Monday, December 26, 2011

Pink Pig


Pink Pig

1221 North Martin Luther King Hwy

Lake Charles LA


Monday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM Cost $1 to $20

After a long hiatus this off shoot of Carlyss BBQ reopened under new management. It now has a dinning area but I went through the drive-thru as it is more convenient for me.

First time I noticed a smoked hamburger on offer. I could not resist. I ordered it along with some tamales. I really like the Carlyss ones. The burger can be ordered fully dressed but I prefer my smoked patty pretty plain although I did get a slice of cheese. The burger was thick enough it had a smoke ring but was not dried out at all. It possessed great smoky and meaty flavor. The tamales have a nice masa to meat ratio. The masa good and corny and the ground meat just right, makes for good tamale for me. They were a bit dry and I remembered I usually get chili with them. That would made them just like the ones I get in Carlyss.

Second round was a four meat combo. It contained brisket, chicken, ribs and sausage with rice dressing, beans and potato salad. Along side was a honey butter pistollete and sauce. While the brisket was cooked to perfection it had little smoke to it. When I mentioned it to the lady at the window she replied the pits here were a little different than at Carlyss and she would make sure it never happened again. The ribs and dark chicken quarter were smoky and had a nice glaze to them, tasty. The sausage again showed little smoke but was OK. The excellent beans seemed to have been cooked with onions which I liked. The mashed potato style potato salad had some sweet pickle relish in it. Again something I like. The fried pistollete had been injected with honey butter and proved excellent.

Last time I sorta grazed on the menu. I ordered a BBQ pistollete, garfish ball, boudin ball and a link of smoked boudin. All were great. The non greasy fried pistollete had been split half way and a nice bit of chopped beef put in it. I grew up eating garfish and these balls are very similar to the ones my mother made. They are more of a boulette style with ground gar and potatoes. A nice crisp crust and great rice to meat ratio made the boudin balls excellent. Lastly a nice smoky boudin link, I like regular but smoking it gives it another flavor dimension.

They have started off well and I hope it remains so.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I was given this bottle of cooking wine too try out.  Unfortunately I do not cook as much as I use to.  However I found a use for it.  Cooking mussels in it.
Frozen mussels are just as good as fresh and do not go off
In the pot with the Pantano
Steamed open.  They were delicious especially with the onion enhanced wine.  I have had mussels many ways but I think this is my favorite.  Follow the link for the story and recipes that the inventor has gathered.
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D Jon 5255 Florida Boulevard Baton Rouge, LA 70806-4128 (225) 935-0014

Groupon stop.  Did not work out so well.  Below is their Seafood Gumbo Our gumbo is well seasoned and hold all the flavors of Louisiana. Served with a little rice and rounded out with crackers on the side.  Unfortunately their interpretation includes copious amounts of sausage along with seafood,  I have had this before and it is not bad if used judiciously.  Not here and plus the sausage tasted as if it was ready to go off.  Not my favorite

Shrimp Jennifer They take shrimp and saute them in butter with garlic, green onions, and parsley served on a bed of lemon butter sauce. Served with garlic french bread and parsley potatoes.  Looks delicious and it would have been if the butter sauce would not have had a ton of salt.  The shrimp were fine seasoning wise and perfectly cooked.  But the pleasure of of sopping up the unctuous sauce was not.  Finally I mashed the potatoes in it.  It cut the salt enough that I could enjoyed it
Fresh Fruit Cobbler Made daily. Ask you server for today's selection.  The cobbler was peach and it was peach of one.  Fantastic flavor.  Made the meal.  Peaches sweet and loaded with sweet spices.  The crust was more of a brown sugar crumble with sweet spices.  I really liked it.  I doubt I will return here but again there is that cobbler.
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D Jon

Novrozskys 2706 Ruth St Sulphur, LA 70665 (337) 527-0041

NOVO CHIPS Thin-sliced potatoes fried just right.   They were right about that.  Fresh chips hot from the fryer.  They were great
AKAUSHI BEEF BURGER All-natural, highest rated beef in America. Lower in cholesterol than chicken, fish or buffalo. Outstanding flavor.  Again a home run.  Everything a patty should be.  Moist and beefy flavored.  If this is healthy let me have it.  Even plain it was excellent
PEANUT BUTTER BACON BURGER With cheddar cheese. New Orleans favorite!  Strike out.  In my opinion this was just plain nasty.  As for being a new orleans favorite I had never heard of this until after I ate it here.  Soon after I read two articles that referenced it.  Maybe they are better than this one.  I will have to try if I ever get back to NO.  As for here there are a lot more delicious variations at this venue.  Try them not this one.
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Aucoin 7591 Highway 14 E Hayes, LA 70646 (337) 622-3582

Sorry about the out of focus. A cup of seafood gumbo.  I like that they bring the rice out separate.  It was dark the way I like it.  However it did have a slight burnt taste as if they had gone too far.  It was not enough to complain about though
I got the seafood platter and  they brought it out on a platter.  It included stuffed crab, stuffed pistolette, hush puppies, an angel on horseback (fried bacon wrapped shrimp), a devil on horseback (fried bacon wrapped oyster), fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried catfish and fried frog leg.  I got onion rings instead of fries.  For the most part everything was was excellent.  Well fried with proper coatings.  I did have a problem with the pistolette and the stuffed crab.  This new fad of frying the pistolette then stuffing it I do not care for and fried stuffed crabs have to have a stuffing of more breading than crab to fry.  I prefer the old fashioned broiled crab.  Again what I wish and what I get are two different things.  Those two item compared to the whole platter were minor.
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A-Mazen 339 West Prien Lake Road Lake Charles, LA 70601-8452 (337) 478-1222

Bread plate
I got a half dozen.  They were reasonably priced and quite good.  Nice and briny
Stuffed flounder, with cream sauce, green beans and mashers.  I do particularly like this new fashion way of stuffing.  Putting the stuffing either in between fillets or under the fish.  The old fashion way imparts some of the stuffing usually crab into the fish.  That said this was excellent.  Flounder cooked moist and flake.  The skin edible.  The stuffing had a good crab to filler ratio.  The beans a little al dente for me and the mashers nice.  This is a wonderful place for seafood that I do not go to enough.  Service can be difficult.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Katz 616 Westheimer Road Houston, TX 77006 (713) 521-3838

This is no hole in the wall. It is a new construction made to look old. It is a 24 hrs Jewish style deli.  I went at breakfast time so I got breakfast mostly.  Below is scrambled eggs with lox and onions with a potato cake and challa toast.  Not in the picture was tubs of sour cream and applesauce for the potato cake.  Since I adore smoked fish I ate this with relish.  The onion added a nice counterpoint for the salty smoked salmon.  The potato cake was lovely also
Below is Matzo Brei.  Matzo bread cooked like french toast.  The unleavened bead did not make such a great french toast.  Again I like to try new things or things that I have heard about.  Not always a success.
Sorry for the out of focus but this was cold beet soup with a dollop of sour cream and potatoes.  Actually quite delicious.  Have to like beets however.  The range of the menu was such I would return to try other stuff
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Gatlin 1221 W. 19th St. Houston, TX. 281-804-4555

Another hole in the wall place.  Here there are maybe three tables inside but it does have a porch that has fans and heaters.  Most seem to take it away.  It had warmed up enough to sit at the picnic benches on the covered porch.  I got a three meat plate with two sides.  The choice was slim and got slimmer as it went.  They kept running out of meats.  They have had several write ups so I think they got overwhelmed.  I ordered fatty brisket, ribs, and house link.  Unfortunately the brisket had been cooked so long all the fat was cooked out.  It was mostly tender but not meltingly so.  One rib was wonderfully tender and just a little chew.  The other was tough and too chewy.  The links were a typical BBQ style product.  Meat ground up with a big bang of spice.  While I had problems with the textures the flavor and smoke was there.  Can anyone tell me why Texas BBQ come with dill pickles and raw onions?
My two sides were baked beans using their sweet tangy BBQ sauce and cole slaw.  Both were good.  The beans with a nice kick and the slaw fresh with minimum mayonnaise.  I would have to think hard about coming back here.  It is way out of the way and my experience was not the greatest.  However in the future it may be worth a try when the popularity dies down
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Kim Chau 6806 Long Point Rd # I Houston (713) 683-8277

This hole in the wall venue proved nice and cozy.  Basic family style cooking.  It was rather a blustery day so I got hot.  The brewing vessel was so unique I just had to take a picture.
Below is Bánh Bột Lộc / Chewy Rice Cake.   Pork and shrimp in tapioca flour steamed in banana leaves and served with a spicy fish sauce.  Boy were they chewy.  Nice flavor but not something I will get again.  When you try unfamiliar stuff you run the chance of it being not to your taste
Bún Tôm Nướng Rice Vermicelli with our grilled shrimp on a bed of fresh chopped veggies  As you can see the shrimp were boiled not grilled but other than that almost as good as my niece's bun.  On top shredded carrots, chopped peanut and fried shallots.  Then came the layer of rice noodles with lettuce, mint and cilantro on the bottom.  Pour in the spicy fish sauce to moisten and toss.  I liked it so much that I acquire another voucher when they did it again.  I am looking forward to Pho and Bunh Mi
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Kim Chau

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Natachee 3622 Main Street Houston, TX 77002-9502 (713) 524-7203

This place is an eclectic designed restaurant (virtually decorated with found stuff and music posters on the wall) with a down home menu that they bumped up. The full name is Supper n' Punch.  Below is a split pea soup with ham and croutons.  They had pureed it so it was creamy with loads of flavor.  Best I have had in awhile
Below is the meatloaf plate.  Two huge slices of fall apart meatloaf.  They topped it with a red gravy, huge onion ring and a sunny side egg.  The gravy was nasty to me.  After I scraped it off the meatloaf and toppings were good.  The loaf mainly meat with good seasonings (no filler).  The huge pile of potatoes also proved excellent if a lot
I did not know the main plate was going to be so huge so I had ordered some sides.  The one on the right is mac & cheese.  Pretty pedestrian but tasty.  The one on the left is a stir fry of vegetables that proved surprising.  It consisted of tomatoes, spinach, and shaved fennel.  I like fennel and I loved this.
Finally some Texas peach cobbler.  Just what I would expect.  Canned peaches in a spiced syrup under a pie crust top.  Quite good.  I liked the vibe.  If you are into music you would love this place
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Monday, November 21, 2011

El Tapatio Dos 808 Sampson Street Westlake, LA 70669-5309 (337) 721-7685

Sorry I overwrote the review but you can at least see the pics

Sakura and Mongolian Grill

Since my amputation buffets have been difficult to assess since I need another person to be my legs. Recently I developed a stratagem that allows me to do it by myself. There have been two venues I would not go to before this. Here they are. Buffet like places are still hard to review because they have so much. Instead of presenting a long list of food I will instead try to give an overview and why I like or dislike them



3035 Gerstner Memorial Drive

Lake Charles LA


Seven days a week 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Lunch till 4 PM about $12 Dinner about $20

I had my doubts about this place. However once I tried it they disappeared. They have a giant square for serving purposes. On the side facing the entrance is the nigari and super rolls. Nigari is the style with the piece of protein on top of a small mound of rice. I think most people know what a sushi roll is. The nigari consists of some pretty ordinary seafood with a few unusual items. The large or super rolls are big and contain several items in them sometimes with items draped over them. They had a fried roll. At night part of this area has sashimi (raw seafood) featured. The corner has bowls of gari (pickled ginger), wasabi, eel sauce and spicy mayo. Turn the corner and there are smaller rolls. Most are inside out and have spicy tuna in them. The middle holds salads. Both regular ones and stuff like seaweed salad. A few I would not even hazard a guess. Signage is not good in this area. At night this also holds raw clams and mussels. The rest of the side is individual desserts.

The back side is desserts also with a lot of fruit and jello. At the very back of the restaurant is a hibachi station. You pick your protein and vegetables and they cook it for you. I did not try that. The other long side contains some Chinese dishes, American dishes and Japanese dishes such as stir fries and tempura. The corner has two soups.

In general I found the sushi and sashimi good and a bargain, nothing real fancy but tasty. The desserts were OK. The cooked side was not very good unless you caught them bringing out a fresh batch. In general they cook too much and leave it out too long. I will return for the cheap but good sushi, a great deal for me.

Great Kahn Mongolian Grill

1740 West Prien lake Road

Lake Charles LA


Seven days a week 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM Lunch till 3 PM about $9 Dinner about $11

Another I had doubts about but have grown to love. When you sit down you are given two things. A laminated card with starch options (several types of rice and noodles) and a stainless steel bowl. Mark your starch preference with the dry erase pens found on the table. Then you take that with the bowl to the “buffet” line. This consists of raw protein, vegetables, seasoning, and sauces. Proteins offered include chicken, beef, sausage, fish, and shell fish. They upgrade a bit at dinner. They have a variety of salts, peppers, and other things to season your protein. Then the vegetables come next. This part I like because I do not care for broccoli or celery so I load up with cabbage and onions. I cherry pick a few more to add interest. Fill your bowl with as much as it will hold. The sauces come next. They have small cups to put those in along with tasting spoons to sample them. There are well over a dozen ranging from mild to screaming hot. I like a mixture of Thai sweet chile and garlic in soy sauce. The choice is yours.

Now you put the card, bowl and cup on the counter and return to your seat. They bring out the cooked food in a red bowl to your table. In general if you restrain yourself and try not to get a taste of everything it will turn out to be a good meal. Go hog wild and you run the chance of ruining good food. I would return to this place for a quick meal of my own choosing.

Five Guys


Five Guys

2950 Ryan St

Lake Charles LA


Seven days a week 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM $2 to $7

They converted half of a movie rental place to put this venue in. It has the same philosophy of Raisin Cane. Do one or two things and do them right. The menu here is burgers, dogs, grilled cheese, veggie burger and fries. As usual just after opening they were swamped. Because of that and my physical limitations at counter service I held back. However recently I have a new stratagem for such occasions and I used it here.

My first time in my thought was that they should put up a warning sign for people with peanut allergies. Between of boxes of peanuts in the shell and using peanut oil in an open kitchen (if you can smell the fries there is vaporized oil in the air), people with peanut allergy could experience some serious effects. After the process was explained to me I went with a Little Bacon Cheese Burger with mayo, grilled onions, tomato, mustard and hot sauce. I also got fries and a drink. Like some people I experienced sticker shock. It was the size of a McDonald’s plain burger. When it arrived I broke it open. I found a lovely hand formed patty cooked to perfection with melted cheese on the top bun. Four half strips of crisp bacon and grilled onions on the bottom bun. I could not wait to take a bite. Then came the let down. I took that bite and then another. The bread squished down and did not spring back. It had no integrity and wound up tasting like wads of dough in my mouth. Both texture and the taste were a no go for me. The bread is an integral part of the burger experience for me and this was just plain terrible for me. Also their practice of overloading the fries into the bag did not sit well with me. I am a single and do not need a double portion of fries. It pained me to leave most of them as I hate to waste food. Don’t get me wrong they were good just too much. Also dumping them loose into the bag makes it virtually inpossible to get to your burger without burning yourself.

I returned to get a Grilled Cheeese and a Kosher Dog. I ordered the grilled cheese plain. I admired the way they utilized the hamburger bun for it. They flip it so the cap and bottom become the inside with the cheese while griddling the interior sides. Good move but still the bun still showed the flaws of the first time. I was hopeing my first experience was an anomaly. The dog was more sausage like than we are use to here. I got mayo, mustard, relish, and grilled onions. I think I would have liked it better without the bread. It still had that texture of balls of dough when compressed by eating the dog.

I admire this concepy but I hate the bread. I am unlikely to return there. However you need to try it yourself. I know from passing by at lunch with its parking lot full that a lot of people like it. If you do love don’t listen to me. I am as peculiar about bread as I am about rice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bartrella 214 East 4th St Dequincy, LA 70633 (337) 786-8600

This is a bargain bee deal.  I do not mind going out of town if fact I enjoy it but I like to have a menu to look at before hand.  This had one and an interesting item.  Bartrella Triple Delight.  It was three different chicken salads on a plate with spring mix and crackers.  Starting at the bottom and going counter clockwise.  Nanny's Chicken Salad made with roasted chicken, celery, onion, eggs and pickles.  Next Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad with roasted chicken salad with a sweet and spicy surprise.  Finally Fruit Stand Chicken salad with grapes, strawberries, and apples in the chicken salad.  It made for a nice progression.  The standard followed by the spicy followed by the sweet and cooling
They also had a interesting dessert.  A Creme Brulee Muffin.  Using cinnamon roll dough they created a wall in a muffin tin.  The well was filled with a custard then cooked. To finish they bruleed the custard.  It was just the right size and satisfying without being too much

I took a leisurely afternoon trip up Hwy 27.  It was quite nice.  Some of the trees showing some color.  I wound up in a lovely place and ate good food.  You cannot ask for anything more.

Burgers in Houston

Back in July Groupon had a number of inexpensive burger offers.  I took them up on three of them in Houston.  I did a one day run and did all three.  
Cliff's Grill

I do not have photos of the burger here.  It is situated on the bottom floor of one of the medical towers in the medical center on Main.  By the time I figured out where to park in the garage I was so frustrated that I forgot the camera and did not feel like returning to get it.  What I got was the Murphy Burger beef patty, grilled onions, bacon, cheddar cheese and hickory sauce 
The bun was pretty standard and the burger satisfied.  Just the right amount of sauce.  Recommend it if you can get to it

Bernie's Burger Bus
I went with The Principal.   Traditional approach to the classic American burger with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, pickle, thin sliced onions, shredded lettuce, and slow roasted garlic tomatoes
Electives: Texas Cheddar • Bacon • Bernie’s Caramelized “Tipsy” Onions.  I cut the pickle, onions, lettuce and added all the electives.  As you see below pretty messy but a treat.  The garlic tomatoes really added to the overall flavor and the electives made for a type of burger I love.  I highly recommend but you have to find it.  Consult the web site

Chelsea Grill
The Ginger Carrot Soup here was delicious.  I love both and they delivered.  Sweetness from the carrots and snap from the ginger kept it interesting all the way through.
The Texas Bacon Cheese Burger contained Hickory Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Fried Red Onion Rings & Hickory BBQ Sauce.  I could have done with a little less sauce.  The side of shoestring potatoes in white and sweet were a nice touch and delicious.  The bun was a sweet sourdough and stood up to the messy burger.  I like this place so much I just purchase another groupon for it and I am looking forward to a return visit

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sabine Pass


Sabine Pass Crab Shack

345 Broad St

Lake Charles LA


Wednesday to Friday 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM $2 to $25

Wednesday to Saturday 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM

If you go to this venue, you must have a love of seafood and like it fried. It is a fry shack pure and simple. 95% of it’s menu is seafood and 90% of that is fried. You must also deal with its eclectic hours and loud bands in a small space on the weekends. They seem to use amplifiers which are not appropriate.

Since they adjusted their menu essentially negating one of my visits and their hours and location made it hard for me to eat a meal, I am just go down the list of items I ate. An appetizer of fried crab fingers in a black pepper flecked batter was excellent. Not over fried or over battered a delight with the in house tarter sauce. They served fine burgers which have disappeared never to return. However the onion rings have stayed and are delicious. A fine to medium cut coated in flour and fried to perfection

The Captain’s Platter is a meal and a half. It contains, shrimp, catfish pieces, oysters, crab cake, stuffed crab, frog legs, hushpuppies and a BBQ crab. All of the above is fried. I opted for the potato salad and sweet potato fries. The shrimp and frog legs were coated in flour and great. The catfish and oysters in corn flour/meal are also great. The BBQ crab as good as I have ever eaten. The stuffed crab was OK. However the crab cake was an abomination of a pre fabricated product with a thick crust and surimi in the middle. Why restaurants put these on their seafood platters is beyond me and I had them on every seafood platter I have eaten in the last few months. I like the sweet potato fries (thin stick like) and did not care for the dilly potato salad.

The unfried option of grilled shrimp and catfish filet was ok but too salty for me. The slaw I opted for was wonderful. The cabbage was thinly cut and lightly dressed so it retained a great crunch. Except for chicken fried steak the menu is just variations of the seafood I sampled on the platter. My steak came out fried rock hard with gravy on the side and texas toast. Again I opted for sweet potato fries. Not a happy meal

I would suggest you stay with the fried seafood which was excellent and delicious except for the fried crab cake. You will leave happy and satisfied

Huddle Up 1103 W Prien Lake Lake Charles, LA 70601 (337) 656-2905

I really like this place and it's owner.  He keeps putting out Bargain Bees and I keep coming.  Below is a six piece bone in wings with his special sauce which is both sweet and spicy, my favorite.  He fries the chicken naked so you get the flavor of the sauce on the meat itself.
Rodeo Burger came next.  This is a new one.  A half-pound burger with lettuce, tomato, mayo,  Cheddar-Monterey Jack blend, BBQ sauce, & topped with fried onion rings.  Good concept but it failed a bit in the execution.  The patty was slightly overcooked but taste.  As is my wont these days I cut the lettuce and tomato.  The onion rings were fine but it was a bit light on the BBQ sauce.  I like curly cue fries and these were not exception.  I was good but it could have been great
This is a new dessert idea here.  The owner brought out some free samples for me.  Using his pizza dough and toppings for the bunt cake with streusel on top.  Below is raspberry and chocolate.  Good utilization of ingredients he already in house and not bad tasting

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Huddle Up

Mom & Pop's 4102 North University Avenue Carencro, LA 70520 (337) 896-8778

On the way back I popped up north of the interstate to this local chicken shack.  Good fried chicken is delicious hot, room temp or cold.  I basically had my three piece for supper.  The crust was still crispy and nice with a good level of spice.  The chicken nice and tender with good flavor.  A real nice large and tender biscuit and the standard mashed potatoes and gravy.  They do so much more than fried chicken here also.  But I would definitely return for the chicken.
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