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Mar 8, 201810:48 AM
Haute Plates

A weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

My Birthday


I had a lovely birthday yesterday.

I woke around 4:00 a.m. and could not go back to sleep, but that problem was moot when the plumbers called at 7:30 a.m. to say they were on their way to fix the leak in the water line that supplies my house. I was up for the long haul at that point.

I hope your experience with plumbers is as good as mine with Lenny’s Plumbing, and I heartily recommend them despite the abomination that is their website. Their motto should be some variation on: “WHAT, YOU WANT US TO BE GOOD AT PLUMBING, OR GOOD AT WEB DESIGN?”

I planned to cook something for myself on my birthday, and when I was at Martin’s Wine Cellar over the weekend, I picked up a frozen medallion of foie gras. I figured I could throw $9 at a couple of ounces of fatty duck liver once a year.

I was not disappointed with my decision, because while I did spend about $9 for six bites of food, I enjoyed the process – and the result.

Foie gras is mostly fat. If you cook it too long, it will essentially melt. The thing to do is sear it quickly in a very hot pan. I did that and served it over a piece of toasted baguette from Bellegarde, with a salad of arugula from my garden and a blood orange sauce.

I found the recipe for the sauce at Serious Eats, and it involved poaching a whole orange in a spiced simple syrup for an hour, then putting it in a blender with the resulting liquid. As I had never before puréed an entire orange, I was intrigued. After straining, the resulting sauce was a bit thinner than intended, but it tasted delicious and I now have two cups of orange-cinnamon-cardamom simple syrup in my fridge in addition to a fair amount of leftover purée.

In the image attached, you may note white and purple flowers in the salad. The white flowers are arugula; the purple are wood sorrel. Odds are good that if you are outside and look down, you’ll see them popping up among what looks like clover. They have a tart flavor.

In other news, Avo is now serving brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An excerpt from the press release:

A sample of Chef Lama’s brunch menu starts with small plates including a house-made pastry basket ($15), pesto deviled eggs ($9), meatballs and polenta ($14), and an everything spice bagel flatbread with smoked salmon, capers, red onion and leek cream ($15). Large plates include spaghetti alla carbonara ($18), tuna and orzo ($21), hanger steak & soft scrambled eggs ($24) and eggs in a hole in purgatory, which is gnocchi alla Romana, egg, sausage, peppers, and arrabbiata ($19). Lama also offers sides of fingerling potato, polenta parmigiana or house-made Italian sausage ($5).

Brunch is not my jam, as the kids say, but that looks pretty good. Check out the seizure-inducing gif at restaurantavo.com if you would like to know more. 


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Haute Plates

A 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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