Wining & Dining
10/8/2014 10:41:54 AM

October marks the start of truffle season, and we’re not talking about delicious rum-filled candies dusted with cocoa powder.


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10/8/2014 10:32:06 AM

Fall is coming, and that means sugar and spice, and everything pumpkin. We’re talking about spicy cider, pumpkin flavored cocktails, and deliciously sweet-but-not-too-sweet hot toddies that warm your belly. Oh, and don’t forget apple! Who doesn’t love a hot apple pie cocktail on a chilly fall day? And the smell of wine mulling with cinnamon and cloves on the stove or in the slow cooker? Heaven. We’ve got both hot and cold cocktails to satisfy your autumnal cravings this year. Invite friends and family over and enjoy some chilled cider punch or golden green apple cocktails as the season changes.


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10/8/2014 10:26:16 AM

Fall is on its way in the Deep South, and many people will enjoy cooking outside with the temperatures finally cooling down from summer. Patios, decks, and back yards will have a variety of grills going with some delicious meals.


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9/9/2014 3:44:20 PM

Wine and cheese have gone hand-in-hand for centuries, and today there are more options than ever to choose from on both sides of the pairing equation, which can be intimidating to many people. But Melanie McMullen and Fran Avery, owners of Crave, a gourmet food and gift store in Lake Charles, says there’s really no right and wrong when it comes to pairing wine and cheese. "Cheese with wine is one of the simplest, yet most refined, gourmet pleasures – one that everyone should enjoy,” says McMullen. "There are no set rules pairing. It’s a matter of which tastes and combinations appeal to you.”


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9/9/2014 3:40:21 PM

Have you been strict with your diet and dedicated to your exercise routine, but your scale has been stuck on the same digits? You may be falling prey to some hidden diet blunders.


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8/19/2014 11:13:11 AM
Earlier this year the Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana and the Dare to be Healthy Program, made possible by a Challenge Grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, began working with local restaurants to launch a local healthy restaurant initiative that would bring easily identified, healthier options to restaurant menus around the area.
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8/19/2014 11:10:33 AM
If there is one thing Southwest Louisianans know, it is hunting, fishing and good food. Okay, so that is more than one thing, but all three are intricately linked to provide some of the best meals you will ever eat. While fish fries, seafood boils and stove-top creations like etoufee and courtbouillon may be mainstream, people around these parts are no strangers to throwing their catch on the grill.
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8/9/2014 9:13:41 AM
Sushi isn't what you think. If you're new to the sushi game and aren’t sure how to play, don't worry. It's not as intimidating as it looks.
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7/8/2014 11:57:08 AM

"A fine bottle of wine turns strangers into friends and friends into family..."

This is as apt a phrase as any that could be mustered to describe the ambience of lauded New Orleans haunt wine Patrick's Bar Vin. Located at Hotel Mazarin, this upscale wine bar is perfectly described as ‘a sip of pleasure in the heart of the French Quarter.’


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7/8/2014 11:53:05 AM

You hear that? It’s the sound of backyard grills being cranked up across America.


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6/12/2014 10:29:43 AM

Although we all must shed our childish trappings at some point in our lives, there are a few holdovers of childlike innocence that seep their way into the adult cultural lexicon. One such holdover is the romantic vision of summer.


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6/12/2014 10:24:00 AM

Ember Grille & Wine Bar of L’Auberge Lake Charles is known for a menu that offers consistently well-prepared, fresh meals. From seafood and game creations to beef straight off their wood-fire grill, there’s no shortage of options.


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5/12/2014 11:52:37 AM

If we were mixing metaphors, then we'd say that the dressing is the "icing on the cake" of the perfect salad. And the secret to the dressing is the mixture of oil and vinegar. Melanie McMullen, co-owner of Crave, a specialty olive oil and fine food store in Lake Charles, says the "perfect pairing of a quality olive oil and balsamic can make the flavors explode! The secret is finding flavors that both blend well, and also bring out flavor components of the other."


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5/12/2014 11:50:50 AM
Memorial Day is officially the American holiday that honors the men and women who died while serving in the United States Military. Originating in the years following the Civil War and originally known as Decoration Day, it became federal holiday in 1971.
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5/12/2014 11:44:29 AM

Southwest Louisiana had an identity crisis for years. Straddling the cultural line between Cajun country and Southeast Texas, the community has grappled with competing cultural ideologies. Should we force the Cajun motif? Is Lake Charles, at its core, more "Texas” than "Louisiana”? Is it a college town, an industrial center or an entertainment hub?


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4/10/2014 12:57:52 PM

There’s something about springtime. Cool breeze, sun on your shoulders, and the smell of new flowers and fresh cut grass combines to make you want to sit outside and enjoy a few tasty refreshments.


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4/10/2014 12:46:26 PM
In the philosophy of Taoism—an ancient Chinese religion—the concept of "Yin and Yang” are seen as the balancing forces of nature. Contrary to popular belief, however, these forces are not seen as "good” and "bad” forces opposing one another.
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4/10/2014 12:44:27 PM


We mostly eat when we’re hungry, designing our meals around cycles: breakfast to "break” a "fast,” lunch because it’s the middle of the day and we need more energy and dinner as it’s been ages since lunch and no one enjoys sleeping on an empty stomach. How anomalous is "brunch?” It seems to deny us of our regular schedule by combining two meals—at least in theory. Brunches sometimes take on a reputation as a chance to gorge.

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3/13/2014 4:35:46 PM

With springtime making its long-awaited appearance, the temperatures—and spirits—in Southwest Louisiana are beginning to rise. In keeping with the fresh attitude that accompanies the changing of the seasons, we’ve put together a spring wine list that pairs well with light, crisp springtime fare.


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3/13/2014 4:34:51 PM

Here are a few spring grilling ideas that will allow you to enjoy the best of grilling outdoors without enduring heavy calories. All recipes have roughly four servings and oddly enough, there are about four six-ounce glasses of wine in one bottle. Coincidence? I think not—a few springtime wines are included here as well.


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3/13/2014 4:32:37 PM

The Partnership for a Healthy Southwest Louisiana and Dare to be Healthy is working with local restaurants to launch a new program that will mean easily identified, healthier options on restaurant menus around the area.


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2/18/2014 11:52:51 AM

It’s pure magic to open the lid of a slow cooker after a few hours and see the final product, not to mention the ease and convenience of the Crock-pot. The following recipes are from two women who have championed crockpot cooking. Stephanie O’Dea took on a full year of slowcooking in 2008, and since then has written several cookbooks. Jenn Bare, also a crockpot cookbook author, maintains the website GetCrocked.com.


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2/18/2014 11:51:03 AM

Crave Gourmet Baskets & Gifts, located in the Palms Plaza at 2801 Ryan Street in Lake Charles, is now the exclusive supplier of olive oils and balsamic vinegars for 121 Artisan Bistro, a Lake Charles Italian Restaurant and Steakhouse, located at 121 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive in Lake Charles. Crave olive oils and balsamics are used to prepare many of the delicious menu items served at 121 Artisan Bistro. The flavorful oils and balsamics will also be paired with fresh bread offerings at every table in the restaurant.


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2/18/2014 11:50:23 AM

Sweet oaky bourbon bites at the corner of my mouth as smooth, soulful jazz music tiptoes at the edge of my consciousness. The lighting overhead is just dim enough that the contours of my fiancee’s face start to blur, like a soft light just for the two of us.


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