Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mama Rosa Lunch

I was all set for Arranchni but the fryer was down. So I made do with the following. Bruschetta (grilled Italian ciabatta bread with chopped tomatoes, olives and Mama Rosa’s dressing) with a little fresh mozzarella on top. Superb. The dressing soaked into the bread and made it delicious
The combination of the sweet tomato and the salty olives makes this dish

I got the first thing I ate at Mama Rosa's when it was in a U shaped mall in DeRidder. A tuna sub done Provencal style. As you can see it is a veritable garden with no mayonnaise. It tasted as delicious as the first one I had years ago. It contains lettuce, cukes, tomato, olives, onion and Mama's olive oil dressing.

As usual no Tiramisu since it was sold out. So I got the cannoli. It was ok. Sweeten ricotta freshly piped into a fried shell with candied cherries on the ends.

Please remember things here are done a la minute (when you order them). So do not come here in a hurry. If you are in a hurry she has a small buffet that she offers. Again it is not all you can eat. I am there for the food so I make sure I have the time

Monday, March 30, 2009

La Truffe Sauvage

Well last Friday after another long and stressful week I was looking for something great. When I pulled up I realized that I did not have my camera. So I will have to do it old style. Paint a picture with words

I started with my go to aperitif the Negroni. Equal parts gin, campari and sweet vermouth served straight up (martini style). They went a little heavy with the campari so it was just a tad bitter than I really care for. However it is such a pretty color (garnet) that I just sucked it up

First up was Angus Beef Carpaccio beef tenderloin, pounded paper thin, served with dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiana Reggiano, crostini & lemon. I really wish I had a picture because it was more a work of art than plate of food. Paper thin beef covered the plate with a ring of shaved parmesan around it. In the middle three conchions formed a triangle with dijon in the middle. Trails of black pepper and olive oil made designs on the beef. Three crostini of french bread artfully placed I used to transfer the beef and such my mouth. I also experiment with adding lemon juice to the beef. I tried all combinations and most were successful. The lemon beefed up the beef taste. This was the first time I've had this and it was a delight.

The soup of the day came next. It was a Cream of Celery Root with Shrimp. I received a bowl of pale green soup with small to medium shrimp scattered in it. I do not particularly care for the taste of celery but I understand that celeriac is lest potent. That proved to be the case. The soup had a rich vegetal flavor (sort of green) with only an under-note of celery. Well within my tolerance. They heated the soup to such a degree that they added the shrimp raw and it received a gentle poach. Therefore the sweetness of the shrimp came through along with a soft texture. This contrast with the rich and earthy soup made this dish. I can still taste it

The salad of the day was a Caprese. I basically I got three towers consisting of a large slice of beefsteak tomato topped with buffalo mozzarella, kalamata olives, and chiffonade of basil. Pesto, pine nuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top and along side. Again picture perfect. If the tomatoes had been a tad riper it would have been perfect. A single bite contained the acid of the tomato, bland tang of the mozzarella, saltiness of the olive, unctuous of oil , anise flavor of basil, nutty crunch of pine nuts and the sweetness of the balsamic. A true symphony of flavors in my mouth

Pan Sautéed Tender Calamari with olive oil, fresh garlic, parsley & lemon, served with roasted red pepper aioli turned out a little different that I expected but delicious. I was expecting calamari steaks but got rings instead. However the style in which it was done reminded me of Salt and Pepper Calamari. As this is a favorite of mine this dish found favor with me. Rings in a light coating flash fried then stir fried with a mixture of garlic, parsley and lemon(gremoulade) gave it a Mediterranean touch rather than a oriental flavor. The aioli made a wonderfull dipping sauce. In the end it suited my mood (light rather than heavy). They were also were very tender.

I got a White Chocolate Crème Brulée traditional French custard with a crisp caramel shell accented with perfectly ripe raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I could have a bowl of this fruit and been satisfied. This is the third brulle in as many weeks. It was perfect in it own way. Perfect sugar shell over a minimum of great custard. Arthur Durham sent out Frozen Nougat with Dried Fruit and Nuts figs, currants, cherries, toasted almonds & walnuts folded in a light honey mousse because he did not realize I had this the last time I came in for lunch. It is an excellent nice ending to a heavy dinner. Not too sweet a little cool and chewy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mrs Johnnies 411

For those who asked I swung by to pick up some pies and ask them about shipping. They said they sometimes do but it is on a case by case basis. Here is the contact info

Mrs Johnnies
720 Alamo St
Lake Charles LA 70601
337-474-9278 or
Ask for Kevin

Good luck

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Southern Spice

While in the drive thru for Dairy Barn I noticed that Southern Spice has a drive thru for plate lunches. A wound up on that end of town and decided to try it. I opted for smothered liver, rice, beans,spinach, corn muffing and carrot cake. The liver was calves and cooked just right. Fork tender and very livery. The gravy was good and the rice ok. Could have used some spice though. Unfortuanely the sides were poured straight out of cans. The muffin a little dry and the carrot cake a nice ending. A B+ only because the liver was great

Full Do's

Full Do’s
1751 Opelousas
Lake Charles, LA
Monday - Friday 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM $1-$10
There have been several unsuccessful venues at this building. However I think these sisters have cracked the nut. A new colorful facade and paint job on the outside combined with a new look inside along with good solid food and their personalities are sure to make for success. My eminent colleague at the American Press gave you the back-story and some menu choices. I am here to give you the details. While they primarily do plate lunches they also do short orders which I did not explore. Good wholesome Creole country cooking in a convivial atmosphere is the standard here.
I started with Smothered Liver and Onions on the Thursday menu. I love this combo. It came with rice, green beans and mac & cheese. That day they used cow’s liver, which has a stronger liver taste (right up my alley). The pan gravy proved excellent over their fine rice, spicy and flavorful. The beans doctored with some bacon, superb. The mac & cheese seemed to be under salted, quickly remedied.
A Tuesday meal of Smothered Tripe and Pigs Feet with collards and cabbage feed my soul. Some of the best cabbage I've ever eaten. It managed to be sweet, spicy and savory at the same time. The collards were just bitter enough to counter the richness of the tripe and pigs feet. The seasoning on the tripe and pig’s feet was right on. While tasty they were slightly undercooked for my taste, not excessively so and entirely edible. Partly my fault as I come earlier (excited about the meal) than is my wont. Another hour in the pot and they would have been perfect
Don’t worry last time in I went with something everybody would want to eat. I was aiming for Meatloaf Wednesday but they were in-between loafs. They offered Meatballs and Gravy, great. You can tell a lot about a plate lunch place by their meatloaf or meatballs. I got these with turnip green and black-eyed peas. Three huge meatballs arrived at the table. They were almost perfect (spicy, meaty, and flavorful without being dense) except they were on the salty side. I suspect a salt based seasoning may have been added after some salt. Broken apart and mixed with the rice they were delicious. The peas and greens complimented a square of sweet cornbread. What can I say? Good Food, Good Loving, Good Gosh I wish I was there now.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Pho Tien

They have added some Lenten dishes to the menu. This is one. It is Salt Roasted Shrimp. It is a variation on my favorite preparation of seafood. That is salt and pepper. Everyone does it different. This one is raw shrimp wokked with a salt and garlic mixture very little pepper then some bell pepper and onion strips added to finish off. It is served with rice and Pho Tien salad. I would have preferred more spicy but that is why the sirachi bottle is on the table. The flavor was nice. There might have been fish sauce used in it. I enjoyed it except for the tails. By the way I ended up here Friday because Donde Tonio is no more.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Le Parvenu

Sorry I have not posted in awhile but I have been snowed under at work and at home. Fortunately part of that snow has been a trip to Kenner for a food show and an opportunity to dine in one of Kenner's high end places in the old town area. I had intended to go to a venue further up Williams near the lake and casino but they closed on me. I then decided to go to Le Parnenu. Since I still have quite a few "About and Beyonds" in my quiver I decided to give this place the full treatment on the blog. Below is a shot of the main dinning room looking out on the porch. This restaurant is in an old house with a limited number of off street parking spots on a side street. It has a lovely covered porch which would be perfect for those who like al fresco. The interior with the wooden floors and pastel colored chairs and white linen tables is very inviting. On to the food

They bring cheese toast made from their French baguettes when you sit. The cheese has penetrated the bread and has lots of flavor from seasonings and herbs. Quite addictive. By it is my usual preprandial cocktail. It is a Negroni straight up. It is composed of equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. It is an excellent aperitif to stimulate your appetite while calming your nerves

First course was "Our Famous Mirliton, Shrimp, & Crab Bisque". That is straight from the menu and well deserved. A creamy soup with a big seafood punch but quite delicate. The mirliton (also known as chayote or vegetable pear) gave a vegetal under note while small shrimp and chunks of crab proved nice. I did discover a few crab membranes and a piece of onion skin but they did not deter me from enjoying thoroughly.

Chef Dennis’ Original Oyster Doubloon, Wilted Fresh “Rockefeller” Spinach came next. This was a very satisfying riff on Oysters Rockefeller. The doubloon consisted of oyster dressing formed into a patty and pan sauteed. It sits on wilted spinach with an anise undertone. Topped by fresh lump crabmeat and a nice lemon butter sauce it stood out. The doubloon possessed a nice strong oyster flavor and when all the parts where consumed together it had the taste of an really great Rockefeller. As I love the taste of oysters I was extremely happy with the dish.

Cornmeal Crusted Snapper Fillet, Crabmeat & Toasted Almonds Topped With Lump Crabmeat, Almonds, And A “Meuniere” Beurre Blanc. I was in the mood for fish but I had some trepedations about going with this. Cornmeal crusted catfish is good but on snapper and I have a thing about nuts with food. But I am also adventurous and willing to try new things especially coming out a kitchen of a recognised chef. In the end I loved it. The crust seemed more corn flour and delectably seasoned. It certainly contrasted well with the fish. The crisp and crunchy crust and the sweet and moist fish. The slivered almonds were pan toasted. This resulted in a nutty sweet flavor that boosted the sweetness of the crab. Again there was a contrast of crisp and soft. You got two things that had two layers of flavor. Put together they surpassed the sum of their parts. The sauce brought them together.

A nice side plate of vegetables came with it. Brabrant potatoes with strong flavors and delicately steamed yellow squash, carrots and broccoli with a light lemon butter sauce rounded out the meal. Best treatment I have seen in awhile

Bringing up the rear was espresso and creme brulee. The crust on the brulee seemed to be a bit overdone but I found it gave not only a caramel flavor but a slight bitterness that contrasted well with the unctuous custard underneath. The second absolutely perfect one that I have had this month.

This was certainly a treat in the middle of a hard week. I do not know how I will top it this coming week which is looking to be as jam packed as this week. Hopefully I will be able to post more but I am not certain. Here is the link to this fine dining establishment

Friday, March 13, 2009

Full Do's

I wanted something hot and spicy today for lunch to combat the penetrating cold. It popped into my head that this venue does a seafood picante on Friday. So off I went. As I have turned in the review for this place for publication next week and this meal was not on it I am going to give the full treatment on it. Eric Cormier's column this week, my review next week and the blog today constitutes an unintentional media blitz. However this establishment is well worth it. Below is a shrimp and crawfish picante with red sauce. It possessed a medium spice level but loads of flavor. I add a little hot sauce the at tail end and it brought it up to a nice burn. The green beans here always has a nice spice level and bacon. A deadly combo as far as I am concerned. A sure pick whenever it is offered. The mac & cheese had a wonderful cheesy flavor. As you can see by the color it is not the usually cheddar. I suspect they use a mix of some mild cheeses. It is smooth and creamy. Very satisfying and filling. Later this afternoon, weather permitting, I will be heading to Regalia for what's become a Friday afternoon ritual. Arabic coffee and conversation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bistro Lemonde

Bistro Lemonde
3199 Dowlen Road
Beaumont TX
Monday - Saturday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM $3 to $17
Sunday 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Although several years old now, it was new construction built just for this establishment. Vinyl leather chairs surround mahogany colored wooden tables on a stained concrete floor. Curved concrete walls with plaster colored in varied pastel colors reach up twenty feet to an industrial ceiling. The feeling is ultra modern. When you sit down they bring a combo basket of Tortilla Chips and small Rolls with Salsa. Both times I was there it seemed to me as if it had been sitting around for awhile. Both chips and bread were stale. The salsa however proved excellent. It possessed roasted peppers in a pureed tomato base with just the right amount of spice
Our enthusiastic friend got an order of Vidalia Fried Onions for the table. They were in a seasoned tempura batter with a chipotle dipping sauce. The sweet and the smoky went well together. A side salad that came with my meal contained green leaf lettuces, tomatoes and croutons. I opted for Ginger dressing which had a nice clean ginger flavor and quite zippy. My sister's Baked Potato Soup was very smooth and creamy with a pronounced potato flavor but not too rich. My Shrimp Gumbo while tasty had a tomato based broth. I prefer mine sans tomato.
Our enthusiastic friend ordered a Bistro Burger. Grilled ground sirloin patty and Wisconsin Cheddar cheese with raw onion rings, tomato slice and lettuce on a whole-wheat bun. I would have thought it would be dry but my taste proved otherwise although the cheese tasted more like American. She enjoyed it. My sister opted for the lunch portion of Grace’s Power Plate Bistro Veggies. That overflowing plate contained fresh spinach, artichoke hearts, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, red and green bell peppers. Some items were steamed and others grilled. All had a light seasoning that made the most of the vegetables. My entree was Creole Grilled Tilapia. Nicely grilled with a moist interior and spicy laden exterior. I went with sweet potato fries (excellent) and grilled squash. It also had a garlic herb drawn butter for dipping that proved too salty. We all shared a Vahlrona Chocolate Pie for dessert. The Vahlrona chocolate had been transformed into a dense filling with a fudge brownie consistency, nice.
My next visit was solo. I went with a Green Chile Chicken Soup topped with multi-colored tortilla chips. It possessed deep chicken flavor with green chile kick and flavor. I then ordered the Baja Fish Tacos Crispy. I received two full-loaded tacos. Crispy fried tilapia, pico de gallo, romaine lettuce and shredded red cabbage drizzled with a creamy chipotle sauce on flour tortillas. This hit the spot. I do not care for grilled fish tacos. To me a crisp element is needed. This came close to my first fish taco. I also ordered a side of Four Cheese Macaroni, which proved velvety smooth and cheesearific. This venue is just down Dowlen from the Super HEB. A nice place to catch a meal after shopping and before getting on the road



1016 East Prien Lake Road
Lake Charles, LA

This establishment is more a bar than a restaurant. The bar now a “Tiki Bar” with all the appropriate decorations advertised standard frozen drink and not the drinks I associate with Tiki Bars (Mai Tai, Fog Cutter, etc). They open the kitchen for lunch and then back again at night. It is pretty much bar food with such things as appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches. For the most part decent food and during lunch a quiet atmosphere, I am sure it livens up at night.
First foray was off the burger menu. An item they call the Volcano. It is their basic burger with additions. An 8-oz patty seasoned with the house blend cooked to order. On a sourdough wheat bun they stack the mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and red onions on the top part. The bottom is the patty. For the Volcano they sauté raw Jalapeno slices to put on the burger then top it with a slice of American cheese and in my case some bacon I ordered. Slap it together and enjoy. This burger combines heat, sweet, smoky, cheesy and beefy. It proved excellent with the heat building slowly but never overpowering the taste of the burger
Second time in was the Appetizer Platter. You pick 3 out of 5 items. I went with the Chicken Tenders, Hot Wings and Loaded French Fries. The tenders came out big with a crisp thick crust and not at all greasy. A moist succulent inside with good flavor enhanced by the honey mustard dipping sauce. The wings proved classic Buffalo style. Nice size but not too big fried drumettes and two bone portions tossed in a cayenne/vinegar/butter sauce, superb. The loaded fries were a wreck. Dry with just cheese slices layered on them with a bottle of Baco’s on top, not what I was expecting and truly not good in my book. Now if it had been ooey-gooey with cheese sauce and large pieces of their bacon, this would have been a trifecta.
Last foray I opted for the BBQ Bacon Chicken Sandwich. Served open face on the same bun as the hamburger you had the cold side stuff on one half. On the other half two of the fried chicken tenders topped with an excellent BBQ sauce and bacon (did I mention the killer bacon they have here). Flat out delicious and perfect for soaking up some alcohol. The only ting that could have made it better was a little more sauce.
Service was laid back but good. The times I ate here I was not in a hurry and appreciated the quietness. In my book there is nothing like good tasting food and that includes bar food. This menu shows that someone who loves food thought through it.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Regalia Platter

I mainly did places that are going into reviews this week besides being out of town. Below is the no meat platter for Lent. You get 2 falaafel, 1 spanakopita, 1 spinach kibbie, hummus, Mejadra (lentils and rice) and pasta salad. The grape leaves (meatless) were a lagniappe for me to critique

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bonefish Grill

I was in Lafayette for a food show on Thursday. Since this establishment was literally just around the corner from the food show, I took the opportunity to try this venue again. Below is a shot from my booth into general sitting.

I started off with a white sangria. Must have been made with white zinfandel. I was not looking for fine wine but a refreshing drink and it was all of that.

The herb and oil dip was great. Had a nice balance of flavors. Wish I could say the same of the bread. While the crust was perfect the crumb was too moist and gummy. I struggled through

This was heaven. Mussels Josephine. PEIs sauteed with tomatoes, garlic, basil and lemon white wine sauce. The mussels were nice size and meaty. The acid of the tomatoes played off well on the slightly sweet sauce and the anise of the basil tied it all together. I have not had mussels in awhile and this was certainly a treat.

I added a Bonefish Side House salad to my entree. The description of "Farmed Greens", hearts of palm, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, pine nut and citrus herb vinaigrette had a few clinkers. I assumed "Farmed Greens" would be mescalin. Instead the salad consisted of a half dome of iceberg hidden by some baby greens and such. The heart of palm was a tough fibrous spear. As for the rest it was quite good. The vinaigrette was excellent as was the olives , pine nuts and tomatoes in combination. The whole salad would have been spectacular if not for the berg.

For my entree I got a small portion (after all I was going to a food show with tons of samples) of sea bass in a lemon caper butter sauce, the veggie of the day (succotash) and garlic sauce covered whipped potatoes. Everything excellent. The sweet perfectly cooked sea bass counterpointed by the acidic sauce. The succotash nicely seasoned and the potatoes muy garlicky. I practically licked the plate

As good as the entree the Creme Brule was heavenly except for the unnecessary addition of whipped cream which I quickly scraped off. Perfect sugar crust and super smooth decadent vanilla custard underneath. This alone was worth the trip

The location is 1912 Kaliste Saloom. It is in a shopping area on the north corner of Camellia Blvd and Kaliste. It is a petty straight shot. Come down Ambassdor Caffery until Guilbeau Rd. Guilbeau turns into Camellia which ends at Kaliste Saloom. Dinner only starting at 4 PM daily.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Regalia Again

She has ramped up her menu. Not only the platter now but a no meat platter with falafel, spanakopita, hummus, mefadra (lentils) and pasta salad. She has also added grilled sandwiches (panini) and a Meze platter (hummus, tzatkiki, tabbouleh, slice genoa salami, capicolla, serrano ham, oil cured olives, kalamata, artichoke, and assorted cheeses. Below is what you get with the sandwiches as a sideI opted for the Veggie Wrap which has hummus, tabbouleh, cheese and sauce

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Mrs Johnnies

Dropped by Friday and picked up an assortment. This is my second time eating their tea cake. My first impression was confirmed. I do not care for it. Virtually tasteless. The gingerbread excellent as usual. The Blackberry proved very good, the berry filling and crust good together. The Coconut filling was coconut cream which is not my favorite and I doubt I will buy anymore of those. A sweet spiced Peach filling was also excellent. Again the filling and crust made for each other