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Sep 22, 201610:28 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene



There aren’t many cities that have a food culture like New Orleans. We love cooking, eating and sharing the table with friends and family to a degree that’s normally associated with Europeans (well, the French, Spanish and Italians, anyway). You sometimes hear that our food is staid, or old-fashioned, but you generally hear that from people who don’t appreciate that good food can be more than novel.

There is nothing wrong with new and inventive cuisine, just as there is nothing wrong with holding onto traditional recipes. The difference between New Orleans and, say, Atlanta, is that New Orleans actually has traditional recipes that don’t exist elsewhere.

None of which is news, exactly, but it did seem relevant given the news I am about to impart about a restaurant celebrating 160 years of service, and a soon to be released documentary about one of the true grande dames of the New Orleans restaurant world.

First up: Tujague’s has been hosting dinners for months to commemorate the 160 years it has been operating in the Quarter. They’re wrapping things up at the end of the month with a Grand Finale Anniversary Dinner & Culinary Demonstration on Thursday, September 29, at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum’s Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air. (SOFABRCICJA or somesuch, I believe).

It’ll be a five-course dinner, with wine pairings, and also an opportunity for newly-named executive chef Guy Sockrider to debut. Author of the Tujague’s cookbook, media maven and general bon vivant Poppy Tooker will be on hand, as will Tujague’s owner Mark Latter.


Things start with a cocktail at 6:30. The menu is as follows:


First Course

Brisket of Beef with Creole Horseradish Sauce

CVNE Vina Real Crianza, 2011


Second Course

Shrimp Absinthe

Gulf Shrimp, Absinthe Fennel Cream, Housemade Buttermilk Biscuit

Vino Laurio Grillo Giardinello, 2014


Third Course

Jumbo Lump Crab and Brie Soup

Pine Ridge Chardonnay, 2014


Fourth Course

Gulf Grouper Cardinal

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Crawfish Beurre Blanc

Albert Bichot Chablis Reserve de l'Orangerie, 2014


Fifth Course

French Market Latte Crème Brulee

NV Broadbent 5 Year Reserve Madeira


I very much enjoyed the dinner I attended a couple of months ago at Tujague’s, and I have a feeling this is going to be a good time as well. Tickets are $90, all-inclusive, and require a reservation, which you can obtain by calling 504-525-8876. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is located at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. If you have not been, you’re missing out. It’s a pretty swell joint, and the demonstration kitchen is particularly well thought out.

In other news, the world premiere of a documentary about Ella Brennan will be held at the Orpheum Theater on October 14, at 8:30 p.m., as a part of the 27th New Orleans Film Festival. "Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table" is the name of the film, which is narrated by Patricia Clarkson and directed by Leslie Iwerks. Because I love you, I will share a few bits from the press release I received recently:


Before the food business became show business, one woman led the way. Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table follows Brennan’s life steeped in the world of New Orleans dining. At age 18, Brennan went to work at her brother’s bar on Bourbon Street. The New Orleans dining scene had no idea what was about to hit it. The film tracks her work as a pioneer of the modern American food movement, and follows her years of collaboration with chefs like Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse to bring Creole and Cajun flavors into the national vocabulary. Brennan lead Commander’s Palace to be the only spot in the country to earn Zagat’s Most Popular Restaurant Award 18 years in a row. In 2009, Brennan was awarded with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the James Beard Foundation.

Brennan’s influence reaches far and wide, as evidenced by the friends and industry stars that count her as inspiration in the film such as Daniel Boulud, Danny Meyer, Jeremiah Tower, Drew Nieporent, Leah Chase and many more. The unveiling of the documentary will follow close on the heels of a new memoir of Brennan’s career penned with Ti Martin, Brennan’s daughter and co-proprietor of the Commander’s Family of Restaurants, Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace, to be released September 13, 2016.


There’s a question and answer session scheduled after the showing with the film’s “subjects, director and producers”, and that alone may be reason enough to go. You can find information about the festival, including how to purchase tickets, by clicking here.

I’m a fan of Commander’s Palace, and that means I’m a fan of Ella Brennan. It’s looking unlikely I’ll make the premiere, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the picture in the near future. If you go, do send me a note with your review.


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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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