Down on the Farm
The only thing cooking at Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221; right now are building repairs from the hurricane, but you can get a meal from its chef, Tory McPhail , at the Crescent City Farmers Market 's Tuesday market (200 Broadway St.,, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. McPhail is the featured chef during April for the market's Green Plate Special — a meal served ready to eat for less than $10 each Tuesday. Look for dishes like turtle soup, Muscadine barbecue chicken and biscuits, veal daube with dirty rice and white chocolate bread pudding. Danny Trace , chef at Commander's sister restaurant Café Adelaide (Loews Hotel, 300 Poydras St., 595-3305;, will be the featured chef at the Tuesday market in May.

A Taste of Rebirth

The Crescent City Restaurant Rebirth Project ( was formed last year by local wine importer Jack Jelenko as a way to funnel contributions from around the world to hard-hit New Orleans-area restaurants. The group is now inviting contributions from locals as well, and on May 10 will hold its first public fundraiser with its Feed New Orleans Restaurants event. The evening begins with a wine and spirits tasting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse (716 Iberville St., 522-2467; — itself newly rebuilt from severe flood damage. More than 60 wineries, distilleries and breweries will pour their products for attendees at the steakhouse before the evening shifts to special dinners served at participating restaurants around town. The event is scheduled for a Wednesday night specifically to encourage locals to dine out on a weeknight when restaurants typically need more help filling seats. Tickets for the tasting are $45 in advance or $50 at the door, with proceeds benefiting the Restaurant Rebirth fund, which makes grants to local restaurants in need. Check the organization's Web site for updates on participating restaurants, tickets and other ways to donate.

Pho Filling

The first link in the Pho Tau Bay franchise of Vietnamese restaurants is back with the reopening of its original Gretna location (113 Westbank Expressway, 368-9846). The family owners, led by patriarch and matriarch Chao and Thu Cao , have all too much experience with rebuilding. During the 1960s, they had built up a chain of noodle shops in Saigon — now Ho Chi Minh City — but lost them when they fled their country at the end of the Vietnam War. Their extended family moved to America, made their way to the New Orleans area and in 1981 opened their first Pho Tau Bay. Three more restaurants followed in Metairie and New Orleans, and a fifth location was planned for the CBD when Hurricane Katrina struck, damaging all of their restaurants. The family also intends to reopen the Mid-City location, though no date has been set.

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