Thursday, March 27, 2008

Off-season workout with . . . Chef Paul Prudhomme

By now, you've likely heard about Chef Paul's commitment to redfish, no matter the risk. (Ashley must be clairvoyant with the bullets.)

Since Cafe 641 draws its off-season training regimen from muses of all sorts (Rita, bare feet, Budweiser, hair . . .), it seems most appropriate that Chef Paul inspire the latest round of Who Dat workouts. This workout is especially designed for the Cafe's 2008 road trip to either Washington, DC or Tampa Bay. It will allow the trained Who Dat to withstand a steady barrage of beer bottles, snowballs, batteries, and pirate hooks all fired at close range.

Stage 1. Visit the Shooters' Club in Metairie, just a brief jog from the Saints training facility on Airline. Snatch a bullet-proof cooking vest from the rack when the attendant changes your target.

Stage 2. Drive across the river to the general 1-mile vicinity of the TPC golf course and club. Wait for falling bullets.

Stage 3. Drive back to the East Bank to City Park. Stop at the playground and pick up a pack of children armed with rocks, soccer balls, backpacks, and miscellaneous projectiles. Head to Tad Gormley Stadium (and Reggie Bush Field). Climb to the top row of the east endzone bleachers. Spread legs to shoulder width and stretch arms to full wingspan. Close your eyes, yell "Fire," and absorb the assault.

Stage 4. Return the children to the playground and reimburse them with Golden Spoons.

Stage 5. Wait patiently for the NFL to announce the 2008 schedule with the quiet confidence you will endure even the strongest attack from Redskins or Buccaneers.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wedding Season

"Gleason is scheduled to marry New Orleans native Michelle Varisco on May 16 in New Orleans. They plan to travel for six months before returning to New Orleans to decide their future. Regardless of where they settle, he said the couple plans to keep a home in New Orleans."

The proverbial Black & Gold lining to the dark cloud that is Steve Gleason's retirement appeared miraculously on Tuesday evening at The Bulldog on Magazine St., just one day before Gleason's 31st birthday -- which he shares appropriately with St. Joseph's Feast Day. After receiving an emergency happy hour phone call from Cafe 641's OG -- the Who Dat formerly known as Nacho Libre -- Chef raced to The Bulldog for off-season conditioning.

It was only there that he realized that the Who Dat gods had expertly aligned the stars, the moon, the clouds, and probably Venus. Hogan spoke as if possessed and Chef transcribes here, on Easter Morn, the best that his fading brain cells allow:

"Chef. Where's your mustache? Can't hardly recognize you without the stache. Never mind. We need to speak openly with one another, Chef. We need to be honest, open our souls, speak from our Black and Gold hearts."

"Sure, Hogan. Let's do that. Can I get a beer first?"

"Get a pitcher, Chef. Put it on your tab. I'm thirsty. Let's talk about Steve Gleason, Chef. Chef, Steve Gleason's retirement is not fatal. It's an opportunity, Chef. It's an opportunity to return the gift that Stevie G. has bestowed upon us all. It's an opportunity to give back, to put a little pixie dust in the air, mix it around a little bit, and make the world a better place."

"I'm listening."

"Chef, drink your beer. This is serious, serious shit. Chef, I'm talking about giving back. Can you commit to this, Chef? Can you step up? Will you be and do the extraordinary? That's what Stevie G.'s legacy demands, Chef. No less, Chef. No Less. . . . . . . You still with me, Chef?"

"Right here, Hogan. Right here."

"It's about giving, Chef, and if you truly understand the nature of the gift than it can be a beautiful thing, a purely beautiful thing whose beauty cannot be denied by any who see it or hear it or dream it. Drink your beer, Chef. Drink it fast. . . Good. May 16, Chef. That's the day Steve Gleason marries one insanely fortunate New Orleans woman, Michelle Varisco. And it's the day, Chef, that we might set into motion our gift, a gift whose planning must begin this very eve, one night before Stevie's 31st birthday. That wedding is only two months away, and for sure it's going to be a glorious New Orleans party. A party with love and beauty and gifts. But I'm not talking about the love and the beauty, Chef. I'm talking about the gifts. And to give the greatest gift, we have to do extraordinary things, go to extraordinary measures. You remember Stevie G's gift, Chef? Do you remember it? How it made you feel from the inside out?

Chef, let's give Steve and Michelle "The Gift." I'm talking about a purer than pure, picked clean off the fingertips of the bride, blocked bridal bouquet. Just a mad dash sprint straight up the brides-in-waiting line and a pure blockage of the bouquet. It's "The Gift," Chef. And we take our bow, and we allow ourselves to be scooped up, and to be tossed on the street, and we say -- in hushed reverent tones -- "Thank you, Steve Gleason. Thank you."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Off-season workout with . . . Rita Benson LeBlanc

Most reports had the New Orleans Saints reporting for off-season conditioning on Monday at the team's facility on Airline Drive as the week's biggest Who Dat news. Seemed like big news at the time, sure. Especially with Fre-Flo-Do arriving to work, swearing to cut back most, but not all of his sideline activities.

But the view from Cafe 641 is focused squarely on the business end of the franchise, which means it's time to take a look at how our gal Rita conditions in the off-season . . .

Apparently, she starts with the awards circuit: Street & Smith's Business Journal Forty Under 40 Award.

The single largest benefit of Street & Smith's list for your common Upper Terrace Who Dat is it's inclusion of Rita's dating profile (ya heard me Mr. Rita?). Wanna impress Rita? Here's a few tips:

* tell her you've always wanted to be a superhero (that's her fantasy job)

* quote long passages from Martin Gayford's, “The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles,” Rita's most recent read.

and when all else fails . . . look deeply into Rita's eyes and tell her about what's on your ipod:
Kenna (is that a Rita cameo in the bar scene?)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"My Future Is Bigger Than My Past . . ."

. . . said Steve Gleason today on announcing his retirement from the New Orleans Saints and the NFL.

The Cafe cannot begin to contain the emotion that Gleason's Locks of Love generate in the common Who Dat.

Enter now, Stevie G. tribute. Some of the finest are found here:

. . . and here (with special guest comment at the end of post)

. . . and especially here:

If you need to see that in slow motion . . .

If you need to here it from his own mouth . . .

Or if you want a mother's perspective, then here

Or a city's perspective, then here

Or finally, from a Panther's perspective . . .

Steve waited until just two days before the annual St. Baldrick's event at Parasol's to announce his retirement, which speaks volumes of his character (and hair quality).

The Times-Picayune's Jeff Duncan reports:
"Gleason is scheduled to marry New Orleans native Michelle Varisco on May 16 in New Orleans. The couple then plans to travel the world for six months before returning to New Orleans to decide their futures. Regardless of where they eventually settle, he said the couple plans to keep a home in New Orleans."

Steve tells us . . .
“Mostly, I am thankful to the people here for embracing me as a player and as a person. The city has been so good to me. I’m marrying a New Orleans girl, and we plan on being part of this beautiful community forever."

No cheap tribute to you, 37. Chef can think of only one thing. A bicycle tour of our city. From the Lake to the Channel. Monday, March 17. Direct shot to Parasol's wearing black & gold and a recycled football helmet tattooed with a shamrock.

Raise a pint to Gleason.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cafe 641 Leftover Awards: Leftover Acquisition of the Year

After resolving lingering issues with the Writer's Guild Strike, Chef returned to the awards platform this morning to announce another Cafe 641 Leftover Award.

The "Leftover Acquisition" award goes to a 2007 offseason acquisition who amounted to nothing more than leftovers. The nominees are a little obvious . . .

Jason David for his impressive audition for the Burn Unit.

Brian Simmons for this impressive pre-season sack of Alabama senior Brodie Croyle and a release-earning performance for 16 other games.

Olindo Mare for this, this, and this.

And the leftover goes to . . .

Oleeendoooo Maaaaaaahraaaaay!