ChristmasToast

Merry Christmas to you!
And all other foodies!
This food commentator
Does his Yule duties
To summarize winter’s
Summer’s, fall’s and last spring’s
Gastronomical news
And our appetites’ swings.

Sixty-four openings
And one surprise meltdown
Don’t capture the status
Of eating in our town.

Chefs make much baloney
And their own house-cured hams
But neglect the flavors,
And offer tepid yams.
Ambient noise increases
Tablecloths disappear
Some bread? We beg the waiter.
Sorry, not since last year.

Creativity comes
Before all other ends
It’s what a chef claims now
When he follows the trends.
And to be a chef now
You’re a star, or you’re not
How’s your taste? Aw, who cares?
When’s your next TV slot?

Most local food headlines
Concerned the French Quarter
More major new ope’nings
In old bricks and mortar
Than the Vieux Carre’s seen
In years, perhaps ever.
In one block of Chartres,
Dickie Brennan’s endeavor
Tableau, a real stunner.
And Doris, big steak room
Where Alpine long served us.
Those begin the big boom.
Next stop is on Rampart’s
Renaissance of the year:
Marti’s! In its old digs
Though its namesake’s not here.

We’re just getting started.
What about Galatoire?
What does 33 mean?
Just the steak place next doir
Holding pen for those keen
To wait long for a table
In Gal’s main dining room,
With iconic babel.

One block to Criollo
In the Monteleone,
New, clever and handsome
The old Hunt Room reborn.
Greg and Mary Sonnier
Finally got shook loose
From would-be Gabrielle
And its years of disuse.
Greg’s gig now is Kingfish
With cool casual menus.
Two more newsy eat’ries
In venerable venues.
Broussard’s Gunter is gone
New owners spent millions
On carriageway and bar
And dining pavilions.
A similar story
Presented by Tujague’s:
Retro renovation,
Brighter place, yet still sags
With weight of a cent’ry
And a half in its footprint.
Quick fix: a grasshopper
Garnished with fresh mint.

Enough with the news now.
Address Christmas cards to
Chef Tory McPhail and,
Sal and Joe Impastato
Merry days, all you Brigtsens,
Boss Marna and Chef Frank,
Bon-Ton’s Wayne Pierce and
Kitchen crew we all thank
Mr. Ed: thanks for Bozo’s!
And your other three places.
Ken Lacour and Kim Kringlie,
Dakota’s owner-aces.

Happy Yule to the chefs who
Are known by, just one name:
Paul, Leah, and Vincent
Scottie and Tommy, the same.
Greg, Emeril, and John
Andrea and Susan, plus
E-Man, Dennis, and Alon.
And to Sue, a quick word-buss.

Not everything is great
That’s just the way life bends.
Ted, Pip Brennan: sorry.
I hope I see you again.
Good-bye, friend Frank Davis.
Very naturally New O.
Richard Fiske of Bombay Club
It hurt to see you go.
Friend Paul McIlhenny,
The Tabasco pepper king
A funny, brilliant man
Was he. I miss his zing.

I could write this all day
But the day is a short one
So now, please, this memo
Before I’m fully done:
To listeners to my super-
annuated radio,
And readers of the words
I put here every day. Oh!
Merry Christmas to you!
Happy feasting! Ho ho ho!
And a genuine Happy New Year!
Let’s give it our best go!

–Tom Fitzmorris

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