Southwest Louisiana has experienced a significant population increase over the past several years. The more people who come here, the more resources we need; new neighborhoods, new roads, new stores . . . and new restaurants! The lake area is following several new food and restaurant trends, especially when it comes to ethnic foods. Seventy-seven percent of Americans eat ethnic foods while dining out at least once a month, and more than 38% order ethnic food weekly, according to Chicago-based research firm, Technomic. Locally, diners have numerous ethnic choices – Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, even Irish.
Ordering a cocktail used to be so simple. "Vodka and tonic with lemon, please.” Those days are essentially gone. Over the past several years, craft cocktails have become complex, sophisticated, and oh so delightful. This year, look for several continuing trends, such as the popularity of classic cocktails from the Prohibition Era, as well as some newcomers to the bar scene.
It seems most people have at least one kind of food they dislike. But it is hard to find someone who does not like cheese.
Wine has a way of warming your body from the inside out. It can be the perfect accompaniment to the soothing hearty meals we call comfort food in cold weather. Whether snacking by a crackling fireplace, hosting a crowd around the supper table, or dining out with friends, local experts can help you choose a wine that compliments your winter cuisine.
As cool winter weather settles over Southwest Louisiana, our morning appetites turn to warm comfort food. Oatmeal often finds its way into our breakfast bowls, though we may not always have time to cook oats the old-fashioned way. Instant oatmeal to the rescue! Here is a roundup of several brands you will find in lake area cereal aisles.
Two hurricanes could not keep Jim Brown and his family from sticking with their friends and serving their customers. Though buildings and products were lost, they rebuilt their business, Browns Food Center, and continue to thrive, learning along the way what it takes to serve their community.
Study a still life of Southern cuisine and a bowl of grits will be on the table next to the fried chicken, sausage gravy, and deviled eggs. A corn based dish that had its origins with Native Americans, grits are so connected with Southern eating, they can be found on menus from breakfast diners to catered upscale events.
Michael and Shelly Migues are nearly set to open their new Great Harvest Bread Company franchise at the corner of Lake and Sale Sts. in Lake Charles. This locally owned bakery and cafe will offer fresh whole grain breads, baked goods, and made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and grain bowls. Future outdoor seating beside the bayou, beneath oak and cypress trees, promises to become a popular lunch spot.
There is nothing more American than a Thanksgiving feast laid out on a table surrounded by loved ones. From oyster dressing to apple pie, there is sure to be one dish that you, your friends, and family cannot live without this Thanksgiving holiday. The dishes you most anticipate all year are likely influenced by your family heritage, as well as the region where you live. (Or once lived!) Culinary traditions vary from coast to coast.
Halloween is a favorite holiday for kids and adults alike. Unfortunately, the season does not invoke visions of healthy snack foods. But sugar need not reign supreme in this candy focused time of year.
Football season is here! We dress in team colors and cheer for MSU, LSU, or our beloved Saints. For many, football is also synonymous for tailgating parties. And where there is a tailgate open in a stadium parking lot, rest assured, there is FOOD!
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You will have no problem getting your morning off to a great start at these southwest Louisiana diners and restaurants known for serving daybreak deliciousness.
School is back in session, the seasons are changing, and it is time to contemplate your packed lunch needs. Whether you are preparing lunches for your kids, or just looking for healthier or more economical meals for yourself, consider some of these smart delicious options to keep you on the right track.
While casual meals out may not require a dictionary to decipher the menu, special occasions at more upscale restaurants might seem daunting. You may open the menu only to find words and phrases like "omakase” or "a la broche.” You have a decision to make, do you ask the waiter what it means, or do you play Russian roulette and order what you soon discover is a creamed fish dish topped with bits of liver? To avoid dining disaster, brush up on some of these gourmet terms before your next fine dining foray, because eating out should be fun, not flummoxing!
Thomas Jefferson once said, "The olive tree is surely the richest gift of heaven.” It would be hard to argue with the third president of the United States, especially given the olives multitude of uses. Olive oil can be used for anything from treating a sunburn to making delicious meals for family and friends.
There is a relatively new dining trend on the streets of southwest Louisiana, food trucks. While these mobile lunch vendors have been a staple in larger cities across the country for years, the food truck recently found its way to the lake area and the locals are loving the new dining option. Warning: pickup window lines can be long! But the food is worth it. Highlighted here are some of the trucks you will find around town; some well-established and some brand new.
Cinemark creates a fresh spin on dinner and movie with its new Movie Bistro, a dine in theater with recliner seating and an expanded menu of dinner options, which opened in June. The company premiered its first Movie Bistro in 2013 in Edinburg, Texas, and picked Lake Charles to continue its expansion into the dine in movie experience.
The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts and Judge Gene Thibodaux announced the expansion of the Louisiana A+ Schools (LAA+) network to Lake Charles Charter Academy for the 2016/2017 school year. At a press conference last month, Jacques Rodrigue read one of George Rodrigues childrens books and led students in a Blue Dog-themed art activity.
With the onset of summer, Southerners fancies turn to grilling. But before you fire up your grates this month, consider these four essential gadgets that will bolster your grilling from backyard greenhorn to budding pit master.
Homegrown herbs and spices. Authentically cooked meals based on years of experience. No precooked, preprepared or processed ingredients. Freshmade spicy sauces. That is how Heather Wade and Daemion Bailey of Tasterite Jamaican Restaurant like their food, and they will not serve their customers anything less.
The pounding of hammers and the smell of sawdust will soon be replaced with the sound of happy patrons and the enticing aroma of freshly brewed beer. Crying Eagle Brewery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, is in the final phases of construction and plans to open its doors in June, according to the companys cofounder and President, Eric Avery.
Summertime conjures up visions of outdoor dining. From backyard barbeques to beachside picnics, rising temperatures mean taking those plates outdoors to soak up the sun and spend quality time with friends and family. However, all that outdoor dining does not mean you have to be stuck drinking your alcohol from a pop-tab can (not that there is anything wrong with that). There are many wines that are just as, if not more, delicious served up alongside boiled shrimp or burgers.
Newks Eatery made its Southwest Louisiana debut last month and response from the Lake Charles community has been as robust as the food served at this popular fast-casual chain. The franchise is owned by New Orleans-basedSoutheast Restaurant Group (SRG) and holds the distinction of being Newk’s 100th franchise nationwide.
The first person to ever eat a mudbug surely was a brave soul and a centuries-long trend-settter. The unknown Boudreaux or Thibodeaux who sized up a crawfish as a potential meal and spelled it with a w, not a y, now has a extended family of descendants who have pinched dat tail, sucked dat head and celebrated crawfish as a seasonal, signature delicacy for generations.
We farm them in our rice fields, buy them live by the sacks, boil them in our backyards and eat trays of them elbow-to-elbow with the ones we love.Crawfish are an essential element of Gulf Coast life particularly in Louisiana, where you get them fresh and buy them from people you know.
For this Cinco de Mayo, revelers may want to forgo the typical Tex-Mex and try some traditional foods for a more authentic taste of the way Mexico remembers and celebrates the Battle of Puebla.
Finding the right daily nutritional balance is no easy feat. Managing sugar, carbohydrate, fat and red meat intake takes serious effort and planning, but transforming your favorite recipes into more nutritious family meals may be easier than you realize.
When Jay Ducote first jotted down notes about his lunch escapades and formed them into a blog in 2009, he had no idea his musings would lead to the evolution of a successful epicurean enterprise. But through Ducotes hard work, dedication, and perseverance, that is exactly what happened. Ducotes blog, Bite and Booze, led to a food related talk radio show by the same name, which led to video production, a stint on Foxs reality show Master Chef, and ultimately a second place finish on the popular Food Network Star last summer.
Delicious and comfortable are two words used to describe the newest restaurant inside Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel, Rosewater Grill and Tavern.
Tabasco is a simple product with a long Louisiana history. The Avery Island brand one of Louisiana’s most recognizable has just three ingredients: peppers, vinegar, and salt. But each year, McIlhenny Co. welcomes hundreds of tourists to its factory each year. The McIlhenny name is now synonymous with Tabasco, but for many, it is also synonymous with a deep and genuine respect for Louisiana. The family has led sustainability and conservation efforts in Louisiana for more than 100 years. E.A. McIlhenny lobbied to make the snowy egret one of the first-ever federally protected wildlife species.
If you find yourself daydreaming about nachos or lovingly describing your last fondue, you are not alone. Cheese is a dietary staple on every continent in the world, and recent studies have found the soft, tangy treat to be just as addictive as drugs due to the fact that the fats in cheese trigger the release of casomorphins, or opiates in the body that flood our brains with a sense of reward, which can be addictive.
Whether it’s relaxing at home, dining out at a restaurant or celebrating with friends and family, Americans are enjoying wine at a wider variety of occasions than ever before. In fact, 85 percent of frequent wine drinkers now believe that wine is equally appropriate for casual and formal settings alike.
If it seems like there are more beers on the shelves at your favorite supermarket or on tap in your neighborhood bar, you are probably right. Craft brewing is taking over America’s beer scene, and while a few die-hard brew-and-ballgame types may grouse about the gentrification of good old American beer, many newcomers are beginning to appreciate exciting innovations on the American beer scene.
When game day arrives and friends and family are gathered around the big screen to cheer your team to victory, the only thing missing is some great grub to make the celebration complete.
In New York City, few know the true joy of a perfect, hearty gumbo, but Adam Lathan and Clay Boulware, former roommates at LSU, are hoping to change that one bowl at a time.
Wayne Camp of Coffin Custom Pits and Burners Inc. will spend four days preparing a chicken and sausage stock. Pats of Henderson Louisiana Seafood and Steakhouse chef Menola Zeno leaves out the celery, while Chastains Food and Spirits prep cook Penny Ardoin does not use any bell pepper.
Each one will tell you that their pot of genuine Cajun gumbo is the best.
Whether you need a little liquid courage before you hit the mistletoe or you just like to serve your guests a cocktail before a big Christmas meal, Stephen Tyson, general manager of the Ember Grille and Wine Bar has you covered.
After a year of waiting, the holidays are finally here! It is officially time to break out the tinsel, light up your yard, and start seriously planning your festivities. If you have been invited to tons of parties and do not want to bring the same old pigs in blankets or veggie trays that sit sadly on sideboards year after year, why not make snacks reminiscent of Christmas Day feasts that pack in the flavor and double the fun?
Since the age of 19, this electrical engineer from Lake Charles has sampled spices, tested tastes, and absorbed enough flavors to put together a repertoire of dishes that has made him the cook to turn to when his friends and family hunger for a dinner that leaves them wowed.
Okra is such a ubiquitous part of Creole cuisine that anyone who's grown up in Southwest Louisiana might find it unremarkable. Passe', even. If it's not floating around deep-fried inside of a gumbo it's being stewed with tomatoes; on certain rare occasions it might show up pickled. It's a humble vegetable, hardly the sort of thing to inspire, and yet for some reason Saint Martinville stops everything once a year for their annual Okra Festival and Roy Blount Jr. made time in his busy career to write an ode to it (the appropriately named "Song to Okra”).
Kids can be picky eaters. Every parent knows the difficulty of trying to get their child to try new foods. A lot of children won’t stray too far from chicken tenders and French fries. But as a parent you want your child’s diet to be made up of a nice variety of natural and whole foods. The body needs a lot of different nutrients, and the best way to get them is from a well-balanced diet.
Steamboat Bill’s earned the largest number of votes in the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau’s third annual Top 20 Restaurants competition. Culinary tourism is a large part of Louisiana’s cultural charm, and this contest—developed by the CVB—helps celebrate the best places to eat based on preferences of local residents.
Who doesnt love a sandwich? Americans certainly do. We consume about 200 of them each year. We all have our favorites, whether it is poboy, muffaletta, Cuban, reuben or a simple PB&J.
You live in South Louisiana, and you do not like fish? What is wrong with you? If you are not a fan of fish, you have probably heard that a time or two.
You have just been served a delicious plate of food from a Zagat-rated restaurant in the Caribbean. You are ready to take an enormous bite, but wait! First you want to share this moment with friends, family, and anyone else who may follow you on Instagram. You take a shot with your smartphone, ready to make less fortunate diners green with envy. But for some reason, your perfectly delightful bowl of soup looks like slop from a mess hall. Your juicy steak looks like something pulled from a TV dinner. And those steamed vegetables are totally devoid of color.
Although Americans have long celebrated cows milk and made it part of standard fare, goat milk remains popular in other parts of the world. And for many, the cheese made from goats milk is more flavorful, with a more desirable texture and taste.
It is almost summer time, the official season of sweat stains and sunburns. Luckily Lake Charles has its own unique way of staying cool, gourmet pops from Pops and Rockets. These frozen treats are more than just a way to chill in the unforgivable sun, they act as a liaison between customer and creative opportunity. To understand the link, we have to take a look at the roots of the company.
After buying some frozen shrimp from the market, or fresh shrimp directly from the boats and the fish house, or even from catching some with a cast net, shrimp can go into preparing a multitude of different dishes with just as many different flavors.
Shrimping is a way of life in Southwest Louisiana and big business for the Bayou State.
Edible flowers have been used as garnish to add flare to fine meals for centuries and were a popular favorite among the Romans and Victorians. Recently, flowery cookery has made a comeback, with innovative chefs and cooks adding a variety of blossoms to provide a touch of elegance or enhance the flavor of their entrees. However, edible flowers can be much more than a garnish or spice. They have been used for medicinal purposes in China for many years and now Western medicine is taking advantage of their many potential health benefits.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a beer? If your thoughts on the beverage never went much beyond its inebriating effects, knowing a little something about one of the world’s favorite drinks might bestow a deeper level of appreciation and equip you with enough knowledge to join in on beer talk with aficionados.
Reading his resume will make your mouth water. Brennans, Commanders Palace, Le Cirque, French Laundry, just to name a few. And he's fallen under the tutelage of a culinary whos who: Alex Brennan, Thomas Keller, Julian Serrano, Alessandro Strata, Eric Ziebold.
Italians have been savoring balsamic vinegar for centuries, however, the American palate has only been able to easily find and enjoy this dark, aromatic, syrup-like condiment for the past few decades. Interestingly, the history of balsamics are as rich and interesting as its taste.
The egg has been a quintessential part of American fare as far back as we can remember. Scrambled, Over easy, boiled. Deviled eggs, egg salad, eggs benedict. They have served as the cornerstone of some of our favorite meals. But there is much more to the egg than meets the eye. Check out these three egg-cellent ways to reimagine the egg.
LaVoglia, a new, upscale Italian restaurant, will be opening this summer in Oak Crossing. Owned by Alfredo Kulici, who owns and operates the popular New York Pizza & Pasta and French Quarter Bar & Grill restaurants in East Texas, LaVoglia will offer classic Italian cuisine, along with seafood, steak and Mediterranean dishes.
Not every piece of meat is cut from the same cloth, particularly with steak. You have got some that are great for grilling. Others that should simmer in a stew. And still others who belong on a clean white plate with a hefty price tag.
Martinis are among the most popular of the mixed drinks. Although the origin is debated, martinis became a part of the standard bartending repertoire in the late 19th century.
Its a new year, and for many, the holiday bloat has to go! Its time to get serious, and a healthy option to consider is a smoothie.
When the weather chills you to the bone, it just makes sense to reach for wines that will warm you up.
When the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino Lake Charles opened late last year, it added more than 740 hotel rooms and suites to the area. Its line up of amenities also includes seven restaurants and five bar and lounge options. Locals and visitors alike are taking full advantage of the newest dining options in town.
Since the days of the Aztecs, cocoa beans have been used to make a deliciously rich drink. Surprisingly, the Aztecs also used the cocoa beans as currency. Passed to the Spanish, English, and eventually the rest of the world, cocoa is one of the most relished hot liquids of the winter season. Whether its a family celebration or a quiet night by the fire, hot chocolate just makes it better. Over time, so many variations of this beloved favorite have been created. Some like it sweet, some like it spicy. Marshmallows and vanilla or peppers and cinnamon, each unique recipe tantalizes the senses and leaves us wanting more. If you love hot chocolate, consider trying a new twist on an old favorite. Here are some recipes to get your taste buds tempted.
After a great holiday party full of rich food and good company, cleaning up is probably the last thing you want to do. Before you cozy up on the couch with some hot tea or creamy eggnog, its best to clean up the festivities while you still have energy. Here are some tips to make the cleanup process breezy and organized!
Wine can be an ideal holiday gift for a party host, friend or relative. It's personal, appropriate, versatile and sophisticated (assuming you're not gifting a bottle of two dollar blush, that is). But it's not always easy to know what kind of wine people enjoy, and the endless rows of options available do not make choosing any easier.
Fall is here and with it comes holiday gatherings. Of course youll see close family and friends, but you might find yourself with a new crowd. Maybe youre meeting your significant others family, maybe its a business gathering, or maybe a new social setting. Whatever the occasion, it can be tough to jump into conversation with new people, so here are a few suggestions.
All this time, you thought you knew what you were doing when it came to beer. You had your chosen brand, and bought it with pride. You knew what kind of beer tasted best and most importantly you knew how to drink it. Guzzle it, even. But all this time that beer has warmed your belly and lightened your step, it could have been braising your bratwurst and battering your hush puppies. If only youd known how to cook with it.
October marks the start of truffle season, and we’re not talking about delicious rum-filled candies dusted with cocoa powder.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
"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.’
You hear that? It’s the sound of backyard grills being cranked up across America.
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.
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.
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."
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?
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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