Always Festive Here

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris October 15, 2020 11:55 in Dining Diary

A peculiar thing happens every time we have dinner at Annadele’s, a charming B&B in Covington. The dining room is small and the feel is intimate, so all the diners seem to be chatting with each other by the time the evening is over. To be fair, we have only our own experience to report. Tom is a recognizable face, and I am friendly and whimsical so these two factors may explain it, or maybe Annadele’s is just that special.

The first time this happened we were seated at a back table and one of the diners from the other table mentioned across the room that they were from New England. When they arrived here, one of them stumbled onto the show, and for 22 years Tom has guided their dining path. They are extremely devoted followers because of his perfect record of steering him right. The remainder of the evening  was spent with any other patrons unfamiliar with the guiding light in their midst to get acquainted. Everyone else knew Tom and agreed. It was funny.

The last time we went a week ago, there were two similar parties. One was headed by Mark DeFelice from Pascal’s Manale and they talked across the room.

At the next table was an adorable family with four kids and two boyfriends plus parents. Three birthdays were to be celebrated. At the end of the table closest to ours sat the two youngest of this brood, a young man about 15 and his 11ish year old brother. Older sister’s back was to us as she was at the head, her father the host at the other head.

The 15 year old attempted to entertain his older sister with his imitations of our two presidential candidates. He was quite good, but it fell short on the older sisters who chastised him. He was extremely entertaining to me though, and I told him so when he looked my way.

Audience approval emboldened him and he got in trouble again, this time explaining that he had an appreciative audience. And soon I was part of their party.

Not long after, a champagne bucket was placed beside me, with the explanation that the champagne was from that table! I was touched by the feature and explained that we weren’t drinkers. The host agreed when I told him we’d have a glass and send it back.

Mark DeFelice came to the table to chat, and this is how it’s done at Annadele’s, at least in our experience. Even if all this camaraderie was not part of the experience, we love the food. It is not brilliant food, or particularly gourmet, but it is mighty tasty.

I hoped the real Italian chef had a cacio e pepe special as he did the last time. I discovered his origins when I asked who made the authentic cacio e pepe. But he’s got the local classics down too. Tom’s Meuniere drum with brabant potatoes has the dark brown thicker sauce than the light brown butter that is now more common, but this is traditional. Loaded with almond slivers and served with green beans, it delivers. Tom was thrilled.

He started with a beet salad composed of spinach and goat cheese with the most delicate and perky vinaigrette. It is tempting to make a meal of this.

I passed on my usual temptation here to get the signature crabmeat cheesecake and opted for shrimp with tasso with Crystal hot sauce.  This was a welcome surprise. Delicious. Crispy shrimp with a real kick from the slither of tasso in the back cavity. The tasso crisped when fried. I will get this again.

My entree was the Crawfish Risotto. Cheesy, creamy, and crawfishy, what could possibly be wrong with this?

Tom finished with bread pudding, I drank his glass of champagne too, and we left with great feelings from a wonderful dinner among “friends.”

If we were feeling romantic too, the perfect end would have been a nightcap in the dark and sexy bar.