Friday, July 30, 2010

Pizzitola's in Houston

Sounds like a pizza place but it is a BBQ venue. The reason for all this Houston stuff is that I have hooked up with a website called Groupon. They offer half off deals on all things Houston daily Monday thru Saturday including some restaurants. I was working off some of them. This place offered a Slab of Ribs To Go so I grab some on my way out of Houston. With the coupon this only cost me $2.30. Below is their dipping sauce. A tomato/vinegar blend with some spice and a nice tang that went well with the ribs
Here is the rack. They do a smaller rack than most but that was fine with me. Instead of getting thick meat with a smoke ring I got just the right amount of meat smoked all the way through and tender to boot. An old fashioned rib seasoned with just salt and pepper and smoked on the oldest pit in Houston dating from 1936.
There is an interesting back story to this place. When it opened back then it was a blacks only establishment. If a white person wanted some of this excellent BBQ they had to go to the back door to get it and then eat it on picnic tables in the parking lot. The current owners stick to the original owner's methods and seasonings and I am glad for that

Tacqueria del Sol in Houston

A couple of weekends ago I made a flying trip into Houston. I hit a couple of restaurants which I will review in Lagniappe in the future. I spent the night near Hobby and on the way out I ate my breakfast at this long time Houston Mexican. I had just read about it in the Houston Press Food Blog. Since it was just up I-45 from me I dropped in. Even at 10 o'clock it was busy. This is the chips and salsa. The salsa was warm and I did not care for it.
Below is the accompaniments for my breakfast. Chopped onions, cilantro and jalapenos. You can probably guess what I got
Why menudo of course. Nice spicy broth that I enhanced with onions and jalapeno. No honeycomb tripe but plenty of the other stomachs. Very clean and tender with only a slight chew. A few kernels of posole lay in the bottom. I was informed I could get a side cup of posole by just asking. All in all I was well pleased. Also here you can get a small bowl which I was in the mood for.

Friday, July 23, 2010



219 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX

Consult the website $ to $30

This is a nose to tail venue. That means they use every part of the animal. The animal by the way is a locally raised product as are all of the vegetables, etc. While some offal or innards are used, the main portion of the menu stresses lesser-used parts of meat as well as the better-known cuts. I have had both lunch and dinner here.

Lunch was part of a grocery run to Houston with my sister, cousin and baking friend. The European style bread is baked in house and marvelous. It provides a thick crust and dense crumb. My cousin opted for two appetizers. An unusual one called Chicken Onion. This consisted of an entire red onion seasoned then wrapped in chicken skin and baked. It held a mild and sweet onion flavor with a strong back note of chicken fat. She then went with Chicken Liver Pate with toasted bread and cornichons. The pate was a bit chunky with a strong apple and alcohol note. I suspect both chopped apples and apple brandy. Both my sister and baking friend raved about a salad of Romaine, cucumber, radish, celery, herbs and raisins. My taste of the dressing did not suit me. They followed that up with Shoulder of Pork. This braised item was served with apples, broccoli and roasted potatoes. I was afforded a taste, which showed fork tender and flavorful pork, perfect cooked broccoli and tasty potatoes. I started with Deviled Kidneys. Very tender and meaty without any odd flavors in a medium spicy sauce (what I would call grease gravy), good to the last bite. I followed that with Calves Liver and Bacon. It was a stacked dish starting with silky mashed potatoes, wilted spinach, perfectly cooked liver and topped with bacon strips. An onion gravy brought harmony to the whole lot. Each bite was a smooth, bitter, livery, crisp, smoky and oniony extravaganza in my mouth. We all ended with Bitter Orange Tart. Sliced oranges done marmalade style on a puff pastry crust. It possessed fantastic orange flavor without being too sweet or too bitter

The dinner was my birthday present to me. I went with the Tasting Menu, which consists of whatever they want to send out to the table. I received an eight-course meal. It started with a plate of their wonderful bread. Next they brought a Rabbit and Chicken Vegetable soup, quite earthy. It contained tidbits of rabbit in a chicken broth with potatoes, carrots, radishes and broccoli. I enjoyed every spoonful. Galician Octopus was next. Octopus and potatoes boiled together then tossed in a vinegar dressing and marinated. I happen to love octopus and this preparation suited it well. The vinegar tang went well with the mild meat giving it a nice kick. Pork Rillette, sort of a cross between pulled pork and pate came next. They confited the pork in lard until tender then shredded it and mixed in a bit of the lard. Pork fat rules. It was warm and wonderfully porky. Deviled Rabbet Livers and Kidney followed, as wonderful as the ones at lunch. The Calves Liver and Bacon also repeated with the same result, fantastically delicious. Last savory dish was Crisp Pork Belly. They served it over sautéed apples and red cabbage. I loved the crisp skin (scratch to them) however the meat seemed undercooked and chewy. The apples and red cabbage held great flavor. They finished me off with the infamous Spotted Dick. Dick is an old name for a suet based cake. The spots are raisins. It was served over Crème Anglaise. Something I have often heard off but never tasted. It proved a rich and moist cake with a bit of sweetness. Fat seems to rule again

I would like to return but the old house that it resides in makes no allowances for my handicap. It is quite a struggle to get up the outside stairs and I have to gird myself to do it. However this fall they plan to open a branch in New Orleans. Depending where they set up, I may make my next visit there. I highly recommend this venue especially if you are an adventurous eater. However do not be put off as they have a number of dishes that contain regular item but are just as fabulous. Check the website for times and menus

Kajun Kwik Bites


Kajun Kwik Bites
393 north Hwy 171
Moss Bluff, LA

Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM $1 to $7
As the name implies this is a place to grab a quick bite. They have a drive thru and I utilized it. It was easier for me to call in and then pick up. Having to navigate the double doors is hard for me on my crutches. It is located in the Bronco Stop. Looking though the take out window I could see they had spruced up the space and had placed several flat screen TVs on the walls tuned to sports channels.

First pass was a Bar-B-Que Pistollete and a Who-Dat Burger. I experienced a slight disappointment. I like the filling stuffed in the pistollete. Is this becoming a lost art? This one consisted of a fried pistollete split open and filled with chopped beef. I can see you get more filling but I like the ratio of bread to filling you get in a stuffed one. Still the BBQ was good and satisfying. The name of the burger reflects this is also a sports grill. The stacked behemoth that is the Who-Dat contains two patties each with a slice of pepper jack cheese, two strips of bacon, three onion rings and some pickled Jalapeño slices along with the normal fixings. The standout here was the thick sliced bacon done up crispy that added not only texture but a smoky note. The patties beefy and juicy with the onion rings and Jalapeno adding a nice kick, Nice Gestalt

The second time through was just some snacking items. I ordered Fried Chicken Livers, Fried Chicken Gizzards, and Boudin Balls. The livers were in a light coating allowing more liver flavor, a plus in my book. The gizzard coating was thicker with a little more spice. They were a bit chewy but edible. It is something that is endemic to gizzards. The boudin balls seemed to be a frozen product. The center was not quite hot and the rest mushy, not to my liking

Last run was a plate lunch. They do it on a day to day basis so I called in several times to see what they were cooking. Shrimp etouffee and sausage in red gravy gave me a good feeling. Stuff like I was raised up on. The day I went in it was Shrimp Fettuccine, side salad, garlic bread and a slice of pound cake. Small shrimp in a creamy and cheesy sauce saturated the pasta and proved very tasty. Good garlic bread and excellent pound cake rounded out the meal.

While not gourmet, the food here is delicious and served by the friendly staff with a smile. I would not hesitate to pass through again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This was kill some time while the lady cleans the house Tuesday. I had a coupon and it's near and there are somethings I like there. Instead of chili I got the baked potato soup. Creamy with nice chunks of potato and the toppings. As good as you can get at a chain
Instead of my usually burger I ventured into their slider menu. I got Meat Heads which are meatloaf sliders. Slices of grilled meatloaf with BBQ sauce and onion strings on the house bread. The house bread is no longer that cotton candy kind normally seen at chain roadhouses but a more substantial crumb that still has a yeasty sweetness. Perfect for the meatloaf. I opted for the mac and cheese which was decent. With all of that I was full. So much that I did not do dessert.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kelly's Cajun Kitchen


Kelly’s Cajun Grill
584 West Prien Lake Road (Food Court)
Lake Charles, LA

Open the mall is $5 to $10

This food court venue is part of International Restaurant Management Group. Check out the webpage. There are 108 of these in the country. The concept seems to be to use Cajun flavor in Chinese style fish, shrimp and chicken dishes. As far as I am concerned they have succeed for the most part.

First, I tried the seafood plate. You get blackened catfish. Don’t pass it up. It was about the fifth best blackened thing I have eaten. It was not burnt or too salty as most. It possesses an excellent flavored crust with a moist interior. I went with fried shrimp for my second choice. It turned out to be my favorite dish in the Chinese arsenal. Salt and pepper shrimp which are coated with corn starch and wok fried. Then they are wok stirred with a salt and black pepper mixture. Be forewarned they are cooked in shell. Except for the tails they are truly edible. Try to resist peeling them as all the flavor is on the shell. You also get a side item. I went with lo mein (noodles) because they did not have steamed rice only fried rice

Second time I went with the Chicken Plate with a choice of two styles. Mine were Bourbon (their signature
dish) and Cajun Chicken. Again I got lo mein. Both of these options feature boneless and skinless chicken chunks wok cooked with individual sauces added. The Bourbon was dark and rich with a slight sweet undertone and the Cajun tasted like sauce piquante to me. Both chickens were tender, moist and not overcooked

Last time I went for Shrimp Etouffee. Their version consisted of stir fried shrimp in that spicy red sauce with onions, carrots, and jalapenos slices. While quite spicy and tasty, I liked it least of all. This time I got the stir fried rice which turned out be steamed rice with soy sauce. My question is why go to the trouble. Put out white rice.

The lemon chicken and Cajun chicken looked decent. I may have to try them next time I am at the mall. My final thoughts are it is not perfect Cajun but the food is inexpensive and tasty. Certainly worth a try.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


A coupon sent me here again not that I object. I find I like the food here. Below is the loaded potato soup. Somewhat traditional cream base potato soup with a topping of bacon and cheese like a loaded baked potato.
Next what I had wanted to get the last time I was here. Cedar planked tilapia. Salmon has a distinctive flavor profile. The cedar gives it an undernote of smoke and I like thing smoky. Tilapia is a flavor sponge so there was more smoke flavor present. It went well the lemon pepper seasoning. The side was the broccoli & rice casserole.
Lastly I got the caramel pie sans whipped cream, nuts, and chocolate chips. I absolutely adore caramel and the bare pie delivers a real punch of that flavor. I was in dessert heaven. Not pictured is the new cherry limeade. As I like both flavors I got one. It was delicious and thirst quenching

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Fourth of July

Started off with heirloom tomatoes from the new farmer's market at the old Cash and Carry. Crumbled some blue cheese on them then drizzled some Vidalia Onion Dressing on top
The ribs from Carlyss with Bush Ranchero beans and sauce. I had forgotten how perfect for me that is these ribs are. Not too much meat, smoke ring nearly to the bone, just spicy enough dry rub, lovely layer of fat, and not drowned in sauce. They came off the bone with a nice easy chew. Tender but not falling off the bone. The sauce was tomato based with a vinegar twang and just enough sweetness for me. Worth the trip and then some.
Also got a nice cantaloupe at the farmers market. The watermelons were too big for just me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Carlyss BBQ (Orginal Pink Pig)

So Saturday I am thinking of going to my favorite BBQ place in Moss Bluff eating a smoked hamburger and getting some ribs for the Fourth. Just on a whim I look up the number and call. It has been disconnected. Oh boy will have to confirm that. My second choice does not even open on Saturday. A BBQ place that does not open on Saturday, who do they think they are. The two places closest to me I had bad experience the last time I was in. Then it popped into my head the forgotten gem. I needed to go across the river to check something out anyway and I have never gotten bad stuff from this place. Below is a link of smoked boudin. Just as smoky and full of shredded pork with the right seasonings as I remember
They have tamales so I took a chance. Not bad. As near to Mancuso's as you can get. Ground meat in a moist masa shell with good spice kick. They include a container of hot sauce in case it is not hot enough. It was fine for me
Below is the ribs (half a rack) No sauce but they include if you want to indulge. More on them in the next post. Ain't they beautimus