Oct 15, 200912:00 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

A (Mostly) Accurate Introduction

Photo courtesy of Robert Peyton

This is my inaugural post for the Haute Plates blog, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to give you a sense of what you might expect. If you read New Orleans Magazine, you might be familiar with me from the Restaurant Insider column. It’s possible that you’re also familiar with my Web site, www.appetites.us. I expect this blog to be a happy medium between the more formal writing I do for the Insider and the fairly ridiculous things I write for Appetites.

This is a place where I can tell you about restaurants and dining news that you might find interesting, and to that end, I’d like to take suggestions from you. What restaurants would you like to know more about? Where have you been recently? Why do fools fall in love? Is there an ingredient or style of food you’d like to see covered?    

I’ve always found that one of the things that makes New Orleans different is that I can walk up to just about anyone and start a conversation about at least three things: the Saints, the weather and “what have you eaten lately?”  I hope we can have that kind of conversation here. Although I can’t promise to act on every request or suggestion, I’ll do my best. Food is my passion, and I love making my passion useful. Well, that –– and the fine people at Renaissance Publishing have promised me salted cashews if I write well. God, I love salted cashews. They're nature’s perfect kidney-shaped food!

So to start things off: I won’t say too much because I’m writing about it for the Insider, but recently I had a chance to eat at Le Foret, which opened this month at 129 Camp St. I was impressed by the experience.

I saw the menu for the first time a couple of months ago, and I thought then that if they pulled such an ambitious menu off, it would be a remarkable restaurant. Having sampled the food, I can now say that if they can do consistently what I experienced the other night, it will be one of the best restaurants in the city. Being consistent is no easy task, mind you, but I can confirm that chef Jimmy Corwell is at least capable of producing outstanding food.

In the next few weeks, I’ll try to hit a variety of spots, from the casual to the high-end. It would be a great help if you’d let me know what you want to read about. I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but my ego is pretty fragile, and if I don’t get at least a few comments, I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up in a dark closet, alone and crying. And nobody wants that, right?



Reader Comments:
Oct 15, 2009 12:07 pm
 Posted by  pucci27

I am very excited to read your blog. I want to encourage to write even if I don't always comment. Having lived in New Orleans for 8 years and been gone for more than that I have to live through my friends and whatever comments or news blurbs I can scout out. I will read your articles and try to visit some of your recommendations on my JetBlue excusions to the big easy -- which never are as many as I would like. Good luck and bon appetit.

Oct 15, 2009 02:41 pm
 Posted by  sscarbro

I am eager to read your blog. I am in Atlanta currently but my number one mission in life is to move to New Orleans. Any job oppotunities, I am all ears! I visit often in the mean time and nothing better than going to new (and old) restaurants. PLannig a trip in about a month, so get busy with the reveiws! :-)

Oct 27, 2009 11:11 am
 Posted by  beachtoes

Congratulations on your new blog! Quite a fun thing to do, eat great food and comment on it. I understand about the fragile ego also. No dark closets please :) LOL.

I'd like to take a minute to make a comment on your slightly flippant remark about Chef Corwell being at least "capable" of producing outstanding food.

He is a more than "capable" chef. He has lifelong trained and studied his craft. He further is one of 60 +/- Certified Master Chefs in the States. Many make that claim but are not actually the real deal. He is the real thing.

At some point he will need a day off and someone much less trained may not make quite that same dish, they may be a little off. It is their turn to get trained and crafted so they too can live thier dream of being a highy skilled and passionate chef. Let me ask you, does a great attorney become one on a wish and a dream? Or is it crafted, skilled, highly educated and thoughtful work that leads him to be superior to the rest.Chef Corwell's job will be in producing outstanding food as well as training his staff to be great culinarians. But at some point he has to let them have a go.

I wish Jimmy Corwell, CMC, the very best in his endeavor in New Orleans, as I wish you the utmost joy in eating around town and writing about it.

And aren't you fortunate that you get to eat such outstanding food anytime!!!

I was there Sunday night. The food was SUPERB!I had tastings of every item on the menu, specially created for me and I found each dish to be focused,very thoughtful with great and balanced flavor profiles. The Seared Fois Gras was perfection as was every dish I had. Sadly, I had no room left for dessert.

Congratulations Le Foret!

Robert, I wish you both the best!

Oct 28, 2009 06:43 pm
 Posted by  Robert

Beachtoes, thanks for the comment. I'm coming out of my closet momentarily to respond. I certainly didn't mean my comment about Chef Corwell's capability to be flippant, and I'm sorry it came out that way. What I was trying to express was that, while the restaurant has only been open a short time, my meal demonstrated that Corwell can do some really great stuff. Time will tell whether he can keep up the level of cooking I've experienced twice not, but I'm with you - I think he will. There are folks who will tell you not to visit a restaurant until it's been open for some period of time; I'm not one of them. It's true that a restaurant's opening weeks and months are a time for it to work out kinks with the menu and the service, but on the two visits I've made to Le Foret, I have yet to find any kinks.

Thanks again for the comment,


Oct 30, 2009 05:56 pm
 Posted by  beachtoes

Thanks Robert. I agree with your last comment that it does take time to build a team and work out kinks. I think the young team at Le Foret should be incredibly proud of all of the hard work they have done on such a short time.

I have not been as fortunate as you and have only eaten there once, but got to sample everything on the menu and it was all excellent. I wish them the best success and will return when I am back in town.

Love the new article. Enjoy all the food :)

Best Wishes.

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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 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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