Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wicked Chicken

New item at Popeyes. Tenders in a flour crust little heat until you pour on your the Tabasco sauce that comes with it. I certainly glad I tried it but I am not likely to repurchase. Now if they would bring back naked strips I would be there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Izzo's Illegal Burrito


Izzo’s Illegal Burrito
625 West Prien Lake Road
Lake Charles, LA

Seven days a week 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM $1 to $16

For me this “roll your own” place came about three years too late. We have a couple of establishments serving authentic Hispanic food along with a vanished taco truck lamented by many people including me. The mantra “more is better” sometimes does not apply to Mexican street food. That saying is something that is totally American. Let me state now this is just my opinion. This place seems to be a fine starting point for people who want to get the taste and flavor of Mexican fare but in a convenient place

That is not to say the food is bad here. The worst thing I ate was the burrito. You have to understand that I am not enthusiastic about this particular type of Mexican food. In fact I dislike it a lot. Since it was in the name of the place I tried it. I got Pork Carnitas with a cayenne tortilla, black beans, Monterey Jack and Cheddar, grilled onions, roasted corn, and tomatillo salsa. Picked up some lime wedges and the Izzo salsa at the salsa station. Following the instructions on the wall I dove in. It was very salty and bland and the deeper in the more soggy and unappetizing it became to me. Maybe I just chose the wrong things or it was a bad day. I may have to go back and give it another go.

Next up was the Burrito in a Bowl. I went with Steak, pinto beans, pico de gallo, romaine, red onion, diced tomatoes, sour cream and tortilla strips. I really liked this. The steak proved tasty and made this item turn into a great entree salad. This is coming from someone who doesn't really care for salad. The clincher on this deal was the Southwest Caesar dressing. It seemed nice and spicy with a strong cumin kick. I would not mind getting this again maybe with the chicken. It is pleasant to be surprised with something turning out to be nicer than you thought.

Last and certainly the best was a Quesadilla. I kept it on the lean side with a regular white tortilla, shrimp, Monterey Jack and Cheddar, grilled onions and pickled jalapenos with sour cream and guacamole on the side. The shrimp were tasty and not overcooked. They worked well with the cheese and onions. The jalapeno gave a nice kick with the tortilla nice and crunchy. Judicious amounts of sour cream and guacamole made it rich and savory. I washed it down with their machine margarita, not half bad. This would be my go to item. The main problem with this venue for me is my physical condition. I never did take to my artificial limb. Therefore standing around a long while on the crutches supporting all my weight is not thing I like to do. Going in my wheelchair is ok but the space is so tight that I cannot maneuver without causing a problem for other people. The atmosphere here is friendly and the food seems fresh. Since it is laid out if front you can make informed decisions on what you want. I think it is a good establishment for the lake area and would not hesitate to accompany my friends if they wanted to go here.

Faux Pho

Another bachelor trick. Take any oriental noodle soup. I usually use the grocery store ramen. This happens to be a rice noodle I got on line. Boil the water for it putting in an appropriate protein. Here it is Eddy's smoked brisket for beef flavor soup. I keep chicken tenderloins and shrimp in the freezer for chicken and seafood. Cook the noodles and add the soup base. Then pour in a bowl adding angel hair cut cabbage. It lasts longer than bean sprouts and I love the texture and taste of cabbage. Stir to wilt the cabbage and add hoisin and chili sauce to taste. Sure is a fast remedy for the chilly and rainy day blues

Cajun Singles

This is a new one in the Richard line. I choose it because to my taste the pastas work better than the rice ones. I hate long grain separate rice that still has a bit to it. I was raised on broken grain rice that was slightly sticky. The sauce was a little thin but held great spicy flavor and the pasta was great. A tri color corkscrew type. The tiny shrimp made enough of an appearance that you did not feel deprived. The sauce thicken as it sat.
This is my second favorite in the Savoie line. Nice chunks of chicken with potato and carrot with enough spicy brown sauce to make the rice palatable. Except for the rice it is everything I love of about SW La Cajun food ie prairie Cajun. Deep rich brown sauces with just enough spice to bring out the flavor without searing off the skin on your tongue

These were bought at the Kroger on 12th St.

Friday, December 25, 2009

La Truffe Sauvage

This is my Christmas Eve dinner . This is the bread basket. Cracker bread and buttermilk whole wheat raisin

Smoked Wild Alaskan Halibut potato galette, caviar, vodka crème fraîche. On the right hand side was some shredded potato made into a cake with herbs and fried. It is topped by the creme fraiche. On the left hand side is the halibut rolled up with a dollop of caviar. Splashes of olive oil and finely shredded red cabbage surround it. Everything worked by itself and in combo. The delicately smoked halibut was very like fine sashimi. It was lean but sweet. The caviar added a salty note with a fresh little pop. The savory potatoes were mellowed out by the rich but acid French sour cream.

Morel Mushrom Velouté colossal lump crab, celery root chips. The deep dark earthiness of the soup because of the morels played well against the sweet crab and the chips added its own earthiness but in a light crisp form I have had little experience with morels so this was a must have for me and I was not disappointed at all.

Colorado Rack of Lamb Navarin with ratatouille & black truffle mashed potato. Perfectly cooked American lamb with a herb breadcrumb crust melted in the mouth. The sauce complement the slight gaminess of the meat. The refined ratatouille added a nice southern french note while the potatoes seemed pretty ordinary. I could not catch any taste of the truffles.
Chocolate Bûche de Noël traditional Christmas dessert with moist sponge, chocolate buttercream & dark chocolate ganache. The berries perfect as usual. Their signature raspberry puree and creme anglaise the perfect complement to the substantial dark chocolate ganache and the light as air milk chocolate buttercream and cake. A cup of espresso went superb with it.

They are featuring the same menu for New Years Eve. A truly elegant way to bring in the new year

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Concoction

Finally pictures I can hear you say. I had some chorizo. Not the wet Mexican and not the dried Spanish kind. Sort of in between. So I diced it up and fried it with some corn tortilla strips. Took them out, Then I fried some onions adding flour when they were done to create a roux. Added some pork stock to that to make a thick gravy. Took that out. I had some canned potatoes (don't ask too long a story) so to give them a little flavor I pan fried them. Finally everyone back in the pool. I cracked some eggs in my stew/hash brown concoction and poached them topping with a salsa I had in the fridge. A kitchen sink concoction .
Here is my serving. It does not look that good but it ate a treat.


Again no pictures. I had a coupon and no desire to cook. I was looking at the appetizers and again nothing for a single person. All were meant for a group of four. Then I spotted it. I now know what to order at roadhouse themed joints. A cup of chili. That's what I did here. I tell you know lie that it was better than Chili's. It was a more than decent "bowl of red" as they say. No beans, nice chunks of meat, thick sauce with a nice punch. Chili's seemed more like ground meat and bit off taste. Then I went for Roadhouse Deluxe Burger with bacon, shredded cheese, Brewski Onions, sautéed mushrooms, & Roadhouse BBQ sauce on a toasted bun. It satisfied my burger hunger which I thick I was really after. A trend I like these days is the proliferation of single desserts. Here I got the Nutter Butter®Fudgeslide. Chilled chocolate mousse, fudge & Nutter Butter® Topping with a crunchy peanut cookie. It was served in a tiny tin bucket. Just enough sweet to satisfy me

Seafood Palace

Again no picture but you have been following this blog you can picture what I ate as I generally get the same thing here and have posted pictures of it before. This time I went with a bowl of shrimp and crab gumbo. Excellent as usual. Then I got a dozen fried oysters. These ranged from regular to mammoth. The were fried just right, crispy and crunchy with little grease residue. The largest were a little underdone (fine with me) and weeped some oyster juice which I added to the gumbo. My feeling are that I will repeat this in about a month. Pictures I promise. In the mean time feel free to see these items in person

Pho Tien

This time I had my camera but I was so excited about my meal I forgot to take a picture until it was gone from my plate. I started with my usually steamed dumplings which was delicious as usual. From the dishes they have run on the white board they picked the most popular and they are now part of the regular menu. Most of them are Chinese dishes which included my favorite. It goes under several names. Salt roasted, salt toasted, salt and pepper are just some of the variations. It is usually shrimp or squid. The protein is dusted with corn starch and pan or wok sauteed. Then a mixture of salt and black pepper with perhaps green onions, jalapeno, sesame seeds added and woked till done. At Pho they use diagonal cut jalapeno slices with onions and green bell pepper added. It is served over rice with a Pho Tien salad with Nuoc Mam on the side. I found this delicous as I do any variation of it. It just suits my taste. Sweet, salty, spicy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

El Tapatio

No picture sorry. I had to put in hours Sunday also. Few places are open but I knew this one was. It had been awhile since I had been. I noted two things at once. They now have a liquor license so if you cannot have Mexican with getting soused on margaritas or beer you can now come here. The other is the outside paint job which I had noticed when I passed by and inside new bench seating for the booths. Both beautiful and comfortable looking. I went with my regular starter which is a Chile Rellenos. I am spoiled by this. The stuffed one at Tequila was just too much. I now like the flavor of the poblano pepper with a little cheese over everything else. I then proceeded to a Carnitas platter with refried beans, rice, and el tapatio salad. The thing I love about this one is that they still use Boston Butt instead or pork loin. It is crispy, meaty and fatty. What a pork roast should be. I have a real case of forgetting the camera in the car. I guess when my cell phone goes south I will have to break down and at least get one with a camera.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I had to work Saturday morning and I was hungry for breakfast but did not want to fix it. I headed for PG Diner. I want to see if their menu was going to live up to the new paint job and electronic sign. I do not know if it is like that every Saturday or it was because of being the Saturday before Christmas. Not an empty space in the parking lot. I was about 9:45 so I thought maybe IHOP would have done with the breakfast crowd and not yet gotten the lunch bunch. Wrong again but they did have one handicap space left so what the hell. I got one of the seasonal pancake specials. It was gingerbread cake and quite good with a great ginger taste. It came with 4 slices of bacon and two eggs. The eggs were a perfect sunny side up. Left me wanting toast to sop up the yolks. The bacon was not as crispy as I normally like but did in a pinch. The hole on the left side was where the hash browns should have gone but I subbed

GRITS. Perhaps the best grits in the city at this point. They were thick and fully hydrated with a great hominy taste. With all the syrups on the table (when will this branch realize cane syrup is what most people want here) I could have gone sweet cereal but I like my breakfast grits savory. Butter, salt and lots of black pepper. I left the table satisfied then the trouble started. Computer malfunction had the line out the door to pay. They had to use a calculator and knuckle buster to process

I may have to go back as some of the breakfast option peaked my curiosity and the service and the food has improved

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nina P's

I had Pho Tien on my mind but they were taking the day off for some reason so I slipped around the corner and it was early enough that the establishment was pretty empty. A situation that turned into full with a line out the door as noon approached. I got the chicken and sausage gumbo which while ok did not seem as good as the last time I was here. Must have been an off day.

I then went for the roast beef po boy. The bread was excellent. Crisp crust and soft crumb. The roast beef had been chopped and mixed with a gravy. The bread soaked up the juice. While OK for Lake Charles this sandwich would not have flown in New Orleans. The beef seemed to be deli slices while a reputable place in New Orleans would have cooked it from scratch. The gravy seemed a lot salty which implies to me that it was made from a mix. Still all in all it was certainly edible and I therefore ate it

Waffle Chili

Another quick bachelor meal is to make waffles from Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. The recipe is on the side. I get 6 squares per box. These can be eaten out of hand or put in the fridge for something like this. The steaming hot product on top is one of the new Hormel Chill Master in a glass jar. This one is a Chipotle Chicken with corn but no beans. It matches the flavor of the best meat chili around. The smoky flavor is a treat and I ate it all

Full Do's

Sorry no photo. I stopped in on this wonderful soul food place on Opelousas looking for smothered pork chops. They did not have it that day so I went with the smothered steak. I received a large chuck steak that covered the main compartment of a three compartment styro clamshell. It sat on a huge mound of perfect rice soaked in the gravy from the steak. If the picnic pack would have had a spoon the steak was so tender I could have used that. My mind still on the pork I got yams and cabbage as my sides with a piece of cornbread. The yams were in a dark brown sugar syrup and the cabbage smothered down with bacon had a nice spice kick. The cornbread was a little dense for my taste but the whole meal made up for that. Great place to get a little soul if you are on that in of town. Take away is encouraged.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grilled Cheese

Nothing like a grilled cheese sandwich. Not pictured is a bowl of tomato soup made with milk instead of water and a knob of butter. Truly good. Also what make the sandwich even better is two new products that I used to make them. First of all is the bread. In most store bakeries you can now find a product called "English Toasting Bread". In my opinion Wal-Mart has the best. It is a white bread with more heft than the standard American white bread. It toasts up very nice and as a component for grilled cheese even better. The filling is a new Borden processed cheese product. I know what you are saying but processed cheese is best for an old fashion grilled cheese. The flavor of the Borden product is Cheddar with Applewood Smoked Bacon. Boy oh boy is this good in grilled cheese. The nice sturdy bread toasted to a T with that sharp cheddar and bacon smoke inside. That is why I make two at a time because they are that good.

Biscuits and Stew

Continuing the theme of single food or in my case bachelor food. The last couple of days the weather has kept me home. Being one person I do not always want to cook. Progresso soup and garlic toast from the freezer has been my fare recently. However yesterday I pulled out an old trick. I try to keep a high quality biscuit puck in my freezer and various jars and cans of stew, chili, etc in the pantry. With my table top appliance and microwave it becomes very simple to have a filling meal in a hurry. Below is three baked biscuits spilt with a can of heated beef stew. Ain't gourmet but will suffice for slacking hunger

Friday, December 11, 2009

Single Dish Cajun from the Freezer

I know you have passed these items at the grocery store countless times and countless times wondered if they were any good. The short answer some are very good. As a single person who loves food but does not necessarily cook everyday these are a god send. About 4 minutes in the microwave and voila. The one below is a particular favorite. They should call it sauce piquante chicken over pasta. This is not your grandmother's spaghetti sauce but rather her sauce piquante one. The chicken is tasty and the pasta nukes better than rice. The spice had me almost sweating in this cold weather. Please note that there is a coupon under the cover.

I clipped the brand off in the picture but it is Richard's Cajun Favorites. As you can see it is a new flavor. Years ago I used to get these two brands with the aid of coupons to be used when I just wanted something good fast. I got out of the habit but recently got back into it. The thing I hate about these things is the texture of the rice. I suppose they have to use par boiled but I hate that separate and firm rice taste. I am more of a "sticky short rice and not so firm" guy. But I love shrimp stew and had to try. The flavor of the stew was fantastic. Deep dark roux flavors with just the right spice. A piece of advice nuke this a little less time than on the package. I followed the timing and while most of the shrimp were OK some were overcooked. Also let it sit a minute or two and the broth gets absorbed into the rice. That made it just palatable for me. Be on the lookout for more in future blogs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tequila's Margarita Grill

Must be a combination of the stress at work and the Xmas season (i am the original bah humbug). I feel like I have a death wish recently. Tooling around looking for a place to eat so I would not arrive back too soon at the house and interrupt the house cleaner, I choose here since the handicap places in front of this small Mexican chain were free. I had not eaten there since I reviewed it several years ago. The menu seems expanded. One thing I remember is the Queso del Mar. They might as well call it "heart attack on a plate". Six grilled shrimp in a sea of white and yellow cheese. I can feel the arteries closing as I speak.
I also got a Shrimp Rellano. They certainly give you enough to eat. The rellano was smothered in cheese which I had my fill off. I scraped it off. 90 count shrimp made up the filling and it it had the traditional egg white coating topped with some sauteed tomatoes. The rice seem to be saffron with onions and carrots. I ate most of that, delicious. The refried beans were standard and not something I like. Black beans another story

You also get a plate with guacamole on top of lettuce and pico de gallo. Guacamole's was good but pico looked lethal. Combo of cilantro and what looked to be raw serrano peppers put me off

They have a machine that makes the flour tortilla fresh and I enjoyed them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fast Food Monday

It is a deadly combo. A fast food coupon involving pork products. I succumbed. Below in all it glory a Double Wendy's Applewood Smoked Baconator. Something I just need a burger fix.

It is also my bad fortune the Taco Bell is just a hop skip and jump from Wendys and they have some item. Below is a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Basically a corn taco wrapped in a pandero flatbread. Not bad but not my favorite

This is a Double Steak Grande Quesadilla. Very good. Steak , cheeses and fire roasted salsa on the flatbread. Worth going and getting

Friday, November 27, 2009

Olive Garden

For the second year in a row I tried to arrange an out of town venue for Black Friday. Did not go over. Downsized to a newly reopened local eatery. That went south because of lack of communication about hours. Ended up at the local Olive Garden. This chain has improved over the years. The one thing that remains constant though is an excellent salad.
My enthusiastic friend started off with Chicken & Gnocchi A creamy soup made with roasted chicken, traditional Italian dumplings and spinach. My taste proved nice. They have added a few new ones since the last time I have been
This is mine. Mussels di Napoli. Mussels in the shell, simmered with wine, garlic-butter and onions. Nothing I like better than good mussels. They do a really decent job here although they seemed to have had a massive shot of lemon this time
For her entree my enthusiastic friend went with a special. Stuffed Chicken Marsala Oven-roasted chicken breast stuffed with Italian cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes, topped with mushrooms and a creamy marsala sauce. With garlic parmesan mashed potatoes. It tasted wonderful. Maybe I should explore the menu at greater length
My sister went with the salad and soup and she got Zuppa Toscana Spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth. She seem to enjoy it I got another appetizer. It was from the specials menu. Sicilian Scampi large shrimp sauteed in extra-virgin olive oil with white wine, garlic and lemon. It was served over crostini. In most cases I prefer bread to pasta. The shrimp were not over cooked. The sauce luscious cut by a nice lemon snap and the bread really nice
We finished with Zeppoli soft, traditional Italian doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar, served with chocolate sauce for dipping. I caught the last one of film before I devoured it. Along the lines of a New Orleans beignet. Just sweet enough to be dessert without going in sugar shock
All in all not a bad experience.

Serops Baton Rouge

7474 Corporate Blvd
Baton Rouge LA

Monday - Friday 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM $2 to $11
Saturday - Sunday 11:00 AM - till

On our outing to the Red Stick Farmer’s Market and Whole Foods we ate lunch at Serop’s on Corporate. This is a long-standing establishment in the area. I can remember eating there when they only had a downtown location. Now the have five locations. This one was convenient for us as it is across the road from the Whole Foods. Although in a strip mall the interior speaks of elegance. Since I will only be covering lunch I have given you only those hours

I indulged in a Lebanese Ice Tea with Pine Nuts. This is a sweeten tea that has rose water and whole pine nuts in it. The rose water gives it a funky taste, not for everyone. I just like to try such things. Delightful at first it grew less desirable later on. First thing to hit the table was white and whole-wheat pita bread. They seemed to be an in-house product.

My cousin and I decided to do appetizers. Sometimes restaurant like this has what is called Meze. Basically this is a sampling of appetizer like dishes. This one did not so we put our own together. We started with Fried Kibbeh. Ground meat, onions, pine nuts and sweet spices stuffed in a cracked wheat shell. It sported the familiar double point and was delicious. Next was Hummus Deluxe. Chickpea dip topped with basically the Kibbeh stuffing finished with olive oil, smooth and creamy with the stuffing adding considerable flavor. Meat and Meatless stuffed grape leaves followed. The meatless was just the rice mixture without the meat. The leaves were tough and salty. They had not taken care to rinse the preserving brine from them. The Cabbage Rolls were mush better. Same meat and rice stuffing but the cabbage leaves had been treated properly. The last and best dish was a Meat Mousaka. Not the traditional layered affair. This consisted of eggplant slices cooked tin tomato sauce then topped with various sauteed vegetables (zuchhni, squash, onions, etc) with ground beef, black olives and feta cheese. This made for a delicious and tasty well-balanced dish. They do a meatless version.

My sister opted for Lamb Kebab. She received chunks of grilled lamb and onions with hummus and rice pilaf. My taste of the lamb showed a tender and succulent well-seasoned piece of meat. Our baking friend got a Chicken Shawarma Pita. This comes with a small side salad topped with feta dressing. The pita itself held almost a pound of tender chunky chicken breast with lettuce, tomato and a sour cream sauce. It stood two to three inches high and half went into a to go box.

We shared a baklava that was as good as I have every tasted. Service was good. If you like Middle Eastern food this is about as good as it gets.

Sabine Pass Crab Shack


Sabine Pass Crab Shack
3584 East Napoleon
Sulphur, LA

Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM $2 to $27

This drive-thru only situated at the corner of Hwy 90 and North Cities Service Road is just that, a shack. It does have friendly service.

My first run through I got the Seafood Platter. This comes with 14 medium fried shrimp, 4 catfish fillets, 1 stuffed crab, 4 oyster and a crawfish kicker. The oyster depending on their size ranged form overcooked to perfect. The shrimp were in a seasoned batter that grew on me. By the last one I loved it. The catfish proved the best, crispy cornmeal crust and moist tender inside. Although in a real crab shell the stuffed crab seemed mostly breading with little flavor. The crawfish popper, a beignet sort of thing, was cold in the middle and very mushy, not to my taste. These items lay on a bed of crinkle cut fries that were just awful. However the two hushpuppies in the box were good.

Next time I opted for a Cheeseburger. For a seafood shack it proved really decent. Nice bun loaded with lettuce, onion and tomato. The cheese was American of course. The patty had a nice char and a good beefy taste. What stood out here was the excellent sweet potato fries, thin and crunchy. They held a nice sweet potato flavor, so much better the other fries. I also got the Funnel Cake Fries. They were like mini churros. A thin hollow stick about three inches long. The powdered sugar made them just sweet enough.

Last time I passed by I ordered the Sabine Pass BBQ Crabs. They sell them by the half dozen and dozen. The favor was spot-on but being at the end of the season they were neither large nor full of meat. I would suggest holding off until next summer for these treats.

The shrimp and catfish are the best things here at this time in my opinion. It is a convenient place to grab a meal to go if you happen to be on that side of the lake

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kyoto Sushi

I am going to take you through my routine when I evaluate a sushi bar. This also my favorite meal. It is comfort food for me. I usually get green tea hot and the miso soup. This day I had a hankering for the bonito broth so that is what is pictured here
Also you can tell a lot about the place by the seaweed salad. No I do not think they make this themselves but it is pre prepared. The more types of seaweed the better in my opinion.

I order two nigeri type sushi. That is the type with the protein on top of a rice ball. I particular like ebi (sweet shrimp) because not only is it delicious (succulent and sweet) but you generally get a bonus ie the fried heads. If I am especially lucky they don't clean out the heads. Unagi (eel) is the other and I get it for dessert. The eel sauce is usually so sweet that it act like dessert in my opinion
The main dish I forgot to take a photo of. But if you frequent this blog you have seen pictures of it before. It is Chirgasi (it means scattered). Take a bowl and fill it halfway up with sushi rice. Then you scattered various proteins of top. The one I got the other day contained salmon, tuna, wasabi tobiko (flying fish roe colored orange and infuse with horseradish), white tuna (escolar or oil fish), surimi (fake crab), snapper, two white fish I could not identify, and sweeten egg omelet (another dessert like component). This represents the range and quality of seafood available at a sushi bar. Most of it is raw and shows the freshness. While rolls are OK they are not in the true spirit of a sushi place but rather an American affectation

Monday, November 23, 2009


I happened to be across the street and the front parking area fairly empty so I took advantage of that and had lunch. First of all a great chicken and sausage gumbo with potato salad and garlic bread. While a tad greasy the dark roux and broth held good spicy flavor

I also ordered the Shrimp Remoulade po boy. It is a white remoulade with what seems to be a mixture of mayonnaise, yellow mustard and a little grain mustard. The small shrimp is soaked in it. Shredded lettuce and sliced tomato finish it. The bread is decent and seems to have been baked to give it a nice crust before the sandwich comes out

I ordered a side of fried onions. They were medium cut and floured which made them perfect in my eyes. A little salt and pepper brought the flavor I love.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NOWFE for next year

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2009

Liz Goliwas Bodet

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience Announces 2010 Dates

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – Plans are underway for the 2010 New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE), in the city that ranks number one in ten categories in Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Cities” survey. NOWFE, which also garners its own high rankings as a “perennial ‘Top Ten' Wine and Food festival,” as noted in Wine Enthusiast, features over 175 wineries and more than 75 celebrated restaurants. The 5-day event, which has raised nearly $1,000,000 for local charities, will take place May 25–29, 2010 in various locations throughout historic New Orleans.

“No other city can offer the rich history, beautiful landscape and architecture, eclectic art, and diverse music scene—not to mention some of the best cuisine in the country—along side one-thousand different vintages,” says Octavio Mantilla, NOWFE President. “Our events take place right in the heart of the city, where guests can enjoy the wine and food, while partaking in shopping, live entertainment, French Quarter revelry or just one-of-a-kind people-watching.” Some of New Orleans most famous landmarks will serve as backdrop to the 2010 event. More than 30 of New Orleans most talked about restaurants will host Wine Dinners on Wednesday, May 26; the popular Royal Street Stroll will take place on Thursday, May 27, while the Louisiana Superdome will serve as the home of the Grand Tastings on Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29.

“Each year NOWFE adds new programs, seminars and events to the schedule,” states Joyce Godbold, NOWFE Executive Director. “We try to keep the seminars fresh, relevant and exciting.” This year’s seminars will include: “The Craft of Curing,” a lesson on the intricacies of curing meats; a look at the bounty of Gulf seafood at “Gone Gulfing,” “Let them Eat Cake” will showcase dessert wines and their accompaniments, “Romancing the Rhone,” will explore Rhone varietals, and a special champagne & sushi seminar.

“New Orleans just gives you a good feeling, and NOWFE really uncorks that sentiment,” adds Mantilla. “We invite everyone to come and be immersed in the feeling that is New Orleans.”

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 2009 event benefited University of New Orleans School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism, the Louisiana Restaurant Association's ProStart Program, The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Delgado Community College Culinary Arts Program, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Girls First, Cancer Crusaders, Animal Rescue of New Orleans, Coach Sean Payton's Play It Forward Foundation and Fore! Kids Foundation.

NOWFE 2010 will be held May 25 – 29, 2010.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thadapetch Birthday

While recently our choices of ethnic restaurants has improved in Lake Charles we are missing two types. However they are available an hour or so from the city. For Indian you can go to Marsala in Lafayette. There are Thai available there also but we like to head north for Thai. In Deridder there is Thai Basil and in Leesvile Thadapetch. My internet friend and her husband The Engineer like the one in Leesville and my birthday present this year was a visit there. This weekend was clear for both of us. After a pleasant drive (the four laning of 171 is a god send) we arrived.

Below in a full order of Tom Kha which feed the three of us quite well. Tom Kha is Thai hot and sour soup that has coconut milk added to it. This one was chicken with mushrooms, galanga, onion, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chili and lime juice. The coconut milk adds a certain richness while allowing the spice and sour to come through. Regular milk would curdle because of the milk proteins. I usually get a bowl of soup. This is the first time sharing the larger one. The vessel was something unique and interesting

They provided bouillon cups for us and the hot pot had enough for us to have two cups
My internet friend got Pad Woon-Sen. Stir fried silver noodles with chicken , egg, baby corn, mushrooms, carrot and onion. This is a stir fry dish with fine rice noodles. It was quite tasty with a good amount of vegetables.
The Engineer got Yum Nuer. Grilled sliced beef with line juice, chili, lemon grass, tomato, green onion, and mint leaves served on a bed of lettuce. A fine example of a Thai meat salad and quite delicious if a bit sour.
I opted for Pad Ped Ta-Lay which is a stir fry dish of shrimp, squid, mussel, and catfish with bell pepper, mushroom, chili, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and galanga. Just spicy enough to be interesting and the seasoning compliment the seafood perfectly
We all got Mango and Sticky rice for dessert. I have not had this wonderful combination in so long I dug right in and forgot to take a picture. Just take it from me it is the perfect end to a Thai meal.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Papa Murphy

Papa Murphy’s
4070 Nelson Road
Nelson Road Plaza
Lake Charles, LA

11:00 AM to 9:00 PM Seven days a week $2 to $16

Set next to the Wine Store in the shopping center housing Que Pasa, this is a new concept for the lake area. You come into the shop and order a pizza. They put together your pizza in front of you with freshly made dough and freshly cut meats and vegetables. No pre-made pizzas hanging around. They wrap it in plastic and you take it home and bake. It comes on an ovenproof paper tray. Baking is as easy as pie. Instructions included and they tell you the procedure if you are a new customer. Now you can have piping hot pizza from your oven with fresh ingredients not a frozen thing

First time in I went with a custom pizza. Special orders do not upset them. I asked for beef, bacon, onion, and garlic white sauce. It came with a layer of mozzarella and some cheddar cheese on top. Fifteen minutes after preheating the oven. It came out with a crisp crust and bubbly top. The crust had a nice bready texture. It tasted just like a bacon cheeseburger, which was my intent. I also got a Cinnamon Wheel. It is raw dough topped with cinnamon spread, streusel and a tub of cream cheese frosting. Take the tub out of the center and bake. It was OK but the streusel was oatmeal based and not my favorite. Also the ratio of the bread to sweetness seemed off to me.

Next time I went away with a Gourmet Vegetarian. Heaped high with spinach, zucchini, mushroom, marinated artichoke hearts, roma tomatoes, onion, cheese and the white garlic sauce. It weighted a tone. However the amount of vegetables and the moisture from them did not treat the dough well. The curst was not as nice as the other one. While it was edible I kept thinking a double amount of dough would make it perfect. I also got the cookie dough. It made a decent cookie. However the four-dollar price tag for a pound seemed a bit steep to me.

Last time I ordered a Combination Calzone. It contained ricotta, mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms and green onion with pizza sauce on the side. It baked up beautifully taking an extra ten minutes than the pizza. Not putting the sauce in the calzone proved a good thing. I have a problem with calzones and this solved it. Most have so much moisture in the interior that the dough turns gummy inside when baked. This one was almost perfect. The pizza sauce obtained a perfect balance: chunks of tomato with good flavor, a slightly sweet undertone, and a nice spice kick.

Really the only problem was it was too large. I am a single person and most pizzas come in family sizes. Here I can get a medium pizza (good for two meals for me) however I cannot get a medium stuffed pizza of calzone. The stuffed is a dough circle piled with stuff topped with another dough circle. A calzone is a dough circle with the filling on one half and the other half brought across the stuffing. My poser is that if you have medium dough circles why cant you do the above with them?

Despite all my minor quibbles this is an excellent operation and a good choice for families. The ingredients are fresh. The service is friendly and helpful. The final product is tasty. I am not a pizza fanatic. I will be back but not too often. I occasionally work on Sunday morning. I see this as a convent meal for those days. If you are into pizza this might be the ticket for you. I hear they are planning other locations.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dairy Barn No 3 deux

Here is the promised second visit to the newest Dairy Barn. While not quite up the others it was good. A Fry Person who knows his business is a unique asset. I have had too much bad fried food in my life to believe otherwise. The person here is almost to the mark and probably just needs a little more experience. Well worth it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Carraba's Lafayette

I had to go to Lafayette for a mini food show and used the opportunity to go here as it was just around the corner. I have been to the one in Beaumont many times. Even though it is a chain it is a great chain. Also the originators of this chain is Johnny Carraba and his uncle Tony Mandola of Houston. Their ancestry is Southeast Texas Sicilian that immigrated from Southwest Louisiana. So if feels like I am supporting home boys.

Below is their classic sangria made with Korbel Brandy, fresh fruit and our Italian house wine, your choice red or white. I do not normally indulge but it had been a hard day and it was not over yet. It was decent but a bit rough around the edges.

The house is basically a boule. The crust was lovely but the crumb a bit light weight. It could have been more dense for my taste. Still it sopped up things wonderfully and I utilized often during the meal

The main reason I came here. Cozze in Bianco Mussels steamed in white wine, basil, lemon butter and Pernod . As usual they were wonderful. The mussels small but fat. The broth so good that I used the bread to sop all of it up. I should take after pictures

A new item to was Mama Mandola ’s Sicilian Chicken Soup spicy chicken soup. Had to give that a try. Its heat came from black pepper. There was lots of chicken and a few vegetables. The broth was thick with a tomato base
The other reason I came. Spiedino di Mare shrimp and sea scallops coated with Italian
breadcrumbs, grilled and topped with lemon butter sauce with a side of cavetelli amatrica (corkscrew pasta in a spicy sauce). This dish is heaven on a plate. The contrast between the sweet seafood and spicy coating with the lemon bringing it together.
Finally an off the menu dessert. Bread pudding made with brioche and topped with Blue Bell (notice David) Vanilla and Limoncello liqueur. Very nice