***** Five-Star Edition Today

***** Five-Star Edition Today

Diary: Friday, 05-18-2018 || Heavy Rain, Floods, Escape to Vyoon’s. A noisy storm released downpours, lightning, premature darkness, and a reluctance to leave the radio studios for home. After taking a nap in my office and watching the progress of the rain on our news department’s radars and reports from Channel Four’s forecasters, I came up with a more interesting idea. After checking to make sure it was open, my umbrella and I made our way to Vyoon’s, the new restaurant around the corner from the studio. There I found…

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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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5-Star Back Issue: WE 4/25/2018: Beef Connection

Diary: Thursday, April 19, 2018. Beef Connection. It’s amazing the degree of influence that Mary Ann exercises upon me. During the time she’s been in Los Angeles visiting our new grandson, she calls me almost daily. Her calls continuously suggest which restaurants I should dine in. Her idea is that I should focus my attentions on the many restaurants that need reviewing. But she doesn’t want to waste time in restaurants that aren’t her kind. So, I should hold back on those restaurants until I am dining solo. And I…

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5-Star Back Issue MO 04/25/2018

Diary: Thursday, April 19, 2018. Beef Connection. It’s amazing the degree of influence that Mary Ann exercises upon me. During the time she’s been in Los Angeles visiting our new grandson, she calls me almost daily. Her calls continuously suggest which restaurants I should dine in. Her idea is that I should focus my attentions on the many restaurants that need reviewing. But she doesn’t want to waste time in restaurants that aren’t her kind. So, I should hold back on those restaurants until I am dining solo. And I…

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5-Star Back Issue FR 4/20/2018

5-Star Back Issue FR 4/20/2018

Diary: Sunday, 4/15/2018. French Quarter Festival. It’s rather windy and sort of cold, but not enough to make the afternoon less than enjoyable. The food boths were all very busy, while the music stages–particularly those along Woldenberg Park at the lakefront. Some years ago, Mary Ann persuaded to walk along the river, and we ran into so many people that it took almost an hour to get from one end to another. I swore back then that I wouldn’t go this way ever again. Well, there we were, weaving our…

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5-Star Back Issue Thursday, 4/19/2018

Friday, April 13, 2018. . . The Wongs of Trey Yuen were not at the French Quarter Festival today. In fact, they would not be there tomorrow, either, because the entire Festival has been shut down because of heavy rain, tornadoes, flooding, big hailstones, winds approaching hurricane strength, and equally dire enemies of good times. It had me paying attention to the weather along with everybody else. I really started to worry when the power went out at the Cool Water Ranch, at around two in the morning. It was…

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5-Star Back Issue Wed., 4/18/2018

Friday The April 13, 2018. Rare Dinner At Trey Yuen. When we first moved to the North Shore twenty-eight years ago, the restaurant that had the bulk of our regular dining business was Trey Yuen. The Chinese restaurant opened in the 1970s, when the five Wong Brothers came to Mandeville from Hammond, where they opened their first restaurant. From the outset it was not only a success but one that broke away from the standard Chinese menu seen in almost all competitors. That alone wouldn’t have made them the breakaway…

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5-Star Back Issue Tuesday, 4/17/2018.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Dark And Unfamiliar. The, Brilliance In Food And Music! The drive home last night from the Best Chefs event was nostalgic and creepy at the same time. During the six years when most of my life was staged in or around the University of New Orleans, I knew all the buildings, restaurants (very few) and private neighborhoods. I have had very little occasion to return to those parts since I landed my first big job, well away from UNO. The whole area has become foreign territory…

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5-Star Back Issue 4/13/2018

Sunday, April 8-9, 2018. Demoted Singer. Chicken Pannee With Two Sauces. The Wagners–who usually lead the singing at St. Jane’s ten o’clock Mass, but were supposed to be absent today–left me to be the cantor. But they showed up, so I was just the usual singer in the loft. It’s just as well, since we have not run a rehearsal. But then I hear that the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performs its performances with only two rehearsals. In the afternoon, Mary Leigh came in from Meridian. She didn’t take the train…

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5-Star Back Issue 4/12/2018

Diary-Saturday, April 7, 2018. Recovering From The Train. The Little Computer Printer That Didn’t. Even after the nine-hour sleep I needed after yesterday’s train trip to Meridian, I am still exhausted–mostly because of mental tiredness from the train trip. But none of the bizarre sensations I experienced the last time I took a train trip were here. I had a hard time figuring out where we were as the train made its way through the tangle of rails that one rarely thinks about (unless one lives near Metairie Road). There…

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5-Star Back Issue 4/10/2018

Diary: Thursday, April 5, 2018. Gabrielle Re-enters Our Eating Lives, A Dozen Years Later. As soon as they could get there to survey the Katrina damage, Chef Greg and Mary Sonnier found their restaurant Gabrielle on Esplanade Avenue in an unusable state. They would spend the next dozen years trying to make a permanent return to the market, but with little luck and a great deal of of frustration. Most of the latter owed to the popularity of Gabrielle’s culinary excellence. With all those customers, some would-be neighbors to a…

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5-star back issue 4/10/2018

Friday, April 6, 2018. A Mini-Vacation. A few weeks ago I mentioned to Mary Ann that I needed a short vacation. She became an advocate for that idea, while not including herself in the break. Instead, her idea was for me to be a sort of demi-traveler whose itinerary would appeal to almost nobody but me. The route we came up with was about 200 miles each way, from New Orleans Union Station to Meridian, Mississippi. In Meridian, I would meet up with our daughter and have lunch. Then she…

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5-Star Back Issue 4/9/2018

Simple And Sublime: The Spam Project A tale of forcemeats and prejudice by Mary Ann Fitzmorris In the world of my youth, the word pâté was never uttered. There was potted meat, Vienna Sausages, hogshead cheese, and corned beef in a can. My apologies to all who have heard one of my favorite food stories, but I just love to retell it. In my twenties I dated a Jewish guy from Beverly Hills, whose family frequented the now defunct Junior’s Deli in Westwood. We picked up some things there once….

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5-Star Back Issue Fri 4/6/2018

This ultimate surf ‘n’ turf was created by Chef Greg Brandt, when he was cooking around New Orleans. I don’t know where he is now, but after shooting a television piece with him at the old Greco’s in the French Market, I glommed onto this recipe and play with it any time leftover lobster comes my way. I’ve also found that this works well with big shrimp. This recipe is more ambitious than most of ones I give you, but it requires more attention than skill to make it right….

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5-Star Back Issue 4/4/2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Checking In At Rizzuto’s. A Visit With Hicham. For the past several weeks, I’ve attempted to dine at Rizzuto’s, the restaurant that took over the Lakeview place that for a long time was the home of Tony Angello’s. I genuinely wanted to eat more of their food. But I can’t just go there without making arrangements with The Marys, both of whom love the big, modernized new restaurant and its food. So I have been waiting for them to become available. That might not have been…

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5 Star Back Issue 4/2/2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Mary Ann takes delivery on her missing car. What a deal! It cost us a mere $1774 for the wheels to be out of action. The cause of the problem was water spilled into the shifter which, we learn, is operated by an electrical gizmo that is sensitive to inundations. I will remember that. But it might not apply to me, since throughout my entire life I’ve driven only manual transmissions. As in clutch pedals. In the meantime, the Marys are busy readying themselves for the…

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5-Star Back Issue – 4/3/2018

Diary Monday, April 2, 2018. No Poor Boy. Morton’s. I was just awakening, at around six in the morning, and I was putting out dog and cat food for our six pets. Then I heard a few whistling notes. I stopped and listened to the familiar song, and waited to hear the sound again. It would take only a few seconds before the unmistakable herald of springtime. “Queedle-Deep!” the bird said, a bit roughly and not exactly as I heard it before. A bird, invisible somewhere in the trees, asked…

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5-star Back Issue 3/30/2018

Sunday, March 25, 2018. Zea. Covington: 110 Lake Dr. 985-327-0520. Here’s how the situation stands right now. MA’s car is still being worked on. So far, the mechanics are incapable of getting the car’s transmission to leave Park. The parts are allegedly en route, but what’s causing the problem is still a mystery. The car cannot move. ML is in town to arrange the final pieces to close on the house that she will be buying later in the week. It’s a modest home, but for her to have bought…

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5 Star Back Issue 3/28/2018

Friday, March 23, 2018. Two Tonys, And Many Others. After a little driving around aimlessly, I satisfy an urge to have dinner at Two Tonys. There’s something about the family-style Italian restaurant that appeals to my appetite. I’m not the only one with this hunger, and the restaurant is nearly full. I am consigned to the nether reaches of the dining room, but that doesn’t seem to bother me. The menu at Two Tony’s covers a lot of territory, and trying to decide what to eat is time-consuming. I wind…

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5-Star Back Issue 3/27/2018

5-Star Back Issue 3/27/2018

Tuesday, March 21, 2018. Briquette Again, Screaming. I dine for the third time at Briquette, one of the newest restaurants in the rapidly growing Warehouse District. It’s operated by A. J. Tusa, who has several restaurants in the area of the Convention Center. Briquette is certainly the best of Tusa’s restaurants, with a handsome dining room and an interesting menu of Creolisms. Two aspects of Briquette stand out. The chef spent a few years working with Gerard Crozier, who was one of the best French chefs in the history of…

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5-Star Back Issue 3/27/2018

5-Star Back Issue 3/27/2018

Monday March 19, 2018. Mary Ann’s car develops a major problem that doesn’t seem like much. Her Audi will not allow itself of exit the Park mode on the gear. Indeed, the gear selector will not move in any direction. That doesn’t sound like all that big a deal, butt it is. It makes the immovable. The usual assortment of neighborhood and relative talent offers it suggestions, but none of them accomplish anything. AAA sends a tow truck over, bu it will require more attention than the tow guys had…

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5-Star Back Issue 3/22/2018

Simply Sublime By Mary Ann Fitzmorris Consider the lowly biscuit, and its cousin, scone. Though biscuits have been a house staple at the Cool Water Ranch for eons, I never appreciated how sublime these uncomplicated baked goods could be. Every Saturday, Daddy and daughter baked a large batch, the remainder relegated to the freezer for Daddy to eat one a day until the next batch arrived. Sadly, that tradition died, mainly because daughter grew up and realized consuming a pound of bacon for breakfast is inadvisable, and the Daddy decided…

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5-Star Back Issue 03/21/2018

Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2018. The Road To Jacmel Inn. Mary Ann has been interested lately in dining along the I-55 corridor between Laplace and Hammond. Specifically, she was thinking about Middendorf’s in Manchac and Jacmel Inn in Hammond. She might also have had Baton Rouge on her mind. MA doesn’t hesitate to drive that far and beyond if she’s in the mood. I used to take drives like that myself, but it would seem anathema now. We checked off Middendorf’s a couple of weeks ago. Tonight Jacmel…

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5-Star Back Issue 3/20/2018

Friday, March 16, 2018. La Petite Grocery. Nobody is available for dinner with me tonight, and attending a St. Patrick’s parade somehow fails to attract me. So I found myself rolling down Magazine Street, with twilight still bright enough that I can get a view of the ever-overloaded Magazine parking problem. And there I see La Petite Grocery. The Grocery is descended from the old Von De Haar grocery, which in its day (the 1940s through the 1970s) was the place where gourmet cooks would visit for its excellent comestibles….

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