Monday, November 29, 2010

Booda's Bistro 345 Broad Street Lake Charles, LA 70601-4223 - (337) 564-5402

Went there for Sunday brunch. They offer the whole menu with a few specials. Eggs Benedict and Shrimp & Grits which seems to be the hot idea for brunch around here recently. In this part of La it should Grillades and Grits. Shrimp and grits is basically low country (Gullah) food. The low country in question is the Carolina coast. Gullah is their version of Creole food in the broadest sense.

Below is Joe's version. Four 10-15 boiled shrimp folded into a cheese sauce with onions, bell pepper and mushrooms atop a boat of white grits. Very rich and very filling but to tell you the truth I would rather have smaller shrimp that had been cooked in the sauce. Still not bad for the price.

Pho Tien 4415 Nelson Rd Lake Charles, LA 70605-4135 (337) 477-8556

It has been awhile since I have eaten but it is still one of my favorites. I started off as I usually start off with steamed dumplings. Both the dumplings and dipping sauce seem different. I am not too sure I care for them.
I got one of the pho. I ordered meatball and soon regretted it. They were like rubber balls although the soup and noodles were great. I had never had the meatballs so I was game for them. The add in which I use all except the raw jalapenos. I just cannot go that route
I also got a banh mi. Basically a po boy type sandwich. I got the grilled pork. While the meat was great what make this sandwich is the pickled vegetables (carrot and daikon) along with the crusty bread. I wish they made the version that has pate and pork meatballs. Can't have everything so enjoy what you have.

Brick House

Last month the local LRA (Louisiana Restaurant Association) meeting was held at the Brick House. As usual it was served buffet style. As usual someone at the table kindly bought me a little something. Below is a salad with two dressing ranch and thousand islands.
They had ham, roasted potatoes and green beans. The ham was a really good one with lots of ham flavor and a crusty exterior. I think they put a mustard glaze on it. The green beans were their standard of bacon and brown sugar. A real indulgence. Potatoes were ok as well
This may look like ordinary bread pudding but I could tell the difference the second I put in my mouth. It was made with donuts rather than bread. That gave it a light ethereal texture with enough sugar to instantly rot you teeth or in my case a diabetic coma. The Irish whiskey cream sauce was not to bad either.
I have eaten at The Brick House Catering operation several times. They generally do an excellent job except for the food always seem to be room temperature or cooler. I suspect that just the size of the place is responsible for this. I must say this is not a minus for me. Warm is my preferred temp with super hot a turn off

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meat Markets

I am doing something out of the ordinary for me. I will be doing a comparison of two local meat markets item to item

1224 North Simmons
Lake Charles LA

Monday to Friday 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM

The boudin here I consider excellent. It has all the characteristics I prefer. Well cooked rice without being mushy and almost equal portions of shredded pork. They also put green onions in it. The mild has a nice gentle heat to it. Nothing mouth searing but pleasant warmth. My former go to boudin place was in Iowa. This one is a lot closer and just as good. The smoked boudin here is excellent also. It possesses a light smoky flavor that does not overpower the rice and meat. The slow smoke also dries the rice mixture just a bit. I like boudins that are bit drier. The casing became nice and snappy without being too tough

I have never encountered the style of head cheese they do here. It seems to be finely ground with parsley and green onion. They put just enough gelatin to hold it together without being rubbery. The consistency is that of a pate terrine. It possesses all the wonderful flavor of the meats and such that is on and in a hog’s head, just my speed. I will be getting it again. The green onion sausage is lightly smoked and well dried. It has chunks of meat and fat. It would make a great gumbo.

I have just touched the surface of this shop. It offers both processed meat and raw cuts of all kinds. With the friendly staff it is well worth the trip.

4313 Common Street
Lake Charles LA

Monday to Friday 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Saturday 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM

The boudin here has many qualities that I consider good. Well cooked rice, shredded pork, and nice spice. However it is way too wet (read mushy) for my taste. If you like your boudin like this this is the place for you. The smoked boudin has been highly smoked to the point that the casing is hard to bite though. Even then the rice mixture is too wet for me. The head cheese, a more standard type, with its bigger chunks of meat and such proved a failure with me. It had a strong vinegar tang and an off putting smell. I did not care for it at all. I could not get just a link of green onion sausage here so I went with the all pork. The meat was finely ground like a hot link sausage. It had good smoked flavor and I would not hesitate to BBQ it.

One thing they have here that I did not see at the other place is a plate lunch. That day it was Pork Steak, gravy, rice, macaroni salad and corn. While the meat was tender if they would have braised it more it would have been fall-off-bone tender. The sides were as good as you get these days. The rice and gravy proved outstanding. If you are in the neighborhood, it is worth a visit for an inexpensive and tasty lunch. They also have a vast array of processed and raw cuts of meats including goat,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Donald Link

Chef Donald Link
Cooks on

Chef Donald Link and his producing partner Francis James of Perception Films are proud to announce the launch of “Taste of Place,” a new 48-episode original MSN Video series that will examine the connection between fresh, local ingredients and the people connected to the land and waters that produce them. Working in partnership with a top 10 online food destination operated jointly by Hearst Magazines Digital Media and MSN, the “Taste of Place” series is now available on at

“Taste of Place,” will take viewers on a tour across the country to visit local ranchers and farmers, artisan bread makers, fisherman – people who understand that “place makes the taste.”

Chef Link kicks off the first episode in California on a tour of the BN Ranch, where he and owner Bill Niman discuss how raising free-range turkeys produces a more natural product with more flavor. The second episode features Hanzell Winery, where Chef Link delves into the winery from grape to bottle, and talks with winemaker Michael McNeill about how environment creates the perfect wine for Link’s Thanksgiving me

Received from Liz Goliwas-Bodet

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Red Onion Seafood & Mas


Red Onion Seafood & Mas
12041 Northwest Freeway (Hwy 290)
Houston, TX

I love ceviche. This establishment on the northwest side of Houston specializes in them. For lunch they offer 13 different ones. They also have a full menu to boot. But I was there for the ceviche. They have a deal called Red Onion Ceviche which lets you choose five of the thirteen. I went with that

Instead of tortilla chips and salsa they bring plantain chips cut lengthwise sprinkled with chile sauce. This is a nice change. Since they do this with unripe ones they were more starchy than sweet. The chile sauce really helped make this special. You also get a different sort of bread plate. The rolls are made with coconut milk and coconut meat. Instead of butter they come with a bowl of red pepper jelly and a bowl of sour cream with herbs. The slightly sweet rolls play well with the sweet/spicy jelly and the tangy sour cream.

The ceviche came out as five scoops on a skinny oval platter normally used for serving a side of cured salmon. Sesame Tiradito Lettuce Wrap was snapper in a sour orange marinade with red onions, cilantro and tomatoes. Placed in a lettuce leaf you ate it like a taco. I found it tasty and not too tart. El Coco Loco with fresh yellowfin tuna in pineapple, coconut milk and spearmint proved my least favorite. The tuna was too dense and chewy. Ceviche Mixto had octopus, flounder and shrimp tossed in a Peruvian marinade (mostly lime) with choclo (giant corn kernels), diced sweet potato, and red onion. The varying consistency in texture (soft, chewy, crispy, sweet) made this the most intriguing. Mango Salmon tossed with olive oil, grapefruit juice, mango and red onion became my favorite because of the rich oily salmon, definitely a keeper. Caribbean Ceviche with its tilapia, red onion, and diced tomato marinated in lemon, lime, and grapefruit juice was also a winner with the tilapia soaking up all the flavors. Plantain chips for putting the ceviche on and Chinese soup spoons of hot sauce completed the dish. I was highly pleased and full.

I finished off with an excellent Tres Leches cake, sweet and moist. The rest of the menu is very tempting but I had ceviche on the mind. I would however recommend this venue for people seeking a taste of the Lain cuisine of Central and north South America along with the Caribbean.

Harry's Chuckwagon


Harry’s Chuck Wagon
2555 Hwy 171
Moss Bluff LA

Seven days a week 11 AM to 11PM $1.50 to $13

This venue is a truck stop/casino restaurant. It has seen several names. It was the Cadillac Ranch for awhile. I stopped in to check it out. It offers enough stuff to rate a review plus I found out I know the proprietor. The former owner of Chuckwagon BBQ he showed me quality product there. They offer plate lunches Monday thru Friday. The same exact ones he offered at his previous venue so I know they are good.

First time in I ordered the Shrimp and Crab Gumbo and a Hamburger. While the gumbo was a bit thick for my tastes it held good flavor and the rice was decent. You get potato salad and a fried pistollete with it. Unfortunately the potato salad was so sour (I think they use the vinegar from the dill pickles) that I did not care for it. The pistollete was excellent, warm and non -greasy. I added bacon and cheese to the burger and got onion rings as the side. It would have been great except the patty was dry and chewy from being overcooked. However the onion rings made my day. Thick cut with a light flour coating they were perfectly cooked. Everything an onion ring should be. I ended with a pie crust topped peach cobbler which was decent.

Second round I went with Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. Thin dark broth with shredded chicken and rounds of a nice sausage proved excellent. This I could eat this again and again, potato salad still too sour for me. I ordered the Catfish and Shrimp Combo with fries. While the shrimp sported a corn flour coating (not my favorite) they were well cooked (in other words not overcooked) and tasty. The catfish fillets slathered with yellow mustard and coated with coarse corn meal stood out. Just the way I love it. The fries were not too bad also. However the nasty beyond words Cinnamon Roll killed the buzz of joy.

Last time in I got the excellent Beef Vegetable Soup. Tender melt in your mouth chunks of beef in a tomato broth with all kinds of vegetables. Again something I would eat time and time again. I then went for the Half Rack of Ribs. While the rack was OK it was no where as good as when he ran the BBQ place (no smoke). I should have known when it came out smothered in BBQ sauce. What BBQ people do when they know the meat is not great. I liked the sauce though. It was extremely sweet at first but finished off with a moderate spicy note. Ok but not what I was expecting. I had not noticed his mobile pit around which should have been a dead give away. The onion rings that I got met the previous batch. I finished up with in-house banana pudding that on previous occasions never was available. It turned out to be very good.

This is a laid back place with a friendly and efficient server/host. A steady flow of customers indicate the countryside is taking note of this inexpensive but good eatery. A convenient stop if you are heading north or south on 171.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Abes Tamales?

Going home I pass by the former Abe's grocery on Hwy 14 virtually every day. Yesterday I noticed there was a Coca Cola sign saying Abe's Tamales. I break for tamales. Unfortunately they were Mickey Brown's tamales. Did not like them. They had a stone ground cornmeal outer layer and a nasty tasting interior. They kept repeating on me all night. The nasty taste I think was an over abundance of cumin. The good news is that part of the Abe's building is still inhabited by Abe's cashing checks and selling things like boudin, Tony Chachere frozen goods produce here in LC by Abe's, and two of my favorite brands of pie (Mrs Johnny's and Cajun out of Lafayette). Reason enough to stop in every once and awhile

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poblano Pie

Lets face it I am lazy and generally like easy recipes. Below is a Bisquick impossible pie which are about the easiest to make. This one uses canned whole green peppers as the crust with a quiche like filling of bisquick, cheese, eggs, and milk. I have added some Mrs Renfro's peach salsa to the top. Was not half bad and I will make it again but add some sauteed onions and bacon to the filling.

XXL Chalupa my foot

Again falsehood in advertising. Any normal person could eat this no problem. I would need at least two to fill me up. The taste is good and I like the fried shell but I always have. Just like the Volcano stuff that no heat at all the size of these are exaggerated.