Weather And The Bon Ton Cafe Together

Tom Fitzmorris October 29, 2019 10:49 Dining Diary

Friday was a delightful day except for that run in the rain that Ali Loftin and I made right after I finished recording this week's commercials for Dorignac's Food Center. Ali--also known as The Oyster Lady, for her cool ceramic Oyster grillers--sat in for Mary Ann to co-host Friday’s Food Show. 


But the rain was really starting to take over, and we rushed the two blocks from the radio station to the Bon Ton. Ali had never been there, and she asked me to select a menu for her and to tell the story of the Bon Ton. Ali found my recollections interesting, particularly the prevalence of all the crawfish on the menu. She wasn't quite sure as to what were the best modern crawfish dishes. I suggested the four-unit Bon Ton crawfish dinner: crawfish bisque, etouffee, omelet, and jambalaya. All these come together nicely, even for those who are just learning the flavors. Before pulling the four-way together, we had the mock turtle soup and the house gumbo. She wanted a salad, and we agreed it was unusually good. Reason: the dressing was essentially a red remoulade sauce, not a standard salad dressing. 


Ali at that point wanted to explore the differences between red remoulade and white. Red remoulade is becoming rare lately. It's more authentically New Orleans in its flavors, instead of the one made from the white, mayonnaise-thick version.


Next matter. The last few times I've been to the Bon Ton, it had a much more abbreviated menu. I noticed this during my most recent November ritual with the gas lamps and the rest of it all. Something needed adjustment. Fortunately, that adjustment seems to have been made, and I'm looking for my dinner from a menu full of excellent choices.


After we sated with the Bon Ton's lunch fare, Ali and I crossed the Poydras-Magazine intersection to the radio studio. Ali was to have taken the host position from me today, to get her ready for the week when I will be away on vacation. But Ali is a fun seeker, so the two of us re-invented the Food Show. We started in a jolly way, the two of us singing the Crew Cuts' Fifties song "Life Could Be A Dream" in harmony. (The song is also known as "Sh-Boom." This now qualifies as a tradition, because last time she was here we sang "Mister Sandman.")


Her own guest had an understandable problem showing up, the rain becoming more difficult by the minute. Little did we know that a tropical storm was on the way. In the meantime, we had a long conversation with our guest, whose day job is with the Army Corps of Engineers. His hobby is beekeeping. This lasted for almost an hour, with seemingly everybody listening to the Food Show wanting to know all about bees, and being much more interested in the subject than I would have imagined. For example, we learned that bee honey can be preserved almost permanently. (They found a jar in King Tut's tomb.) Your oldest jars of honey, regardless of how dark they become, are almost always still edible. Just warm the jars until the honey loosens up texture, and use it as you ordinarily would.


This might seem trivial, but honey has many good effects on your health in addition to the flavor aspects. Finally, quite a few chefs use honey in all kinds of dishes. I have several friends who do what is necessary so they can have local honey always available.


Mary Ann and I headed home after the show.. The chill in the air and the rain kept increasing. I had eaten enough at the Bon Ton to have just a small appetite for dinner. MA went to Barracuda to try their nachos happy hour, so she wasn’t interested in eating. We dropped in at Porter & Luke’s, where I surprised Mary Ann with a choice of a prosciutto and arugula flatbread, This was very unlike something you'd expect from Porter & Luke’s, which was why I was curious. Brandi, Mary Ann’s favorite waitress anywhere, served us. I see why Mary Ann loves her. And this place. I agree.


Bon Ton Cafe. CBD: 401 Magazine. 504-524-3386. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday & Sunday.


Porter & Luke’s  1517 Metairie Rd   Metairie.  504-875-4555 Mon-Th  11-9  Friday till 10  Saturday 12-10  Sunday 10-8 porterandlukes.com