In bygone years Reveillon feasts had strong religious connotations: New Orleans Creole families indulged in them after attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and the parties lasted well into the morning hours. There may still be families who partake in this spiritual tradition; for the rest of us reprobates, French Quarter Festivals organizes area restaurants to compose multi-course, fixed-price menus in the spirit of the old tradition. The following restaurants are offering Reveillon menus through Dec. 31: Arnaud's, Begue's, The Besh Steakhouse, Bombay Club, Bourbon House, Brennan's, Broussard's, Chateaubriand, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, Galatoire's, The Gumbo Shop, Hunt Room Grill, Louis XVI, Muriel's Jackson Square, New Orleans Grill, Palace Cafe, Pat O'Brien's, Pelican Club, Rene Bistrot, Rib Room, Royal Cafe, Tujague's, Upperline and Zoe Bistrot. Call individual restaurants for reservations; visit www.frenchquarterfestivals.com for more information and to view menus.
Over at Mango House (8115 Jeannette St., 862-5848), Chef-owner Anne Lloyd has composed a four-course Caribbean-inspired holiday menu priced at $27.95 per person. It begins with a red sorrel aperitif, which she makes by steeping dried red sorrel flowers with ginger, sugar, cloves and orange peel; you may drink it like fruit juice or spike it with rum. From there, the choices include roasted pumpkin soup, duck with guava glaze and garlic pork roast. Dessert is a Haitian sweet potato cake.
Starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3. the 700 block of St. Peters Street will morph into a block party in celebration of Pat O'Brien's (718 St. Peter St., 525-4823) 70th anniversary. To thank customers for their long-suffering years drinking Hurricanes, the signature drink will sell for $1.50 apiece; mixed drinks and beer will cost 50 cents. The Bucktown All-Stars will play at 8 p.m.
Food and Film
Just when dinner-and-a-movie was getting banal the New Orleans Country Club (not just for members; 643 Louisa St., 945-0742) hosts dinner-and-a-movie nights every Thursday, poolside when the weather cooperates. What's for dinner depends upon the chef, who often takes inspiration from the feature film; he's been known to whip up chicken Cubano, lemon pesto pork and pumpkin pizza. This Thursday's movie is the Marx Brothers classic, Monkey Business; see Caligula on Thursday, Dec. 11, and Tender Mercies on Thursday, Dec. 18. Dinner service begins at 6 p.m.; movie is at 8 p.m.