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May 10, 201809:53 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

The Next Trend

Poke is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. It’s food that can be competently made in a fast-casual setting, it’s generally good for you and it’s sure as hell better than most of the alternatives. But with the recent announcement that a chain based in New York City is entering the fray, I feel that we need a new trend.

I began brainstorming earlier this afternoon while I was powdering my nose, but as it turns out most of my ideas had already been taken; e.g., “What if we had a long bar, and people came up to the bar, and someone was shucking oysters, and people could order raw oysters at the bar?” That’s already a thing.

Other ideas were described as “stupid” by everyone I asked, such as: “What if we open a vegan restaurant where everything on the menu looks like meat and smells like meat but tastes like suffering?” In fairness, to some people that’s already the case at vegan restaurants, though one person did suggest I might open such a place in New York City. It turns out opening a business there is very expensive.

So I went back to the drawing board only to come up with even more bad ideas like a self-serve “sushi” restaurant where you catch and eat live goldfish from a little bowl; Scandöffal, a Norwegian/Swedish restaurant that serves only the liver, kidneys, lungs and hearts of reindeer; and “Panda King” – turns out there are two problems with that one, first, there’s already a restaurant chain by that name, and second, it’s illegal to eat panda.

“Graze,” a restaurant where diners are presented with trenchers of artisanal grass (wattle signalgrass, native millet, woolybutt grass, etc.) but no utensils. Bib optional.

Combining the idea of “themed” restaurants such as Medieval Times with a popular dietary trend gave me the idea for “Paleo,” a restaurant serving an actual Stone Age menu of fruits, vegetables and grains genetically reverse-engineered to their ancient forms. Think corn cobs the size of gherkins; small, sour fruits and vegetables that bear almost no resemblance to their modern ancestors. Oh, and grubs. Lots of grubs.  

I tend to gravitate towards “ethnic” restaurants, so my next thought was to open a place serving a hyper-local regional cuisine found only in a single small village in the Swiss Alps and which only accepts Euros in payment, or perhaps the cuisine of Lesotho, because the cuisine of Lesotho is under represented in New Orleans.

None of those ideas got much traction. It turns out I am not very good at coming up with restaurant ideas. If you, however, have a good idea for a restaurant or other food-related business, I’d be happy to hear about it and pretend I came up with it. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.



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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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