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Apr 23, 201510:26 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Things Are Busy

Seared tuna over kimchi salad at Brennan's

I have been busy this week. In addition to the usual distractions life has seen fit to throw my way, I had the honor of participating in a conference involving many lawyers, and the concomitant pleasure of dining with friends and colleagues from various places across the country who were also in attendance.

I am fortunate to live in New Orleans for many reasons, not least because Your Author was able to take credit for organizing a dinner for 30 or so people at Bayona Monday night, when all Your Author really did was call and ask, “Can you do 30 or so people for dinner on Monday night?” Your Author may have suggested it was more a more complicated endeavor, but let’s keep that between us, shall we?

One of my colleagues is vegan, and while I am fond of vegetables, and eat vegetarian meals from time to time, it is usually inadvertent. You might think finding a vegan meal in New Orleans would present a problem, but in truth, just about any restaurant worth its salt can produce an excellent vegan meal, and most of the time such a “challenge” brings out the best in a chef. That was true at Bayona, and, on a previous occasion, at Coquette as well.

But it’s one thing to have a meal at a place that’s making an effort to accommodate you, and another to dine at a restaurant where vegan is the standard, so one night this week I returned to Seed for dinner with my vegan friend. He’d read about it, and asked me my opinion. I have to admit that when I told him that I’d had a good meal there, my memory was vague. I was briefly worried I’d misremembered, but then I looked at the menu online and it came back to me.

I did have a good meal at Seed, and now I can say I’ve had more than one.

I cannot emphasize enough that I do not routinely eat truly vegan food, and I am not entirely comfortable with calling something non-dairy, “cheese,” but I can tell you that the “queso” at Seed is very good, if not actually queso (it’s made of cashews). It’s one of the choices for a dipping sauce with the fried, chickpea-battered tofu, and as nachos, with a roasted corn salsa and guacamole. You will not really be fooled into thinking you’re eating melted cheese, but if you can get past that, and accept it for what it is, I think you’ll find it’s delicious.

After two excellent meals on two subsequent nights, I found myself needing to step away from the conference with another colleague to discuss a case on which we’re working. It is true that we could have had our meeting in a more prosaic setting than I chose, but she had never been to Brennan’s, and … Yet another outstanding meal.

As I write this, I have been at home for several hours, as my colleagues – hopefully – enjoy themselves on their last night in New Orleans. The conference ends today, you see, and if any are staying for the weekend, they did not tell me. Following the panel I moderated this afternoon, I took a small group to Patrick’s Bar Vin for a glass of wine before I went home to the family and they went out for the night.

The weather has been nice these last few days, and Patrick’s small patio is just far enough off Bourbon that you can hold a conversation. Also, there is Patrick Van Hoorebeek. He is my favorite Belgian (Sorry, Jean).

In other news, Brennan’s is hosting a dinner featuring the wines of Veuve Clicquot this evening. Here is the relevant portion of the press release:


On Thursday, April 23 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Veuve Clicquot brings the beloved Veuve Clicquot Rosé to New Orleans for the first time with a unique Rosé pairing dinner featuring winemaker Pierre Casenave at local landmark, Brennan’s. The dinner experience aims to share a taste of Veuve Clicquot’s rich history and heritage with New Orleanians and also provide guests with a memorable and fun evening. Winemaker Pierre Casenave will offer pairing inspirations for each course of Brennan’s original menu with Veuve Clicquot’s Rosé champagnes. Brennan’s, also known as “The Big Pink”, embodies both the true spirit of New Orleans and along with the exquisite taste of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, the two create the ultimate dining experience.

Tickets include a three-course menu paired with Veuve Clicquot champagnes and live entertainment. Tickets are available for $150 here


When I had lunch at Brennan’s recently, I saw the cases of champagne being readied for this dinner. Thirsty work, that. I also confirmed that tickets were still available (at least as of this writing) so check it out if you are interested, or if you are looking to have a great dinner and can’t find anywhere else because of all the folks in town for Jazz Fest…

Finally, I have been considering breaking into the television or movie business, and based on the wild success of the “50 Shades of Grey” series (which was of course “fan fiction” derived from the “Twilight” series). I haven’t read a word of either series, but I hear they’re super-awesome!

So I thought, “Hey, what else is supposed to be super-awesome that I have not read, seen or experienced in any way?” Witness my elevator pitch for a television series I call “Paul Blort, Food Court Cop”:

Overweight and accident-prone security guard Paul Blort patrols a large food court inside a suburban shopping center. Blort drives a humorously customized golf court, and frequently mistakes law-abiding mall patrons for scofflaws and rule-flouters. Hilarity ensues when e-coli, found in soft-serve ice cream, causes an outbreak of “stomach flu,” hospitalizing dozens. 


Great, right? How about this one:


Clumsy, big-boned security guard Paul Blort enters the mall food court in a series of rolls, spins and stumbles, stopping only after striking a large, hirsute motorcycle enthusiast. Tensions escalate until the biker discovers that he is also named “Blort.” Realizing that all men are brothers, the man moves to embrace Blort. Lessons are learned, but quickly forgotten, as Blort tasers the man in the crotch. Cue laughter.




Monday: Paul Blort, hefty and graceless, eats frozen lasagna and falls on a cat. Hilarious.


I can only apologize that I have withheld my talent from you for so long, my friends.


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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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