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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: Valentine Dinner @ New Justine, French Bistro.

Diary For Thurs., 2/14/2018. Valentine’s Day. First Dinner @ Justine. If the degree to which I don’t follow the advice I give people about getting the most out of restaurants, I’d lose all my credibility. So why am I telling you that I’m about to do that? Because I hold nothing back from you. Ever. Today is Valentine’s Day, one of the busiest day of the year for restaurateurs. By the time we get around to it, Mary Ann and I have gone out to eat grandly on February 6,…

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NOMenu Back Issue: MA Explored Houston Some More.

Experiences By Mary Ann Fitzmorris. Weekend Of 2/7-10/2019. Now Try This One: Poitin (pronounced “PUUT- cheen”) Over the weekend in Houston I witnessed an astonishing (to me anyway) amount of drinking. The drinks were so beautiful, their names so inviting, and their presentation so interesting that I really wish my palate didn’t lump all spirits together, including mineral spirits. It was such fun to watch all the drinks paraded before me, fortunately consumed by other people. Cocktail menus have become so involved and the drinks now pure artistry, I was…

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NOMenu Back Issue 2/12/2019. Bubbles & Burgers. Glenn Miller Music.

Diary For Tues., 2/12/2019. Burgers And Bubbles At The Roosevelt Hotel. Glenn Miller Orchestra Across The Street. What a busy week this has been! Celebration of our thirty-year anniversary dominated the calendar, while a lot of audio production at the radio station took up most of my open space in the mornings. Today, I had a remote broadcast of The Food Show at the Roosevelt Hotel. Mary Ann and I stayed after the show ended to sample the Roosevelt’s new Tuesday special: a line of unusual hamburgers, served with champagne….

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: Wed. 2/13/2019/To Houston To Eat, MA Creates New Column.

Experiences By Mary Ann Fitzmorris For Feb., 2/7-11/2019. Invited To Houston To Eat, She Creates A New NOMenu Column. Yauatcha. Back in Houston, this time just to eat. And eat. And eat. I was invited by a Houston p.r. agency to sample the wares of some of their clients, and to remind New Orleanians that our Texas neighbor is way more than a place to gas up heading west. It is! Our first stop had nothing to do with Texas. Yauatcha (“you watch’ a” it takes practice!) is a Michelin-starred…

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NOMenu Back Issue 2/11/2019: Our Thirtieth Anniversary @ Windsor Court.

Diary For Yesterday, 02/11/2019. Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary. A lovely return to other nights at the Windsor Court Grill Room, complete with pizza. It was thirty years ago today that Mary And I were wed at St. Mary’s Assumption Church in the Irish Channel, followed by a magnificent reception, catered by Chef Andrea, at the home of my friends Kit and Billy Wohl. That day has resonated with us ever since, and many people have asked me to tell the story again. It was a sunny, cold, windy day when we…

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NOMenu Back Issue: Got Gumbo Competition 02/07/2019

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: 2/5/2019. Second Oldest Restaurant: Tujague’s.

Diary For Tues., 2/5/2019: The Second-Oldest Restaurant in New Orleans. It happened again today. Traffic was so jammed when I tried to leave the radio station that I decided to head off in the opposite direction from my usual route, right into the heart of the French Market. There I saw what appeared to be a long stretch of open curbside. The signs said that I couldn’t park there until 6 p.m., but after that there were no other restrictions. And it was four minutes until six. And there I…

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: 2/07/2019. Antoine’s New Chef. I Go There For My Birthday.

Diary For Tues. & Wed. 2/5-6/2019. Meeting The New Chef At Antoine’s. After almost fifty years in the kitchen at Antoine’s, Chef Mike Regua has announced retirement from his chef job at the end of this year. Just in the nick of time, Antoine’s identified Mike’s successor: Chef Rich Lee. He visited the radio show, giving me a chance to throw at him all the questions that came to my mind, perhaps pressing down a little hard on this one: Will Antoine’s the eating experience remain what it has been?…

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: 2/6/2019. Is It Possible To Not Enjoy Italian Food?

Diary For Sat., 2/2/2019. One Never Gets Tired of Italian food. Impastato Cellars Gets Better Every Visit. I work pretty much constantly, but every now and then I find myself with nothing to do. Or, more accurately, perhaps, with nothing I want to do. It disturbs me to have nothing but trivial jobs on my list. I did have something on my gist, however: a three-hour radio show on WWL for three hours. It stayed busy the whole time and we covered a lot of ground. Most of the callers…

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: An Opening @ Fausto’s. Braciolone Recipe.

Diary For Fri., 02/01/2019. An Opening @ Fausto’s. Puzzling motivations make up our minds when we’re trying to decide where to go for dinner. Among the most powerful of these is the appearance of an empty parking space in a place where such openings are rare. Tonight, while unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to get to Two Tony’s, the weird configuration of merging lanes in that neighborhood pushed me in the direction of Veterans Blvd. I turned right and into Metairie. The bright sign in front of Fausto’s caught…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/31/2019. Opera. Seasons Of Good Taste Begin.

Diary for Wed. – Thurs., 1/30-31/2019. New Orleans Opera. A Dinner For Channel 14 @ The Pelican Club. Third Celebration Of 125 Years At The Roosevelt. Robert Lyall, the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Opera, took to visiting me on the air few years ago. The New Orleans Opera being the venerable organization that it is–it’s been around since the 1700s–he always has a lot to say. It seemed a bit much at first, and some listeners said as much. But today’s program had a level of conviviality that…

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: 1/30-31/2019: Routine Pleasure. The Marys In Texas.

Diary For Mon. & Tues., 1/28-29/2019: The Pleasures Of A Normal Day. Sushi Village. They’ve Got A Crush On Me. Mondays are among my seven favorite days of the week. I don’t make the 100-mile round trip into downtown New Orleans, thanks to a piece of broadcast equipment that lets me do my radio show from home. I have lunch at a neighborhood restaurant on the North Shore. More often than not, it’s red beans and rice. Today was different, what with Mary Ann making one of her cute and…

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue: 1/30/2019. Major Dining On Sunday.

Diary For Sun., 1/28/2019. A Day For Unusual Punctuation In Restaurant Names (OxLot9; R’Evolution. Longtime Friends In The Morning, Other Such Associates In The Evening. Brunch at the Southern Hotel in Covington has become a lot like a salon for Mary Ann and me. She loves the place for its look and the healthiness and appealing quality of its food. I like it because of the originality and flavor of the eats. All of this is enough to offset two problems the place has at brunch time on Sundays: the…

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NOMenu Back Issue 1/29/2019: Joe Cahn Remembered.

Diary For Sat., 1/26-27/2019: Joe Cahn Remembered. I knew who Joe Cahn was before our paths crossed. We both were involved in New Orleans food. I was writing restaurant reviews; Joe was getting a cooking school started. The New Orleans School of Cooking started out in a tight, rough space just off the corner of Conti and Dauphine. His curriculum amounted to a wide assortment of enthusiasms for the cooking of Louisiana. His timing was perfect–in the mid 1970s, when Chef Paul Prudhomme was in his heyday. So also did…

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NOMenu Back Issue: Kids In Restaurants. Pat Gallagher’s New Place.

Diary For Fri., 1/25/2019. Marys Return. Dinner @ Manale’s With Angela Hill. The Marys left Houston this morning, completing a week spent in central Texas looking for materials they will build into Mary Leigh’s house renovation in Old Metairie. At the speed she usually employs. MA drives the two of them from Houston back to the Cool Water Ranch before my radio show ended. They were not planning to meet up with me for dinner, so I let a recent hunger for the food at Pascal’s Manale, a restaurant Would…

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NOMenu Daily: Back Issue Of 1/24/2019

Diary For The week Of 1/21/2019: A Well-Worn Food Path Through Texas, By Mary Ann Fitzmorris. Clearly we haven’t learned anything from the Sacher Torte “thing” in Vienna last summer, because this piece is written as I stand in line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. Even I don’t want to smell barbecue at 8:45 a.m. The legend is that if you want to be transported to another world by slivers of brisket, you gotta do the hard work. So I stand and write in a gentrifying part of town….

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue Thurs. 1/24/2019. Vincent’s.

Diary For Mon., 1/21/2019. MLK Day is now as much a holiday as most other national calendar markers. A number of restaurants closed today. That was not universal, but there definitely were a few restaurants that even on a standard Monday would ordinarily be open, but were closed today. Also shut down for the day was the regular rehearsal for the Northside Performing Arts Society. NPAS is in the middle of working on a concert scheduled for March. It’s more difficult than most NPAS programs, because of the foreign language…

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NOMenuDaily Back Issue 1/18/2019: Marys @ Saints. Crowds.

Diary For Sun., 1/20/2019. By Mary Ann Fitzmorris. Ah, what a difference a week makes! A week ago our daughter Mary Leigh and I had a great time watching the Saints game at Vitascope Hall in the Hyatt, as I reviewed last Monday. We repeated it all for the Rams game, starting much earlier. The crowd seemed doubled in size and fanaticism. Such fun! After we put our names on the hours-long wait for a table, ML went off to visit friends at nearby tailgates. I began this wait where…

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NOMenu Daily Back Edition 1/22/2019: Picnic Provisions & Whiskey.

Diary For Thurs., 1/17/2019: The Puzzle Of Picnic Provisions & Whiskey. From the Brennans of Commander’s and associates. Mary Ann’s persuasions to make me go to new restaurants and revisit long-existing ones has on several occasions brought up this new eatery, smack in the middle of the Uptown Beat-Up Streets District. Tonight Mary Leigh called to make the same suggestion, and that was enough to get me there. We already knew that this is a cooperative endeavor from Ti Martin, the daughter of the late genius Ella Brennan and one…

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NOMenu Daily Back Issue 1/18/2019: Carrollton Market.

Diary For Wed., 1/16/2019: Tips For Smart-Phone’s Use In The Food World. Dinner @ Carrollton Market. First thing this morning was to give a tablespoon or so of blood, a semi-annual ritual that always reveals my peak of health. I find that hard to believe, but I’m glad to have that reading, because surely the nurse-practitioners will someday have something tough to chew on. This delivery of a vital fluid was early, and didn’t take long. When I get home MA is still only recently out of bed. Within a…

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NOMenu Back Issue 1/17/2019: Oak Street & Good Restaurant.

Diary For Wed., 1/15/2019: Down The Bayou On Oak Street. The strategy of attracting attention to a restaurant by making the cooking unusual. The corner of Carrollton Avenue at Oak Street in the Riverbed vicinity is one of those places that carries some importance in my life. In the building that is now the Fidelity Bank was, for about forty years Time Saver #1, the first location of the first convenience store in New Orleans. I worked at the Time Saver for nine years, starting when I was twelve years…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/16/2019: Unique King Cake. Birthday Party @ Muriel’s .

Diary For The Weekend Of 1/11-13/2019. From A Unique King Cake To A Lively Birthday Party Put On By New Friends. John Caluda is one of those people who, after running through a few years of absence from my world, turns up. I first knew John from his time in the pastry shop of the Royal Orleans Hotel and the kitchen at Flagons–the extinct but important wine bistro of the early 1980s. I first made friends with John when he opened a coffeehouse on Metairie Road near Labarre Road. The…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/15/2019. Bistro Orleans, Porter & Luke’s.

Diary For Thurs. & Fri. 1/10&11/2019. Checkups @ Bistro Orleans and Porter & Luke’s. It’s normal for radio station commercials to drop down to almost zero at the beginning of the year, largely because the stations take advantage of the lull to rejigger their electronics. The sponsors revise update their commercials. I go in and rewrite my own commercials, the old versions of which I am pretty sick of hearing. But like restaurants in September (the slowest month of the year for eateries), I find myself with a lot of…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/14/2019: Post Saints-Day Eats & Drinks

Diary For Sun., Jan. 13, 2019. Who Dat Says You Gotta Be in Dat Crowd? Eating Notes From The Big Game. By Mary Ann Fitzmorris. As an unapologetic fair weather fan, I didn’t even know who the Saints played yesterday. But just like the lottery ticket I have to buy when the jackpot nears $1B, I had to see the Saints game yesterday. And definitely not at home. If there is a party going on . . . On the extremely rare occasion that I go to a game, I…

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NoMenu Back Issue 1/11/2019: Rib Room.

Diary For Wed., Jan. 9, 2019. Chef Tom Wolfe Is Still There. In general, chefs move around a lot, a habit that is particularly widespread among European chefs and hotel restaurant chefs. But even by those standards, the career of Chef Tom Wolfe’s has been especially pronounced. He’s been the top man in a long list of New Orleans eateries, many of which bore his name, so sure it appeared that he was in for the long term at last. But then, off he want to the next place. While…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/10/2019. Avo.

Diary For Tuesday, 1/8/2019: Avo, Where I Order The Wrong Things. My littlest sister Lynn Fleetwood is near enough my age that we have conversations about retiring. Neither of us is contemplating immediacy, but the question always lingers. My wife Mary Ann encourages me to have dinner with LF as often as possible, because Lynn enjoys restaurants that MA can’t stand. There is a parallel: MA is a red meat fan. LF has been a vegetarian most of her adult life. That limits the list of restaurants that she might…

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NOMenu Back Issue 1/9/2019: Red Beans To Quesadilla.

Diary For Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. Red Beans Into Quesadillas. Return To The Chorus. A funny thing happened when I went to lunch today. As usual on a Monday, I had red beans on my mind. Abita Roasting Company sounds like the name of a coffeehouse. It is that, but it’s also a maker of basic pastries and other sweets, along with an extensive and creative lineup of breakfast dishes. Beyond that, one also finds an array of sandwiches, salads, and plate specials. One of the latter is red beans,…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/4/2019: Alaska Is Possible

Diary For Fri., 1/4/2019: How About A Cruise Through Alaska? After the New England-Canada cruise of a few months ago, I told Mary Ann that I would never organize another one. While only a few minor problems turned up during that trip, pulling all the details together was grueling work for months. Certainly a long way from being a vacation. We let our travel agent Debbie Himbert know that no matter what she had planned for a next cruise, we weren’t going to host it. I figured that would keep…

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NOMenu Back Issue 1/4/2019: First Taste Of Bywater American Grill

Diary For Thurs., Jan. 3, 2019: First Taste Of Bywater Bistro. My daughter Mary Leigh doesn’t go out to dinner with me nearly often enough. It’s nobody’s failing, really. We’re both more than a little busy. Her house-building effort and and her projects during the past year have pulled her into a possible career in architecture. And, in her mid-twenties, she enjoys an active social life. Not a lot of time in between to hang with Daddy, but then Daddy is pretty busy himself. Mary Ann has been leaning on…

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NOMenu Back Issue. 1/3/2019. Pat Gallagher’s Grill. Rain, And More Rain.

Diary For Thurs., Jan. 3, 2019: Pat Gallagher’s Old Place In The Rain. My plan for the day is to head into town and do the show from there. Ian McNulty, the restaurant critic for the Advocate newspaper, published a list of the restaurants that have closed in 2018. By his count–which looks accurate to me–there were 29 closings. It would have been nice to also have the roll call of newly-opened restaurants alongside, but this is fair enough. I knew about most of the closed restaurants, but a few…

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NOMenu Back Issue 1/3/2019: N’Tini’s The Day After.

Diary For Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019: New Year, Back To Work And Other Routines. We didn’t get home from yesternight’s fireworks on the river until two in the morning. I’m glad Mary Ann was the designated driver. She drives a lot faster than I do, and she doesn’t fall asleep on the way home the way I do (not while I’m driving, I mean.) If this seems selfish on my part, know that MA hates my driving. I am awake at my usual seven a.m. the next morning, trying to…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 1/2/2019. New Year’s Eve. Joe Cahn Gone.

Diary For New Year’s Weekend, 2018 & 2019. Joe Cahn Departs Us. Our last Sunday brunch of the year. Fireworks in the river blow up in our face. The big New Orleans food story on the last day of the year was the demise of Joe Cahn, the official Commissioner of Tailgating. That function sent him around the country to professional and college football games, where he would visit all the tailgate events taking place and encourage everyone else to tailgate better and more often. Tailgating is what you’re doing…

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NOMenu Back Issue 12/31/2018: New Year’s Weekend.

Diary For New Year’s Weekend, 2018. The calendar seems fuzzy, out of focus. But that figures, what with 2018 about exhausted. Nothing much happened in these final days. I was asked to appear as a guest on Newell Normand’s show, whose studio is next door to the one where my show takes place. But we can’t use that convenience. There was a long and heavy thunderstorm through most of the previous night, and for the first time in ten or fifteen or maybe even twenty years, the road to and…

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NOMenu Back Issue: 12/28/2018. Habanero. Reunion #68.

Diary For The First, Second And Third Days Of Christmas (December 26-27,2018),Followed By A Deluge. I read somewhere that Christmas, despite its peaceful quality, is among the most stressful days of the year. I can vouch for that, speaking as a person who can’t relax if there are things I consider important to do. I’m more satisfied if I have done a lot of cooking and cleanup through the day. That’s what happened when I went into town to do the first Food Show in five days. It was a…

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NOMenu Back Issue: Two Days Before Christmas.

Diary For Two Days Before Christmas And Christmas Day. The Sunday before Christmas was typical. I sang at the ten o’clock Mass, then rendezvoused with Mary Ann at Ox Lot 9 for Sunday brunch. MA has taken such a liking to the Ox Lot–the restaurant in the Southern Hotel in downtown Covington–that we brunched there almost every Sunday for a month or so. I was wondering when MA would chastise me for ordering the same dish every time we’ve been to the Ox Lot. She says that my reviews are…

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