Thursday, March 31, 2011


Garlic butter shrimp & fries Got lots of nice garlic flavor but little shrimp as the coating is 75% breading and 25% shrimp. Not on my list


Angus three cheese and bacon. They never say what the three cheeses are but two of them are cheddar and swiss. I suspect the third is american. This was a really nice sandwich. Very beefy and cheesy with nice smoking component. It is something I would buy again. Steakhouse onion rings. Panko coated onion rings is just breaded onion rings as far as I am concerned. Onion rings need either seasoned flour or a light flour batter. Now that I am on the subject this panko coated stuff has gotten completely out of hand. Don't get me wrong I think it is good product but it does not fit all needs. Not everything is better with panko. These onion rings are a prime example.
Outside-in cinnamon bites. Total waste of money. Greasy and tasteless

Taco Bell

Taco Bell has brought back its shrimp taco from last year for Lent. They also do a shrimp burrito also. Unlike last year they are really good. Last year the one I got was either over marinated or over cooked. This one was quite delicious. The shrimp perfectly cooked and had a nice zip to them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Ralph Brennan restaurant

Power Lunch
Heritage Plaza welcomes the magic of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group -- and RBRG welcomes a spacious new catering kitchen!

At the base of Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie, in the Heritage Plaza complex that serves as the hub to so much of New Orleans’ popular media, the local lunchtime population is in for a treat. A Ralph Brennan-style treat. Brennan, the man behind Red Fish Grill and Ralph’s on the Park, is bringing his restaurant success to the space formerly occupied by Chops Bistro & Martini Bar. Easily accessible from downtown New Orleans, his new Heritage Grill is destined to become the go-to lunch spot for those who mix mid-day business with pleasure. RBRG executive chef Haley Bittermann has developed a New American menu for Heritage Grill that emphasizes the flavors of New Orleans and spans the range of luncheon whims from just-a-salad to mid-day-meal. It features Warm Crab Dip to start; Duck & Andouille Gumbo for your gumbo fix;BBQ Oyster Salad to keep it light; a House-roasted Turkey Sandwich with Buttermilk Onion Rings as a classic combo; and full entrées like Heritage Grill Filet and the signature Crab cakes & Angel Hair Pasta. Heritage Grill opens on Tuesday, March 22, serving lunch only from 11am-3pm. It expects to receive its liquor license in about a month’s time, and will also soon be launching an additional lunchtime “carry-out”, “gourmet to-go” dinner, and Heritage Plaza lunch time delivery service. The good news for Chef Bittermann is that Heritage Grill boasts a cavernous kitchen that will become her headquarters for the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group Catering operations. The team will continue to bring all the flavor and flair for which it is known to local weddings, family occasions, and corporate events – and will have the much-needed elbow room in which to do so. Heritage Grill HeritagePlaza 111 Veterans Memorial Boulevard Reservations can be made online or by calling 934-4900 Press Release from Simone Rathle

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

Have a Drink and Get a Room with one of our Hotel Packages! Click Here for Details There are millions of reasons to visit New Orleans, and in May 2011 there is something special for everyone who visits. The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) will present its 5-day annual event filled with new, exciting wine and food seminars and festivities. For new and returning oenophiles, several hotels are offering one and two night packages for guests who book their trip now. “These hotel packages are a great opportunity to see New Orleans in a way that fits your style, your tastes, and your budget,” states Jamie Peckenpaugh, NOWFE Executive Director. Hotel packages include accommodations for two, tickets to the Grand Tasting, and other special amenities. Packages vary by hotel property and include:

Headquarter Hotel New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center $199/night, plus tax

  • Two VIP Grand Tasting passes (Friday or Saturday)

  • Two tickets to the National World War II Museum

  • Two tickets to Beyond All Boundaries 4D movie at the WWII Museum

  • Two complimentary glasses of house wine with purchase of entree at John Besh’s American Sector restaurant

  • Discounted overnight parking of $20

Host Hotel Hotel Monteleone: $799 total package, tax included

  • Two VIP passes to the Friday Grand Tasting

  • Two-night accommodations

  • Welcome bottle of champagne with two complimentary 125th Anniversary stemware

  • Welcome cocktails for two in the historic Carousel Bar

  • Daily American breakfast for two in Le Café at Hotel Monteleone

  • Complimentary 125th Anniversary history book of Hotel Monteleone

JW Marriott New Orleans: $244 two-night package, plus tax 7-day advance reservation required. Other terms & conditions may apply.

  • Two VIP Grand Tasting passes (Friday and Saturday)

  • Two-night accommodations

  • Welcome bottle of champagne

  • Daily breakfast buffet for two in the hotel restaurant

Hilton New Orleans Riverside: $242/night, plus taxes

  • Two VIP passes to the Grand Tasting (Friday or Saturday)

  • Welcome bottle of wine

  • Complimentary breakfast for two in the hotel restaurant

Hotel package reservations may be made at Additional nights may be reserved based on availability, and prices are set at the discretion of the individual hotel.

All individual NOWFE event tickets are also available for purchase at New Orleans ranks number one in ten categories in Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Cities” survey and NOWFE plays a big part in that, being named a “perennial ‘Top Ten’ Wine and Food festival” in Wine Enthusiast. The five-day wine and food extravaganza takes place throughout the city, showcasing more than just restaurants and hotels. Guests will find themselves sipping and tasting in antique shops, on the bustling French Quarter streets, and in the Convention Center situated on the Mississippi River. Each hotel package is based upon availability and subject to change. For more about the packages and complete information about New Orleans Wine & Food Experience visit Press Release from Liz Bodet

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Em J's 4455 Nelson Road Lake Charles, LA 70605-4136 (337) 474-1222

I had a Bargain Bee coupon. I got a sundae with three scoops of ice cream with strawberry and butterscotch topping. I did write down the flavors of ice cream at the time and only remember chocolate and peanut butter. This place has Blue Bell which is a good brand as far as I am concerned. The door between this and the Dairy Barn is open. So you can get your burger and come and get your dessert.

Rositas 2401 East Napoleon Street Sulphur, LA 70663 - (337) 533-9077

Back again to try and get the Coctel with all the seafood not just shrimp. Failure again but I found out when to go for it. I got what I now consider my appetizer. Tostada de Ceviche de Cameron. A flat crispy tortilla layered with mayonnaise and shrimp cooked in lemon juice and mixed with pico de gallo and topped with lettuce and avocado. Delicious as usual. I tried something different which was Mojarra Frita whole tilapia fish special seasoned and fried. The owner talked me into getting it with the chipotle spiced onions on top. I loved it. The seasoning on the fish was very tasty and quite unusual. I suspect cumin was in it. I love whole fried fish which I seldom eat these days. In my youth I knew fishermen and attended many a fish fry with small whole fried fish. I am a bone picker from way back.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dim Sum King 9160 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX 77036 (713) 270-6788

I was headed to a restaurant for lunch that turned out to be closed. However it was on Bellaire Blvd which is ethnic restaurant row. It features mainly oriental but has hispanic also. I was on the look out for either a bahn mi place or dim sum. In a large oriental mall I found this gem of dim sum place tucked in a corner spot. It is just a door that opens into a rectangular space of some size. No rolling carts but a rather extensive menu. You are handed a paper menu that you mark for what you want and also a picture book of what they look like. There are three portion sizes also. Basically small, medium and large. Here is what I chose.

Steamed Pork Spare Ribs with black bean sauce. This were cut into bite size portion with the bone in. I love gnawing bones and the black beans added a spicy note to an otherwise rich and unctuous dish
Mango Glutinous Cake. Least favorite that day. Kinda like a very chewy snowball snack cake.
Chicken Claw with black beam sauce. I can not pass up chicken feet. The sticky unctuous mouth feel is what this dish is about. I seem to like certain texture that chinese like.
Ginger and Beef tripe. Another texture I like. The ginger and green onions add a nice sprightly flavor as well cleaned and prepared tripe is pretty bland
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings. I do not only eat the odd ball stuff. These dumplings had a nice chewy dough with great shrimp filling.
Rice soup with Pigs Blood. OK back to the weird. I have never had congealed pigs blood so I had to try it. All I can say is that it must be a texture thing as the cubes had no flavor at all. Kinda sorta like eating unflavored jello.
Pan Fried Turnip Cake. My favorite thing to order at a dim sum place. It was good but these were kinda greasy. The appeal for me is the crisp exterior with a creamy interior and the spicy flavor of the turnips.
Steamed Pork Buns. In general I like the steamed items. Oh I will eat the fried but steamed dim sum items catches my palate. Stuffed with red bbqed pork the steaming make the dough light and airy
If you are in Houston and it is not the weekend when the big dim sum place roll out the carts this is highly desirable place to go. I whole heartily recommend it.

Dim Sum King

Beck's Prime 2902 Kirby Drive Houston, TX 77098-1203 (713) 524-7085

This a Houston only chain that started out just serving burgers but has expanded it menu. I went to the original one. Very nice with a patio and hard wood floors inside. Counter service as expected. Trying to use up my Groupon I got a Parmesan Crisps Basket of Eight. Not what I expected. I was thinking it would be like a frico which is shredded cheese baked into a crisp. This was parmesan cheese baked on a piece of french bread. Quite good.
I do not know who Bill is but he has similar taste to mine. Bill’s Burger Sautéed Onions, Sliced Cheddar, Bacon, Jalapeños, Prime Sauce, Lettuce. The fresh cut fries were like most fresh cut fries I have eaten. Limp and greasy. Also not pictured is the lemonade I got. It was great
Below you can see all the richness of this burger. They do the thick patty to order. I went with medium rare and it varied between that and rare. I hear that med rare makes the patty juicier and this was certainly the case. It was mouthful. The bun held up. There was just enough jalapenos to make it interesting without blowing out your taste buds. However it was the onions and cheddar cheese that made my day. I would stop by this place often if I lived in Houston since most of them have drive-thrus

Boyd's Bar-B-Q and Grill

Another place that folded before I could complete my review. It was in the old Harry's on Highway 90. In recent years this place has seen at least three occupants maybe more. They generally do not last long. Because it is somewhat out of the way by near the plants, the key here is to get orders from the plants or overtime meals. Because of the economic down turn that is not happening these days. Below is the three meat platter with brisket, sausage and pulled pork with bread. Not really my kind of BBQ as the sauce seemed to be what they thought BBQ was. The meat was well cooked. The brisket tender and moist. The pulled pork the same way and the sausage good. However they had no smoke component and relied on the sauce to carry them. Great sauce sorta of a sweet and spicy one. I liked that.

It also came with sides of baked beans, potato salad and BBQ jambalaya. The skin on potato salad and the beans were excellent. The rice was mushy and kinda of disgusting in my opinion. Not for me
While most of the menu was BBQ they did do hamburgers and what they called Fat Sandwiches.
They even had a contest. Eat three fat and a double order of bacon cheese fries in 15 minutes and you got it free. Below is a Fried Feast containing fries, fried chicken strips, fried cheese, onion rings, cheese sauce, tomato, lettuce, mayo and mustard. It was ok if you wanted some calories without flavor. The whole thing just jumbled together and was also very sloppy.

Coyote Blues

For one reason or the other this review will not see print so I am posting on the blog

Coyote Blues
3624 Ryan St
Lake Charles LA

Monday thru Sunday 11 AM to 10:00 PM $3 to $35

Most of the work done to this building to transition it from Appleby’s was on the outside. The interior remains the same except for some cosmetic touches. When you sit down they bring out the chips and two salsas. They see different form most places. I think one is a ground tomato and the other I think is a creamy cilantro. I say I think because they hit the table stone cold which suppresses any taste they do have.

I went for the Mayan Tamale on the appetizer menu first time in. However I found this is no appetizer but a meal. It is 9 or 10 inches long and 2 to 3 inches high. This behemoth comes smothered in chili and cheese. A somewhat dry masa surrounds chunk of pork. It seems to be somewhat typical Mexican tamale. The taste was good. Next I had the Nuevo Crab. Crab stuffed crepes instead of tortillas. It possessed three sauces: a mango red pepper salsa, creamy roasted poblano, and creamy roasted red pepper ancho. It also comes with two sides and I opted for SW mashed potatoes and poblano cheese grits. Instead of just putting the crepes on the plate and covering each one with a different sauce and the sides on the side, they had to stack. It comes to no good. On the potatoes went both crepes and the salsa. The two sauces and grits surrounded it. So instead of getting a taste of each sauce with the crepes it all became a jumble of flavors with no direction. I hated the dessert but that was partially my fault. I did not read the description so I did not realize I was getting a deconstructed Tres Leches. It consisted of cubes of pound cake in milk with sugar, whipped cream and blueberries on top. If I had wanted cereal for dessert I would have waited until I got home.

Next time in I started with the Ceviche. Acapulco style with shrimp and very few scallops tossed with citrus juice and pico de gallo. The ceviche was fine, I enjoyed that. I would have liked it better if served like pictured on the website. Instead I got a handful of green plopped a soup bowl with the ceviche on top. I did not order a salad and had to scrounge through the greens to get bits and pieces of the ceviche. The Corn, Crab, & Poblano soup proved wonderful. The roasted corn flavor came through and the chile added just enough spice to make it interesting. The cactus shaped cornbread added just the right note of whimsy and flavor to the soup. I ended with Milagros. This is basically cheese and ground beef stuffed into a roasted poblano pepper. This one was fried with a crushed tortilla crust not the usual way. It was topped with a chile and cheese sauce. It came with refried beans and Mexican rice. I love stuffed poblano chiles in all their forms. This one was very good and I would order it again. The sides were OK.

Last venture was lunch. I ordered the South of the Border Burger with bacon. Half pound of Angus chuck mesquite grilled and topped with Monterey Jack, cheddar, chipotle mayonnaise, and avocado. It came out stacked mile high on a jalapeno cheese sweet dough bun with some really decent fries. The first half dozen bites were a flavor whirlwind melding all flavors together. Then the bun disintegrated and it became a K&F job (knife and fork), less enjoyable. I ended up with the Godiva White Chocolate Bread Pudding. It came out swimming in a pool of white chocolate and Kahlua. This was fortunate because the pudding was a bit on the dry side. The wonderful sauce was welcome. It possessed great flavors.

This establishment seems well into deconstructing dishes and putting them back their way. I applaud the concept but the execution seems a bit off to me. For this reason and others I do not care to discuss, I will in all likelihood not be returning here. For me the vibe is wrong here. I am sure many disagree with me.

Coyote Blues Lake Charles

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I am sorry I am late with this. You may have read Brad Goins very good decription of our media lunch at Embers. Here are some pictures I took. Enjoy

Soma 4820 Washington Ave Houston, TX, 77007 713.861.2726

When I make my ventures out of town there are some places that will not make a full review in print. I usually in that case combine two or do a lunch and dinner. This one is an orphan so I am putting in the blog. Do not make the mistake that this is an inferior eatery. I had some of the finest sushi I have ever put in my mouth at this place. The owner/chef is noted for having ties with the major Tokyo fish market and has special fish flown in all the time. Below is Miso soup with soft boiled quail egg, tofu, enoki and green onions. Definitely a step up from the miso soups here in town. Light and delicate with that added richness from the yoke

At the top of the plate is a couple pieces of unagi (fresh water eel). I like the sweet eel sauce so I generally order it. They called the middle row of three a school of salmon. It consisted of Arctic Char, Scottish Salmon Belly, and New Zealand King salmon) The fourth piece on that row is Big Eye Tuna. Last row was a Bluefin tuna tasting of the o-​toro (fattest), chu toro (med fat), and maguro(regular). I also had Amaebi (sweet shrimp) from Hokkaido which is not pictured.
These were all top quality items. The toro (belly) is the fattest and is like eating foie gras. The best tasting as far at being meaty and flavorful was the Bigeye recommended by the waiter. I have been eating sushi for awhile now but this opportunity to eat quality does not present itself to me on a regular basis so I went after it This menu had an unusual one in that it was fowl and not fish. That would be the foie gras below. I adore foie gras and seldom pass it up. As I thought more about it the less strange it seemed. Although often seared most foie gras is served very rare. It is also about as fatty a piece of meat you can get. You could compare with the toro (belly) of salmon and tuna. As a Cajun I have eaten rice with a grease gravy many a times. So in the end it did not seem as strange as first glace and I am certainly glad I did not pass it up If you love raw fish and sushi as much as I do this is a place to seek out in Houston. It is very high tone and fashionable for those who like such but the accessibility of fresh fish from the world is the selling card for me. The raw is only a part of the menu which is quite extensive and sounds great

Soma Sushi

Friday, March 11, 2011



631 Jefferson St
Lafayette LA

Lunch Tuesday to Friday 11 AM - 2 PM $2 - $32
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5PM - 10 PM

This establishment offers other things beside tapas but I went here especially for the tapas. The roasted Piquillo (small pepper grown in northern Spain) peppers were stuffed with red fish mousse and drizzled with garlic aioli. They looked very spicy in their red coat but they turned out mild and sweet. It paired perfectly with the rich creamy mousse. You get two to the plate. Next the Morcilla (blood sausage) and fried quail eggs came out. A round of sausage topped with a sunny side quail egg sprinkled with smoked paprika, four perfect bites stuck with toothpicks. The yolk fat coating your tongue plays well with the earthy minerally sausage. Galician Octopus had a similar presentation. On a slice of potato poached in duck fat they smear a nice layer of smoked paprika aioli. It is topped with a ring of octopus tentacle that has been pressure cooked to tenderness then flash sautéed. The rich earthy flavor and the smokiness uplift the octopus. Again four perfect bites hit your palate

A round of a half dozen char-grilled oyster showed. The slightly cooked bivalves in their shells under a crust of cheese, bread crumbs, and herbs stood out. Bite after bite surpassing the last. Now I ordered a real indulgence in the form of Duck Rillettes. Duck meat poached in it own fat then made into a sort of pate with the cooking fat. A layer of fat lies on top to preserve it, it will last no more than five minutes on my plate. Toasted ciabatta bread slices to spread it on and a pea tendril salad to cut the richness complete the dish. What can I say, “Fat Rules”. On the table was also a quarter loaf of ciabatta with chopped green chile oil for dipping. To tone down the fat I also had Catalan Spinach, wilted spinach dish with raisins, pine nuts and green apples. Delicious except for the undercooked stem left on the spinach leaves

Dessert was Panna Cotta (cooked milk) with strawberries and balsamic syrup. Basically a cooked cream thickened with gelatin rather than eggs. It makes for lighter and more refreshing custard that goes well with fruit. It is just like berries and cream. The balsamic syrup adds both a sweet and tart note

I highly recommend this venue for an out of the ordinary meal while still being in the box.

Mikey's Kitchen

Mikey’s Kitchen
909 East Napoleon Street
Sulphur LA

Monday thru Sunday 6 AM to 10:00 PM $1 to $23

This building has been around for awhile. It was a bar in my youth and a plate lunch place most of the rest of the time. The new owner continues the tradition. With its spiffy interior and good home cooking it remains a great neighborhood place

First round was a cup of Shrimp and Crab Gumbo. Really nice flavor with a back note of crab boil spice. It had lots of shrimp and for my taste too much rice. It ate like rice and gravy. Tasty but I prefer mine a little brothier. Next perfect Boudin Balls came out. A flour crust that was crisp and not greasy revealing an interior of shredded meant and perfect rice with a nice spice snap. I could eat these all day. The finale was excellent Fried Oysters and onion rings. The oysters possessed perfectly crisp crusts and moist juicy interiors, not overcooked and just the way I love them. The rings were medium cut, flour coated and wonderful. Again a way I love them

On a Friday plate lunch I ran into Shrimp Stew. It was thinner than I normally prefer but the shrimp flavor stood out. They gave less rice than the gumbo so this one ate like a gumbo. At this point I am just picking nits. The main thing here is not how it eats but rather the flavor as you eat it. The flavor was there in spades and I left a happy camper and would come back for more. The topper was the excellent banana pudding made in house and put the final touches on a great meal.

Establishments in Sulphur in my experience fry things well. It seems to be in their genes (jeans).
This place is no exception I thought as I tackled my Deluxe Seafood Platter. On a hill of fries were hushpuppies, popcorn shrimp, butterflied shrimp, catfish fillet, frog legs, crab cakes, stuffed shrimp, oysters, and a soft shell crab. The frog legs, butterfly shrimp, and soft shell crab has a flour coating and were excellent. The oysters, popcorn shrimp and catfish sported more of a corn meal crust and proved delicious. The crab cake and stuffed shrimp had a cracker meal crust and the thank God the stuffing had not been overworked. The in house hushpuppies suffered from not being fried all the way. Fries were ok. I like a good seafood platter every once in awhile and this certainly hit the spot.

Last time in was the Mikey Burger. I like a good burger and this one was good tasting and plentiful. My only complaint as with most stacked burgers the bun never stands up to them. This mouthful had two juicy patties. One topped with bacon and American cheese and the other with bacon and Swiss along with tomato, onion, and lettuce. It took awhile but I finished it enjoying every bite

I enjoy this place a lot. The snug feeling dinning room with a large party room in back. The friendly and competent staff was a joy. However sometimes the kitchen and servers can get overwhelmed but it all turns out alright in the end. They do
breakfast and if I ever get over there that early I will report on it on the blog

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mama Rosa Special

I did some notary work for Mama Rosa and got the following. My favorite dish of Pasta Carbonara. Wonderful as usual.
And Tiramisu as I never could get it at the restaurant as it was only sold out
That was the good news for me. For all Mama Rosa fans the good news is part of what I notarized has to do with the new restaurant. It will be open in Jennings next month sometime. As soon as I know I will post it

Futzing in the Kitchen

The new product in the cheese section. I had a coupon don't I always. Betcha they never thought of doing this. Sometimes thing just float into my mind. They suggest using it as a sauce for vegetables. That sinks in and then I look around and I have Jiffy cornbread mix and canned corn and beans. There it is.
The product mixed with beans and corn.
The product and beans mixed with the cornbread mix. I omitted the egg figuring the cream cheese will provide the fat.
Was going to put cheese in it but forgot and put cheese on top. Italian blend which I had in the frig
Final bake
A piece with my cafe au lait in my bowl straight from Paris
Next time I will put the cheese inside. A mexican blend would have done better but I didn't have it as would some canned chiles. I have a can of butter beans and I think they do a garlic herb one. Sounds good to me

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dippin Donuts 4402 Nelson Road, Lake Charles, LA 70605-4122 (337) 478-9142

I have noticed this establishment and the other day I had the opportunity to drop in. It has in house and drive thru dining. I opted for a boudin kolache and a dozen doughnut holes. Pictured below is the so called kolache. The boudin link was OK but the croissant dough it was baked in was way too light to stand up to it. Kolaches need a true danish dough or a bread dough to really work. Putting them into croissants or frying them in doughnut dough just does not cut it for me.
The holes which I did not take a picture of were very good. Light and fluffy with an adequate amount of glaze on them. I would stop by again for the doughnuts but not the kolaches.

Big Daddy's Sports Grill 1737 W Sale Rd # 101 Lake Charles, LA 70605-2579 - (337) 477-9033

I am doing Bargain Bee here in town. After my blood work Friday I went here. I have always liked it and it did not disappoint. I was running a little early therefore the plate lunch was not ready yet but it sounded good. Fried catfish and seafood casserole. I was too hungry to wait. Now here is the mark of a true Cajun place. I had ordered gumbo and they brought file and pepper vinegar to the table. I love both of these condiments in gumbo.
Here the gumbo in question. A medium dark roux with loads of chicken and sausage but a little much rice for me. The taste was there.
I order a hamburger with pepper jack cheese and bacon with onion rings. The patty was thick and juicy and the onion rings medium cut and fried with just flour and spice
Here is the flip side. I must say this is the first burger I have had in awhile that the bun stood up to the inside. A nicely toasted bun thick but not gummy. It certainly made the burger more enjoyable not having to fight a disintegrating bun. Each bite contained all of the burger.
I finished with a nice piece of lemon meringue pie. Tart and sweet in the right proportions
I really like this place but it is across town from me and I don't alway think about it. BargainBee gave me an excuse to go there