I would first of all like to thank those of you who’ve already sent me birthday wishes. This year the celebration of my entry into the world falls on a Sunday, and I am told that because of the pandemic the parade has been canceled. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I hope that you will all celebrate in your own way and at your own pace.

For my gift to myself, I bought a blender. It’s a Vitamix that I found on sale online and it has been refurbished, but it is still far more expensive than the last blender I bought at Wal-Mart, where my purchasing philosophy is, “I’ll buy the second least expensive model, because that saves money and hey it could be worse.”

This is not a philosophy I feel espouse, mind you, because I had to replace the toaster I bought six months ago after it made lightning when I tried to toast an English muffin. I could have put up with the lightning if it meant I had toast at the end of the day but it didn’t make toast and also we have children in the house.

I would like to direct your attention to the Houston Food Bank. They are facing a crisis now that mirrors what we experienced in the years following the levee failures. The damage isn’t anywhere near as catastrophic, but in the wake of the economic issues caused by the pandemic, they’ve got a lot of hungry people to feed. I can tell you the folks I’ve spoken with at Houston Food Bank were awesome. I encourage you to look into what they’re doing and help them if you can.

During a short period of pleasant weather recently I ate oysters at Felix’s Lakefront location. I love oysters and I have learned to shuck them. I don’t mind doing it if the shucking involves a couple dozen, but beyond that I’ll leave it to the professionals.

There are two essential things about the shucking process. The first is that you need to clean the oyster before you insert the knife. Oysters are beautiful, and when you take a raw oyster into your mouth you want to taste the oyster and the sea, not the beach.

The second thing is that you want a clean shuck. You want the oyster released from the shell in a way that doesn’t spill all the liquor surrounding the oyster.

Of the two, I think making sure there’s no mud in your oyster is the more important. If I have to use a knife to release the oyster before I eat it, I’m not put out. It’s not difficult and I’d much rather do that than have to let a half-dozen sit uneaten because nobody cared enough to get rid of the mud before opening the oyster.

The oysters at Felix’s were clean and delicious. There were five of us that afternoon and we went through 3 dozen in about 15 minutes. It took us that long because it was a business meeting. “No, YOU take that last one!” 

I like the Lakefront, and this is a very nice time of the year to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. Felix’s, like a lot of the other restaurants in the area, has a ton of outside seating. That’s welcome at any time, but during the pandemic it’s fantastic.

Things are a bit more expensive at the Lakefront than most areas of New Orleans, but I think most of us know that if you go to the Lakefront you’re going to pay a little more for your food.

We are not back to the golden age of restaurants on the lake. We may never be back there, but even now the dining experience is about more than what’s on the plate. To some extent when you dine on the lakefront you’re paying a premium to dine on the lakefront.

If that concept offends you, then perhaps take your business elsewhere? To me, eating oysters with a breeze coming off the lake is, if not priceless, at least worth the dollar or three that I’d save if I went elsewhere.

If you’ve been to the Lakefront recently and can recommend a place, please let me know.