One of the best fundraising ideas we have ever heard is the auction for tables at Galatoire’s on big days, like the Friday before Mardi Gras and the Friday before Christmas. Galatoire’s is known for many things, including a line for tables that extends so far and so long that people actually pay people to stand in it for them. A few years ago someone had the brilliant idea to auction these tables to well-heeled patrons who value them. A handful of beneficiaries divided the proceeds. Talk about a win-win.
Hosted by The Galatoire’s Foundation, this is a very low key but fun event, attended by bidders and a few members of the press. Usually it is held at Galatoire's, but this year the restaurant took the occasion to show off the new Galatoire’s venue space Galerie de Galatoire. It is located on the second floor of a four story building on Royal Street that was the former home of Hurwitz Mintz. The bottom floor is retail and the top two floors are residential. The space is understated, but it retains the spirit of the restaurant, with the unique lattice on the walls. Instead of the green and yellow color palate, this was pure neutral, with soft but elegant muted tones like putty, interspersed with white or cream highlights.
The mood was festive despite the socially distant tables. Veuve Clicquot was the house champagne that evening, and who wouldn’t love that? Drinks were flowing along with the conversation. Passed appetizers were not really passed, because everyone was sitting at tables. First we got a plate of souffle potatoes which were flat and a little greasy, accompanied by a Bearnaise sauce which was a little too thick and definitely gloppy. This spawned a conversation I have come to expect from Tom when such edibles are placed in front of him. He whines about the demise of one of his former favorites. Something about a crispy shell that shouldn’t be. Blah, blah.
Another plate came with some crispy, crunchy and greaseless but small fried oysters. These were great, and soon they were gone. Phyllo cups with crabmeat Ravigote were quite nice, but a little marble-sized bit of goat soft cheese flanked by an Italian cherry and garnished with a sprig of dill was my favorite on that plate.
What was most fun about the evening was running into some special people. Tim McNally, whose Dine, Wine, and Spirits show follows ours each weekday on WGSO 990AM and Tom had a nice conversation at the bar waiting for a drink.I ran into an old friend who came to the table to visit. And it was great to run into Drew Ramsey, the owner of Hubig’s Pies, who had an update on the saga of Hubig’s reopening after a fire in 2012. Tempus fugit. They have a building and are getting equipment moved in, so any time!!! Drew was there with his wife who was representing her group, STAIR. Start The Adventure In Reading. Kingsley House, and Grace at Greenlight were the beneficiaries this time. Table biddings were down to 16 from the usual 40, but tables were going for $4,000 plus. They did very well despite the new rules and times.
Since the beginning of these auctions, the Galatoire's Foundation has raised over 2.2 million for local charities.