"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Old Coffee Pot
714 Rue St. Peter
+1 504 524 3500
by Louie Slinger
Given the New Orleans habit of carousing, it's no surprise to anyone, I guess, that there's a tradition of great breakfasts that are served until sometime in the afternoon. The Old Coffee Pot, right in the middle of the French Quarter, has been feeding folks, both hungover and otherwise, since 1894. A nice old townhouse with both inside dining and tables on its patio and covered driveway, it draws locals as well as tourists. It was a local who took me there the first time, in fact.
The menu offered lots of New Orleans specialties. Louisiana is rice country: calas, rice cakes rather like rissoles that were once sold from baskets by street criers, show up, paired with syrup. They're dense with a crunchy outside, just the thing to absorb any alcohol lingering in one's gut.
New Orleans likes to play with the eggs Benedict formula. There were four variations here, including eggs Sardou, which poses creamed spinach and an artichoke heart under the eggs instead of ham, and eggs Conti, which begins with a tender split American biscuit, piles on sauteed chicken livers and spring onions all in a winy sauce laced with a suspicion of garlic. Rich? Well, just. On this trip I succumbed to the Rockefeller omelette, which was full of oysters, creamed spinach and cheese, and probably packed enough flavor to raise some of the bodies buried behind St. Louis Cathedral, over a the next block.
Ladies who've worked there for years kept things humming, as they always do. In early December, late one quiet morning, five customers held hands and said grace before beginning their meal. (Not all visitors are sinners; occasionally there are church conventions in town.) When their meal was finished, they paid their check and the waitress wished them a merry Christmas, and added, "Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season." And then she planted her feet, squared her shoulders and let fly with a spontaneous, stunning gospel rendition of 'Silent Night'.
Never forget - this is a city where anything can happen.