DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Revision!
Commander’s Palace’s Wine Guy came through with a list of the wines we had Saturday when we sampled the Reveillon menu here. All the info is here:

Monday, December 21, 2015.
Unexpected Pre-Christmas Fast.

The heartening news is that it is the Winter Solstice, after which the days begin getting longer. I also like that it is a universal holiday for all mankind. We’ve never done enough with that celebration.

My celebration is hanging the lights on the Christmas tree. My lighting strings are still the old kind, shaped like flames but much bigger. I also have bubble lights, which become harder to replace with each passing year. I once had enough working bubble lights to cover the whole tree. Now I can only do bubble-illuminate about half the tree.

When it rains a lot, sometimes the road that leads to the Cool Water Ranch becomes flooded with a depth of water not worth attempting to cross. It almost always goes down after a few hours, but that wasn’t soon enough to escape to have either lunch or dinner. I fling some leftovers into a meal. Mary Ann is on the other side of the lake with friends and clients. I don’t see her until nine in the evening. She doesn’t ask what I ate, and I don’t volunteer the info.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015.
Fogged In. Leftovers Again.

I was on my way to the radio station, almost all the way to the Causeway, when a reader board tells me that fog on the bridge had the lanes down to one and speed to 35 miles per hour. (Which in fact means 20-25 mph.) No way I will get to town at that pace. I return home and broadcast from there.

Mary Ann finds some better leftovers for supper than yesterday’s. She loves leftovers, and actually would prefer eating them to freshly-cooked food, depending on what it is. We have some leftover steak Stanley from Commander’s. I eat it, perhaps setting some sort of record in being the first man to eat three plates of steak ‘n’ bananas in less than a week.

Mary Ann begins to hang the ornaments on the tree. I am very concerned that my oldest ornament–one that dates back to my parents’ home in the late 1950s–is missing. It is fantastically ugly after all these years, and so has a special place on the tree: down on the bottom branches, way in the back. It’s a ritual that I hang this silvery, plastic, blotchy thing before any other ornament. It is also the last to be removed. But where is it now?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015.
Free Concert, Opera House, Late Supper.

Daniel Lelchuk, the Gourmet Cellist, keeps turning up. Today he is performing at Christ Church Cathedral with a soprano, a violinist, an oboist and a bassoonist, all members of Lyrica Baroque, a classical ensemble. It’s a free concert with a Christmas spirit. Mary Ann and I planned to attend even before we saw Daniel’s smiling face on the brochure. The big church was full and the performances were outstanding.

Mary Ann thought the finale was familiar. “That’s your song, isn’t it?” She means “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” the song that drew blood and tears in my failing attempts to hard-wire it into my brain for an NPAS solo two weeks ago. Soprano Sarah Jane McMahon sang it as beautifully as all the other songs she warbled tonight, and certainly didn’t need a cue card to remember the words, as I did.

There was a reception after the performance at the New Orleans Opera’s reception hall on Prytania Street. Daniel was there, as was Robert Lyall, the music director of the Opera. He has been on the radio with me many times. He tells me the Opera is doing Sweeney Todd next season. NPAS did that scary Sondheim piece a few months ago.

And here was Sarah Jane McMahon, as beautiful as her singing. While Mary Ann kept her husband distracted with a conversation about the Grand Canyon (long story), I asked her whether she had any kind of problem getting the verse’s lyrics down in “Have Yourself A Merry. . . ” I know she’s a pro and I’m an untrained hack, but she was gracious, and pleasantly surprised me by saying that indeed she did find it a little sticky the first time she took a swing at it. (No sign of this in her performance, nor on her Christmas CD, however.) “You have Christmas future, then Christmas past, then Christmas present,” she said. Don’t I know it!

The original plan for today was to have the Reveillon dinner at Arnaud’s. But I waited too long to make a reservation, and there were no tables. How about Andrea’s? He has wanted to see photos of Jackson, our grandson. But when we arrived, we were told that the kitchen was closed.

So we went to Impastato’s, which was almost full. I did a couple of songs with Roy Picou. (But not “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” which he had just done.)

We have Joe Impastato’s famous crab claws, then some fettuccine for her and baked Italian oysters for me. She quits at that point, but I move ahead with speckled trout Marianna–named for Joe’s mother, but–and I just though of this just now–Mary Ann’s name in Italian. I tell her I ordered the dish to honor her. She doesn’t buy it.

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