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Feb 8, 201808:05 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Veganism and a Great Lunch Deal

 

Recently a friend and colleague let me know he was going to be in town, and asked whether I was free for lunch. I’ve known this friend for a long time, and we’ve had a lot of meals together. A few years ago he became a vegan, and when I first learned, I thought it would be difficult to dine out with him in the same way we’d done when he ate animal products. 

While it does limit one’s options when dining out, there are more and more vegetarian and vegan dining options here, and most fine-dining restaurants will happily accommodate a vegan if you give them some advanced notice. That was certainly the case when we dined at Coquette and Bayona, for example. We also dined at Seed a number of times.

Oddly, in January another friend came to town with his family and while they were here we hosted them for dinner. My friend and his son are vegan, and thus so was our meal; I made a vegetable stew with Moroccan flavors, a carrot salad, some pickled vegetables and cous cous. I’ve been eating a lot more vegetables lately, and while I’m not going to give up meat, I do find myself cooking vegetarian and sometimes vegan meals inadvertently more and more often these days.

I’m going through another of my “cuisines of the world” phases at the moment – this time the food of the Indian subcontinent – and while most of what I’m cooking includes dairy (I make ghee and sometimes the quick cheese known as paneer), it’s mostly vegetarian.   

So it was a bit ironic when my most recent visitor told me he was no longer vegan. He was staying at a hotel on Canal Street, and asked me to pick a spot for lunch. I settled on the Grill Room at the Windsor Court, because I hadn’t been there in a while and because I am very fond of their lunch special.

The special (click on “Plate Lunch” after following that link) is a riff on the “meat and three” lunch plates you see all over the South. You pick a main course from choices that currently include shrimp scampi, a pork taco and gulf fish almondine. You then pick three items from a diverse list of “sides,” and the whole meal comes out at once.

The portions for the mains are a bit smaller than you’d get if you ordered them a la carte, but I’ve never left the table hungry and the quality of the food is top-notch. The meal ends with three small scoops of assorted sorbets, and currently there is a $2 martini special.

I will admit to having one of those when I dined with my friend last week, and under the right circumstances (a long, celebratory lunch when I had nothing serious to do the rest of the day and did not have to drive) I could see myself hitting the 3-per-customer limit. Finally, the restaurant will validate your valet parking.

I don’t get to see my friend very often, and thus when I do, I’m not going to recommend a restaurant that I’m not confident will be excellent. It occurs to me that this may be a new way for me to judge how much I like a place – is it somewhere I’d take a friend or client? That’s a topic for another day, perhaps.

 

 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

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 here 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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