WITH the toe-tapping strains of the Conservation Hall Band on the stereo, visions of Mardi Gras and Paul Prudomme start to dance in your mind. Then as the Bayou Catering Company blankets your dining table with huge platters of dirty rice, catfish stew, jambalaya, hush puppies and steaming hot bowls of spicy seafood gumbo, you would swear you were smack in the middle of the French Quarter. New Orleans never seemed closer. So save your fare and phone Bayou. For $2,000 you can bring 10 hungry people to a state of cajun euphoria. Phone or fax 574-5946/574-5344 (and don't forget to ask about their cooking classes, too). ORECCHIETTE, cicatelli, fusilli and capellini are but a handful of the colourful sounding pasta variations cooking up all over town. So put your familiar ravioli, spaghetti and linguini on the back burner for a while and go for it. You will find Capriccio, Nicholini's, Grappa's, Cafe Deco, Va Bene and Il Mercato's menus (among others) are filled with delicious homemade examples. Tutto Bene (in the depths of Kowloon) is worth the trip if only to sample its cappellacci stuffed with spinach and ricotta or itspositively wicked tartufissima, redolent of truffles and laden with a nice thick, fresh-tasting tomato and basil sauce. Mange, mange. TAI KOO SHING used to seem so far away, an endless trek from practically anywhere else. But thanks to the East Island Corridor, you can zip over from Wan Chai in six minutes flat. But I would go even if it took me half a day. Here is why: that marvellous market in the lower reaches of Uny Department Store. Basically Japanese but with a fair amount of global imports and local produce, too, I shop here for their meticulously shrink-wrapped veggies and exotic fruits, their food magazine-perfect fresh seafood including lobsters, crabs and eels swimming around in crystal-clear tanks. I go for their myriad varieties of sake, too, and the smiling young salesgirls who offer free tastes and sips as you shop. But above all, it is their fresher-than-fresh sashimi and sushi in mouth-watering abundance that are the majorlure. Next time, while your children are ice-skating upstairs, slip below and check it out. THOSE among us who go by the book when dining used to have limited resources from which to pick and choose kosher comestibles. Now, thanks to the Shalom Grill 'grocery store', a whole new world of delectable edibles can be ordered, and delivered free anywhere in Hong Kong. It is impossible to list all the items available (they have a five-page single-spaced list) but aside from a wide range of meat and poultry, there are such exotica as ready-dinners, pizzas, filo pastry sheets, feta and mozzarella, pickled eggplant, Cabernet and Riesling, ice cream cones and even mushroom risotto. Are you wondering if they have gefilte fish and chicken soup? Do not be meshuga. Just call 851-6300 or fax 765-6777 and they will send you the whole megillah.