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