Monday, May 31, 2010

Sha Sha's of Creole

OUT AND ABOUT

Sha Sha’s of Lake Charles
609 Ryan St
Lake Charles, LA
337-494-7227

Monday thru Saturday 10:30 AM to 9: 00 PM $21 to $35


They have done a fine job of turning this space into what resembles a fishing camp. With all the decoration and fishing memorabilia on the wall and on a ledge on both sides of the main room, you feel as if you are deep in Cameron. The chairs resemble aluminum outdoor furniture and the main tables have 2 by 6’s for legs.

I am taking a different approach on this revue. I have been more times here than most places. There were several items I did not care for personally but I knew there would be others that would. I would be less than honest if I did not point out the ones I did not like. In the end there were more things I loved than I did not care for.

I tried the Crab Cakes, Crab Rolls and Crab Stuffed Peppers. In the end I had to conclude that I did not like the crab stuffing they use. I know lots of people like it but it was the main problem for me. Others like the mayonnaise used to make the tartar sauce and cole slaw, dill vinegar used in the potato salad, and the copious amounts of Cool Whip on desserts were minor quibbles mainly related to my tastes.

As I went along I found many more things that I like or loved. The oyster and shrimp dishes I ate were wonderful. The Fried Oysters and Shrimp possessed my favorite coatings (corn meal for oysters and flour for shrimp). They came well seasoned and fried crisp with little or no oil residue. The Catfish Bites appetizer with its herbed corn flour coat stood out also. I gobbled them up like popcorn. Also in the fried department were the Onion Rings. Cut medium thin with a light flour batter, they also were fried to perfection. If fact they came within a hair breath of my ideal for this dish.

They have Shrimp and Crab Night on Tuesday and Oyster Night on Thursday. One oyster night I got both raw and char grilled oysters. While the raws were a little on the small side they were plump and briny and they threw in a couple of lagniappe oysters to round out the platter. The cheese on the char grilled is a shredded product rather than the grated I have seen at other places. This helps out a bit. The cheese forms a cap over the oyster. This lets it slowly poach in it’s own liquid rather than dry out. The crispy and rich cheeses make a nice contrast with the briny and soft oyster. If they would bring some bread to soak up the juices it would be nice. My sister went with me one time. She liked her Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad so much I was not afforded a taste.

I partook of the Seafood Gumbo the six or seven times I ate here. I love it. While possessing no or little roux the broth packed with such wonderful crab and shrimp flavors makes this dish for me. I would even eat it without the large fresh shrimp that they float on top. As many know I prefer my gumbo thin and full of flavorful broth. If done right no protein is needed, the juice and rice is the heart of gumbo to me.


The desserts were excellent also. The Bread Pudding was a little different than most. It possessed such a fine texture I think they use fresh breadcrumbs to make it. Mine had a nice glaze on top and restrained drizzle of bourbon syrup. The Chocolate Bread Pudding seems to be achieved by mixing cocoa powder in the bread/custard base. It had a nice chocolate taste without being overly sweet. However the queen of desserts here is the Vanilla Banana Pudding served in sundae glasses. A perfect mixture of pudding, vanilla wafers, and sliced banana chilled to a perfect temperature. It went down like ambrosia from Mt Olympus. Best I have had in at least a decade.

Be forewarned unless things have changed recently they offer a limited menu on Friday and Saturday nights and the Children’s Menu is not offered at lunch. You might want to call. While it was a rocky beginning, I think this venue has plenty of great stuff to offer. I have not made it to a Tuesday night but I am looking forwarded to trying some shrimp and whole crab dishes. When I do I will post on the blog.




Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kleinpeter Ice Cream

Finally they are putting flavors I want to taste in pints. However they are putting so much air (called overrun in the industry) that it is like eating air. The flavor is only there was an instant with not satisfying back taste or creaminess. I like the Cafe au Lait except for that. I want to support local products but I cannot if they do not delivery in my eyes. Now if New Orleans Ice Cream Company would have a presence here I would not hesitate to buy it even though it is three times the cost because I know it is a premium product. Also because the flavors are interesting.
Below is sweet potato pie. I had another quibble with that. They put in nuts and to me sweet potato pie should not have nuts.




Friday, May 28, 2010

Carrino's Wine Dinner

Sun-Dried Tomato Grilled Shrimp. Skewered shrimp with a zesty sun-dried tomato pesto over fresh mixed greens Paired with Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Grigio. This was wonderful. The simple vinaigrette of olive oil and red wine vinegar for the salad was just right. The shrimp not over cooked and the pesto tasty. The pinot grigio paired well


Tomato Basil and Chicken Gnocchi. Handmade potato dumplings in a San Marzano tomato basil sauce with sliced grilled chicken, topped with aged parmesan cheese. Paired with Mirassou Pinot Noir. Must have been a first timer who made these gnocchi. It reminded me of my first attempt. Overworked and dense as a hockey puck. The sauce was excellent and the chicken sparse and overcooked. They get marks for effort but poor ones. Again good match on the wine for the tomato sauce. Not an easy thing to do.
Salmon Picatta. Grilled salmon topped with a white wine caper butter sauce with artichokes and mushrooms, served with seasonal vegetables. Paired with Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay. Mine was over cooked (dry and flaky) while the person's next to me was perfection. Still pink in the middle. What was irksome was they did not like salmon and barely touched it. The picatta sauce was rich and tart and pretty much allowed me to consume the fillet. The vegetables were Ok except for the undercooked zucchini. The salmon did not have enough fat to stand up to the oaked chardonnay
Peach Gelato Parfait. Creamy Italian-style ice cream flavored with peach nectar layered with Valpolicella soaked peaches. Paired with Beringer White Zinfandel. Whatever was in that glass had melted long before it got to the table. It was not even cool. The alcohol soaked peaches were good. The white zin was white zin what can I say.





BK Ribs

Had to try them. Surprisingly decent but expensive. Three ribs like this one was over three dollars. They were bone in, had smoke rings, and were tasty without the bbq sauce. As you can see you can sauce them if you want. The pouch was aluminum lined paper. Might buy them again but not likely because of the price



Sunday, May 23, 2010

O' Charleys

Had a coupon. It made me explore more the menu than my usual french dip. Below is Friday's soup Clam Chowder New England style. It proved a pretty good interpretation. Creamy with soft hunks of potato and lots of clams. I would get it again
I wanted to try the Cedar Planked Tilapia but the server brought me what she heard I guess. So I ate the Salmon with my side of onion rings which amazingly she got right. Onion rings in beer batter is hard to beat and these met the bill. The salmon was seasoned with lemon pepper and was just a scouce over cooked. The thick parts were ok but the rest dry.
I got the mini trio of desserts. From left to right caramel pie with chocolate chips sans whipped cream and nuts, brownie with ice cream topped with chocolate and caramel sauce, and the cinnamon sugar donuts (cake). All were good but I love caramel so it was my favorite




Kettle Chips

Found another flavor I like. I love onion anyway you can have it including raw. However raw has to be a Walla Walla weighing at least a pound. You get that same kinda sweet flavor on these chips. Another one in the plus column for the flavor guys at Kettle



P G Diner

They call this the Southern Breakfast. I would call it a complete fry up. I just had the envie for a straight up breakfast. I had two sunny side up eggs, corn beef hash, grits and toast with hot tea. Hit the spot. This place has some the best grits going in Lake Charles and I like corn beef hash so much I will forgo my bacon for it. It does not matter to me that it comes from a can. That just makes me like it better because it is familiar. I love the way they can make it into a patty. A trick I have yet to learn. Breakfast here rules as far as I am concerned



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Logan's

About a month ago I got an e-mail from my internet buddy about a meal he had at Logans. Since our taste seem similar I want to give a try. However about that time my vehicle went south. It was in the shop for a month. Without that vehicle I have no wheelchair, without a wheelchair I do not go into Logans because the peanut shells would be a hazard on my crutches. I got the vehicle back and went in. I had my usual cup of chili which would not cooperate for its photo. My buddy talked about a grilled chicken breast with peppercorn sauce over pilaf. However the only thing I could find on the menu that was like that was BBQ Ribs & Chicken. Half portion of BBQ Ribs with a mesquite wood-grilled chicken breast smothered with Parmesan Peppercorn dressing. So I got that with grilled vegetable skewer on the side. The ribs were decent falling off the bone with evident smoke and a sweet sauce. The breast was also tender and succulent with a smoky flavor complemented by the creamy spicy sauce. The rice pilaf was nice and I generally do not care for restaurant rice. The vegetables also had a nice smoky flavor and except for the zucchini (uncooked for my taste) sort melted in your mouth


Cinnamon Roll Sundae. A warm, made-in-our roadhouse cinnamon roll made with our yeast roll dough, cinnamon sugar and chopped walnuts, then freshly baked. Topped with warm apples, vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. This sounded great and the warm apple, ice cream and caramel were great. The roll was like a cement block.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rabideaux

OUT AND ABOUT

Rabideaux's Sausage Kitchen
105 Hwy 165
Iowa, LA
337-582-3184

Seven days a week 6:00 AM to 7: 00 PM $1 to $15


It has been ages since I have been here. So long ago that is was just a meat counter and little else inside. Now it has frozen boudin, meat prepared for BBQ, sausage, plate lunch, fried food emporium, drinks both alcoholic & non-, and a convenience store with tables to eat at. I was l slightly overwhelmed the first time I went in.

That first time was BBQ Wednesday. I always like to get a combo plate at other BBQ places. I noted they did not have such a thing and I tried to wangle one, my mistake. I was expecting a little of each but instead I got the equivalent of three meals. In the meat box was St Louis style ribs, a pork steak and a white quarter of a chicken. In the sides box the main compartment they filled with dirty rice with the others containing potato salad and pork & beans. I ate what I could and consolidated the rest to take home. The dirty rice made with ground beef and chicken liver was what you would expect, delicious. The beans have a sweet spicy taste to them. The potato salad possessed well-cooked hunks of potato in a dill dressing (not my favorite but it was still good). The meats proved excellent also. The exterior had more a sweet spicy glace than a sauce. All possessed pronounced smoke rings (a plus in my eyes). They had great taste with a little chew.

I ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger with Onion Rings the next time. The onion rings were a medium thin cut but the coating seems to be a premixed product that I have been encountering lately. However they were fresh and hot out of the fryer. The burger was nirvana. On a regular bun slathered with mayonnaise they offered the perfect combo. While the cheese was American (I prefer Cheddar) the in-house cured and smoked bacon and in-house seasoned patty made this sandwich. I was a bit skeptically of the perfectly round patty but one bite of the succulent and seasoned meat set me right. Possibly the best tasting burger that I have ever had.

Now on to fried heaven, it looks like a set up in a gas station/convenience store. That is where it ends. The in-house coating and frying skills come to the forefront. The Boudin Balls with a perfectly fried coating surrounding Rabideaux’s superior boudin hit the spot. I’ve always had a soft spot for Fried Corn and they deliver on that promise. I had probably the most crisp piece of Catfish I have ever put in my mouth, outstanding. I ate a Shrimp Pistolette. The fried piece of bread contained a spicy creamy sauce loaded with shrimp. It seemed to be an old fashion etouffee. Last but not least Fried Chicken Liver done the way I love it. Tossed in flour and not over cooked. The soft texture and liver punch made my day. They also do gizzards. It I would have been thinking I would have asked for a half and half.

I have just covered a few things they sell here. One Saturday morning as I sat enjoying my food I watched as a multitude of people passed through. Some looking for meat to BBQ, some tourists buying both boudin and sausage to take back home, some just picking up something to eat, etc. Kind of like an old general store were every one knows everyone and service was personal. You need to go




Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dairy Barn on Prien

If you do not know that the Prien Lake venue is open then you must not have been there in the full parking lot while I was trying to a drive thru lunch. Seemed like the whole city was there. I got a Pierre Special and onion rings. The Pierre is double patty cheese burger on Texas Toast. with all the add ons. While it was good I prefer the iconic burger on that semi-sweet hamburger bun


The onion rings were perfect. Well fried and not greasy. Once the crowds thin out I will check the shrimp and catfish dinner.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Domenica in the Afternoon

In Italian, la merenda means “early snack” and refers to the custom of early evening socializing and gathering to share food and drink with family and friends. With summer in full swing, Domenica is offering patrons half-price thin-crust pizzas, cocktails, and wine from 3-6 pm, every weekday afternoon.



Located in the historic Roosevelt Hotel, Domenica offers a bountiful rustic menu that showcases the many flavors and toppings of the traditional Italian countryside. Classics such as the Margherita with Tomatoes, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella satisfy any day, while more adventurous diners will be pleased to find the Pizza Enzo with Anchovies, Tomatoes, Garlic, and Mortadella, or the Cotechino with Pork Sausage, Scallions and Oven Dried Tomatoes. With meatballs being all the rage, Chef Alon Shaya has prepared a little something special: the Meatball Pizza of Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Fresh Ricotta Cheese and Mint.



So take an afternoon break and do as the Italians do... indulge in half-price specialties at Domenica every day of the week.


Domenica-123 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70112, www.domenicarestaurant.com, 504.648.6020


From Simone

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chili's Lunch

I was hungry for a burger and the handicap spaces at Chili's were open so I pulled in. I started with what is becoming my usual. A cup of chili with accompaniments. Jalapeno slices, sour cream and red onion. All the sour cream and onions go in. The jalapeno slices I add one at a time to suit my heat level



It comes with some shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar. Stir all up and enjoy



Below is a new menu item. Mini or street style tacos. You have a chose of four types and can do a combo of two types. Also you can chose between corn and flour tortilla. I chose corn. Do not expect tex-mex fried shells. This is done on fresh griddled corn tortilla. You also get some pickled red onion to add on them and some decent black beans and rice pilaf. This was about $9. You get two per type
I had a combo and went with Crispy Chicken with applewood smoked bacon, house-made pico de gallo, cheese, honey-chipotle and ranch dressing . That is on the right. The other side is Crispy Shrimp with spicy cole slaw and tequila lime sauce. Topped with cilantro. The closest thing I have eaten that even resembles a decent fish taco. I will be back for to tryout the other options.

NOWFE

New Orleans, Louisiana - The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) is responding in earnest to the situation Louisiana fishermen are facing in the Gulf waters by dedicating the Saturday Grand Tasting to a “Celebration of Louisiana Seafood” and offering a special fundraising dinner at Restaurant August later that evening. Proceeds from these events will be dedicated to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board. Food Network's reigning Southern Belle, Paula Deen, will highlight this year's revelry with a special appearance on Saturday, May 29. Louisiana's own "bayou boy," and TLC celebrity chef John Besh will join Deen in a cooking demonstration on the Main Stage at 3:15pm. "I am so excited to be a part of a celebration of Louisiana seafood," states Deen. "To me Louisiana seafood is just divine, and we need to pay tribute to that." The Friday and Saturday Grand Tastings are the culminating events of NOWFE's 4-day extravaganza and are truly "Grand" experiences for both foodies and wine connoisseurs, pairing extensive offerings from 75 of New Orleans' finest chefs and a selection of more than 1000 wines from around the world. (To purchase tickets visit www.nowfe.com)

Celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez will also join in the festivities by presenting a cooking demonstration of his own during the Saturday Grand Tasting at 2:00pm. In addition to the special cooking demonstrations, eleven Louisiana chefs will participate in the third annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Board. The winning chef, crowned the "King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood," will represent Louisiana in the seventh annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off. "It is vitally important for us to remind consumers that Louisiana seafood is still readily available and safe for consumption," states Ewell Smith, Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Board. "Louisiana produces one-third of the seafood for the continental US, and 70% of the seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, creating a $2.4 billion industry that supports over 27,000 jobs."

“The response from these chefs is overwhelming,” states Octavio Mantilla, 2010 NOWFE Board President. "Their efforts will enable us make a substantial contribution that will support our local fishermen and help us to preserve these national treasures-- our Louisiana Coastline and Fisheries." To continue the celebration, Deen, her husband Captain Michael Groover, and her brother Earl 'Bubba Hiers of Bubba's Oyster House, will be joined by chefs Besh, and Sanchez in their support of Louisiana fishermen with a fundraising dinner at Besh’s flagship restaurant, August, on Saturday night at 7pm. Restaurant August will generously donate 100% of the proceeds from this dinner to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. Reservations for the six-course dinner, paired with exceptional wines, showcasing Gulf Coast seafood specialties are $300 per person; event sponsorships that include a table of ten, V.I.P reception, and commemorative photograph are available for $5,000. To reserve a seat or sponsor the event, contact Christy Bradley at 504.565.5482 or cbradley@chefjohnbesh.com.



The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is a non-profit organization. The Board of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience donates 100% of the events’ profit to support their programs and foundations. Proceeds from the 2010 event will benefit the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board, University of New Orleans School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism, the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation's ProStart Program, The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Delgado Community College Culinary Arts Program, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts Culinary Arts Program, Girls First, Cancer Crusaders, Southern Animal Foundation, Coach Sean Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation and Fore! Kids Foundation. For more information please visit www.nowfe.com

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board was created in 1984 by the state of Louisiana to support their vast historical commercial fisheries industry. The Board is composed of 15 members and each member represents a sector of the industry: harvesters, processors, wholesalers, restaurateurs/retailers, fisheries resource managers, public health officers and marketing specialists. The Board’s operating budget is derived from license sales to Louisiana commercial fishermen and seafood wholesalers/retailers as well as state and federal grants. The Board represents over 12,000 fishermen while promoting and marketing $2.6 billion of retail seafood sales annually to the consumer.

Paula Deen is a restaurateur from Savannah, Georgia who hosts the Food Network cooking shows Paula's Home Cooking. Paula opened her first restaurant in early 1990, and by the end of the decade her home-style southern cooking had gained national attention. She's the anti-chef of the Food Network, a self-taught cook and advocate of the butter-n-bacon approach, with an empire that includes her Savannah restaurant (The Lady & Sons), a magazine (Cooking With Paula Deen), several cookbooks and a memoir (It Ain't All About the Cookin').

John Besh is a native of South Louisiana and owner of six successful restaurants in New Orleans—Restaurant August, Besh Steak, L√ľke, La Provence, Domenica at The Roosevelt Hotel and The American Sector at The National World War II Museum. He has won numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef Southeast” in 2006, Food & Wine’s “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America”, Gourmet’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants,” and “America’s Top 50 Restaurants”. Most recently he was featured on Food Networks Next Iron Chef and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.


Joint release by Liz and Simon

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kettle Chips

A favor I have not tried and it not the krinkle cut. Sometimes the simplest is the best. Nice and salty with a flavor that you would get if you sprinkled malt vinegar on them but none of the irritating sogginess. Another winner.



Naked

I love this drink. Sometimes I need to pick up a few things at the grocery store and I usually go to the 12th st Krogers because it is on the way home. If I do I pick up a new flavor of Kettle Chips and my favorite flavor of Naked. Green Machine. I've tried others and also Odwalla drinks (almost threw up terrible) but this is the one. It has a green taste. That is the only way I can describe it. Grassy and herbal but I love it.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Fast Food Monday

Could not help it I had to have it and now that my curiosity is satisfied I can do without it. If they could find a way to make sure you got cheese and bacon in every bite it might be worth it. This was not as the chicken was room temperature and had been that way for awhile. My suggestion is not to Double Down at KFC
I like Eric Cormier am on a quest to find a good fish taco in town. Que Pasa's is garbage and so it the one at Long John Silvers. A good fish taco needs a fresh corn tortilla with fried fish, a fine cut cabbage slaw and a spicy sauce. Have not found that yet. Izzo's one during lent came the closest




Kettle Chips

Another winning flavor. A nice sharp mustard bite with just enough honey sweet underlying taste to curb the edge. Every single chip. I can not wait to get to the bottom the bag where the seasoning is more than the chips. This series will probably be ending soon because I think I have had every flavor available in Lake Charles



NY Strip

Pan seared grass fed New York Strip steak. Coated with Emeril's asian blend then cooked med rare in a cast iron skillet served with pan sauce and mashed potatoes from a bag. That new ore ida product that you steam in the microwave and then mash. Not to bad on either



Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rachelle

I was just about to turn in my review when I heard they had to close. I know they are looking at another venue. I do not know if the menu will be the same but I will have to take a fresh look at them. For those who missed or are missing this venue I offer a slide show of my first time around. Here is to the hope they reopen soon.