A Christmas Toast.

Holy Jesus! Warm all
To His birthday again.
Are you sure? Already?
And not some other when?
Mardi Gras was last week–
Right? Jazz Fest the next day,
NOWFE wined and fed us
The last weekend of–May?
Halloween! Then turkey!
Now the table we clear!
Fat Santa’s awaiting
The big feast of the year!

Funny thing happened to
Our restaurant guides.
Same number of places
Half again that besides,
Than the count of all rests
We had pre-Katrina.
Impossible, some say
Of this fulsome scene. A
Hundred dozen rest’rants
Attract us and our butts
To their well padded chairs.
Competition takes guts.
The race among chefs has
Been quite catalytic;
Cuisine is improving
Says this dining critic.

The young and small led the
Premieres in eleven.
Chef-owner Ray Gruezke’s
Rue 127
Has thirty seats inside
Dozen more in its yard

But what food here beckons!
It is clearly four-starred.

The dominant food trend
In this prime-numbered year
Is how many diners
Call for burger and beer.
Here’s a gold mine! say chefs
Who once made us say “Wow!”
Now ask for ten dollars
For a bun and ground cow.
And don’t get me started
On gourmet pizza pie!
Sure it’s good, but come on!
Can this really be why
We put cooks on TV?
And go out to dinners?
Let’s get serious again.
Not cook for beginners.

The art of the kitchen
Demands much persistence.
We love culinarians
Who go for the distance.
Hail longtime Chefs Gunter
Lazone, and Andrea;
Cajun master Chef Paul,
The Wongs and Mike Regua.
Tommy D at Arnaud’s,
Muriel’s big Chef Gus,
Marna and Frank Brightsen
Always take care of us.
Our Croatian buddies:
Klara, Tommy and Drago,
Krasna Vojkovich, and
Fried catfish king Bozo.
Kevin Vizard and Susan,
Donald Link and Baruch.
Chef Michelle McRaney,
Giovanni’s Chef Duke.

May good luck continue
For our celebrity chefs.
Adolfo Garcia,
Emeril and John Besh.
Welcome back Chef Rene,
The Rib Room’s redeemer.
Same to Greg Picolo,
Lost Bistro’s food dreamer,
In what was once Christian’s
He smokes soft crabs once more;
Redemption, ironic,
Was a church heretofore.

The family Brennan
Has been busy. What’s new?
Ralph opened in Metry
Not just one place, but two.
In limbo lies Bacco
Until Ralph discovers
A location with lots of
Italian food lovers.
Changes at Adelaide
Are coming up the pike.
But as far as we know,
Not pizza or the like.

Irish Channel newsbreak:
The return of a ghost!
Turnbull’s again baking
Its famed Melba toast.

Sad news must be mentioned
In this gay doggerel.
Rest’rants went to heaven.
Some (unnamed) went to hell.
Chef Dennis is still here.
But not Le Parvenu.
Meson 923:
T’was the name, but not you.
On Esplanade Lola’s
Lost Angel. We’re keening.
Couli’s breakfast lives on
But without James Leeming.
Upperline’s old chef Ken
Is becoming a priest.
Clementine’s Belgian food
Is gone. Cancel the lease.
What the world is the deal
With Dominique Macquet?
Superb on Magazine,
Then he went on his way.
But if all the bad news
Fits in this stanza short,
It’s a great dining town.
That’s my proudest report.

Thank you, Eat Club diner!
Every week, an event!
All servers: we love you!
Add on thirty percent!
To readers and list’ners
As my Yule spirit soars:
For Christmas and New Year’s
I am tastefully yours!–Tom Fitzmorris

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