DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Saturday, December 9, 2017. Snow still covers a large part of the ground and the roof of the Cool Water Ranch house. So much of it is melting up there so quickly that I thought there might be a broken pipe around back.

MA and I have breakfast at Mattina Bella. I am in the mood for something straightforward, eschewing the poached eggs with crabmeat and mushrooms, or with fried eggplant, Italian sausage and marinara sauce. Instead, it’s just soft-scrambled eggs for me, with brabant potatoes (their version of French fries), bacon, and two multi-grain pancakes with real maple syrup.

Some months ago Vincent added the good maple syrup to his repertoire. All you have to do is ask to get the real thing. The differences between real maple syrup and the mostly-fructose corn syrup are large. It’s one of the highlights of the New England cruises with the Eat Club we’ve held every two or three years. In the maple groves of New England, they not only have real maple syrup, but you can get it in different intensities, colors and flavors.

I went from there to the English Tea Room in Covington. Every year NPAS sends its singers to the quaint little shop, where we give forth all the Christmas songs we have with us. But I’m a little too late for today. NPAS singers are now in the part of the program in which we eat and drink on the house.

Mary Ann and I regroup in the afternoon for the annual holiday concert. In it the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra plays its classical repertoire to the extraordinary moves by the 610 Stompers, a one-of-a-kind local dance ensemble. The Stompers’ charm is that watching them, you never know what they’re going to do next, but you are sure it will trigger laughter. This is the third LPO/Stompers show MA and I have attended. It’s an essential part of the holidays for us now.

An unexpected move tonight had the Stompers’ narrator say something along these lines: “The Stompers got a mediocre review last year from the local food critic.” But I don’t remember having delivered of any such commentary. I think the Stompers are brilliant as they are unpredictable and unique. On the way out of the Orpheum Theater, a number of people stopped me to ask me whether that was me being called out by the Stompers. There are other food critics out there, after all. In any case, to be commented upon by the Stompers is a singular distinction if you ask me, and I accept it.

Mary Ann’s plan for the evening was to have supper either before or after the Stompers’ performance. But the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel was jammed with people checking in, attending the Stompers’ show across the street, or just looking over the amazing holiday decorations. We checked all the restaurants in the hotel and were told that over an hour’s wait were necessary to eat in the Fountain Lounge. The Sazerac was jammed with drinkers. And Domenica was also a full house.

Domenica also delivered this alarming situation: it was out of the kind of flour they use to make the signature stone-and-wood-burning pizza. Which meant that they didn’t have pizza, and would not for a few days. Whaaa?

We returned to Domenica after the concert anyway. They still weren’t making pizza, but we did have the rigatoni with the spicy red sauce and the lamb meatballs and spaghetti before we struck out for home. Interesting day.