It's too hot to cook, so ditch the kitchen and take advantage of these summer specials. The three-course lunch for $20.05 at Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.restaurantaugust.com) is always one of the city's best bargains. Restaurant August sweetens the deal every Friday this summer with a complimentary glass of wine. Through July, Chateaubriand (310 N. Carrollton Ave., 207-0016; www.chateaubriandsteakhouse.com) has a three-course menu for $33.33. It's an 'early bird special,' so order before 6:30 p.m. Mimi's Italian and Seafood Restaurant (10160 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge, 737-6464) also has a summer 'early bird special': soup, salad, an entree and dessert priced between $13 to $17. Summer lasts a little longer at Gabrielle , where a special three-course dinner menu will be served Tuesday through Thursday for only $20.05 until September. Cafe Adelaide (300 Poydras St., 595-3305; www.cafeadelaide.com) will give you Chef Kevin Vizard 's tasting menu for free. The catch? You must identify every ingredient in all four courses.
Have you ever walked through the Crescent City Farmers Market (www.crescentcityfarmersmarket.org) and tried to imagine the perfect recipe for a bundle of leeks or a pound of Creole tomatoes? At Beyond Gumbo, the market's annual fundraiser, you can see how 15 of New Orleans' top chefs cook with products from the market. Corbin Evans of Lulu's in the Garden (2203 St. Charles Ave., 586-9956), Gerard Maras of Ralph's on the Park (900 City Park Ave., 488-1000; www.ralphsonthepark.com) and Shaun Holtgreve of Antoinette (1910 Magazine St., 671-3990; www.antoinetteneworleans.com), among others, will prepare tasting portions of their dishes and answer questions about cooking with products from the farmers market. The event both raises money for the Crescent City Farmers Market and builds relationships between the chefs and the market's vendors. Jessica B. Harris , an authority on Creole cuisine and author of Beyond Gumbo (Simon & Schuster), is the guest of honor. The fundraiser will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at Culinaria (1519 Carondelet St., 522-8789; www.culinariaart.com). Tickets start at $125. Call 861-5898 for more information.
It's a busy week for the Crescent City Farmers Market . At the Warehouse District market (700 Magazine St.) on Saturday, June 25, Eric M. Bost , the U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, kicks off the regional rollout of the USDA's new My Pyramid Plan for a healthy lifestyle (www.mypyramid.gov). Bost, who will be joined by Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Odom , will speak at 10:30 a.m. after the cooking demonstration. After all, you can't learn about a healthy lifestyle on an empty stomach.