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Reviews Published January 2nd, 2012 ACCESS PRESS KIT & LOGOS

The Dish: Artful Dining at Cafe NOMA by Ralph Brennan

After a long season of cramped department stores, family gatherings and endless eating, you deserve a little "me time." Why not enjoy a quiet, cultural respite and perhaps a light lunch? January is the final month to catch the artwork of Prospect.2, a great showcase of both local and international artists. Day passes are available at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Contemporary Art Center for $10 and, of course, there are perfect spots for a bite to eat along the way.

Café NOMA by Ralph Brennan, located inside the New Orleans Museum of Art, is a sunny café with large colorful couches placed in front of expansive picture windows, offering views of City Park's paddleboats and midday exercisers. Café NOMA offers lunch Tuesday through Sunday, perfect for taking a break from perusing the three stories of art, including Joseph Cornell's boxes and P.2 artist Jennifer Steinkamp's video instillation, "The Vanquished." The menu features light fare, such as panini, soups, salads and cheese and charcuterie plates. The "Choose Any Two" combination of half a panini and a cup of soup is a great way to warm up on a cold day and a perfect amount of food try the potato, bacon and leek soup and a pepper-roasted chicken slider with goat cheese and grape chutney.

There are also various vegetarian options. The wood-fired pizza with manchego, roasted garlic, sweet peppers and caramelized onions is great for sharing with a friend. So are the salads, which border on the larger side of the portions. The blueberry-and-arugula salad with ricotta salata cheese, toasted pecans and a blueberry-white balsamic dressing is a delicate and refreshing option. An ample selection of pastries including cookies big enough use as plates and coffee drinks, beer and wine are also available.

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