What A Week!

Thalia opens, Old Coffee Pot closes and Robert is cut by a kitchen knife

Item: I am very happy that I have knives that take a sharp edge and the tools to keep them that way right up until I slice off the tip of a finger or, in this case, a thumb. Bad news: I cut the holy hell out of my thumb. Good news: I wrote a brilliant haiku about it. To wit:

My thumbnail falls off

Like a snowflake in the night;

Except, disgusting.

Item: Thalia has opened. I have not been yet, but the folks behind it (chefs Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus) are brilliant and their other restaurant, Coquette, is one of the best in the city.

I have had a number of revelatory dining experiences in my life, and a half-dozen in New Orleans. One of those was at Coquette, and it was a selection of vegetables cooked perfectly and seasoned beautifully. I believe chef Stoltzfus told me later that it was “accidentally” vegan. In other words, he wasn’t thinking about the dish as “vegetarian.” I already liked the guy, but that made me realize what a talent he is. I can say the same about Chef Essig from her time in the kitchen at Meauxbar, where I dined happily and regularly steered friends looking for a place to eat well before or after a concert at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Together, they’ve done things like offer fried chicken and champagne dinners on, I believe, a more or less monthly basis, and they’ve mentored at least one local chef who’s since gone on to open his own joints: Mason Hereford, of Turkey and the Wolf got his start at Coquette.

Thalia is a more casual place, it appears – a neighborhood joint but a neighborhood joint done by the kids who run Coquette. I am looking forward to checking it out in the near future and will report on my findings.

 

Item: I picked up a device that my mother purchased from the television that is intended to cut things into cubes, or possibly rectangles. It was lightly used and remains so. I will update you as the situation requires, but I would not hold my breath were I you unless I was underwater.

 

Item: The Old Coffee Pot closed earlier this year after the owners of the place made a terrible, terrible mistake in allowing Gordon Ramsay, who after a short career as the soccer equivalent of a mob enforcer somehow convinced people that he could cook and more impressively that he could instruct failing restaurateurs how to do better by calling them donkeys.

One wonders why anyone would give Ramsay the opportunity to, metaphorically, crap all over them but this is the United States in 2019 and reality television is very important. In any event, Ramsay obviously found much wanting in the Old Coffee Pot’s operations while it was still the Old Coffee Pot, and then a worldwide television audience saw his findings and the Old Coffee Pot closed.

I am expressly not linking those two things, because I have no idea whether they are linked. No doubt the Old Coffee Pot had some reason for inviting the Scottish fellow into their establishment, and perhaps it would have closed regardless of Ramsay’s fruitless efforts to save it. Alas.

But the folks behind Café Beignet have stepped in to reopen the Old Coffee Pot, and I would expect the place to stay much the same. I’ll be honest: I am the only person I know to have dined at the Old Coffee Pot in the last decade who was also born in New Orleans. It was actually pretty good, so I mourned its passing and I’m happy that it’s going to continue in operation because we need places that keep local food traditions alove, and the Old Coffee Pot was one of the only places in town to serve calas without irony and/or white tablecloths.

Let’s hope the new Old Coffee Pot improves on the version that Scottish wanker tried to impose on us.

 

 

Categories: Food News, Haute Plates, Restaurants

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