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DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Diary 7-10-2018. It’s not often that breaking news runs in the Dining Diary. But sometimes I get invited to an event interesting enough that I can’t pass it up. This morning, Mary Ann informed me of a soft-opening of a new/old restaurant in Lakeview. Scot Craig–the bossman at the excellent neighborhood cafĂ© Katie’s–just re-opened the doors for what had been Coz’s, a long-running sandwich shop. Coz’s has several layers of history, the most interesting being that it was at one time owned by the bugle-blowing racing-day heraldics at the Fair Grounds. His name was Charlie, and he really did blow the horn before every race.

Craig says that Francesca–the name of the new restaurant–will function as a catering operation as well as a sandwich shop. It will have all the familiar local sandwiches, from poor boys to muffuletta. Also here will be some exotic items. The Chicago-style Italian Beef, for example. That’s something like a roast beef poor boy, but has different bread and a different, spicy flavor.

I ordered an Italian beef, to check it out. I found that I may be the only person in the building to have ever eaten a Italian beef. It wasn’t bad, but it doesn’t have the same flavor. I will suggest to Scot Craig that a bunch of New Orleans emissaries take the City of New Orleans to Chicago to figure it out. The Amtrak station is within walking distance of of the best Italian beef in Chicago, from a place called Al’s #1. Most of the menu from that point onward is about unusual sandwich combinations and the hamburgers, which are unusual in being made from ground beef brisket.

Beyond that is Francesca’s pizza, baked in a big old-style New York oven. Craig says that he made a fantastically good deal on the pizza oven and the whole stainless-steel kitchen, for that matter. “We’re still in slow-opening mode,” he adds. That’s clearly true, but most of the long menu is apparently designed primarily for people looking for lots of ready-to-go food.

Francesca. Lakeview: 515 W Harrison Ave. 504-266-2511.

It’s time for a New Orleans Eat Club Dinner–and do we have a good occasion for it! We celebrate a special event: the thirtieth anniversary of the Food Show With Tom Fitzmorris. From Monday, July eighteenth, 1988 onward, my radio show has broadcast daily from the top of the Maison Blanche Building. That began what is now the the longest-running radio talk show in New Orleans broadcast history–same concept, same host, same station.

On other anniversaries of the Food Show, we always held a dinner in one of the classic Grand Dame French Quarter restaurants–Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, and the dining room of the Ritz Carlton Hotel (originally the Maison Blanche Building). To keep that tradition going, we invited Broussard’s to do the honors. Here’s the menu, whose dishes are selected because of its resemblance to the kind of restaurants that were current in 1988. I hope you can join me for this celebration.

If you’ve never been to our hundreds of Eat Club Dinners over the years, here’s the story. Most of the people who attend are listeners to the radio show. The restaurant develops a special menu for the occasion, paired with wines throughout. We usually serve in tables of six or more. You might not know the others at your tables, but I visit all the tables through the night, and a convivial quality takes over.

It’s essential to make a reservation (see below) to attend our dinners. Payment is made at the restaurant the night of the dinner. If for some reason you can’t make it to the dinner, please let us know two days before the dinner.

Passed Appetizers: Cajun Caviar, Crab and Corn Beignets, Steak Tartare.

First Seated Course:
Grilled Watermelon Salad
Curly kale, fresh chevre (goat cheese), Vidalia onions, toasted almonds, champagne vinaigrette

Second Course:
Pompano Amandine
Haricots verts, toasted almonds, beurre noisette

Third Course:
Seared Duck au Poivre
Roasted fingerling potatoes, leeks, bacon, peach compote

Fourth Course:
Bananas Foster prepared tableside, vanilla ice cream

The Eat Club Dinner at Broussard’s is scheduled for Thursday, July 18, 6:30 p.m. The price is $100, inclusive of tax, tip, and wines. To reserve, telephone Broussard’s directly @ 504-581-3866. Be sure they know that you are reserving spots for the Tom Fitzmorris Eat Club. If you have any questions, email me: tom@nomenu.com.

The restaurant is at 819 Conti, French Quarter. There is valet parking adjacent to the restaurant. I recommend arriving early (six-ish). I’ll see you there!

Tastefully yours,
Tom Fitzmorris and. . .
Rebecca Schattman, General Manager, Broussard’s.