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Grand Opening
It was only a matter of time before a Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant landed in downtown New Orleans (the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group Inc. operates 25 venues, some with different names). The fast-growing microbrewery chain celebrated its grand opening last week at 200 Poydras St., across from Harrah's Casino. Brewers produce six German lagers in a showcase brewery, and the kitchen turns out contemporary American meals that run the likes of pizza, pasta and stir-fries. Outdoor patio seating should make it a hot ticket this time of year. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. Call 552-2739 or visit for more information.

Cooking for Life
Two Baton Rouge residents collaborated on a cookbook that warrants consideration in October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Eating Well Through Cancer: Easy Recipes & Recommendations During & After Treatment (Wimmer Cookbooks, $19.95) is a hardcover, spiral-bound collection of recipes and advice by writer Holly Clegg and oncologist and cancer researcher Gerald Miletello. The 200 recipes are arranged mainly according to chemotherapy side effects and post-treatment recovery. As loss of appetite can complicate the healing process, the authors' goal is to maintain patients' strength with tasty foods while educating them on the ins and outs of their disease. One chapter counsels caregivers on preparing dishes that the patient can reheat and serve with minimal hassle; another outlines the dos and don'ts for neutropenia (low white blood cell count). Nutritional information accompanies every recipe. To learn more, visit

Meat Free
Vegetarians and vegans who have found themselves floundering hungrily about the French Quarter in the past should make a note of the housemade vegetarian burger at La Fee Verte (620 Conti St., 566-7445). The black bean, garlic and onion 'patty' doesn't hold up like a burger, its consistency more conducive to spreading, but it is yummy on sliced focaccia with a smear of mayonnaise (or mustard for vegans).

Sweet Relief
Another noteworthy French Quarter discovery this week was the dense, palm-high Creole cream cheese cheesecake at Palace Cafe (605 Canal St., 523-1661), flavored lightly with the orange essence of Grand Marnier and paved with a layer of gel-textured orange curd. A monstrous but mild-mannered dessert.

Mat & Naddie's (937 Leonidas St., 861-9600) no longer serves lunch, but it is now open for dinner on Mondays.

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