Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ruth's Scoop, Into the Fire, and Cocktails and Movies

From the Palm Room Hostess, thanks. The Lease between Ruth's Chris and Harrah's New Orleans has been signed. Following minor renovations, Ruth's will open in the space that was formerly Todd English's Riche, and then just Riche. Slated to open in April, be on the lookout for more insider info.

Some other random connections/thoughts here.
Tiffani Fallon, the runner-up on Top Chef I, worked as the opening chef of Todd English's Riche.
The Riche interior was very unique. Marble-topped tables, large mirrors, drapes, almost burlesque. Lady and I ate there one time for an Eat Club Dinner and really enjoyed it, but I can see why it did not last. Riche lacked a real identity and did not hit the ground running. It became an also ran in the New Orleans dining scene. One can not imagine that happening with a Ruth's Chris in that location.

Last night on the Travel Channel, Anthony Bourdain returned to the kitchen at Les Halles. If you have not watched this episode, please do. Quite simply this episode captured what the people who cook your food go through on a nightly basis. Not only does he explain some of the intricacies of behind the house and front of the house lingo, tradition, and practice, he also gives you a good look into the hard work required by a largely immigrant population to produce first rate food.

I worked in three various kitchens during the summers in college. This in no way makes me an expert on restaurant life. It sucked. For example, one summer my friend from college, Pikachu, and I lived at the beach and both worked at this incredibly amazingly bad tourist turn and burn. He worked front of the house and had to wear a Hawaiian shirt and nametag that could have doubled as a license plate. I worked in the kitchen on the fry station. By far the worst experience was when it would be late at night, and Pikachu would get one last table (and it was always a 10 or 12 top, that is a rule for the last table of the night). The anticipation in the kitchen would build as we watched that little rodent type the order into the computer system.

However I knew what was coming. Every single time without fail the order would come in for 12 Captain's Platters, which was just all fried food. There were numerous reasons why he did this. First, he knew it was one of the most expensive things on the menu thereby increasing his tip, which would already be large based on the fact the touristas usually felt sorry for walking in so late. Second, he loved fucking with me. Third, it allowed him to sit at the bar and drink about 6 beers while I cleaned my station thus making me drive home. But despite his best efforts to make me punch him in the face, at the end of the night the relief and excitement of finishing a service, checking the numbers, and wiping down one's station always made me pull into the Flora-Bama for just one drink.

Last nights episode made me want to go back into the kitchen. Almost. As for Pikachu, he is almost a Doctor, scary.

Finally, on the weekend of March 21st, the Tales of the Cocktail will host a 3 different movie cocktail cinema events at the W. Casablanca, The 7 year Itch, and Guys and Dolls will be screened with food and cocktails to match the theme of the movie. $25 a movie, not bad. Or a weekend package (all 3 movies) is $65. Information available here.

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