5-Star Edition Today

Diary: Friday, June 22, 2018. Beetles And Omelettes. The day begins with the need to fix the rear-passenger tire on my Beetle. The problem developed yesterday, making me take a chance in crossing the Causeway. I was the first customer at the shop, which was the good news. The not-so-good news is the $176 or whatever new tire would cost. But it’s my lucky day, and the shop says that $26.90 would cover the repair. A nail in the tire was all there was to be fixed. I deserve this,…

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5-Star Back Issue

Diary: Wednesday. June 20, 2018. Fried Chicken From The Roosevelt Hotel’s Fountain Lounge. A couple of weeks ago, Mary Ann came home with a box of spicy fried chicken from the Roosevelt, where the hotel was showing off some new ideas for the dinner hours in its Fountain Lounge. As reported in this space a couple of weeks ago, the Fountain Lounge is the big dining room off the main lobby of the hotel, adjunct to the Sazerac Lounge. The place is as much a bar as it is a…

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5-Star NOMenu Today

5-Star NOMenu Today

Diary: Wednesday. June 20, 2018. Fried Chicken From The Roosevelt Hotel’s Fountain Lounge. A couple of weeks ago, Mary Ann came home with a box of spicy fried chicken from the Roosevelt, where the hotel was showing off some new ideas for the dinner hours in its Fountain Lounge. As reported in this space a couple of weeks ago, the Fountain Lounge is the big dining room off the main lobby of the hotel, adjunct to the Sazerac Lounge. The place is as much a bar as it is a…

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5-Star Edition 6/21/2018

Diary: Tuesday. June 19, 2018. Softening An Omelette. Today’s radio show guests are the general manager and executive chef of Broussard’s. Their main theme is that Broussard’s will begin celebrating its 100-year anniversary early next year. They brought us a smidgen of food, the best part of which was a cool asparagus cream soup, with truffle essence. The chef was taken aback to hear my doubt about the truffles, which are not often made from actual truffles, but from some sort of extract. The soup was wonderful, anyway. I wonder…

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NOMenu Diary June 12

Diary: Tuesday, June 12, 2018: It’s another one of those evenings when I can’t seem to think of a place to dine that will suit my tastes, my time, and other matters. When it gets down to this level of consideration, I probably will be headed in the general direction of the Causeway, where there are many restaurants, but too many I’ve already reviewed often enough. Today this situation brings me to Bistro Orleans. I haven’t been there in six months or more, the menu has changed a bit, from…

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Diary Porter & Luke June 1-9

Diary: Week of June 1-9 2018: Hitting The Road With A cookbook. I remember some years ago reading an article about some celebrity or other who had to take a few says off because he was exhausted. The reporter who read about this thought it was absurd. How much energy does a pampered media figure need to make up an honest day’s work? I’m sure that my stress level is much lower than that of a rock star, but at times I get samples. The week just past and in…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/14/2018

The Sazerac Room Returns. The long and glorious era of the gourmet hotel restaurant ended a couple of decades ago, when hotel managers came to accept that the kind of customer who would stay in a hotel luxurious enough to host such a dining room knows that in a city like New Orleans you’d be nuts to eat in the hotel. And so, like almost all the other big-deal hotel restaurants of the past, the Sazerac in the Roosevelt Hotel faded away in recent years, leaving only the Windsor Court…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/13/2018

Attention Fried Chicken Lovers! (And Who Isn’t a Fried Chicken Lover? By Tom’s Wife, Mary Ann Fitzmorris) The Roosevelt Hotel’s Fountain Room (it’s the one that used to the the Sazerac Restaurant) has been spending a lot of time re-thinking its menu. One thing is clear; family-style fried chicken with New Orleans red beans will be a regular Monday night feature. Monday night was the unveiling party, featuring a large centerpiece basket of fried chicken, big cast iron pots of red beans and rice, flanked on either side by a…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/13/2018

Attention Fried Chicken Lovers! (And Who Isn’t a Fried Chicken Lover? By Tom’s Wife, Mary Ann Fitzmorris) The Roosevelt Hotel’s Fountain Room (it’s the one that used to the the Sazerac Restaurant) has been spending a lot of time re-thinking its menu. One thing is clear; family-style fried chicken with New Orleans red beans will be a regular Monday night feature. Monday night was the unveiling party, featuring a large centerpiece basket of fried chicken, big cast iron pots of red beans and rice, flanked on either side by a…

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NOMenu 5-Star Back Issue 6/12/2018

Diary 6-1-2018: Deep In The Renovations of Antoine’s. Q. What do Antoine’s and the extinct restaurant Kolb’s have in common? A. They both had the same kind of air-conditioning system. If you old around long enough to have seen Kolb’s when it was still in action, you would have seen an elaborate network of leather belts and pulleys, all of which were connected ultimately at one spot in the ceiling, where a single electric motor turned a what appeared to be many interconnected belts. The setup ran a bunch of…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/8/2018

Diary 5/6/2018: Steak Dinner With The Best Man. || Mary Ann and I both have our calendars goofed up. We were supposed to attend a party for our friends Caroline and Oliver Kluna a few nights ago. They are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Oliver and I go almost as far back: he was best man at my wedding, and they are our son Jude’s godparents. Despite of the all this close longevity, both MA and I somehow managed to forget that the Kluna’s party was tonight. We are relieved…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/11/2018

Diary For Thursday, 06/07/2018: The Grille.My first three eating sessions at The Grille revealed a menu familiar to anyone my age. It’s essentially what we found when we went to the Camellia Grill–which itself is a variation of the basic American diner. In other words, overstuffed sandwiches, breakfasts with omelettes at the center, and–most important–excellent hamburgers. These are six-ounce jobs with ground beef of exactly the right thickness, made crusty all around and on the top and bottom. When I took a gander at it, I couldn’t imagine eating the…

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5-Star Back Edition 5/7/2018

Diary 5/7/2018: Steak Dinner With The Best Man. || Mary Ann and I both have our calendars goofed up. We were supposed to attend a party for our friends Caroline and Oliver Kluna a few nights ago. They are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Oliver and I go almost as far back: he was best man at my wedding, and they are our son Jude’s godparents. Despite of the all this close longevity, both MA and I somehow managed to forget that the Kluna’s party was tonight. We are relieved…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/7/2018

Diary 6/6/2018: What with a variety of inspections at the Cool Water Ranch and the sudden appearance there of an unexpected dog, things are hectic in what is usually a calm environment. I am trying to distance myself from the goings on of the Marys, who don’t like my meddling in their affairs. The only calm in the neighborhood comes from the Chuck Will’s Widow birds in the woods nearby. This is a big bird often heard–only at night–but rarely seen hereabouts. The call is similar to that of the…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/6/2018

Five-Star Edition Today DiningDiarySquare-150×150 Diary 1/2018.The Oyster Fest Gets Wet. The high hopes for the Oyster Festival had to deal for an hour or so with a tremendous downpour of rain. I got a good idea of how it would be as I made my way along Tchoupitoulas Street from downtown to Octavia Street. There, as the rain kept coming, I tried to find a place to park within a block of Octavia Books, and actually finding one in a few minutes as the rain ended. I’m always surprised that…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/4/2018

ELLA BRENNAN, 2018/ End Of An Era For The New Orleans Restaurant Industry. News of one of the most important event in the history of the New Orleans restaurant business broke loose on Thursday, June 7, 2918. This was when we all learned that Ella Brennan died early today, at the age of ninety-two. Ella had long since retired from the business whose shape she had determined for decades. But that didn’t mean that she no longer called a lot of shots in the New Orleans restaurant. The people who…

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Five-Star Edition Today

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5-Star Back Issue 6/1/2018

|| Memorial Day, Monday, 5/28/2018 || Today is the official celebration of Memorial Day, on which we expected that most restaurants would be closed. Indeed, most of them did shut down, but the first place we asked–New Orleans Food & Spirits in Covington–were in full operation, ready to serve me a platter of red beans and rice with a side of fried catfish. I stick with my tenet that nearly all beans and all seafoods are good together. On the other hand, NOF&S may not be open on the Monday…

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5-Star Back Issue 6/1/2018

Diary 6/1/2018 || The P&J Oyster Man || I head into town feeling unusually tired for some reason. That is offset by an excellent guest, Sal Sunseri. Sal and his family own the P&J Oyster Company, which has been in the business of raising, gathering, and selling Louisiana oysters. He is certain to show up whenever there’s any oyster news to be explained. In this case, most of the news is good. The after-effects of Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill of a few years later have largely tapered out….

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5-Star Back Issue 5/28/2018

|| Friday, 5/25/2018 || Tropical Weather. A Gathering of Classmates From Long Ago. This is the first day in the Fall 2018 tropical weather season, during which we start intensive coverage at the radio stations. A scattered group of storm has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and the New Orleans area might get some of the storms within the next few days. When I call the radio station to find out what they want me to do over the weekend, I am told “Depends on LSU and the tropical…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/25/2018

|| Tuesday, 5/22/2018 The radio show gets its first and only visit from the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, whose schedule of dinners, tastings, seminars and other events begin tomorrow everning. The Executive Officer Herself, Aimee Brown, is joined by the chef of Curio. We played the interview for laughs, and I thought it was among the best shows we’ve had anytime lately. After the NOW&FE visitors moved on, I pored over the possibilities for the NOW&FE Vintner dinners. In these, restaurants select the wineries that will pair up…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/25/2018

Diary || Sunday, 5/20/2018 || The end of a Sunday evening routine, complete with the soup du jour, Asian oysters, and the cheese-free house salad. The usual Sunday morning, complete with singing at St. Jane’s. Meanwhile, the Marys head out for their own usual Sunday repast of Mexican food eaten in the blazing sunshine in front of La Caretta. I arrive before most of the food does. The usual choriqueso with the tub of hot sausage mixed into the cheese dip is in place, to be followed by beef or…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/25/2018

|| Sunday, 5/27/2018 || A typical Sunday, beginning at St. Jane’s, where I end the last hymn with such a big finish to “God Bless America” so bravura that we up in the choir loft got a big round of applause. I meet the Marys for their usual lunch at La Carreta. Then they went to ML’s under-construction house, while I returned home with many miscellaneous office tasks to do. But we also have tickets this afternoon for the Lyrica Baroque concert on Esplanade Avenue. Among the performers is our…

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5-Star Back Issue 05/22/2018

Simple And Sublime: A Catering Job By Mary Ann Fitzmorris A case could be made that my daughter and I are definitely watching the Hallmark Channel too much. This was the thought I had today on the way to the airport to board a flight for London. They’re having a royal wedding this weekend! With a real prince!! Tom has said a lot here about my addiction to airline buddy passes, something normal people should avoid like the plague. They are perfect for me though, and my spontaneous style. I…

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5 Star Back Issue 5/25/2018

Diary | Wednesday || May 16 2018 || Eat Club At Vyoon’s. The first Eat Club Dinner of the year had been tangled with a dinner that was supposed to have happened last year. When the Flaming Torch closed last year, the radio station owed them a dinner. In the meantime, ZohReh Khaleghi–the owner of the Flaming Torch–brought in a new business partner. Vyoone Segue Lewis is a doctor with an interest in the restaurant business. The two assembled a new restaurant on either the fringe of the CBD or…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/17/2018

Diary || Monday, May 14, 2018. || MA and I have our standard Monday lunch at New Orleans Food & Spirits. We split a half-dozen broiled oysters, but I wound up getting far more than my fair share. MA doesn’t like extra-large oysters. I cross my fingers that all the oysters coming my way are extra-large. Many years of research tell me that the bigger the oyster, the better the flavor. This idea was most dramatically tested some twenty years ago when Jamie Shannon–then the chef at Commander’s Palace–obtained some…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/16/2018

Diary | Sunday 5/13/2019. | Mother’s Day. | Another Round Of Duck-Filled Quesadillas. || The day begins with a unique round of coincidences. The Jesuit Reunion festivities are done. But today is the fifty-first anniversary of the Jesuit Junior-Senior Prom, the night I became a man–though not for the reason most readers will suppose. I didn’t even think about Prom Night until I wrote these words on the following Wednesday. By then the calendar had also become Mother’s Day. The choir loft at St. Jane’s was filled with young people,…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/16/2018

The Jesuit Class Of 1968 Reunites. I began this Diary entry yesterday, about the Fifty-Year Reunion of the 1968 Class of Jesuit High School, which I attended. Here’s the rest of it. I was barely out of the demographic in question when I first said that that the most interesting time of a man’s life is when he is sixteen. When I turned seventeen, I continued holding that opinion for about another year. After that, I was sure of the assertion. Even though my most interesting slice of life was…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/15/2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018. Dinner At Ming’s In West End. Mary Ann suggested that she and I have dinner at Min’s today. She likes the look of the place, which is all that’s really necessary to catch her attention. I’d dined there a couple of time during the last five or six years, occupying a picturesque space near the New Orleans Marina. The building has been a number of restaurants over the years, enough opportunity for us to have had at least three Eat Club dinners over the years, although…

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5-Star Back Issue 5/11/2018

The Gourmet Truck Driver. Yesterday, May 10, 2018, Clark Marter–the proud grand-nephew of famous jazz trumpeter Harry James–died on his way to the hospital. He was a few years younger than I am, a fact I know because I had already celebrated my fortieth birthday when he celebrated his. I know when he turned forty because the Eat Club–an ad-hoc group of listeners to my radio show–held a birthday party for Clark at the now-extinct Doug’s Steakhouse in the CBD. The high point of the party came when Chef Jean-Luc…

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Sunday @ Zea.

Sunday @ Zea.

Diary. Sunday, April 22, 2018. Here’s Zea’s weekly routine. Sundays at Zea means the restaurant’s excellent (for a chain) specials, dishes that have been lauded for me many times over the years. Too often, really, but that’s restates how good are these seasonal specials over the years. The first of these started out as a Lenten special. But it’s no more common during that time of the year than it is right now. Asian oysters, it’s called. Seems simple enough: fried oysters with an unusually coarse coating. They come out…

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5-Star Back Issue WE 8/May/2018

Diary: Sunday, May 6, 2018. A New Dish In An Old Place. I’m up pretty early because I have a horrible thought–one too foreboding to share even with the Diary readers, who tell me that when I get deeply personal in these words, they think it’s my best writing. Gee, I hope not. On a lighter note (literally), I give my weekly performance in the choir loft at St. Jane’s. I see that I may be the cantor in a couple of weeks. At home, the Marys tell me that…

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5-Star Back Issue: May 9, 2018

Upcoming Eat Club Dinner Eat Club @Vyoone’s CBD: 412 Conti. Click here for reservations. The most active part of town these days has brought quite a few new restaurants to the corder between the CBD and the Warehouse District. This one is at the intersection of Girod and Tchoupuitoulas Streets, next door to Emeril’s Meril. It’s a partnership between Dr. Segue Lewis and ZohReh Khaleghi. Zohreh had been operating the Flaming Torch Uptown until it came to a halt in, ironically, a fire. She came to the restaurant business in…

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5-Star Back Issue 4/22/2018–Zea On Sundays

Diary. Sunday, April 22, 2018. Here’s Zea’s weekly routine. Sundays at Zea means the restaurant’s excellent (for a chain) specials, dishes that have been lauded for me many times over the years. Too often, really, but that’s restates how good are these seasonal specials over the years. The first of these started out as a Lenten special. But it’s no more common during that time of the year than it is right now. Asian oysters, it’s called. Seems simple enough: fried oysters with an unusually coarse coating. They come out…

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5-Star Back Issue TH 4/26/2018. Quarter Is Packed

Friday, April 20, 2018. The French Quarter Is Full. Every Friday, my thoughts turn to grand dinners, preferably at one of the grande dame restaurants in the French Quarter. Today I am thinking about indulging this hunger at Arnaud’s. As soon as the radio show ended for the week, I turned my steps toward the handsome restaurant and its bright walls of glittering beveled glass. There I learn that every seat in the entire restaurant is taken. I look around for a waiter or manager or some other familiar face,…

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