DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Thursday, February 23, 2017.
Big Meeting. 500 People Again. Publishing Surprise.

Entercom and CBS Radio will soon merge with one another to create what wil be a radio powerhouse. I like the idea that at some point I will get to say, across the whole CBS Radio network, the magical words “This is CBS, The Coh-LUM-bee-yah Broadcasting System.” I know this is an absurd ambition, but if I ever get to do it, my life will be complete.

And I got a funny spot to deliver the line during a meeting from one of the corporate people from the Northeast. She gives all us on-air people some direction in the importance of Facebook and the like. I have never been able to warm up to Facebook, myself. Seems a lot like what I spout forth in this newsletter every day.

The meeting ends in time for a picnic lunch from Sammy’s on Elysian Fields. I continue to believe that the best part of any such sandwich collection is the mini-muffuletta tray. The distinctive flavor comes through loud and clear.

I had to wake up very early to make this 10:30 a.m. meeting. At its end, I take a half-hour nap in my office. Then I go through the email (another major competitor with Facebook). I find in it a letter from Lisa Ekus, my New York-based literary agent. I get an annual note from her with the sales and royalty figures for my New Orleans Food cookbook. She always adds, “Every time I write you I become more amazed by how long this book has been in print!”

CookbookScan

She has even better news. The publisher of New Orleans Food for ten years has decided that the sales are so solid that it makes sense to publish a new edition. I will rejigger the words as necessary, replace a few recipes with new ones, and rewrite the introductions. The publisher (Abrams) will redesign the book, create a new cover, and add several sections of photographs. The first editions had no photos or even drawings, the addition of which will add something nice to my words.

All this came from out of the blue. I like to think that this book of mine has what it takes to stay around a long time. Another ten years is not out of the question, the editor-in-chief told me.

On the way down the elevator at the end of this long workday, I encounter two people I know well but don’t see very often. Attorney Sid Angelle is one of those people with unexpected connections with me, starting with the years when his son Remington and my son Jude were in the same Boy Scout unit. Now he works in the same building where I do, and we run into one another now and then, always with news about our brilliant sons. But the bigger coincidence is that his brother Bob–also a lawyer–prepared my will some years ago. Two of Mary Ann’s sisters used to work for Bob. And I think that a suggestion I made to Bob–that One Restaurant (now Carrollton Market) would be a great venue for a date–proved true. Not long after, I saw him and his girlfriend (soon to be his wife), sitting at the stools and watching their dinners being cooked.

I’ve said it a million times: there are only 500 people living in New Orleans. Otherwise, stuff like the above would not happen with such.

The other person I see in the lobby is Gary, whose last name I can never remember. If I were asked to explain Gary’s career in a few words, I would say, “Restaurant Manager. Wine Distributor. Restaurant Manager. Wine Distributor.” And onward in the same antiphon until I felt the point was made. Gary tells me he’s in wine right now, but that he misses working in his most recent restaurant, especially since it caught last year’s flood.

“And Baton Rouge food continues to put me to sleep, compared with New Orleans,” he says. “I had to come home.”

As he walks away, I think I see the outline of a pistol in his back pocket. I slow down so as not to be on the same garage elevator with him. It doesn’t work. He slows down to tell me I’m invited to a wine dinner tonight Uptown. I beg off, describing my day. Nothing happens on the parking-garage elevator. I thought about how many people walk around with guns these days. Why do I allow such things float through my mind?

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