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Thai-er Ground
No more hummus at this East Side address. Welcome the flavors of Thailand.

Tongue Thai-ed
Aom Nueakaew owns the new Jow Nai Fouquet, a little Thai fusion restaurant that’s settled in the old digs of Abu’s Jerusalem of the Gold (1978 N. Farwell Ave.) Ms. Nueakaew, a native of Thailand, has two influences for the restaurant's moniker – her son, whom she calls "Jownai," and the restaurant Fouquet’s in Paris. The significance of "Fouquet" for Ms. Nueakaew is that it shows her interest in cuisines beyond Thai. That will be notice-able, she says, at her new restaurant, where she is also the chef. Her appetizers range from deep-fried beef jerky and chicken satay to Bangkok quesadilla and spring rolls ($5.95-$7.95). Entrées go heavily into curries – green, red and yellow  – as well as volcano shrimp, fish and chicken ($11.50-$15.95). Currently, Jow Nai Fouquet is open for dinner Tues-Sun, from 5 p.m. Next week, lunch service begins – Tues-Fri 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Weekend hours: Sat 3 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sun 3-9:30 p.m. (414-270-1010)

Five Digits
What would Honoré de Balzac say? You know, Honoré – the French guy who wrote novels and plays during the first half of the 19th century. I’m thinking if he went to Balzac (1716 N. Arlington Pl., 414-755-0099), he wouldn’t get all philosophical. He’d just eat a "sac mac." That’s the wine bar/restaurant’s term for its cavatappi with blue cheese béchamel and toasted panko breadcrumb topping. If old Honoré showed up on a weekday between 4 and 6 p.m., he could get make himself comfortable with the specials (cheese flights, small frites and the sac mac) and $5 by-the-glass wines and Rehorst cocktails. But enough on Honoré. Balzac has also made some menu revisions for winter. The small plate focus is back. New offerings in that department include braised lamb shank, oxtail pot pie, duck fat poutine, and canapés topped with pimento and cheese or foie gras mousse ($4-$14). The sandwiches are gone, and the pizzas have gotten a little more attention. Kitchen hours: Tues-Thurs 4-11 p.m.; Fri-Sat 4 p.m.-midnight; Sun 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

A Wardian Christmas
Everywhere I turn, sparkly lights. Garlands. Elvis singing "Blue Christmas." And events like this weekend’s Christmas in the Ward (Dec. 2-3). Two days of nonstop Xmas cheer. (It might even cure the old Grinch in me....). Along with horse-drawn carriage rides and a window-decorating contest, there will be a cookie sale (Fri 5-8 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m.-2 p.m.). Whole Foods Market, Miller Bakery and Outpost Natural Foods are among the participants; the proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin. There are advantages to coming on both days. On Friday only, adults can partake in cocoa cocktails, plus there will be food trucks selling pizza and grilled cheese. Saturday is the eating and ambling phenomenon called Taste and Stroll (11 a.m.-6 p.m.). Restaurants like Club Charlies, Ryan Braun’s Graffito, Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub and Café Benelux will offer $5 small plates and holiday drinks. Start revving your appetite for grilled lollipop lamb chops with eggplant macadamia nut pesto; smoked Gouda and pepper jack grilled cheese; and crawfish and andouille sausage-stuffed eggrolls.

Look for Dish on Dining on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

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If you spot a restaurant opening or closing, post it on the comments section of my column, or e-mail me directly: ann.christenson@milwaukeemagazine.com

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