More Room for Small Plates Best known for its excellent Latin American-inspired seafood, RioMar (800 S. Peters St., 525-3474; www.riomarseafood.com) has also made a solid lunchtime sideline of tapas, those small servings of Spanish savories so popular and widely reinterpreted around the U.S. these days. Now, with a bar and lounge expansion completed, chef Adolfo Garcia is serving them at night as well. Garcia says his menu will change frequently, but initial offerings include a selection of Spanish cured meats, cheeses, white anchovies, tuna with smoked paprika, stuffed sweet peppers, marinated mussel salad, octopus with pimentos and sea salt, garlic shrimp and pressed sandwiches. Most tapas are priced at $5. RioMar also plans to make the bar area available for private parties with tapas and paella. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday. Spicer on the Shelves This week, publisher Alfred A. Knopf officially unveils chef Susan Spicer 's first cookbook, Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans. To promote it, Spicer will serve a selection of dishes from the book all this week at Bayona (430 Dauphine St., 525-4455; www.bayona.com). The new cookbook contains more than 170 recipes, ranging from Southern- and New Orleans-inspired dishes like cornmeal-crusted crawfish pies and spiced pecans to Asian recipes to familiar dishes from Bayona's menu. For instance, Spicer includes the recipe for grilled shrimp and black bean cakes, long a staple appetizer at the restaurant, and smoked duck hash with apple cider sauce. Dogs with Pedigree While the hot dogs discussed in this week's review of Easy Dogs (307 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna, 367-1001; www.neworleanseasydogs.com) may remind locals of home cooking, they are certainly a world away from what people from the Midwest recognize and revere as their own region's hot-dog style. For a taste of that, head to Shaggy's (4413 Banks St., 484-4440), a hot-dog stand and fried-seafood joint in Mid-City behind Banks Street Bar. Shaggy's serves hot dogs, Polish sausage and bratwurst with a variety of toppings, but its specialty is a Chicago-style hot dog. This means a Vienna-brand frank topped with tomato wedges, a thick pickle spear, chopped raw onions, mustard, celery salt, pugnacious little sport peppers and relish of a glowing green hue unknown to nature, all on a poppy seed bun.
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