23 in '23

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris January 10, 2024 08:46 in Dining Diary

It is already mid-month of the new year but I am still remembering meals I had last year. Tom always did a best new restaurant of the year just passed, but we don't get out as much as he did and new restaurants these days aren’t usually as good as the old ones. The wheel does not need to be re-invented.

What made me think of this other approach to the year in review was looking through all the pics from dining 2023 for the 12 dishes of Christmas piece. I made a lot of food discoveries and dining discoveries (not always the same) this past year, so I thought this would be a fun thing to explore.

  1. Institutions don’t have to deteriorate to worn and insipid. Crescent City Steakhouse is still pristine and delicious. And Camellia Grill is still interesting and fun.

  2. The Dickie Brennan brand is delightfully eclectic. The food is not brilliant but sometimes brilliant and otherwise very good, and it is an eclectic group of interesting places. On a beautiful day, it is hard to beat the balcony at Tableau, or the porch at Audubon Clubhouse.

  3. Trenasse really is the oyster hub of New Orleans, as Tom has always said.

  4. August is the epitome of gourmet elegance in New Orleans.

  5. Pre-conceived notions can be shattered. I love tiramisu if it is good. Tchefuncte’s proved that to me last fall. They also proved that anchovies don’t have to be eaten from a can and that the real ones European-style can be good. Also, unlikely combinations can be great. Pardo’s stacked shrimp and pork belly on a lettuce leaf and I was wowed. Even newcomer Parish Tacos served up some delicious Latin-style boiled peanuts.

  6. Angelo Brocato’s is a one-of-a-kind national gem.

  7. Camellia Beans rolled out a sensational fail-proof product for 2 people called Camellia Red Beans for 2 and another version, Camellia White Beans for 2. Any pantry with these two can turn an emergency into a great meal, with no pickle meat, tasso, or ham hocks required.

  8. The lunch specials at Keith Young’s in Madisonville are a delicious steal at $17. It's worth the trip over the bridge for the whole experience.

  9. Don't forget Mom and Grandma’s recipes. Desi Vega’s grandmother’s meatball is the best out there. And Kenny Lacour’s mom’s coconut cake deserves its reputation at Dakota.

  10. The Napoleon House is a treasure. But the famous muffuletta isn’t the reason to go there.

  11. Two Louisiana fruits are nonpareil in the world of agricultural products subject to the vagaries of nature. These are satsumas and strawberries. And last year's strawberries were the best in memory.

  1. The Greek Festival and the Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest are a worthwhile pastime.

  2. The little crustless egg bites at PJ’s are pretty irresistible.


  1. All bottled marinara sauces are similar enough that it is hard to tell the difference between them. They’re all good. 

  2. Roast beef poor boys deserve their iconic status.

  3. Sometimes interpretations of a muffuletta can be fantastic, like the muffuletta pizza at Meribo in Covington.

  4. The Waffle House is not a destination restaurant.

  5. Dollops of ricotta are distracting on a pizza.

  6. Muriel’s is worth a trip to the French Quarter.

  7. Little finger sandwiches can be sublime, and they are no place else but here.

  8. You don't have to go to Spain for a great Paella Valenciana. Valencia in Covington will do it for you.

  9. If you like delta tamales you must have them in the delta, especially at Doe's Eat Place.

  10. Figgy Pudding is actually delicious.