Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What Were We Thinking??

It was our first day back in Louisiana and our plans for the day included lunch at a Celtic pub. Huh? You may be asking your self. Well, that was what we concluded when we got out of the Big White Truck at the Visitors Center across the road from Steamboat Bill’s in Lake Charles. We’re back in Louisiana and we’re going to eat Celtic food? I don’t think so.

“The year was 1982. Kathi Kocik Bonamici, from Chicago, and her three young daughters…found themselves in the coastal community of Lake Charles, Louisiana. With very little money, no friends or family in the area, and a strong will for survival, Kathi soon became ‘Kathi, the shrimp lady’—a household synonym known for her bubbling personality, honesty, hard work and a very deep love for all human beings. Her strong desire to deliver the freshest shrimp possible at a very reasonable price quickly gained her the respect of the consumer and the fisherman alike. With her brother Billy Bonamici's help, her business grew to the point where they needed a shrimp dock and buying plant to supply the demand…. With the help of her brother and daughters…a new phenomenon to Cajun country sprang up from the seafood market industry—Steamboat Bill's Cajun Seafood Restaurants with two Lake Charles, LA locations…” (steamboatbills.com).
The restaurant and its owners are not lacking in the awards department. The owner, Kathy Vidrine, was the 2012 winner of the SW Louisiana Restaurateur of the Year award. And the restaurant was named Number One restaurant in Southwest Louisiana in 2013, was Lagniappe Magazine’s awardee for best crawfish and best seafood in 2011 and 2012, and was one of USA Today’s 10 Great Places to ‘Take an Exit to Good Eatin’.
So we pulled into Steamboat Bill’s parking lot and again exclaimed: “What were we thinking?” You see it was Good Friday in very Catholic Louisiana and this is one of the days on the church calendar when Catholics don’t eat meat. Instead they go to Steamboat Bill’s. And, when they arrive, they find at the entrance to the parking lot two employees directing traffic.
In an article at gator995.com by Scott Lewis titled the “5 Jobs You Can Only Find in Lake Charles” Number Four on the list is Steamboat Bill’s Parking Lot Pointer Guy. “Another one of the jobs that you will only be able to find in Southwest Louisiana is the ever-popular Steamboat Bill’s Parking Lot Pointer Guy!...And the hardest part of being Steamboat Bill’s Parking Lot Pointer Guy is not the heat or the long hours, but finding a place to put all the tour buses that pull in—those things are long!”
Inside was a scene of controlled chaos.
Once we got to the doors there stood a young woman with menus who asked for the number in our party, handed out menus, and then directed us to the appropriate line at the counter to place your order.

And once that is completed another staff member directed us to one of the three dining rooms.
Now some on-line reviewers objected to—in their words—“being herded like cattle.” This whole process just reminded us of the efficient ordering process at Phil’s BBQ in San Diego.
We made our way through the front dining area that was decorated by colored ceiling lights and multiple neon beer signs to the back room and found a table under the gaze of this ominous looking big guy.
We decided to share the Captain’s Platter of stuffed shrimp (2), stuffed crab (1), catfish (1 filet), and shrimp and oysters (many of these two) that was accompanied by fries, slaw, and a Louisiana roll. But first we shared an appetizer portion of their red beans and rice.
Having been disappointed by restaurant red beans and rice so often, I don’t know what prompted me to add this to the order. But we were lucky that I did. It was medium spicy and full of small pieces of smoked sausage. The beans were tender and not mushy and the dish was creamy and not soupy. This version did not disappoint.

Now take a look at this huge platter of food! This photo gives a good view of the stuffed crab and the catfish fillet.
The stuffed crab was the one item on the platter that disappointed a bit. The bread mixture was so highly seasoned that it obscured any flavor of the crab.

Here you can see a close-up of the fried shrimp.
Since we are in Louisiana, it goes without saying that they were perfectly fried.

Off to the left of the photo showing the shrimp you will see the Louisiana roll. I was prepared to let Chuck eat this by himself, but he took one bite and told me I had to try it. “I think this has been fried,” I exclaimed. And this was confirmed by the woman who came to freshen our iced teas. It turns out that these are bakery rolls that you can find anywhere around Lake Charles, but Steamboat Bill’s tossed them into the fryer for a few minutes to heat and crisp them.
Sitting just to the left of the cole slaw in this photo is one of the two stuffed shrimp. The shrimp were butterflied and then filled with the same stuffing as the crab before being battered and fried. The stuffing was a better match for the shrimp than for the crab. And the cole slaw was an excellent version—rough chopped, cold and crisp, and tossed with a light and sweet dressing.

And up from the cole slaw and just past the fries are a small portion of the fried oysters. I used to have fried oysters all to myself. No more. Chuck is developing quite a taste for fried oysters, although he hasn’t mustered the courage yet to eat the large juicier ones. These are still mine, all mine.

This 4.5 Addie stop certainly turned out better than a Celtic pub, and now we really feel back home in Louisiana.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, 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