Friday, May 9, 2014

“On the Way to Your Destination…

there will be roads with incomplete data…”

It was to be the day for pub food and we punched the address into our GPS. It was then that the Lady Who Lives in the Dashboard relayed the above ominous message. For some reason, she does not like Louisiana.

So we are driving around downtown Lake Charles trying to follow what limited directions she gave and found ourselves literally circling a block. We found the street but not the pub. So Chuck pulls out the phone. “What is the nearest cross street to your restaurant?” he asks. The person on the other end hangs up. He calls back. “We’re trying to find you. What is the nearest cross street?” Pause on the other end. Then a question—“Are you a telemarketer?” Forget this. It was Chuck’s turn to hang up. So what is our alternative?

I had a guide to the Lake Charles area and suggested that we head to The Boiling Point, a restaurant recommended by our RV park owner.
One thing to note. It seems that many of the local restaurants in this area are not just restaurants. And The Boiling Point was no exception. They produce and sell their own boudin and cracklins and, come hunting season, have a large side business in deer processing.
Given that this was a Saturday, I was quite surprised that the restaurant was close to empty when we arrived, although the tables started to fill about a half-hour into our visit.
And most of the diners, both those initially present and those came later, seemed to be plowing through platters of boiled crawfish.

The Boiling Point’s menu offers what you would expect from a Cajun restaurant in these parts—lots of fried seafood (catfish, oysters, shrimp, and crawfish), poor boys, gumbo, and étouffée. Weekdays there is a lunch buffet and on weekends there is an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. Reactions to both buffets are mixed. Some on-line reviewers have referred to it as “nasty.” Other claim that it is the best food in Louisiana and a stop at The Boiling Point for the buffet is a must when traveling to or from Texas.

Chuck decided to order the Crawfish Platter that included a very small cup of seafood gumbo, an even smaller portion of salad (mostly iceberg lettuce), a crawfish pistolette, fried crawfish, and crawfish étouffée (for some reason spelled on the menu as A2-Fay).
There was nothing wrong with anything on his plate. But, with one exception, there also was nothing exciting. Etouffée (which means “to smother”) is one of those thrifty dishes intended to stretch a small amount of protein over many servings and always comes atop rice. The restaurant’s version was better than some, but I still find étouffée to be a very heavy dish. The fried crawfish were good, but the coating lacked seasoning.

The plate’s winner was the crawfish pistolette. I have never seen these other than in Louisiana. Basically, they are a roll about the size of the Louisiana rolls served at Steamboat Bill’s, although I have seen a few larger. After baking, the roll is either cut in half or cut with a pocket and filled with a spicy mixture of seafood, spices, and at times cheese. These are snacks that you eat out of hand and once you start you just can’t stop.

I followed the lead of our fellow diners and ordered three pounds of boiled crawfish. And I passed on the option to—at additional cost—add boiled potatoes and corn to the order.
I don’t know how to say this. They weren’t very good. First, they were small. Much smaller than they appear in this photo. But worse, it was almost impossible to separate the tail meat from the shell. This, to me, is a sign that they have been overcooked. I struggled my way through about two pounds and then gave up. This wasn’t worth it.
Well, today has been a giant culinary failure. I can’t give The Boiling Point any more than 2.0 Addies. (Is a pistolette worth 2.0 Addies?)

So where do we go for our final lunch in the Lake Charles area? We stick with a winner and head back to Steamboat Bill’s, which, although this was a regular workday, was plenty busy at lunch.
Having sampled six of the menu items on the Captain’s Platter, we knew which merited a whole plate by itself. So we decided to order one fried oyster platter and one shrimp platter. We could share the oysters and shrimp and each of us would have our own order of the excellent slaw plus our own Louisiana roll. Or maybe we should order two more rolls a la carte. Chuck decided to make that three rolls.
Now that we have mastered the Steamboat Bill’s ordering and seating procedures, we zipped through and quickly found ourselves seated in the restaurant’s front dining room with our plates in front of us. On this occasion the oysters were plumper and juicier than a few days earlier.
Does this mean that I will get the lion’s share. No. Chuck has become quite insistent on having his equal share.
And the shrimp were cooked as only the Cajuns can with their light cornmeal coating encasing sweet and crisp shrimp.
On our way out the back exit, we passed this bank of hand-washing sinks.
They frequently sit just outside the restrooms and allow you to wash off the spices from a crab or crawfish boil before entering the restrooms. The first time you see this you might be taken aback, but soon you expect to see them. Do you remember my comparing the line-up process at Steamboat Bill’s to that used at Phil’s BBQ in San Diego. I seem to remember that they also have hand-washing sinks.

So it is fitting that we leave Lake Charles on a high note following another 4.5 Addie meal at Steamboat Bill’s.

To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.


adham said...

شركة نقل عفش بالدمام الشرق الاوسط متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء

adham said...

شركة نقل عفش الجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركات النقل البري بالدمام
شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارقام شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام

adham said...

شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة وشقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة غسيل خزانات ومكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة ونقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة انها الاولى فى مكافحة ورش الحشرات بالمدينة المنورة رش البق رش الصراصير مكافحة النمل الابيض بالمدينة المنورة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة