, Dolphin chocolate bars, heat-resistant spatulas, rubber-grip kitchen tongs and a microplane grater. Gift certificates are also available in any denomination, redeemable for merchandise or cooking classes in 2003, such as From Bangkok to Bombay, Dinner Parties Pronto!, Carb-Conscious Cuisine and Fundamentals of Cooking. To learn more about the gift baskets and cooking classes, call 482-3726 or visit www.savvy-gourmet.com.
Through the Grapevine
Cork & Bottle (3700 Orleans Ave., 934-1386), the active wine store located inside the American Can Company, recently received a small shipment of big, bold cult Australian wines; owner Jon Smith calls them "collectible wines that need a seatbelt and a helmet." Oenophiles may recognize hard-to-find vintages like the 2002 Shirvington Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2001 Key Brothers "Hillside" Shiraz. Stop by the store to browse, or call to register for a limited-seating tasting scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 6. Cork & Bottle also offers free wine tastings every Thursday during the Crescent City Farmers Market, which sets up in the American Can Company parking lot from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Stock up for Thanksgiving dinner at Tuesday's farmers market; while you're there try the Green Plate lunch special prepared by Elizabeth's restaurant (601 Gallier St., 944-9272): corn and crawfish bisque, stuffed pork loin and pecan pie. The Tuesday market is at 200 Broadway St. and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 861-5898 for more information on the Crescent City Farmers Market, or visit www.loyola.edu/ccfm.
Planning the office party? A holiday lunch with friends? Bear in mind that Morton's of Chicago (365 Canal St., 566-0221), which usually serves dinner only, will open for lunch on Thursday, Dec. 18, and Friday, Dec. 19. Another tip: drink $3 martinis on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Morton's lounge; filet mignon sandwiches are free during happy hour every weekday.
Holiday guests at The Fairmont New Orleans hotel (123 Baronne St., 529-4733), and diners in its Sazerac Bar & Grill, will sample the handiwork of new Executive Chef William McIlroy. The chef comes to New Orleans from The Fairmont Newfoundland in St. John's, Canada, where he was voted 2002 Chef of the Year by the Canadian Culinary Federation, Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter.