Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Paul lost a tooth at Antoine's Restaurant

Here's a postcard of Antoine's Restaurant, a famous eating place still located in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It was mailed in 1972 with a bluish 6-cent Eisenhower stamp.

The restaurant was established in the spring of 1840 by 27-year-old Antoine Alciatore. According to the history section of the restaurant's website:
"[Antoine] felt at home in the French-speaking city of lordly aristocrats and their extravagances, an ideal audience for his culinary artistry. After a brief period in the kitchen of the grand St. Charles Hotel, Antoine opened a pension, a boarding house and a restaurant. It wasn't long before the aromatic odors wafting from his kitchen brought New Orleans to his door and, in five years, the Pension Alciatore was firmly established."
At Antoine's today, the names of the dining rooms also have plenty of history associated with them. Four are named after "Carnival krewes." There's also the Mystery Room, which dates to a secret spot where some customers could acquire a coffee cup filled with a warming alcoholic beverage during the United States' Prohibition.

Here's a look at some of Antoine's menu items today:1
  • Huitres en coquille a la Rockefeller (notre creation): Oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockefeller sauce created by Antoine's in 1889.
  • Escargots a la Bordelaise: Snails basted and baked in a red wine and garlic sauce, crowned with a delicious mixture of cheeses and French bread crumbs
  • Poulet sauce Rochambeau: Grilled chicken breast grilled served with Antoine's original Rochambeau sauce and a rich BĂ©arnaise over a slice of baked ham
  • Chateaubriand: Centercut tenderloin of beef for two, served with Antoine's special fried potatoes and sauces (Marchand de Vin, Bernaise, and sauteed mushrooms)2
  • Cerises jubilee: Sweet, dark cherries flamed in brandy at the table and served over vanilla ice cream
But in 1972, one customer wasn't focused on oysters, snails, crawfish, gumbo, or alligator. The back of today's postcard contains two notes. The first of which is from a boy named Paul:
"I lost my tooth at this place when we ate lunch here today on charlotte's birthday. Love, Paul"
That's followed by another note, in cursive:
"Took $7 sightseeing tour all afternoon. Had expensive lunch at Antoine's."
And there's one more note scrawled across the top of the card: "Wed. Even have a second phone in our bathroom!"

1. The Antoine's website includes the following menu note: "Antoine's menu is careful to remind patrons that fine food takes careful consideration and preparation. After all, one does not enter the world of Antoine's for fast food!"
2. Today's listed price for Chateaubriand is $110.

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