Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mr Bill's Seafood Express Moss Bluff

Mr. Bill’s Seafood Express Moss Bluff
277 north hwy 171 Suite A
Moss Bluff, LA

Sunday to Tuesday 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM $1 to $15
Wednesday to Friday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Another cursed spot but I think this venue will break it. It is a branch of a popular place in Lake Charles. Little has been done but I am told a major change is coming down the road. At this point it serves blue-plate specials and a menu direct form the McNeese St establishment.

I got a blue plate special the first time in, Meatballs and Gravy over Rice with Salad, Field Peas, Texas toast and a bite of cake. I sometimes choose meatballs or meatloaf as this can tell me a lot about the cook. These were made of meat with just a little vegetable. They had not been overworked so they were not dense or chewy, just right. Onion type gravy went well with some excellent rice. The field peas seemed to be from a can but doctored. A small lettuce and tomato salad came with a delightful Vidalia onion dressing, sweet and savory. The cake was a German Chocolate sheet cake. I do like a bit of sweet to end a meal.

Next time I started with a Crab and Shrimp Pistolette. Instead of stuffing it into a pistolette and frying it, a fried pistolette was split open and a cheesy concoction of crab and shrimp spooned in, good and spicy. Next came a Seafood Platter. It proved a mixed bag. The onion rings that I had ordered instead of fries were excellent, as were the shrimp. Both the oysters and catfish had trouble keeping their crusts on. While the oyster were cooked the rather thick piece of catfish was not. The stuffed crab proved OK but the stuffed shrimp was exceedingly mushy. The deep fat fried crab cake was more crust than interior. Then I noticed something. All three had been made with some or all surimi (a crab substitute made from pollack)

I tried the boudin balls next, nice flour coating but a bit mushy for my taste. The spice and liver in it saved it. I followed that with a Bacon Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato fries. On a standard bun bottom with mustard came a hand formed patty topped with American cheese, bacon, onion, lettuce and tomato. It was wonderful. Best burger I’ve eaten in awhile. The fries were nice also if under seasoned

On Saturday they serve breakfast. I have a soft spot in my heart for French Toast. They offer that but unfortunately I did not care for their rendition. Too much cinnamon and not enough egg in the custard so the bread fell flat instead of puffing slightly. However the bacon and grits prove excellent. Other plates with eggs on them went by me and they looked fine. It certainly is worth another try.

Last time I opted for Grilled Shrimp and Catfish with mustard greens. All around excellent. . The spice coating lovely and both the shrimp and catfish cooked perfectly with great flavor and moistness. The greens were great also. This one I would go back again for

The service is neighborhood friendly along with the pricing. Nice addition for the Moss Bluff area.

Picture Link

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Soul Food Heaven Breakfast

Just after the Quarters started doing breakfast my favorite place on Hwy 14 started doing $1.99 breakfast. The other Saturday I dropped in for it. Much more satisfying. Eggs done just the way I love them with nice crispy bacon and kick ass grits made from scratch. The only thing I could have use was another piece of toast to sop up the egg yolks. In the area and hungry from 6 to 10:30 drop by.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I had gotten a Chili's gift card for my birthday and used it last Friday. Like many chains I do not care for lots of the options but I generally find some good stuff. At Chili's it is the burgers. This is a Jalapeno Smokehouse Bacon Burger with extra thick-cut applewood smoked bacon topped with smoked cheddar cheese, crispy tortilla strips, jalapeños, mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato and onion. Served with jalapeño-ranch dressing. It was freaking outstanding. I do not say this lightly. Most burgers from chains recently have left me cold. The gestalt here was great. Everything complimented each other. As I grow older I like thing a little more spicy. This delivered. Not tongue sear but nice and warm.
Also I may have cracked the appetizer at Chili's. Most of them are enough for a table of eight. However this is just right. A cup of chili with all the fixings. They make very nice bowl of red here for a chain. I guess that is why it is called Chili's

White Chocolate Molten Cake Warm white chocolate cake with a white chocolate filling and berry sauce. Topped with vanilla ice cream under a crunchy white chocolate shell. This was not too bad. A little bigger than I think a dessert should be but not terrible. A one and halfer. It is sorta of a bundt cake with cake at the bottom of the hole. They fill the hole with white chocolate sauce and nuke. Then a scoop of ice cream over it and white chocolate shell over it. I normally do not care for ice cream with my dessert but the shell made all the difference.
The gift card took care of my meal and the 2 for 1 Mojito (which certainly made the afternoon nice) with me throwing in the tip. That reminds me of a pet peeve of mine. Servers do not squat down to take my order. I am not your master and you are not my slave. You are there to give me reasonable service not your allegiance

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Leronard's Food Quarters Breakfast

Just recently the Quarters started a breakfast trade. The menu consists of two plate items, biscuits, burritos and po boys. The sandwich items all have scrambled eggs, cheese, and a protein. Either bacon, pan sausage or link sausage. Below is a link sausage po boy. It basically overwhelmed the bread and I had to eat with knife and fork. It was delicious however. I got this through the window but you can go inside and sit down also. They do it Monday to Saturday from about 6 to 10:30. The link sausage had a kick and good flavor.

This is one of the plate item you can get. The other is pancakes. I was less impressed with this. It seemed like a bunch of prefabricated items thrown together on the plate from the fried hash brown patty to frozen biscuit to instant grits and no choice on the eggs which seem to indicate a liquid product used.

In my opinion your best option is to drive thru and get the biscuit, burrito or po boy option.

Brick House Wine DInner

Below is the first course of the Rouge et Blanc dinner I attended several weeks ago. They called it the Cheese Course. It consisted of endive leaves, blue cheese, candied pecans and a balsamic Dijon dressing. It was made to look like a flower. Quite pretty but clunky to eat. They should have crumbled the blue cheese over the leaves. Then you could have take a leaf and eaten it and everything on it in one bite. As it was I had to do it myself. Most people did not seem to know what to do. After the cheese got on the leaf and in my mouth it was wonderful. The bitterness of the endive, the sharpness of the cheese, and the sweet and nutty pecan tied together with the sweet and sharp dressing.

What followed was a lemon sorbet in a hollowed out half of the lemon. I have encounter this concept many times. What puzzled me was the placement on the menu. This sort of thing is usually near the end of the menu to cleanse your palate for dessert. It was both tart and sweet and very good.
The Fowl Course consisted of an oyster dressing patty topped by a spilt quail. I could almost swear the quail had been fried. However it was cooked it was moist and tender with excellent flavor and paired well with the oyster dressing. That had a little kick to it which helped alot.
The Fish Course consisted of blackened sea scallop over polenta with a vanilla beurre blanc. I was expecting a large diver scallop but got bay scallops. That was certainly the strangest polenta I have ever seen. The butter sauce on top of the scallops seemed to be the only thing that really worked here. Not my favorite dish of the night

The Beef Course made up for it. A tenderloin steak cooked to perfection with a port wine and cane syrup sauce. The steak was like butter with beefy flavor which seem accentuated with the sweet undertones of the sauce. The molasses flavor seemed to give it real umph.
The Dessert Course of dark chocolate mousse cake was certainly delicious but I suspect not made in house. The top seemed too perfect.

In all a fine dinner although some might disagree. The main courses were served at room temperature which does not bother but others might perceive them as cold. I am after flavor and this dinner had it so I was satisfied

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cafe Vermilionville Lafayette La

Earlier this year I went on a two day foray to Lafayette. I went to here because I heard a long acquaintance was cooking here, Alex Patout. I have been following this excellent chef from the time he opened a restaurant in his home town of New Iberia to New Orleans to Orlando and back to his home area. I was going to go whole review with this but I have since found out that he moved on. As most the dishes here had major input from him I feel that they are representative of the venue but I still want to pay homage to my friend. The following is a lovely loaf of French Bread they have for house bread. Crispy crust soft crumb. According to Alex they get it from Poupart's

Sampler Appetizer Plate. Starting at one o'clock Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Grilled Gulf Shrimp Marinated in Cajun Power Sauce & Honey, Apple wood Smoked Bacon(delicious, smokey, sweet and spicy)
On either side of that are Crawfish Beignets Louisiana Crawfish Tails Blended with Cheeses and a Bacon Mire Poix on a Spicy Creole Mustard Aioli (ethereal and dissolved in my mouth Great flavor Aioli strikes right amount of spice)
At eight o'clock Alligator Dijon Louisiana Farm Raised Alligator Tenderloin Pieces Fried in Italian Bread Crumbs Accented with a Spicy Dijon Aioli & Crispy Fried Dill Pickle (quite nice tender and juicy with a crunch Hate fried dill pickles)
In the middle is Grilled Alligator Wing (leg)(no flavor like eating a frog leg except the meat is red) This is definitely one of Alex's recipes. You can taste the swamp and bayou here. Crawfish Bisque. Dark roux and deep crawfish flavor with a huge carapace stuffed with wonderful spicy dressing. Rice on the side.

Grilled Grouper Lafitte Topped with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Shrimp & Fresh Mushrooms, With Vanilla Bean Sauce, Sautéed Sweet Potatoes & Corn Macque Choux. Fantastic. The grouper had a marvelous flavorful spice rub on it and cook to perfection. The crabmeat and shrimp sweet, shitake mushrooms earthy, macque choux sweet and spicy, sweet potato sweet and earthy. Various bites with various components satisfied. What brought it all together was the sauce made with crab fat butter. This is a Patout signature sauce. Excellent

Creme Brulee. Not the best. Custard overcooked and the brown sugar topping tasted bitter after being torched. Not likely he had much to do with that
While this is an excellent restaurant I feel it will be diminished by the departure of Alex. He brings an air of the bayou and swamps into this place. I breath of fresh air

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soul Food Heaven

Sorry about the out of focus picture. It was much more delicious than it looked. It is oxtails. Wonderful falling off the bone super beefy flavor. This is just part of the soul food trifecta I hit this afternoon

The other two parts was split pig foot and some cow tripe. The pig's foot was great. The tripe was really not my favorite kind and it seemed a little undercooked. I generally like honeycomb best. However it was well seasoned and edible if chewy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Famous BBQ

There is nothing small about both the flavor and size of a smoked turkey wing from Famous. Must weigh in at 2-3 lbs. With a side you have a quick and satisfying meal. The rub they use on it is especially scrumptious

Salt and Pepper Chicken

Since I have found out how easy salt and pepper dishes are I have been wanted to try it again. Mostly these dishes are seafood but I had a chicken breast from Central Market that had the lime chipotle marinade left. I figured why not. It turn out delicious. I am now thinking any meat or seafood that cooks with a quick saute is fair game

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Marks American

Mark’s American Cuisine
1658 Westheimer
Houston TX
Monday - Friday 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM $8 to $29
Situated in a renovated church the outside brick walls do not speak to the sumptuous interior. This place is so popular and high tone that reservations should be made even for lunch. We did this three months in advance and barely got in. However every bite of the food was worth it. I dined with a friend from Houston, her son, her brother and sister in law. The brother was a real estate mogul from the Northshore of the Pontchartrain. This was last year so he had deep pockets then. He footed the bill without blinking. I get what I want to get whether I am paying or someone else is. I am only covering lunch here. If you are interested in dinner go to the web site.
Bread and butter come to the table first. They have their own butter mold with a capital Mon on top of the pat. The breadbasket possessed six different types of bread. All artisan, ranging from baguettes to pumpernickel and all delicious.
First was appetizers all round. My friend’s consisted of a flan of butternut and spaghetti squash surrounded by a ragout of seasonal mushrooms with an acorn squash crescent roasted with brown sugar. A sage infused beurre blanc completed it. Her son went with hearth roasted oysters topped with a ragout of jumbo crab and roasted leeks in truffle aioli vinaigrette. Her sister-in-law got the crispy crab cake with cream chile remoulade vinaigrette topped by shoestring potatoes. A work of art as all the dishes were. The brother ordered roasted corn chowder with smoked applewood bacon, potatoes and thyme. I know how it taste as I got is as a soup course. Rich, thick, and hearty with great smokiness and corn flavor. My appetizer consisted of crab four ways. It contained a shelled Alaskan king crab segment over two mini crab cakes. A deshelled stone crab claw sat over a corn timbale. An Indonesian crab salad stood nearby. Citrus supremes decorated the plate and I had three relishes to play with (mango, avocado and tomato, roasted red bell pepper). It looked like a dish and I felt like a judge on Iron Chef. Next for me was a salad. I was going soup to nuts with this one. At this point I thought I was paying my own way. The salad was sliced tomatoes and roasted bell pepper with two forms of mozzarella (tiny balls of fresh and slices of in housed smoked) in a balsamic and green peppercorn vinaigrette. The foremost and best caprese I have ever had.
My friend’s entree was a seafood trio of seared scallop, grilled shrimp and a smoked salmon rose with a crisp pasta cake on a lemon dill sauce. Her son opted for crisp oak fired double breast of chicken with mashed Yukon gold potatoes and asparagus in a porcini mushroom sauce. The brother ordered American Wagu (Kobe beef) and Kurobuta pork (the pork equivalent of Kobe). His wife’s entree consisted of pecan crusted chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella in a bourbon sauce. I went with a pan roasted pacific black cod (also known as butterfish) with two tempura shrimp and a spring vegetable risotto that included fiddlehead ferns. The fish was like butter really, rich and unctuous with great flavor. I am not a risotto fan but this was good. I especially like the taste of the fiddleheads, grassy and herbal. The shrimp were delicious as well. I can only assume everyone else was enjoying their food because silence reigned and plates were cleaned up.
My friend had a raspberry shortbread tart. Warm raspberry compote in a shortbread crust topped with pistachio ice cream. Her son got a banana cream pie. The brother went for old fashion strawberry shortcake, fresh strawberries and whipped cream between a biscuit. His wife went Meyer lemon. A multi-layer lemon cake with lemon icing and a scoop of lemon sorbet. They all looked wonderful and normally I would have indulged but they had a cheese plate. Something I rarely encounter but love. This one had Manchego, blue cheese, Brie and a triple creme served with candied pecans, glazer apple slices and membrillo (quince paste). It was fun trying different combo of cheese and accompaniments
This place was a delight with spot on service and extraordinary food. However it is pricey. On the dinner menu appetizers are in the $20 ranges with entrees going form $35 to $50. Have to take out a bank loan. However for a one in a life time experience I would do it again



Two Amigos

Two Amigos
312 East Miller Rd
Iowa, LA
11:00 AM to 9:00 PM Seven days a week $2 to $12
Few things changed here either outside or inside except for the signage since the last venue. The food in general is good but can be a bit strange. Chips and salsa hit the table first. Decent chips and the salsa seem to have a roasted pepper component, medium spicy. First time in I started with a Queso Flameado. I received a bowl full of chunked fajita chicken topped with a little cheese, not to my taste. My previous experience with this dish was a little protein in a sea of broiled cheese. It was all about the cheese to me and the dish here is all about the meat. The entree, Spicy Shrimp, made up for it. Large shrimp cooked in a chile paste served fajita style with peppers and onions on a cast iron sizzler skillet with flour tortillas, Spanish rice, refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo and guacamole. The tortillas came wrapped in deli paper in a straw basket. The rice was very dry and the beans seemed straight from a can. The pico had too much cilantro (taste like soap to me) but the guacamole was OK. The story here consisted of spicy and savory shrimp with great flavor. I also got a piece of flan that was pretty good.
Next time I stared with Chile con Queso that was wonderful. White cheese with sautéed onions and poblano peppers that went down a treat. The Tamale lunch proved not as good. Very strange tamales (the masa was a rolled sheet) with little flavor and even less meat. You also get a Crispy Taco. A five-inch corn tortilla fried in the shape of a bowl with taco fixings in it. I could determine no way to eat it out of hand so had to resort to knife and fork. It was ok but just not the same as a regular taco shape. The Tres Leches Cake was a bit of a let down also. Nice and moist on the bottom half and dry as the desert on the top.
Next meal I started with a Cheese Puff. I received that corn tortilla shell used for the taco turned upside down with chile con queso on top. The cheese was good, again not what I expected and certainly less. The Fajita Chipotle saved the day. Strips of beef cooked in a smoky and spicy chile paste. Made wonderful music in my mouth with the standard fajita fixings, definitely good eating. I also enjoyed what they called Cinnamon Sticks (Churros) straight out of the fryer for dessert. They rolled them in cinnamon sugar and that made them hot and sweet.
Last foray was Carne Guisada. The spicy pork stew consisted of chunks of pork, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos, very spicy but extremely tasty. Even the refried bean and rice seemed a bit better. I ended with Sopapilla. Puffed up and tossed in cinnamon sugar. They would have been perfect except this place does not serve them with honey
This establishment certainly has it ups and downs. The service is attentive; atmosphere OK but the interpretation of some dishes leaves me a bit cold. My advice is to stick to the Two Amigos Specials page. That is where I was most satisfied. I am told that the Chef’s Special on this page is worth it. There are also several other dishes on that page I intend on eating. In my experience ordering off the rest of the menu proved risky business.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Johnny Carino

I had registered at Carino's for some reason or other. Well I got a e-mail seven days before my birthday saying I could get a few dessert with an entree for my birthday. It would expire on the 8th of October. So I went to lunch that day and they honored it. I do not care for a lot of things at this venue but I must say their bread has improve a 1000 fold since they first came here. I entree I have always loved was the Jalapeno Tilapia. Lots of people eat tilapia because it has no fishy flavor and just as many avoid it because they consider it bland. I will get if the flavoring ingredient intrigue me. I consider it a blank canvass that should be painted with bold flavor. The pan sauteed fillet possesses a nice coating and the jalapeno cream bathes it in flavor. Hell I even like the tomato garnish and spinach that comes with it. The key here is the spicy cream sauce. It adds flavor to all. I am also not a big pasta person. The angel hair pasta is perfect. Light and not overbearing.

Below is the dessert. Mascarpone Bread Pudding Custard-soaked Tuscan bread with creamy mascarpone cheese and rich caramel, oven baked and topped with vanilla ice cream. It cost almost as much as the lunch entree. I have been eying this for awhile. I did not care much for the ice cream because I do not care for ice cream on my dessert. It has a hole in the center that they loaded with caramel and mascarpone. That I can get behind. It had good flavor. Based on the amount of time it took to get to the table I suspect they bake it fresh. They probably have bunt like molds full of the bread and custard. It would take only about 10 to 15 minutes to bake that size. It added a certain freshness to it but to tell you the truth the caramel made it for me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ibiza (Houston)

I had high hopes for this venue based on what I got at its sister restaurant Catalan last year. Most of it was a disappointment. Same high concept interior with loads of outdoor dining. Polished looking waitstaff. The first clue came when the server approached my table without a menu. Obviously I was expect to buy copious amounts of wine or cocktails before I even looked at a menu. He seem shocked that all I was drinking was water and I want my food right away. As the evening progressed it became evident why this was so. When you are three sheets to the wind you can't tell you are getting substandard food. That is why I am not doing a regular review on this place. It goes straight to the blog

That was no always the case. The soup below Basque Green Pepper and Crab was delicious. I had hesitated because I was think green bell pepper which might overpower the crab. I do not know what kind of chile was in it but emphasised the crab and the cream in it made it luscious
Now came the Crispy Calamari with Lime Sambal Chili Aioli. My first thought was. I am in the south who in their right mind puts a bread coating on squid. To me that's a northern thing. I will have to learn that when something says crispy to ask what it is coated with. Evidently some people do not think you can get crispy except with bread. The aioli was great but not enough to overcome the breading. I ate three pieces and put to be taken away. After I had eaten the next two dishes the server put this back in front of me and looked shocked when I told him to take it away
Pan Seared Foie Gras with Figs and Berries. This was great. Not much you can do to screw up foie gras except cook it down to a puddle of fat. Even these people know that. For some reason I did not photograph the next dish. Too excited to get my hands on some blood sausage. Local Goat Cheese with Morcilla Sausage and Sweet Roasted Beets. In a bowl dish there was a clump of the goat cheese. On the right side a grilled blood sausage cut on the diagonal. On the left a roasted golden beet cut into slices. Great each on their own and in combination.

Below is some Malpeque Bay Oysters with cocktail sauce and mignonette sauce. Malpeque Bay is at Prince Edward Island. I suspect that these were not wild harvest but farmed like mussels. They seemed very bland. Not any worse than Gulf oyster but certainly not any better for the price I was paying for them
This is Fried Chicken Livers with a Bacon Sage Aioli. Even though I had told the server my pet peeve about breading he did not see fit to tell me that the livers were breaded. If the aioli had not been so vinegary and overloaded with sage I might have got through them. I just pick over the coating and salvage what I could. Again I failed to take a photo. I get mussels so seldom I was excited to dig in and then so disgusted with them. They were small, fishy, and overcooked. What sounded like a wonderful combo smoked paprika and lemon was acrid. Not enough other liquid had been used.
I went with a Madagascar Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee. All the other desserts had ice cream on them. I like ice cream just fine but not on a dessert. I though a nice clean simple creme brulee. They could mess that up. But the did. In the spirit of up scaling they put a massive layer of berries (a few I do not mind) and then a layer of Brandy Snap Tuiles. I scraped all the la ti da and enjoyed my creme brulee.

It is highly unlikely I will ever go back here and I do not recommend it unless you like to get your drink and eat mostly bad food.


Saturday, October 3, 2009


I had a relatively bad dinner at Mazens last year for my birthday so I decided to give them another chance this year. Well one thing has not changed is that the pita is still nuked and delivered in a plastic bag. Bread should not be treated in such a way. Why they continue to do is a mystery? This makes it rubbery and inedible.
To the rescue came my favorite seafood. A softie (soft shell crab) pan sauteed with a nice lemon butter. The taste was wonderful and loaded with meat. I prefer pan sauteed because I feel it intensifies the flavor while fried while crunchy can be greasy if not done properly
This is a cup of the crawfish bisque (cream) Quite nice with great crawfish taste and a medium spice level. Nothing wrong here.
The fish of the day was flounder. Below is Fish with Chipotle Cream with shrimp, crab fingers and crawfish. I got this preparation last year. It came pan toasted (breadcrumbs) which I do not particularly care for. Maybe if I was raised up north were they seem to bread everything I would have liked it better. Also the shrimp and shellfish offered with the dish along with the fish were going bad. Anyway my waiter offered this either pan sauteed or pan toasted. I asked for pan sauteed. Unfortunately my waiter did not know his stuff. Listening to another waiter give the specials at nearby table I found out my waiter not only had left out several specials but was ill informed. This dish comes only pan toasted. Not wanted to create a stir I hoped for the best. That is would come out pan sauteed. Wrong. However overall it was at least 200% better than last year. The shellfish tasted fresh. The flounder was cooked excellently. Also this year there was an abundance of the sauce which made everything much better. Sweet cream with a great kick.
The standard potatoes and haricot vert accompaniment was excellent also
I also got the Grand Mariner souffle although I had difficulty ordering it as the server did not seem to realize it take a significant amount of time to prepare and I did not want to wait until the end of the meal then sit there twiddling my thumbs. Excellent as usual although I think I will get the chocolate souffle next time.
A new addition to the menu is the Turkish coffee. While not a big coffee drinker I love Turkish coffee
Here is the brewing pot. Finely ground coffee with cardamon has steaming hot water poured over it. No filter. You let the grounds steep and settle then you pour the top off.
Overall it was a good experience although it did have it glitches.