Monday, May 30, 2011


Over the weekend I did a pork tenderloin that lemon pepper marinade on it. Straight from the store. I ate medallions off it for the first meal. I then cut it in half. I made one half into fair sized cubes and the other a small cut. The meat had been in the marinade a long time and was very juicy and a little mushy. With the little cuts I sauteed them in oil with a little seasoning and dehydrated trinity plus garlic. When I had a little color I add some Pace's pineapple & mango chipotle salsa. I reduced until thick. Next I warmed some corn tortilla. I made a taco with the pork topping with a Mexican cheese blend and some sweet and spicy jalapeno slices. Kind of a bastardized version of taco pastor. Nice and smokey with good kick
With the larger cubes I did a sorta of hash. Again I sauteed the cubes with seasoning. Then I added a bag of Alexia Sweet potatoes with vegetables cooked in a chipotle oil. Good product look for it in the freezer section with the potatoes. I know Walmart carries it. Again nice smoky flavor with a bit of a kick and some sweetness due to the potatoes.

Not too bad for off the cuff food using ingredients from the frig

Friday, May 27, 2011

KD's 240 W Prien Lake Rd (337) 479-2009

You have guessed it anther BB. Below is there gumbo. While I like mine a little darker this one great if not an overabundance of meat. To me the heart of a gumbo is the broth. Based on the gumbos I get at most restaurants everybody else thinks it is the meat.
The potato salad was way to dilly for me. Only ate a couple of bites. It seems as if they used the vinegar from the pickles as well. If you like dilly vinegary potato salad this place is for you.

This is their blackened shrimp. While covered with spice it had good flavor and was not overcooked. A big plus for me. I got hash browns because I don't really care for french fries and was not in the mood for baked potato. It worked well with the shrimp

The following is pre-fab but it the best 0f pre-fab desserts you can get from a broadliner especially. It has been around for at least 5 years because that was about the time I first tasted it. It is a lemon and berry cake with mascarpone icing and it is a delight. Get you a piece if you ever see it on a menu.
I don't often go here but when I do it seems have good food.
K D's

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dairy Barn 4453 Nelson Rd (337) 478-5007

Another BB. This one for a place I love. I did the drive thru and got this Bacon Cheeseburger. Wonderful as usual.
In future I am going to try and take a picture of the burger cut in half. It looks better than my normal practice of opening it up
The only thing better than the burgers is their fried combo. Shrimp in a flour coating and catfish in a cornmeal coating as it should be. Fabulous onion rings and so so fries with some texas toast finish it up.

Monday, May 23, 2011

a Mano

A Mano
870 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans

Dinner 6 PM - 10 PM

This Italian in the warehouse district is the brain child of Adolfo Garcia of Rio Mar and La Boca fame. He sent Joshua Smith off to Italy for a year to soak in the Italian philosophy and style of cooking. Much of the menu is made in-house and all items that can be sourced locally are. This is a trend prevalent in a lot of higher end and chef driven operations. The bread basket contained an in-house sun-dried tomato Italian round loaf. You could taste the long fermentation and the sweet-sour of the dried tomatoes. I went with Affettats Misti Board which had a range of house cured meats and pickles. You can see the glass door to the curing room from the dining room. I received Mortadella studded with pistachios. Good but lacking the pieces of fat that I love. Beside it was hard salami and spicy salami bracketing a double well dish of caponta and pickled vegetables. Slices of dried duck breast and smoked prosciutto came next. The fun in tasting these things is combining the stuff in different ways. My favorite was the duck breast.

Second course was Trippa alla Romani. Honeycomb tripe cooked in the roman style with tomatoes, onions, chile, and pecorino cheese with bread toast. Well cleaned and well cooked it just melted on the tongue in a spicy sauce. I savored every bite. Next up pasta prepared as it should be. Pici al’Aglise is a hand rolled round pasta with a notch running down the length cooked in olive oil, chiles, parsley and breadcrumbs. My favorite way to eat pasta, simple and flavorful

The main course Conlglio della Cava was rabbit from Mississippi cooked two ways. One was leg quarter roasted with cured olives, garlic and lemon. It tasted wonderful but a bit dry. The other was pounded and crusted white meat pan seared then finished off with lemon juice, wine, capers and marinated artichoke hearts. It proved wonderfully tender and delicious with a nice crisp crust and melting meat inside

I ended with Panna Cotta (non-egg custard) with pan sautéed pine nuts and bitter Sicilian honey surrounded with figs. All components worked except the figs that were under ripe. The creamy custard and crunchy pine nuts provide textural contrast while sweet cream and bitter played the flavor note, I would return here if they have solved their handicap access problem. The current solution is no solution.

Taco Taquito

Taco Taquito
2618 Derek Drive
Lake Charles LA

Monday thru Sunday 10 AM to 10 PM $1 to $8

This establishment has taken over the former Backyard Burger building. They painted the outside a deep red and yellow, very festive. Inside got the same colors although much remained the same. They are also a counter service venue so there is a new menu board. They utilize the drive thru also. They seem to be a fast food version of a Taqueria. They offer a limited menu of what I consider street food. Nothing fried here and don’t think of it as a Taco Bell, it isn’t. They offer fresh corn tortilla, flour tortilla, jumbo taco (quesadilla like), and strangely fully loaded baked potatoes. You can get the taco one at a time, orders of 2 or more and the combo. The combo consists of a certain amount of tacos, half a baked potato, charro beans, and a drink. Unfortunately they offer no aqua fresca just the standard fountain drinks. You can order five different meats. They have beef fajita, bistek (beef similar to fajita), pollo (chicken), molleja (sweetbreads (thymus glands)) and tripa (tripe (small intestines)). All of the above are typical of “Street Stall” cooking.

I went the drive thru route the first couple of times because of time constraints on my part and went inside once. First time I got a half order of corn tortilla with one being fajita, one chicken, and one sweetbread. Tacos consist of two small griddled tortillas together with a line of meat, chopped onions and cilantro down the middle. The accompanying grilled onions, salsas, and lime wedges allows you to dress it how you like it. The two salsas are a spicy roasted tomato and pepper one and an atomic tomatillo and pepper one. I experimented with all of it settling on a combo I liked and ate every bite. Next time through I tried a jumbo taco combo. It was basically a 10 inch flour tortilla folded on the fillings and griddled quesadilla style. I got tripa which was combined with mozzarella cheese and avocado. Along with the salsas I received half a loaded baked potato and some charro beans. The potato had butter, cheese, sour cream, and bacon melted on it. There were few beans and much more liquid. However the broth was so flavorful I just drank it up and was satisfied

The venture inside proved all right. It is as I said counter service and you get your own drink. However you get a number and they bring the food out to you. First they bring you a cup of charro beans on the house. This one had more beans but still brothy. Not a problem for me. What beans it did contain were cooked perfectly. Still whole but melted in your mouth when chewed. Salsas are on the table in squeeze bottles. I got a half order or corn tortilla with sweetbreads and single flour tortilla with bistek. An eight inch soft tortilla folded over with again a line of meat, onions, and cilantro. The plates had the grilled onions and limes on them.

Be forewarned the sweetbreads taste of liver and the tripe is not honeycomb stomach but small intestines. Both are cleaned well and have no barnyard smell or taste. Early on the meat which is chopped small and griddled seemed to come out dry and chewy. Later on only the tripe had this problem which I suspect is inherent to this protein. It has to be braised a long time to get it tender. The meat itself is seasoned mildly with the intention of you adjusting it to your taste and heat level with the condiments. I encourage you to try this place at least once to see and eat this street food. It may not be to your liking but you can never tell. The drive thru makes it easy on me to come back.

Street Breads

Street Breads
3475 Nelson Rd
Lake Charles LA

Monday thru Saturday 6 AM to 9:30 PM $1 to $7
Sunday 8 AM to 9:30 PM

I have held off on this review not because they are not good, they are. It is the fact that they are evolving as I type. This is a grade “A” top notch operation that would be successful in any city, large or small. A lot of thought was put into this. From the artisan breads sourced from all over the country to the inventive condiments call Sauce Toppers made every day from scratch. The same can be of the dressings. The Signature Sandwiches and Salads sing with some unusual combination of flavors. The Breakfast Sandwiches are no slouches either. Add to that you can designate your own bread and ingredients to build one that is truly yours. The breads come in a state called par-baked (frozen and partially baked finished off on site). They will sell you the bread so you can finish it off in your own oven, nothing to dislike about that. They also carry John Folse ice cream and yogurt for dessert, good stuff. I have not been in for a couple of weeks so no telling what they have come up with.

Here is what I had. For breakfast the Anytime Bacon on a rustic club with double bacon, oven fried egg and pepper jack cheese. Mine was tasty but dry. I should have taken the guy’s advise and add Cajun Remoulade. I also partook of the Southwest Frittata also on a rustic club with egg, sausage, cheddar, black beans, jalapeno, corn relish, chipotle sauce and salsa. There is nothing wrong with this one, tasty with a nice kick to it. Off the regular menu I tried the Argentinean Sierra Beef on ciabatta with roast beef, pepper jack, argula, red onion, chimichurri, texas caviar (black beans), grilled onions and peppers. The chimichurri made the sandwich sing of South America. For the vegetarians out there the Mediterranean Portabella is for you. On Foccacia they put roasted portabella, grilled eggplant and zucchini, feta, sun dried tomato and pesto hummus, romaine lettuce and olive tapenade, delicious and filled with sunny Mediterranean flavors. I made up a sandwich I call Aztecan Turkey. On a wheat sitrato roll I had turkey, pepper jack, chipotle sauce and corn relish put on by them. It turned out pretty good. Last but not least I got the Blue Apple salad with greens, blue cheese, granny smiths, cranberries, red onion, croutons and bacon with Apple Vinaigrette. I am not much of a salad person but this was great. There are a couple of salads I would not mine trying

Along the way I got recognized and received some lagniappe. If they have put the “lost bread” on the menu get it. Baked egg soaked challa can not be bad. I got to taste the slaws and potato salad, both good and made fresh daily. They also plied me with John Folse products. If this place was not across town I would probable be there more. However be fore warned it inhabits the strip mall south of the Wal Mart and behind Starbucks. Parking is scarce. I fully intend on getting a couple of the bread and will report back on the blog.

Big L's

Big L’s Soul Food Hut
1109 13th St
Lake Charles LA

Monday thru Friday 6 AM to 9 PM $1 to $9

In a space that started out as a tamale joint, this genuine hole in the wall deals out soulful plate lunches. They range from Beef Stew to Pig’s Feet & Tripe depending on what day you come in. While mainly take away there are three tables in front of the counter. They also do a few short order things and offer BBQ plates every day

First go round I opted for Liver and Onions, a favorite of mine. I received two nice slice of beef liver smothered in onion gravy along with yams, mustard green and cornbread. Sometimes mature beef liver can be tough but this had been cleaned properly then cooked correctly. I adored the fork tender texture with a nice liver flavor. The gravy stood out also. The greens proved a little too vinegary for me and the yams ranged from soft to hard. However the cornbread was like my mother use to make, a little on the sweet side. You can bet I loved that

Second time I went for the Oxtails. The flavor was beefy with some kick to it. The gravy followed this model also. While not exactly fall of the bone it was tender and made gnawing on the bone enjoyable. I am a bone gnawer from way back. Oxtail in my opinion is the third beefiest part of the animal with cheeks in first and heart in second. I went with the same sides and got the same result. They also have individual pies here. I got the sweet potato one which featured a crisp sweet dough crust along with sweet spice sweet potato filling, tasted perfect.

I branched out to the BBQ next. I ordered the Pork Steak. The sides include potato salad, beans, and dirty rice. They drizzled some excellent sauce on the excellent meat. It was not enough to drown the meat but compliment it. The meat itself was tender and smoked throughout. The potato salad and rice certainly met the common standard. The beans were soft and had an almost refried texture with nice flavor. I enjoyed ever bite of this dinner.

Last time was Wings & Red Beans. The size of the wings being on the smaller side offered an excellent ration of skin to meat. The crispy crust contained black pepper rather than the red pepper on most fried chicken in this area. This made for a different spicy flavor and one I liked. The beans were cooked but still a little firm for my personal taste. However the flavor and spice made up for this. A major contributor to this was the discs of sausage that they used for seasoning.

Come to this nice friendly place to get some good food and enjoy. I recommend it. Also not a bad thing, they are on the way back to my house from work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

O B's 1301 Ryan Street (337) 494-7336

Another BB (Bargain Bee) deal. Recently they have been serving really decent food. The boudin balls below is an example. Quality boudin with right portion of shredded pork to cooked rice. It is has a nice thin flour coating and fried non greasy.
I opted the ribeye wrap with onion rings. Tender seared juicy meat with lettuce, tomato, and onions in a jalapeno cheddar tortilla. It was great and I ate every bite. The rings were ok but I have had better ones here. For some reason the flour coating was coming off. Still delicious however. While not a every day stop I still like to come in every once and awhile. I will continue to so as long the food is this good.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Siro's 920 West Pinhook Road Lafayette, LA 70503-2455 (337) 233-7476

I recently made a run to Lafayette. I was cashing in some BB's at a couple of meat markets. So I decided to hit another BB for lunch. Below is the Shrimp Salad- Our unique shrimp salad with mayo, lettuce, tomato. I got it on a croissant and also some potato soup. Nothing remarkable. Small shrimp in a rather bland dressing. The soup was bland also and had large chunks of potato which is not my style.

To eat up the full value of the coupon I also got Spinach & Lump Crab Quiche. Rather than a slice you get an individual portion fresh. I like that concept. They had just baked then so mine was piping hot. I prefer room temp as the cooling process seems to enhance the flavor in my opinion. However it was very tasty. Rich with the custard, sweet with the crab meat and a nice spinach tang

While I would not seek this restaurant out again, it would make a nice stop if you are shopping in the oil center and need a nice quick lunch. The service was friendly and the atmosphere nice in this hole in the wall tucked into this raised building on Pinhook


Whisk and Ladle 3301 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601337-478-4336

Again a BB. I made my order just before they stopped doing lunches. I was able to get a lunch sandwich tray and the dinner for one. Below is the salad that I got for both lunch and dinner. Nice mix of greens and grape tomatoes but I found the balsamic vinegar a bit acidic for me.
The French Onion with its cheese crouton was as good as any I have had. Nice deep broth with great onion flavor

The sandwich was basically a caprese salad on bread. The grape tomatoes wonderfully sweet and the fresh mozzarella a bit tangy all brought together by the pesto on some great focaccia bread. I loved it

The dinner had another container of salad. The entree was a braised pork steak with Gorgonzola potatoes. Not a hit. The pork was tough and chewy. The potatoes undercooked although the sauce was ok

The fruit dessert below was assorted berries with a big galump of brown sugar on top. Just plain disgusting

These people do not seem to cook to my taste so it is unlikely I will order from them again.

Whisk and Ladle

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Big Al's 3669 5th Avenue, Lake Charles, LA 70607 (337) 478-0818 ‎

I had not made a pass here for awhile but I had the envie for their fried chicken. When I pulled up I notice some menu additions and went with them. Below is the seafood combo. Catfish and shrimp. Both were well cooked and nice although I would have preferred separate batters. Both had a seasoned corn flour crust I have seen before. But as I said well cooked and delicious.
I always get the red beans and rice as a side. I do not know if they do it themselves or get a pre-fab product but it is always and creamy style like I love. I just wish they would change over from converted rice.

I am sorry to say the pecan pie had been hanging around for awhile and had turned rancid

I recently pass by and saw they were doing plate lunches. I will have to pull in and sample.

Big Al's