— Uptown Creole restaurant Upperline has some new talent in the kitchen: according to NOLA.com, chef James Cullen is now at the burners at the 35-year-old classic. He brings experience from restaurants like Treo, St. Lawrence, Press Street Station, and the Southern Yacht Club. He reportedly isn’t planning changes for Upperline’s offerings.
— Vicky Bayley, the owner of Abita Spring restaurant Artesia (open in the ‘90s and ‘00s, but now closed), is getting back into the biz in the Northshore. Per NOLA.com, she’ll open wine bar and small plates spot St. Ann Wine Bar in Mandeville, taking over the former Bourré location. She’s joined on the project by Jeff James, who moves over from sommelier duties at Madisonville meat spot Keith Young’s Steakhouse. Expect it to open any day.
— Galatoire’s is bringing back its annual Christmas auction for round 13 — it happens Monday, December 3, with profits directed to crisis center Vialink, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, and the Galatoire Foundation. One notable item on offer is the right to reserve a table on Galatoire’s no-reservations first floor — for the Friday before Christmas, perhaps the restaurant’s busiest day of the year. Reservations are $25 per person, reserve online.
— Speaking of fundraisers, chef Isaac Toups’ restaurant Toups South is also throwing something seasonal — a drag brunch on December 2, with three courses and bottomless mimosas for $60 (tax and tip not included). The menu includes a butternut squash-crab bisque, short rib poutine, and poached shrimp salad — and of course, a drag queen show, with proceeds going to CrescentCare’s NO/AIDS taskforce. Reserve via the restaurant.
— Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse and bean company Camellia want to fling free red beans and rice at New Orleanians tomorrow (Wednesday, November 21) — go get ‘em at the Keller, Algiers, and Norman Mayer public libraries, Sanchez Recreation Center, and Carrollton/Hollygrove Senior Center.