Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All-local foods star at new art market brunch

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

The Zeitgeist hosts the monthly OCH Art Market,  and also now the Local Foods Cafe.
  • Ian McNulty
  • The Zeitgeist hosts the monthly OCH Art Market, and also now the Local Foods Cafe.

The Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center has long been a New Orleans destination for alternative film. Starting this weekend, it will also be a spot for alternative brunch, one featuring a menu composed entirely of local foods.

On the second Saturday of each month, Zeitgeist hosts the OCH Art Market, an eclectic gathering of arts and crafts vendors in Central City, and for this upcoming edition, on Saturday, Jan. 14, it will also see the debut of the Local Foods Café, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The café is a partnership between NOLA Locavores, a group that promotes eating locally-produced foods (and that organizes the annual Eat Local Challenge), and PPX Dinner Club, a pop-up eatery run by chef Matthew Elliot Kopfler and Tess Monaghan.

Zeitgeist’s building doubles as the NOLA Locavores headquarters, so it’s providing the space, and PPX will handle the cooking. While this is the first incarnation of the café, Lee Stafford of NOLA Locavores says he hopes to develop the concept into a permanent local-foods restaurant.

“We’ve been wanting to add a restaurant at Zeitgeist for a while,” he says. “We’re starting with having it at the art market because we’ll get the traffic we need, but the end goal is to have a locavore café there open seven days a week.”

For the past few months, Kopfler and Monaghan have been running PPX as a once-a-week pop-up on Wednesday evenings inside the F&M Patio Lounge, among other locations. Their menus make regular use of local foods, but for this new project all of the ingredients come from local producers, with much of it sourced through Hollygrove Market & Farm.

“It’s a really interesting challenge,” says Monaghan. “You start getting into the recipes and realize, well, you can’t use olive oil, you can’t use a lot of your seasonings.”

Pecan oil replaces the olive oil and fresh herbs handle seasoning, but Monaghan says the approach PPX is using for the Local Foods Café is more fundamental than swapping out a few ingredients.

“When you cook with local ingredients and high-quality ingredients, you really have to do less to the food because it’s so fresh and tastes so good on its own,” she says. “It really invites you do less with them.”

In practice on this weekend’s brunch menu, the approach means shrimp and grit cakes with mustard greens, goat cheese from local farmers market favorite Ryal’s Goat Dairy on grit cakes, a sugar cane and satsuma vinaigrette on salads of greens and pickled radish and beet soup with dill crema and arugula, among other dishes.

OCH Art Market and Local Foods Café
1618 O.C. Haley Blvd.
Jan. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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