We here at Haute Plates Industries enjoy answering your questions about restaurants, dining and food. By “enjoy,” I mean “ignore,” but certain individuals who will go un-named but who employ Haute Plates Industries feel that Haute Plates Industries should answer questions* from time to time and thus, this column.
One question I get frequently is, “what is your favorite restaurant?” My response is usually that picking my favorite restaurant is like picking my favorite child but I have a favorite child so that doesn’t work. My backup response is that my favorite restaurant at any given time depends on what I feel like eating. I have had excellent meals at Café Degas, Luvi, Sofia and Galatoire’s recently. Those meals were very different, but I enjoyed them all.
The true answer is it’s a toss up between Coquette, Herbsaint, GW Fin’s and Bayona because I’ve had consistently awesome food at all of them.
Another question I often get is whether I receive free food at restaurants. I do not. I assume this is because I have such a charismatic and powerful presence (Charisma: 19) that restaurants are intimidated and do not wish to offend me by pretending to curry favor. I mean, most of the time the restaurants act like they don’t recognize me, but obviously this is a ruse. I have come to accept that this is the sort of thing that people with powerful presences are forced to deal with. Because of our powerful presences.
Here’s one from a regular reader: “Haute Plates, how are you able to write so eloquently and incisively about restaurants, dining and food generally all while maintaining your beautiful hair?” The truth is that I farm most of the writing out to a collective based in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and I cut my own hair with the aid of a mirror and various surgical implements.
First time reader “Boba F**k” (edited) asks, “I’ve heard it’s really hard for restaurants to find competent kitchen staff these days, is that true? Also, are you growing a beard, or are you just lazy?” I’ve heard that too, BF, and I believe it. I think there are a number of reasons for it, but at the top of the list is that it’s expensive to live in New Orleans.
It’s not just rent that’s high; it costs an exorbitant amount to insure a car here and public transportation is neither cheap or effective for most people. The streets are a disaster and once every six months or so we have to boil our tap water because the S&WB is a farce that we put up with year after year. Your car floods in a heavy rain and if you live in certain neighborhoods so does your house and it just so happens that hose neighborhoods tend to be the ones that are the least expensive so if you’re a cook or God forbid work front of house you’re screwed.
Do you have kids? Good luck getting them in a decent school unless you can afford private tuition and if you’re a line cook you can count that right out because your employer cannot afford to pay you enough to make that happen. It’s not even really your employer’s fault, because if your employer has a restaurant in a well-trafficked neighborhood your employer’s rent is stratospheric and on top of that is insurance and on top of all that are the usurious rates charged by credit card companies and the ever-proliferating delivery service vampires. Mind you, I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I’m not sure I could live anywhere else.
To answer the second part of your question: Lazy, but it looks good on me.
We here at Haute Plates Industries welcome your questions, and while we probably won’t answer them, you feel free to write us nonetheless.
*Some of the questions in this column were invented by the author.**
**It was all of them.