Diary 9|22|2017: First Taste Of Rizzuto’s. (Former Tony Angello’s.)
September 2017

Diary 9|22|2017: First Taste Of Rizzuto’s. (Former Tony Angello’s.)

Friday, September 22, 2017. Sometimes it seems to me that we Orleanians are more interested in restaurants that have ceased to exist than we are of restaurants where one can actually show up and dine. A vivid current example involves Rizzuto’s, the restaurant which, four months ago, took over the holy site where for forty-five years Tony Angello’s served his famous multi-course Italian dinners in an environment of regular customers. Rizzuto’s is not unknown. For some ten years it was Amici, an interesting Italian-hip trattoria in the part of Magazine…

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Diary 9|21|2017: Growing An Hour. Dinner @ Trenasse.
September 2017

Diary 9|21|2017: Growing An Hour. Dinner @ Trenasse.

Thursday, September 21, 2017. No end to surprises at Trenasse. When I leave the studio at the end of my two hours on air, I usually walk around the maze of corridors linking our eight radio stations, and calculate what I managed to accomplish today, if anything. Today, this summed itself up in one sentence: When a show ends well, I feel as if an hour has been added to my life. The show began with two contestants in this weekend’s Fried Chicken Festival. Celestine Dunbar is the proprietor of…

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Diary 9|20|2017: One Of A Chain Restaurant, But No Two Are Alike.
September 2017

Diary 9|20|2017: One Of A Chain Restaurant, But No Two Are Alike.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017. If I had decided to become a meteorologist (it’s something that always interested me),I would probably have to qualify an idea I have about the hurricane season. But since I’m just a lowly food critic, I can freely express Tom’s Probability. It goes like this. At the beginning of the season, any early storms often start in or near Mexico, and then head east. As the weeks go by, the storms coming from the east begin to dominate, but they often allow themselves to drift towards…

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Diary 9|18, 19|2017. Wife Returns. Taxes Finished. Air Escaped.
September 2017

Diary 9|18, 19|2017. Wife Returns. Taxes Finished. Air Escaped.

Sunday, September 17, 2017. Mary Leigh comes to the ranch to keep her current carpentry project going. It is composed of what will be hundreds of small wooden tiles, each about an inch thick. I like the way it looks already. But before she gets back to work we go for lunch at New Orleans Food and Spirits, where she likes the panneed chicken salad and I like the blackened catfish with pecan-meuniere brown butter. Especially since I’m less than really hungry, after that dinner last night at Forks and…

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Diary 9|13-14|2017: Hurricane Paranoia. Tujague’s Peaking.
September 2017

Diary 9|13-14|2017: Hurricane Paranoia. Tujague’s Peaking.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017. The Most Spartan Menu Of The Year. So Why Do I Feel Great? During the Great Hurricane Paranoia of recent weeks, I felt it imperative to load up with some halfway decent food, just in case. Nothing along the lines of canned red beans, Vienna sausage, or (heaven preserve me) potted meat food product. My emergency food is for shorter interruption of civilization. So I have a pound of deli ham, turkey, salami, and Swiss cheese. Two loaves of frozen multi-grain bread. This wouldn’t be enough…

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Diary 9|11, 12|2017. This Disaster, Then That One.
September 2017

Diary 9|11, 12|2017. This Disaster, Then That One.

Monday, September 11, 2017. This Too Has Passed. Back To Second Tenor, Which Heals My Soul. Or Was It The Red Beans And Hot Sausage? Something in the chemistry of my brain changed on this day thirteen years ago. It took two years for me to get over thinking about it all the time. I still think about it now and then, but other cares have intervened. But who can’t say all this? After working hard and well through the morning, I invoked the magical qualities of a big plate…

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Diary 9|9, 10|2017. Irma And M.A. Go Elsewhere.
September 2017

Diary 9|9, 10|2017. Irma And M.A. Go Elsewhere.

Saturday, September 9, 2017. My sparse head of hair looks about the same, even as the length of time since my last haircut grows. Then, suddenly, I look absolutely awful, and the haircut becomes an emergency. The shop that takes care of this has erratic hours on Saturdays, the only day I can get a trim. I have a backup shop that has done such a good job that I think I’ll just stick with them. The lady who does the cutting–in what looks like a former bathroom–is a listener…

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Diary 9|8|2017: Restaurant Owners Give Internal Praise.
September 2017

Diary 9|8|2017: Restaurant Owners Give Internal Praise.

Friday, September 8, 2017. The Restaurant Association Honors Unforgettable Figures. The thought crosses my mind now and then to become a member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. I’m not sure whether I would add anything to it, or it to me. I never asked them, and they never approached me. The LRA is an industry group, almost entirely given over to operational matters. You don’t see many recipes in their publications. A good example of what the long-running (since 1946) organization espouses showed up tonight in an annual meeting celebrating…

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Diary 9|7|2017: Celebrating Emeril’s, With Emeril.
September 2017

Diary 9|7|2017: Celebrating Emeril’s, With Emeril.

Thursday, September 7, 2017. Emeril In Town. Mary Ann plans to return to Los Angeles in a few days, after just having returned after nine days spent with Jude’s family. Now Jude learns that he must attend another week long orientation for his amazing new job. (I am not being snarky here. His new position is a humdinger in every regard.) Jude’s wife Suzanne also works full-time, and a long-term babysitter is needed for every day next week. No greater pleasure is there for Mary Ann to step into this…

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Diary 9|5-6|2017: No Worry. Then Worry. Then Eat Barbecue.
September 2017

Diary 9|5-6|2017: No Worry. Then Worry. Then Eat Barbecue.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017. My doctor’s office called to tell me that all my numbers are in order. Among them is the one that warns of oncoming diabetes. But everything’s cool and I am reasonably healthy, if in dire need of a haircut. The nature of my coiffeur is that it looks fine for weeks, then suddenly turns into the hairdo of Morgus. I get to town early, trying to make it to a welcome meeting for the whole staff for our new market manager–the big boss over our eight…

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Diary. Labor Day. 9|3|2017: Where’s The Storm?
September 2017

Diary. Labor Day. 9|3|2017: Where’s The Storm?

The following was mistakenly published yesterday in incomplete form. It was about dinner that day, September 3. Here’s the whole story in one piece: Mary Ann suggests that we have supper at Due North in Mandeville–the former N’Tini’s. Our appetizer has become a no-brainer: grilled oysters, in the style of Drago’s. Mary Ann says that she thinks these are the best of their kind. Of course, that’s the current method of saying “they were excellent.” If you don’t say they’re as good as Drago’s, you mustn’t have liked them. Further…

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Diary 8|30|2019: Gallagher’s For Lunch. Harvey Ends Officially, But Not Really.
August 2017

Diary 8|30|2019: Gallagher’s For Lunch. Harvey Ends Officially, But Not Really.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017. It was raining good and hard when I awakened, the heaviest rain we’ve had since Harvey moved in. Suddenly, the rain stopped. The sun came out. The wind decreased to nothing. I walked out to the mailbox (about a block away from my front door, so I bring an umbrella). The ditch that collects the water from the fields and the road are only about two-thirds full, and rushing right along. This is a beautiful sight to me. The worst flood we ever had here at…

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Diary 8|28|2017: Work Chases Worry Away.
August 2017

Diary 8|28|2017: Work Chases Worry Away.

Monday, August 28, 2017. I awaken just a little earlier than usual, although I didn’t sleep much during the hour before I officially arose. Official wake-up time is when the cat Satsuma begins whimpering outside my bedroom door. That greeting is followed immediately by the stampede of the big dogs Suzie and Barry, who figure that if any member of the family is getting something to eat, then why shouldn’t they also? I get right to work, because I know that act will focus my mind away from the obvious…

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The Harvey Chronicles. Saturday, August 26, 2017.
August 2017

The Harvey Chronicles. Saturday, August 26, 2017.

Saturday, August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey (shouldn’t we change the name that city on the West Bank, and perhaps the canal and tunnel, too?) is laying waste to southeastern Texas, doing its worst to Houston. It’s a category four. If it can be even worse, I hope I won’t know about it. The storm is not supposed to come to New Orleans, but every report projects its coming a little closer to our hometown. I can’t take my mind off it. I fight this gloom with my best weapon: I…

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Diary: Solo Again. Doc Sez I’m Okay. The Worst Grits.
August 2017

Diary: Solo Again. Doc Sez I’m Okay. The Worst Grits.

Monday, August 21, 2017. Mary Ann flew to Los Angeles today so early in the morning that I didn’t remember hearing her leave. She couldn’t be happier about spending a week or more with her precious grandson (and mine). I compensate for my loneliness with my semi-annual physical checkup. At the end of it, while eating breakfast at the Cracker Barrel (more about that later), I decide that this is the best physician I’ve ever had. I threw a bunch of miscellaneous issues before him. Without adding another prescription or…

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Diary 8|18, 19, 20|2017: Flying In An Eclipse, Oneliness Resumes Its Dreary State
August 2017

Diary 8|18, 19, 20|2017: Flying In An Eclipse, Oneliness Resumes Its Dreary State

Sunday, August 20, 2017. MA spent a big slice of the day trying to arrange her flights to Los Angeles tomorrow. Usual complicated negotiations with the airline and its buddy passes. The less you know about these standby tickets, the better off you are. I refused to become involved, myself. On the other hand, left to my own devices, I’d take the two-day-each-way train. But I know better than to suggest this to my spouse, who considers my love of trains idiotic or worse. MA’s trip is more urgent than…

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Diary 8|17|2017: Return To The Hibachi.
August 2017

Diary 8|17|2017: Return To The Hibachi.

Thursday, August 17, 2017. Sushi, All Alone In The Corner. Among the most memorable series of dinners partaken by my entire immediate family when we had kids was a half-dozen or more meals at the Osaka restaurant in Covington. Osaka is one of the then-expanding bunch of Japanese places specializing in hibachi cookery, the kind originally popularized by Benihana in the 1970. Many diners have gone through the hibachi routine, in which eight or so people sit around a big flat-top grill and watch the chef bang shrimp, slice beef,…

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Diary. Not Making Cut @ Paladar, Nuvolari’s, Or Aquarium.
August 2017

Diary. Not Making Cut @ Paladar, Nuvolari’s, Or Aquarium.

Friday, August 11, 2017. Paladar 511. Last week Mary Ann informed me that her next conquest of a new local restaurant would take place at Paladar 511. That works for me, because I’ve heard a lot of reports–all glowing–since the place opened a bit over two months ago. Some of the rumors stressed the hipness of the place, but radio callers who dwelled on the subject go on to make it sound like the must-visit restaurant of the moment. That feeling seems to be shared by Paladar’s customers, who filled…

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Diary: A Terrible Lunch. A Great Dinner.
August 2017

Diary: A Terrible Lunch. A Great Dinner.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017. Terrible Lunch. I went to a little restaurant that turned out to be the worst place to eat I’ve found in many a decade. There’s almost nothing worth saying about it, except that someone who doesn’t understand cooking and eating should take some training before starting in on that business, even if the person believes he can do it with his whole heart. There’s more to it than that. After having left behind ninety percent of my order, am still in keeping with my basic dietary…

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Diary 8|11|2017: Cypress Is Everybody’s Secret.
* NOMenu.com

Diary 8|11|2017: Cypress Is Everybody’s Secret.

Monday, August 7, 2017. Mary Ann says that I get another dispensation and she will allow herself to be escorted to lunch at New Orleans Food & Spirits, one of our most-visited North Shore restaurants. I stick with my usual red beans and rice with sausage. These guys do that very well. I never get tired of red beans to begin with, but for them to be so consistently good keeps the tradition solid. The Northlake Performing Arts Society returns to action today. I went there earlier than I needed…

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Diary: Too Much Rain, Not Enough Ronnie Kole.
August 2017

Diary: Too Much Rain, Not Enough Ronnie Kole.

Sunday, August 6, 2017. The big news is the heavy flooding that took place on the South Shore today, creating scary-deep water features throughout large parts of the city. From what I can see on television, this was reminiscent of the floods in the 1980, which were at least as awful as this one. My best man Oliver, who lived upstairs with his wife, helped me to jack up all my typesetting equipment on bricks to keep it all above water. But this also took a toll on Oliver’s building….

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Diary. Best New Mexican Food. Remembering Floods & T. Pittari’s.
August 2017

Diary. Best New Mexican Food. Remembering Floods & T. Pittari’s.

Sunday, August 6, 2017. El Paso Mexican Grill. I like the name of this new Louisiana-based chain. It comes right out and says that the place is Tex-Mex, without having to get into that impossible business of authenticity. It admits that the food is right on the border. The Marys join me for dinner there. ML is on the North Shore with her dog Bauer, who likes to go swimming. He will also allow himself to be tied up outside a restaurant if he may park right next to the…

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Diary 8|3, 4, 5|2017: Ralph’s On The Park, Bosco’s Mod Remoulade
August 2017

Diary 8|3, 4, 5|2017: Ralph’s On The Park, Bosco’s Mod Remoulade

Thursday, August 3, 2017. Somehow, Mary Ann and I get into one of our more familiar debates, in which she says that my wanting to go out to eat every day keeps her from losing the amount of weight she has planned. “Just don’t join me,” seems the obvious answer, after which she usually just comes along anyway. I’d do anything she wants, if only I could figure what that is. I suggested that MA write a journal of the British Isles trip she and ML just finished. I had…

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Comings, Goings, And Home.
August 2017

Comings, Goings, And Home.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017. I head into town for the radio show, mainly to take the temperature of the place. Chris Claus, the top man of our eight-radio-station cluster, has announced his retirement. Meanwhile Garland Robinette–who announced his own retirement from his midday talk show on WWL a few weeks ago–has been replaced by Newell Normand, the longtime Sheriff of Jefferson Parish. That’s an unusual shift, but quite timely. Crime is the biggest issue around New Orleans, with the possible exceptions of flooding, football, and (ahem) food. My mother’s extended…

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Lush, Wet Yards. The Marys Are Somewhere. Shannon?
August 2017

Lush, Wet Yards. The Marys Are Somewhere. Shannon?

Saturday, July 29, 2017. Things wouldn’t be so boring if it would stop raining every day. The lawn has grown high again. I’m still working with no success on my my string lawn trimmer. It’s missing either a part or an instruction–both of which are in an owner’s manual whose location I know not. Aside from all that, I have at least been able to take about two-thirds of my walk around the grounds–but on the third lap, at which time I have been walking briskly for over an hour–it…

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Diary: Ristorante Filippo, Which Everybody Just Loves.
August 2017

Diary: Ristorante Filippo, Which Everybody Just Loves.

Friday, July 28, 2017. Filippo Is The House Of Fans. A certain kind of restaurant–difficult to identify, let alone define–shows an quality that many other restaurants would love to incorporate: the certain something that makes all their regular customers love them. Even more curious is the way that such restaurants are less than magnificent in their surroundings, and often serve food that’s something less than unforgettable. (Remember Tony Angello’s?) Ristorante Filippo is one of those. It occupies a small building with minimal accoutrements (the climb to the bathroom, for instance)….

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Diary 7|July 25|2017: Fourth Fascination At Maypop.
August 2017

Diary 7|July 25|2017: Fourth Fascination At Maypop.

Tuesday, July 25,2017. Crossing The Pond. The Marys are in Atlanta for a long time, but they ultimately get what they want: flights to London on their low-price passes. In first class, yet. Mary Ann brushes all obstacles aside, again. My little sister Lynn calls, and recalls that I mentioned Maypop to her, and suggested that we could have dinner there. I need one more dinner there to have the kind of facts that I will build into a review. Lynn is a fan of Asian food, and a semi-vegetarian….

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Diary 7|23, 24, 25|2017: Girls Depart, Twice. Late For The Show.
July 2017

Diary 7|23, 24, 25|2017: Girls Depart, Twice. Late For The Show.

Sunday, July 23, 2017. I Don’t Know Where I Am. Mary Ann makes it official: tomorrow she will fly to London with Mary Leigh, and the two of them will travel around the British Isles for about a week. It’s an all-girl trip, so I am out of the program, conveniently left behind to take care of the dogs, the bills, cutting of grass, and everything else. MA is always very nice to me on the day or so before she heads out on one of her famous journeys. Today’s…

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Diary 7|21, 22|2017: Bustling At Arnaud’s. The Future At Pardo’s.
July 2017

Diary 7|21, 22|2017: Bustling At Arnaud’s. The Future At Pardo’s.

Friday, July 21, 2017. Dinner @ Arnaud’s With A Financial Adviser. In her spare time, Mary Ann likes to invest in the markets, particularly with a guy who a friend of hers said had an interesting batch of stocks that have been giving forth good yields. I have kept my nose out of this, and I don’t know much to start with. Not exactly big pile of money, either. Arnaud’s was very busy tonight–a good state of affairs for this, the slackest time of the years. But Tales Of The…

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Big Dinners @ Arnaud’s, Pardo’s.

Friday, July 21, 2017. Dinner @ Arnaud’s With A Financial Adviser. In her spare time, Mary Ann likes to invest in the markets, particularly with a guy who a friend of hers said had an interesting batch of stocks that have been giving forth good yields. I have kept my nose out of this, and I don’t know much to start with. Not exactly big pile of money, either. Arnaud’s was very busy tonight–a good state of affairs for this, the slackest time of the year. But Tales Of The…

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The Marys Blanket The British Isles.
July 2017

The Marys Blanket The British Isles.

By Mary Ann Fitzmorris Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Crossing The Pond (The following is the first of as many reports as the Marys find time during and after their journey to see everything in England, while I sit here at my desk with the dogs and this journal.–Tom) Road trip! Most people think of jumping into the family car and going to the beach, but the Marys (I’m one of them; the other is our daughter Mary Leigh) cross the ocean, rent a car and try to cover two countries…

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Diary 7|26|2017: The Marys Ride On The Right Side.
July 2017

Diary 7|26|2017: The Marys Ride On The Right Side.

My wife Mary Ann is writing a parallel diary to mine about her trip with our daughter Mary Leigh this week to Great Britain. As she prefers, Mary Ann is improvising everything, and really racking up the miles on the rental car. I am taking a day off from the diary for a doctor’s appointment. Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Our Delta flight touched down at Heathrow at 7:05 a.m. to the minute. We went immediately to the Hertz office, a long bus ride from the airport. I was nervous about…

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Diary 7|18|2017: 29 Years, Twice. C-Room. Sala, New In West End.
July 2016

Diary 7|18|2017: 29 Years, Twice. C-Room. Sala, New In West End.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Twenty-One Years In Two Ways. Today is the twenty-ninth anniversary of the launching of The Food Show. It’s a miracle in radio broadcasting that such a non-mainstream program would get on the air in the first place, let alone keep going with the same host and station all that time. It’s by quite a bit the longest-running show of any kind in New Orleans radio. Mary Ann figures strongly in the show’s history. She hired me for the gig, and then made the mistake of going…

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Diary: Mowing, Falling Into Holes, Chinese Sushi.
July 2017

Diary: Mowing, Falling Into Holes, Chinese Sushi.

Saturday, July 15, 2017. A Second Dinner Unearths Steaks and More Crab & Corn Soup at Due North. A typical Saturday, with a radio show from noon until three p.m. At its end, I attempt to mow the Cool Water Ranch’s three acres. I get the tractor started easily enough, it’s not long before I run the tractor into a cypress knee. Those things are so solidly in the earth that this one stopped the tractor and its engine cold. Trying to fix it, I find that the shield around…

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Diary 7|15|2017: Too Soon To Go Due North, But We Do Anyway.
July 2017

Diary 7|15|2017: Too Soon To Go Due North, But We Do Anyway.

Saturday, July 15, 2017. A Second Dinner Unearths Steaks and More Crab & Corn Soup at Due North. A typical Saturday, with a radio show from noon until three p.m. At its end, I attempt to mow the Cool Water Ranch’s three acres. I get the tractor started easily enough, it’s not long before I run the tractor into a cypress knee. Those things are so solidly in the earth that this one stopped the tractor and its engine cold. Trying to fix it, I find that the shield around…

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