Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cedars at the Prien Mall Food Court

Another BB semi disaster. The Ceders outlier offers a shorten menu from the main restaurant. It cover the basics. Below is the Kibbe. It was great. Nice medium thick bulgar coat fried to perfection. Inside moist spicy meat with pine nuts and onions. Could not ask for better.

Here is the disaster. The falafel were fried rock hard and were so overworked to be as dense as concrete. Don't try these

In my opinion not worth the effort. Better venues to buy from.

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Tampico 5713 Johnston Street Lafayette, LA 70503-5302 (337) 988-0102

Here is the result of a run to Lafayette for a Bargain Bee. Below is the chips and salsa. Chips were fine and hot but so was the salsa. Heat hot that is which is definitely not my favorite. Pretty much skipped on it.

What came next was up my alley. They were Sopes. Mini corn masa boats topped with picadillo served with two salsas. I am corn masa nut. These little platforms (thicker than a tortilla) unfortunately were just filled with taco meat not picadillo (meat with things like potatoes and raisins). They were still good. The red salsa was a creamy tomato one with some heat and the green one creamy tomatillo with considerably more heat. The meat was topped with lettuce, tomato, grated white cheese, and sour cream. A mini boracha

Next came stuffed avocado with crab salad. To be honest I was not expecting two avocado halves but this was so delicious I devoured both in a hurry. Perfectly ripe avocado stuffed with a fantastic salad of lump crab, minced vegetables (carrot celery peas) and capers held together by mayonnaise. Also surprising was the assortment of accompaniments. I suppose the tortilla chips and crackers were suppose to bases for the crab salad. It was too good for that. I also ignored the cheese. Now the grapes I found useful. The sweetness and juiciness help cut through the richness of the avocado and mayonnaise laden salad. My sister would make a meal of this

Main course was their Delmar Platter. It consist of Shrimp Ranchero (cooked in a ranchero sauce with onions and peppers) at the top, Shrimp Flore (stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon, battered and fried smothered in queso), and shrimp and rice (grilled shrimp on top of spanish rice smothered in queso) along with some grilled vegetables and pico de gallo. The flore was spectacular with sweet shrimp, spicy jalapeno in the middle, crisp smoky bacon and the unctuous cheese sauce. The shrimp and rice were good also although the shrimp were a bit overcooked. They had good flavor and the cheese sauce made the dry spanish rice a treat to eat. The ranchero sauce was great also with good spice and lots of onion and peppers. It needed either rice or tortillas. Again although flavorful the shrimp were overcooked.

I ended up with Tres Leches. Moist mexican cake with three types of milk. Unfortunately only the bottom half of the cake was moist. The top half had drained out and was dry. It also had a strange taste like it had been sitting out for awhile. Would not recommend it.

I would however recommend the restaurant. Both the exterior and interior bring you to Mexico. The atmosphere and service were great. If you like good tex-mex and mexican food this is the place for you


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Louie's Diner 209 West State Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802 (225) 346-8221

I made a run into Baton Rouge. Two restaurants will be grouped together for a Lagniappe review. This one is just not long enough. It is famous through for most people that attended LSU. I just took a minor taste of it becauses the voucher was only for $10. I did meet a nice couple at the counter stools and if I ever return I spotted a few things I would get. Below is my cinnamon raisin french toast which really did not need syrup although since they did have Steen's I slather one piece with it.

Below is cheese with grits. Not any grits. Anybody who has been to the Red Stick Farmers market know Papa Tom's trailer. He sells the best stone ground grits and cornmeal around here. How do I know for sure they are Papa Tom's. I will tell you why. He made a delivery while I was eating breakfast. This hole in the wall joint with limited parking is well worth it not only for the food but watching the man who has cooked here for 20 years work his magic


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Monday, August 29, 2011

Coffee & Chicory

This particular pint suffered a tragedy getting to me. Somewhere between the manufacturing plant and the organization that shipped it to me, it suffered a defrosting and a refreeze. That made the texture like sherbet with ice crystals. While that was a bit off putting I consumed every spoonful. I love coffee and chicory. The flavor was particularly great since CoolBrew is used to make it. It is another New Orleans company that makes fresh gourmet coffee concentrate. Using unique Cold Brewing methods they extract the full flavor from the finest Arabica coffee beans, without the bitter acids. It is available both food service and retail.

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Nectar Soda

This flavor is a New Orleans classic and virtually seen only in the city. The pharmacist I.L. Lyons created nectar syrup in the late 1800s and was a main supplier to the now defunct K&B pharmacies. As soda fountains disappeared in the 1950s, so did nectar syrup. It was and is bright pink and tastes like almonds and vanilla. Recently a company started manufacturing the soda again. This ice cream tastes like cream soda with a strong almond note and a shocking pink color that did not translate when I photographed it. Looking at the color you think bubble gum flavor but the taste buds go to a totally different place. It is a bit on the sweet side.

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White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Here is another one that did not work for me. Again it was the add ins. The ice cream was a lovely vanilla with bourbon back-notes that enhanced the ice cream. The bits of bread pudding were just weird to me. My tongue and taste buds just did not know what to do with them and eventually came to the conclusion "not for me".

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Hippie

Happy Hippie
329 Broad St
Lake Charles LA

Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 AM to 10 PM $2.50 to $21

Housed in the old Rikenjacks Bar and Brewery, the vibe here certainly reflects the hippie era as explained by colleague Brad Goins. Seating is picnic benches or booth with simple wood benches. The feel good mood is infectious

My first foray saw me eating their Pesto Cheesy bread. It is basically a quarter pie with pesto covered in mozzarella with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. It comes out on the medium thick crust. I found it delicious, tasty and well balanced. You get a side of marinara if you desire to dip which I did not. Not that the marinara was bad I just like the bread as is. I also ordered a Roasted Stuffed Poblano. Being a fan of Chile Rellenos I liked the concept of this dish and the fact it was not fried. They take a large pepper and split it open removing the seeds. A layer of protein (in my case smoked brisket) is laid in and topped with mozzarella then put in the screaming hot oven to roast. I enjoyed the result. The roast flavor of the pepper combined well with the cheesy unctuousness and smoky brisket flavor. They do Hot Dogs here also and they struck my mood that day. I got two types. The Blue Dog (blue cheese, bacon, and red onions) and the Chili Dog (chili, cheese, and onions) were my choices. Nothing fancy about the dogs or buns just good old fashion dogs. They brought back fond memories. Odd choice for a pizza place you might say. Traditional American pizza is not a favorite of mine so I was building myself up for it.

They have a nice selection of sandwiches including a Roasted Vegan/Veggie. While I am not a vegetarian, but an omnivore, I like a nice vegetable dish once in awhile to break it up. However I found the title a bit of a misnomer as there were only one roasted vegetable in the sandwich. The best way I could describe it is “a salad on a baguette”. Realizing that and coming to terms with it, it turned out to just fine

Last time in was for the pizza. Although what I chose most people would not consider a pizza. The thing is I have a love/hate relationship with tomatoes. If I am in the right mood it can be wonderful. However on things Italian I tend to avoid them. I ordered the White pizza with garlic olive oil, mozzarella, and red onions to which I added bacon and roasted garlic. I went with the half pizza. When it came out it also had either basil or spinach leaves. It also possessed a super thin crust. Again I generally do not care for thin crust as it usually ends up soggy. Not here though for two reasons. First is the high temperature they can get in their oven which gives a very crisp product. Second is that here toppings are not piled mile high but judiciously laid on. The crust remained crispy. I think they could give Neapolitan pizza a run for its money

One last note is that the bar here serves great beer both in bottles and on tap. They have the usual suspects but also carry products from some regional breweries. They include St Arnolds from Houston, La31 from Ville Platte, and Lazy Magnolia out of Mississippi. I tasted a few and they were excellent. Great beer and good pizza, what more could you ask for.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mary Ann's

Been around for ages. My sister went to it when she worked for Muller's. I like but don't get around to it. Somewhat tough place for me to access. That is why I am loving the social networks. This was a Seize the Deal one. Unfortunately the oil was a little old and the rings came out with a burnt undertone. I was there in the afternoon so really not their fault.
The bacon cheeseburger made up for it. Nice juicy patty, well melted cheese, slice of crisp bacon,griddled bun, crisp onions and a nice slice of tomato. It made for a great burger. I acquired another one to try the breakfast

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Toasted Coconut

Sorry Celeste this was my least favorite so far. It is not the flavor. It is there and I like coconut flavor. It is a textural thing for me. Too much coconut flakes in it. I am a bit fussy about coconut flakes and nuts in certain desserts. All I can say if you are like Celeste and love coconut flavor and flakes this is certainly the one for you. Too many other flavors I love. I will pass on this one in the future

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bananas Foster

In contrast I did not taste the alcohol here. They must have cooked the bananas in it which made most the alcohol dissipate. The ice cream was again rich and flavorful. As caramel is one my favorite flavors I really enjoyed this. The banana added a depth of flavor with the dark rum backnote of sweet spices coming out. Deft handling that reflects the flavor of that classic New Orleans dessert. Owen Brennan would be proud.

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Cherries Jubilee

This is definitely an adult ice cream. The alcohol in the cherries pack quite a punch. I am hyper sensitive to alcohol. To me the cherries are so full of alcohol I can barely taste the flavor. Add to that in some cases the alcohol toughen the cherry skin and made them chewy, this part of the ice cream I did not care for. Fortunately this did not carry over to the ice cream itself. Smooth and rich with a pronounced cherry flavor. If you like that alcoholic kick and cherry flavor this one is for you.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beau Reve 4400 Atlantic Road, Port Arthur, TX 77702 409-962-2422

This BB is sort of a destination. It is an old plantation like mansion that was moved to this site via water. Behind itis a bayou. While the owner lives in the main house the grounds and an outbuilding are set up for weddings and receptions. The reception building is open for lunch Monday through Friday. Dinner is served only on Friday night. The end facing the water is glassed in and makes for a nice view. The atmosphere is lovely even though set up for weddings. If they are not busy your server will give a short tour of the house. Below is a salad not out of a bag.
They call these Crab Croquettes Two croquettes of fresh lump of crab meat seasoned with our special blend of veggies then lightly browned to a delicate crispness and served with a lemon & garlic butter sauce. This what Sha Sha's crab cakes should be. Dice onion and peppers mixed with lump crab meat then pan sauteed. They were loaded with crab flavor and not greasy. The butter sauce on the side gives you the option to dunk or not.
Corn & Crab Bisque Savory cream soup loaded with lump crab meat and corn. This was OK. It seemed to be reduced heavy cream with a ton of corn kernels and the only crab was what was on top. It was a bit too rich. I prefer one made with seafood broth with just enough cream to make it smooth and somewhat rich
I got the Grilled Tilapia for my entree Pan seared in garlic butter with a fresh Mango Sauce with poblano peppers and sides of steamed veg and sweet potato pudding with praline sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked with a nice seasoning blend on it. Just spicy enough. The fresh mango puree with the chopped poblano peppers in it made an excellent foil for the fish. A somewhat sweet/tart sauce with a little kick. The steamed veg was good and the sweet potato dish excellent. Nice and smooth with a caramel high note.
You don't often see Buttermilk Pie on a menu. Our freshly made Cajun treat When I do I get it to compare to my aunt's one. This one is a bit unusual in that it is served hot. I prefer mine room temp but the flavor was there. Sweet with a tart undernote.
My roots lie in upper Cameron parish where my mother and father were raised and most of my kinfolk once lived. Based on some items on the menu and what I ate I would venture to say that the chef's roots lie in Southwest Louisiana possible Cameron parish. Good food and a relaxing time. I would go back here maybe for dinner on Friday night

Beau Reve

Cafe Ahnvee 610 East Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, LA 70508-2545 (337) 234-4647

Having had my meze I went here for the main event. Below is seafood gumbo. The rice was hard and the stock had what I assume was their house seasoning. I did not like it and hardly ate a few bits. It forebode the whole meal.
next up the Shrimp & Crab Boulettes Shrimp and Crab blended in a seasoned stuffing, lightly floured and deep fried. Served with Remoulade Sauce. The fry job was great but the interior was just too wet and mushy for my taste. I only took a couple of bites and I was finished. Sauce was fine
Grilled Shrimp Plate Large gulf shrimp grilled and served with your choice of side. I chose shrimp and eggplant dressing. Again encounter the house spice but the grilling had tamed it enough so that I could enjoy the shrimp. The dressing was excellent. Here is the funny part. The consistency of this was the same as the interior of the boullettes which I did not care for. But as a stand alone I loved it. The flavor was great and the consistency what I expected. I just do not expect interiors of fired things to be mushy.
Dessert was a cupcake as they did not have any of the desserts on the menu. A peanut butter cup flavor agreed with me. The size was also good.

Poseiden 103 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, LA 70508-3876 (337) 235-9154

A successful BB. This Greek restaurant serves a different sort of stuff than Cedars or Zeus which is mainly Lebanese. The names are the same but the execution differs. Take the pita bread below. The other ones are thin and seem to be nuke. This one was fat and fluffy and heated on the grill. Great
I went the meze route. Below is the Appetizer Platter - Mousaka, spanakopita, hummus & grape leaves. The mousaka was very interesting. On a layer of sliced potatoes was a mixture of eggplant and ground meat topped by a layer of mashed potatoes and cheese. Sort of like a Greek shepherds pie. I liked it. The spanakopita was phyllo dough with a spinach and cheese filling and very satisfying. The hummus was very disappointing. Very thin and a bit acrid. The grape leaves wonderful. Nice rice and ground meat filling and as I found out later fresh grape leaves grown for the restaurant by a friend. No brined leaves here. God it was good
To supplement the platter I also ordered a Kibbeh - Cracked wheat filled with ground meat and a fried Meat Pie - Spiced ground meat wrapped in dough. Both served with tzatziki. The kibbeh was pretty standard and good. The meat pie had some Lafayette influence as it was very much on the spicy side. Both were great and I was a happy camper. Definitely a go back to place


This latest item from Popeyes is great. They take a whole breast and cut it so its has strips attached to a base. It is battered and fried. The batter wonderful and spicy The chicken moist and flavorful. The only thing that does not work for me is the ranch dressing served with it. Too much vinegar. Other than that it something that I would get again

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

Not a BB. Just having to run an errand on the south side of town and coming up 5th ave hungry. They do plate lunches and it sounded good. In the lid is there grilled chicken which looks nasty but is wonderful. Heading down is a salad and peach cobbler. Last is a layer of white beans over rice. A very Creole dish for a Monday if you are not doing red beans. They were wonderful, cooked just right and a little creamy. This is my go to place when I have nothing at the house cooked and I am starving. They have good food and because they are sorta out of the way usually no line.

Balls Fried Chicken 606 Enterprise Boulevard, Lake Charles, LA 70601-4573 (337) 433-0226

Another Bargain Bee. I got the Super Sampler to eat there and a two piece to go to use up the voucher. Below is everything in the sampler except the chicken. You get a small salad, boudin ball, three shrimp, and fish with a roll and side. I opted for fried okra. The boudin was non greasy as were the fish and shrimp. The interior was perfect and contained good boudin with a good ratio of meat to rice spiced just right. The shrimp had the same coating as the fish and were OK. The fish had a mustard smear under the coating and was great. Fried okra which I suspect was a pre-fab was ok.
Below is the chicken from the sampler and my to go order. It was like a remember it. Nice crisp crust with moist meat and a little on the spicy side.
I got red bean and rice for side with the two piece. I wish I had taken a picture before I mixed it up. It consisted of a layer of whole red beans over rice that had been mixed with the juice. The beans were perfectly cooked and the spice level ok. I just prefer the creamy kind.

Cajun Cafe 329 Pryce Street (formally Lawrence), Lake Charles, LA 70601 337.439.3722

Cajun Cafe does hamburgers now. I took one to go to use up my Bargain Bee. Funny thing is they do not have the pricing anywhere. Not on the wall, not on the weekly menu nowhere I could see. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and as usual the server only heard cheeseburger so that is what I got. It was delicious and would have been better with bacon. The patty was thick and juicy cooked just right. The bun was standard and as usual for me no pickle or lettuce. I do take tomato and onion but I thinking of just going with the onion. This burger is well worth whatever price it was and I would return for a repeat.
With each plate lunch you get a piece of cornbread and a yeast roll. My roll was very dense but had that flavor you can only get with a true yeast product. It would have perfect if allowed to rise a little more. The cornbread had an underlying sweetness which is what I grew up on. Therefore I loved it.
I got the meatloaf because you can tell a lot about an establishment. These people are just meat and no filler type. You have to be good as even a slight overworking of the meat will leave it like a brick. To tell you the truth I do not mind some filler as long as it is not overboard. I personally like the texture better. However they did a fine job here. The flavor was good. The gravy and mash were ok. The cabbage was fantastic. Every thing it should be. The greens although from a can were doctored up with vinegar and spices. Another thing not on the board is that you can get a small or regular. Below is a small. Also that you can get a vegetable plate. Sometimes I want just that. It is a case of the regular customers knowing the rules and the newbies and infrequent not knowing them.A bit of sweet and I mean just a bite. They must use a jellyroll pan. It was about an half inch thick but good
I like this place and would frequent it more but it is out of the way and somewhat difficult for me on my crutches. They do a good job not as good as Red did at the old place.

Ponchatoula Strawberry

In this case the color reflects the contents. Wonderful rich strawberry ice cream with strawberry pieces. A great ratio for me, more ice cream than strawberries. The nicest thing about the strawberries were they were not super sweet but had a little tangy strawberry flavor. That complimented the rich ice cream. Fans of strawberry you need to try this, pure strawberry flavor at its finest. You will notice they use local products when they can. The true Ponchatoula
is a wonder. Unfortunately these days some growers have switched to a more marketable (does not bruise easily) but less flavorful berry.

Praline Crunch

See what did I tell you, colorful. Must be a LSU fan at the company. If you like pecan flavored caramel you will go nuts like I did. I was apprehensive of the "whole caramel pecans" but they were lovely. 90% caramel and 10% nut. The caramel coating was crunchy and delicious. I love a good caramel and this one was great especially with the pecan notes in it. Digging into these cartons are like finding gold. I am looking forward to tasting them all.