5-Star Back Issue 5/10/2018

Monday, May 7, 2018. The Offbeat Muffuletta Is On The Railroad Tracks. The Marys head out for their house renovation early in the morning. They’re getting potential contractors to come by and look over the plans. They are finding that one must explain in tiny detail what they wanted done, because it’s possible that a contractor might mis-hear what the Marys want and how much they’re willing to pay for it. The girls join me for lunch at Lola, the popular salad-and-soup cafĂ© in Covington. It’s built into an old…

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Diary: Sat., May 4-5, 2018. Chef Duke’s New Place.

Diary: Saturday, May 5, 2018. A busy day begins pleasantly enough, with breakfast at Mattina Bella. I am served by a new face from among owner Vincent Riccobono’s family. His daughters and granddaughters have made up a large part of the wait staff, coming and going over the years. It’s a family operation in the way restaurants are in, say, Italy. The new girl tells me that there’s a special today: a blueberry waffle. This caught my attention mainly because during the holidays they made several such variations, with flavoring…

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Diners Want To Go Out, Be Served. 5/7/2018

Diary: 5/4/2018: Is Delivery The End Of The Restaurant? The Comforts Of Andy’s Bistro. Don Amez, one of the reporter-writers in the WWL newsroom, found an article that he thought was worthy of consideration by the Food Desk (that would be me). In essence, the article predicts that people will be getting more and more of their meals on order from their smart phones or other such mechanisms, and they will then eat them in their homes. It is predicted that this will also remove supermarkets and home kitchens from…

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Food Almanac Monday, 5|7|2018

May 7, 2017 Days Until. . . Mother’s Day–May 13 Annals Of New Orleans New Orleans was founded today in 1718. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, chose a high spot in a sharp bend of the Mississippi River to begin a French colonial town. It’s where the French Quarter is now. He named the place for Duke of Orleans, Phillippe II, a flamboyant guy. The feminine form of the city’s French name–La Nouvelle Orleans–is a joke about his personality. Nobody questioned whether this were a good place to put…

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NOMenu 5-Star Edition. 5/4/2018

Rizzuto’s Tomahawk. Another One At Apolline. The Latest Line-Up For Dinner. I continue to find more evidence for my conviction that thick pork chops of excellent intrinsic merits are better than all but the very most expensive steaks. (Which someone will order for no reason other than to obey the imperative that one should spend the most for what might be the best.) This one came from the steaks-and-chops side of the menu at Rizzuto’s, where I repaired for dinner a month ago. (I meant to report on it sooner,…

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The Future Of New Orleans Food Criticism.

The Future Of Restaurant Criticism. This article originally was prepared to appear in the NOMenu Daily a few days ago, when a computer glitch made the whole article disappear. It was almost as if it were trying to tell me something. A lot of people wrote me, asking me what the deal was. Simply, it speaks for itself. But it’s not announcing my exit from the profession. I don’t expect to check out of this enterprise anytime soon. Sorry if you find it puzzling.–Tom Fitzmorris. It’s easy to get a…

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The Future Of New Orleans Restaurant Criticism.

The Future Of Restaurant Criticism. This article originally was prepared to appear in the NOMenu Daily a few days ago, when a computer glitch made the whole article disappear. It was almost as if it were trying to tell me something. A lot of people wrote me, asking me what the deal was. Simply, it speaks for itself. But it’s not announcing my exit from the profession. I don’t expect to check out of this enterprise anytime soon. Sorry if you find it puzzling.–Tom Fitzmorris. It’s easy to get a…

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Zea-Oysters; Beans-Catfish

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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Eat Club @ Vyoones: CBD, WED May 16, 2018.

Upcoming Eat Club Dinners Eat Club @Vyoone’s CBD: 412 Conti. Click here for reservations. Click here to reserve. The most active part of the New Orleans restaurant world 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 Tchoupitoulas 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…

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Diary: FR 4/20/2028: Arnaud’s And Other Crowded Places.

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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Diary, 4|11, 12|2018: Brilliance At Borgne, And From The LPO

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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Diary: 4/8-9-&10/2018 A Weekend Of Substitution. Best Chefs.

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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Diary 4/6/2018-Train To Meridian.

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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Diary 4-4-2018-About Meridian

Thursday, April 5, 2018. A Mini-Vacation. A few weeks ago I mentioned to Mary Ann that I needed a short vacation. She immediately became an advocate for that idea, while not including herself in the break. Instead, her ideas were travelettes that would appeal to almost nobody but me. “You should take the train to Meridian for a day or two and have dinner with Mary Leigh while you’re there,” MA said. Mary Leigh is our daughter. Meridian is where ML she is engaged for her employer with a large…

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Almanac: Thursday, April 5, 2018.

April 5, 2017 Days Until. . . French Quarter Festival–April 12-15 Easter —April 1 Jazz Festival–April 27-May 6> Legends Of New Orleans Dining In 1910 on this date, one of the most important New Orleans restaurateurs of all time was born. Thirty-six years later, Owen Edward Brennan founded Brennan’s. He was later joined in the business by his siblings Adelaide, John, Ella, Dick, and Dottie, and then by his sons Pip, Ted, and Jimmy Brennan. What came out of that combination was a style of grand dining that dominated the…

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Diary 3|30|2030 Blackout In The Steak House. House Flipper.

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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Quiche Lorraine

RecipeSquare-150x150 Quiche–a very popular dish in the Lorraine region in Northeastern France–somehow acquired the reputation as something that real men don’t eat. After that untruth got out, quiche was relegated to salad restaurants and pastry shops. It’s making a mild comeback, now that eggs have been revealed as not the death-dealing element in your diet that the nutritionists had been telling us they were. The filling of this quiche is the classic (although in France they’d probably use bacon instead of ham). But the crust is decidedly offbeat. Read entire article.

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An Unparkable Car, A Decrease In Culinary Enthusiasm.

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 3/30/2018 |57157

Just Because By Mary Ann Fitzmorris The weekend just passed was the tenth Hogs for the Cause event, a wildly successful fundraiser ($1.45 M this year) to fight against pediatric brain cancer. That number was matched by 85–the number of teams who entered their works in the competition for prizes like “High on the Hog” “Whole Hog” and many others. Fun is the real theme of this event, as proven by the clever play on words everywhere. The all-star celeb team–it won Whole Hog title–had a roster that included Chef…

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Hogs For The Cause 2018.

Escargots Bourguignonne This is the classic snail appetizer with garlic butter. There are more adventuresome sauces out there, and some of them are really delicious, but nothing beats having the snails sizzling in this fragrant butter, except perhaps having a loaf of hot French bread to dip into the sauce. During my broadcast from Gallier Hall every Mardi Gras, Archbishop Amann visits with us for a few minutes. I always ask about the rules for Lenten eating, especially as it regards unusual foodstuffs as alligator, turtles soup, and snails. The…

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Two Tonys And Two Sinatras.

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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Diary 3/21/2018. Loud Shouts @ Briquette.

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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Diary: The Chef’s Soiree Dodges The Rain, Feeds Us Well.

Sunday, March 18, 2018. Chef’s Soiree Is Beautiful. It rained yesterday, and the forecast was for rain again this afternoon. At the time, in the place, and in the intensity to take a lot of the pleasure out of the Chef’s Soiree, the most important culinary event on the North Shore all year long. Even though the Soiree will go rain or shine, and many large tents were set up, the weather was heading right at us an hour before the gates would open. But then we get lucky. A…

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The Road To Jacmel Inn.

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. Secifically, 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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A Taste Of La Petite Grocery.

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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Evaluating Curio

Thursday, March 15, 2018. Mary Ann has plans for us to head to City Park, where there is a musical event in the Botanical Gardens. MA thought it involved a program of standards and classical, free for the visiting. But that wasn’t the story at all. So she changed our plans to Curio. The block surrounded by Chartres, Conti, Royal and Bienville has not historically been a major vortex of fine dining, even though the next outer layer of restaurants is one of the best blockfulls of excellent restaurants in…

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5-Star Back Issue 05-18-2018

Diary: Gabrielle || Thursday, 05-17-2018 || For once, I thought of the perfect restaurant for dining out this evening. I left the radio station almost immediately after the show ended, and I drove over to Gabrielle’s. Chef Greg Sonnier has his restaurant well pulled together, to judge by the first visit we made there a few weeks ago. On the other hand, it’s still probably a little too soon after the opening for me to write the definitive review of the place. On top of that, they are doing a…

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Most Recent Articles

Wednesday, March 14, 2018. A few days ago I suggested that MA and I should go to the Country Club in the Bywater precinct of Downtown. The Country Club is a large, elaborate restaurant combined with a public swimming pool, a large array of chaise longues and many outdoor tables for dining. Indoor tables are all in small dining rooms that are very effective in keeping the noise down. Hand-painted art all around adds a nice touch. In the center of all this is a large, oval-shaped bar, which tonight…

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Saturday, March 10, 2018. A three-hour radio show at noon fills most of my day. I start with breakfast at Mattina Bella. The Marys are barely awake, and not interested in joining me. So I shoot the breeze with owner Vincent Riccobono (not the same one who owns the Peppermill in Metairie, but a cousin) and with the guys sitting to my left and right at the counter. From then on I drive up and down Causeway Boulevard, trying to find bookstore managers so I can get the new edition…

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The NOMenu Food Almanac

March 11, 2017 Days Until. . . St. Patrick’s Day–March 17 St. Joseph’s Day–19 Easter–April 1 Restaurant Anniversaries The Palace Cafe opened today in 1991. Envisioned as a more casual version of Commander’s Palace, it was at first managed by cousins Ti Martin, Dickie Brennan, Lauren Brennan, and Brad Bridgman. When the Commander’s Brennans split up their properties, the Palace Cafe went to Dick Brennan’s side of the family. The place opened with an emphasis on seafood and rotisserie dishes, but over the years the restaurant evolved into a jack…

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New Orleans Menu Daily: March 9, 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018: Grandly Opening Vyoon. It’s opening night for Vyoon’s Grand Opening. The party is on the second floor, a handsome space lined by old bricks (the CBD and Warehouse District full of them) that looks down on the Tchoupitoulas Street sidewalks, well occupied by traffic that fills the neighborhood and cafes in the vicinity. There is wine, cheese, cocktails, and a little bit of food, filling the mouths of the guests. a harpist plays all night, even though she has a tough time being heard above the…

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Recipe (Fish On The Half Shell) & Food Almanac For Today

Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Briquette. I continue to take Mary Ann’s advice seriously. She thinks I don’t dine out in as many different restaurants as I can, with the emphasis on new eateries. I admit to going to too many, too-familiar Metairie restaurants. Not because I want to go to those places, but because they’re on my way home, and much easier to approach than, say, the Magazine Street restaurant corridor. Tonight’s exploration takes me by foot to Briquette, a restaurant on the corner of Girod and South Peters. Owner…

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The Food Almanac

March 12, 2017 Days Until. . . St. Patrick’s Day–March 17 St. Joseph’s Day–19 Easter–April 1 Food Calendar Today is National Muffuletta Day. The muffuletta has an obvious Italian ancestry, but it was created in New Orleans, from which it has spread to some other parts of the country in recent years. A well-made muffuletta is one of the world’s best sandwiches, and a perfect lunch for a meeting that needs its brains cleared. (As long as everybody is eating it, anyway.) Although it’s obviously Italian, you won’t find muffulettas…

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Recipe & Almanac

Shrimp Remoulade With Two Sauces I think remoulade sauce is one of the most useful and enjoyable flavoring agents that money can buy. I like it so much that it’s the very first recipe in my cookbook. There are two kinds of remoulade sauce served around New Orleans, and everybody has a distinct favorite. My preference is for the orange-red kind that’s utterly unique to our area. White remoulade sauce, made with mayonnaise, is actually closer to the classic French recipe. It’s good enough that in recent years I’ve taken…

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Shrimp Remoulade Two Ways

Shrimp Remoulade With Two Sauces I think remoulade sauce is one of the most useful and enjoyable flavoring agents that money can buy. I like it so much that it’s the very first recipe in my cookbook. There are two kinds of remoulade sauce served around New Orleans, and everybody has a distinct favorite. My preference is for the orange-red kind that’s utterly unique to our area. White remoulade sauce, made with mayonnaise, is actually closer to the classic French recipe. It’s good enough that in recent years I’ve taken…

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