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Nov 29, 201810:33 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Fish and Et Cetera!



One of my favorite restaurants in town, GW Fins, has a couple of announcements. First, on Dec. 5 and 6 the restaurant will have a seven-course dinner celebrating the feast of the seven fishes. The seating is communal, and some of the seven courses are served family style while others are served individually. It costs $95 a head and that does not include tax or tip.

Then for three weekends in December, GW Fins will also open for lunch. It’s a once a year thing, so make a reservation if you want a spot on Dec. 7, 14 or 21.

Speaking of fish, and we were, Whole Foods has recently started carrying sardines again. I’m not talking about the fish in a can, though those can be pretty good too. I’m talking about whole, fresh (previously frozen) sardines.

If all you’ve had is the canned kind, you should give the fresh(ish) version a shot. They’re strongly flavored and extremely rich, so you don’t need a lot of them to make a meal if you pair them with pasta or bread or another starch. I like to grill them or make an escabeche by dusting them in flour and then frying them before marinating them in vinegar, herbs, garlic and peppers. Once you fillet them, it’s very easy to pull their spines and rib bones out, though the latter are so thin they tend to disintegrate if you cook them.

Three of the little fish went for less than $3 when I bought them last, and that was more than enough for me after I grilled them and made a pasta sauce with tomatoes, capers, grilled peppers and onions. I even used the last of the tiny cherry tomatoes my plants produced this year.

This week, I also learned from Ian McNulty that Tales of the Cocktail is opening a venue on Camp Street. It’s in the spot that has most recently been a catering venue called Pigeon & Squeak or Pigeon and the Birdman or Prince Pigeon or something similar but which was much more importantly once Le Foret. I’ve been a fan of Tales since it started, but I’m not going to hold out a great deal of hope the new place will make me forget Le Foret.

The new place is going to be called “Storyteller x Tales,” where the “x” is supposed to mean “by.” The weird thing is that there is already a perfectly good word for “by.”

It is by.

It is a small word and indeed only one letter more than “x,” so I scarcely think the decision not to go with “by” was made on the basis of verbal parsimony. I suspect it was used in place of the more common “#” or “@,” but those symbols at least have the advantage of being understood by the young and those of us who have married younger people.

The advantage that “by” has over “x,” at least as in this context when one wants to convey the identity of an actor responsible for something is that “by” is already universally understood as identifying the actor performing an action.

It is a small nit to pick, but I am small minded sometimes.



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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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