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Nov 7, 201310:21 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Local Spots Recognized for Their Noodles, Plus a Tale from Robert

Urbanspoon recently issued a press release about ramen:


“Now that we’re smack dab in the middle of fall, the taste of a hot, steaming bowl of noodles with rich broth, hot veggies, seafood and more is all we are craving... so Urbanspoon whipped up the 26 tastiest ramen hotspots in our top cites. With ramen still one of the hottest trends in dining, this list features the top noodle shops in some of our top markets to help you ward off a winter cold or flu in no time.”


Two New Orleans restaurants made the cut, Noodle & Pie and Pho Tau Bay, which the release identifies as Ph Tau Bay. I have it on good authority that Noodle & Pie dishes up some excellent ramen, and there are a few other places in town where you can get the Japanese staple – Ninja, Little Tokyo Small Plates & Noodle Bar and Lucky Rooster being a few. Pho Tau Bay, on the other hand, doesn't serve ramen unless they've changed their menu entirely in the last several months. And no, pho is not the same thing.

Do with this information what you will; I'm just passing it along.

And in other news….

[Editor’s Note: The following is a fun and satirical tale from Robert Peyton.]

It was a dark and stormy night. Thunder clapped, lightning flashed, our server was overly friendly, and the place was so loud it reminded me of a 1988 Dash Rip Rock concert. “HI I'M THAD AND I'LL BE YOUR SERVER TONIGHT HOW ARE YOU FOLKS ::SMILE::”

It's hard being me, kids. I have to deal with loud restaurants, inconsistent service, the jealousy of my peers and being largely unappreciated by the Hollywood establishment. But there are perks, too. Now and again I find a nickel, and sometimes it's not in the tip jar at PJ's. I have a bitchin' wife and a sweet ride, and due to a glandular problem, my poop does not stink. All but the last bit I owe to my relationship with New Orleans Magazine.

So when I got a call from Errol “Superfly” Laborde recently, asking me if I could help him out with a project, I said yes. Had I known the hazards the “project” would involve, I might have decided differently. I have 17 children, after all.

“The first thing you need to know,” Superfly told me, “is that you don't need to know anything.” He's like that. Sometimes he speaks in riddles, and sometimes I'm drunk, but either way it's hard to understand him. “Your mission, should you accept it, is to infiltrate a restaurant kitchen and learn what you can about the chef.”

“Doesn't sound so bad, boss,” I said.

“He's from Liechtenstein,” was his response.

That's when I should have said no. That's when I should have told Superfly to find someone else. McNally, maybe; that guy's tough as nails and colder than a chilled white wine, which to be fair really shouldn't be served all that cold. Or maybe Forman, who once cut a man open with a baguette for preferring Gorgonzola over Roquefort. Either one would have been a better choice than I, but I'd already committed, at least as far as Superfly was concerned. I won't say he threatened me, but no, yes, I will, because he threatened me and at least 14 of my children. He'd have threatened all 17, but he couldn't remember all of their names, and honestly neither can I.

Liechtenstein is a nasty little place full of nasty little people. The worst of them become chefs, and those who lack even the modicum of talent to satisfy the philistines who populate Liechtenstein are exported to the U.S. Once they arrive, they pretend to be French and work in bistros while running drugs or dealing in the lucrative illegal felt trade. Nobody messes with the Liechtensteiners, but that's exactly what Superfly was asking me to do.

“What's the angle, boss?” I asked.

“It's bad, Peyton. This restaurant, they're advertising frog legs on the menu...” he trailed off.

“What is it, boss?”

“It's kittens, Peyton. Kittens.” He wiped a tear from his cheek with his tie, then fixed me with a steely glare, as lighting clapped and thunder thundered outside of his office. He didn't need to say any more. He's got a soft spot for kittens. “Thing is, Peyton, they were delicious. I had no idea they weren't frog legs until later...” He trailed off again. In the silence, I could almost hear the little meows, then I realized Superfly was making mewling noises. I took my leave.

Within two hours, THAD was greeting me like a long-lost brother. It was going to be a long night, and I wasn't sure what I was getting into. I would soon learn what it was like to cross a Liechtensteiner...


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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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