Archives for the month of: February, 2016

With my family being from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, attending school there as well at THE Southern University, I know a thing or two about some good seafood.  A couple of things that grew on me while living there…turkey necks, potato salad (specifically my cousin Cathy’s, my favorite), crawfish pie and hot, boiled crawfish.

There’s a secret to a good batch of crawfish.  I’ve never boiled crawfish, but I’ve been around enough excellent cooks to know how it’s done.  You gotta season your water!  It’s crucial.  If you don’t, they’re pretty disgusting when eaten.  That big steaming pot should contain mountains of flavor.  Just when you think there’s enough, ADD MORE.  Lemon, garlic, onion, Zatarain’s seasonings, or whatever brand you prefer, bay leaf, like Guy Fieri says, “FLAVOR TOWN!”  This brings me to say, the places I’ve been in Dallas, they don’t do this, at all.  Let’s see, the places I can remember specifically are Aw Shuck’s and I believe Pappadeaux.  They boil the crawfish and then sprinkle this spicy “seasoning” on top.  It’s not seasoning, it’s like hot, spicy powder, all over the shell, but not a one speck touches the delicious meat inside the crawfish tail.  So pretty much when you’re eating it, all you get is a numb tongue and lips on fire.  I hate that.

All that brings me to my amazing experience I had this past week on a regular ol’ Wednesday.  One of my girls had a craving for crawfish, so I decided to join her at Nate’s Seafood & Steakhouse.  I’m always down to eat, so why not?!  I’m very familiar with Nate’s.  My family and my God family used to frequent this place back in the day, when we were a lot younger.  Seeing as though my palette wasn’t as experienced as it is now, my first time having crawfish here, all I remember was way too spicy and my poor little juvenile tongue could not handle it.  It just wasn’t a good, at all.  Fast forward to today, I was a little skeptical to order the crawfish, because I didn’t want to be disappointed again.  Trying to be positive, I went to my trusty Yelp Community, saw nothing but great reviews, so I went for it, “Let me get two pounds of crawfish, mild, one pound of shrimp and a side of JP Juice!”

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JP Juice.  It deserves a paragraph of it’s own.  If you ever visit Nate’s, you must order a bowl of this delicious liquid on the side.  The only way I can describe JP Juice is, “Oh my GAWD!”  It’s this hot mixture of garlic butter, starting off right already, lemon juice and for more tang, half pieces of lemon floating in the bowl so beautifully, and other secret seasonings I’m sure.  If I could’ve bottled this up, and taken it home, which I’m sure if I asked they would’ve made it happen, I would have.  When my crawfish and shrimp came out, the bowl sat so pretty in the middle of this boiled seafood Heaven.  It was love and lust at first dip.  The crawfish were huge, tails full of meat, the shrimp was colossal, this made it so easy for each piece to cradle that JP Juice and make it right into my mouth.  I got so greedy and so caught up in the sauce, I remember at one point, I was dipping the seafood with three fingers.  It was so un-lady like, but I didn’t give a damn. LoL.

Never have a finished every crawfish platter that has been placed in front of me.  Let me tell you, my how things have changed.  That crawfish was so good.  Just the right amount of heat, with a boat load of flavor, the spice didn’t linger.  I don’t even think my nose started running.  That’s pretty big, and no numb lip either.  I truly enjoyed my food.

Ever since that night, I’ve craved them everyday, no lie.  Don’t give me any corn, don’t want potatoes either.  So, any takers on a blind date to Nate’s?! It won’t be much talking, I just don’t wanna sit at a table, by myself, and devour two or more pounds of crawfish and shrimp.  When someone’s with you, it’s not as … piggish.

 

 

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First, I want to start by saying, I am addicted to Amazon Prime!  I know I’m late, but I can’t stop ordering things, it’s RIDICULOUS!  I mean things get to you quick, fast and in a hurry with just the click of a button!   So, earlier this week, I was watching recordings of one of my favorite shows, Top Chef, on Bravo and Chrissy Teigen was a guest judge for the Quick Fire Challenge.  Well, Padma, whom I really don’t care for, which is neither here nor there, mentioned that Mrs. John Legend had a book that recently came out, Cravings.  Now, I will say, that I never really cared for Chrissy Tiegen, she just didn’t sit right with me.  Don’t ask me why, but she kinda annoyed me.  But, honey….let me tell you, that has all changed within a matter of about a month.  She has grown on me tremendously.  You know why?! She’s a freakin’ FOODIE!  I mean, she enjoys her food, she savors her food, she gets happy around her food, food is pretty much LIFE to her, and I LOVE IT!  You already know what I did next: Amazon Prime HERE I COME!  And I got my book in two days, as promised and it was everything and more than I expected.

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First, upon opening it, I love that it’s a hardcover, made it very easy for me to stand it up in front of all of the books that I’m currently juggling.  Second, the pictures.  They take up whole pages.  I’m a visual woman, especially when it comes to food.  I don’t play.  I like to see damn near every ingredient.  I want it to make me lick the page.  I think that’s why I’m so obsessed with and following so many food pages on Instagram.  Don’t y’all judge me!  And of course, the recipes.  She’s taken simple recipes, things that are made everyday and added her own greedy, glutinous, buttery, bacon-y, bready-y, family tradition, personal touch to it.  It’s perfect!

As soon as I opened it, I flipped through every page and a few recipes that stuck out to me and I drooled over instantly…

  • Artichoke, Spinach & Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Capon’s Chrissy Burger & Onion Rings
  • Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch Dressing
  • John’s Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Pull Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy (this though!)
  • Dump and Done Ramen Salad
  • Dad’s Fried Fish Sandwich with Coleslaw and Tartar Sauce

Ok, let me stop, because I’ll end up listing the whole book.  Literally.  Y’all I don’t even order cookbooks, because everything is at your fingertips now, thanks to the World Wide Web i.e., Instagram , Pinterest.  I must say I’m very excited about this book.  I even Tweeted, that for the month of April, since I gave up meat for Lent, that I will try my hardest to make a recipe from Cravings either every day, yes that’s extreme, OR at least every week.  The recipes look so fun, so freakin’ delicious, and Chrissy AND John look so happy in the book and I’m SURE it’s because they’ve whipped this stuff up in the kitchen numerous times.  I wanna be like THAT! LoL…And trust me, when these recipes are made, y’all WILL know.  Get Ready!

 

 

 

“Real Food Done Real Good”.  Elizabeth’s first owner Heidi Trull was REAL right when she said this.  Ever since the first time I visited Elizabeth’s for Sunday breakfast, with a group of my closest friends, I make it a point to go on every visit now.  Brunch or breakfast.  Doesn’t matter, cause I know I’m going to eat REAL GOOD!

I don’t know how my friends found Elizabeth’s, but then again I DO, because word travels fast when it comes to delicious food.  Tucked away in the Upper Ninth Ward at the corner of Gallier St. and Chartres St., you’ll see a two story, older house, decorated with artwork and bright colors, looks very “lived in” and old school.  Like somebody’s grandmother is in the kitchen doing major damage.  You really can’t miss it.

Before we were even seated at our table, I knew exactly what I wanted to treat the table to.  It’s something you can’t resist, one of their menu items that is just too good to miss out on.  They found a way to make bacon, better.  Who knew?!  Praline Bacon.  That’s all you need to hear.  A pretty white plate with four candied pieces of pork.  One of the best teaser appetizers I’ve ever had.  Bacon Candy.  Two words that go so well together.

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Do you SEE this?! *sigh*

Now let me take you back for a second.  On one of my visits to New Orleans, for the Dallas Cowboys vs. Saints game, we visited this little bar, next to a restaurant called Stanley, AMAZING brunch might I add.  Not sure what the bar was called, but it’s right next door.  We waited here while our table was prepared.  It’s located in the heart of the French Quarter, right by Jackson Square.  There was a drink they served called Brandy Milk Punch.  Simple concoction of Brandy, whole milk, powdered sugar and nutmeg to garnish the drink with.  I liked it so much there, that I saw fit to go ahead and order one at Elizabeth’s.  Just as good as I remember from the first time.  Reminds me of the holidays.

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***Just a disclaimer, when I’m on vacation, I EAT! I tend to go all the way in, I mean I liked to taste the local flavors of the city.  I like to share food, I will order A LOT, so y’all don’t judge me and my greedy a** LOL***

Along with the pig candy, I ordered the Fried Boudin Balls in Creole Mustard Sauce.  These balls, oh I just wish they gave us six instead of three.  The worst is when you take that last bite, because it’s gone, there’s no more.  So, savor every bite.  What really hits it off is the mustard sauce that they sit so pretty in.  It’s the perfect addition to really make the flavors in the boudin balls shine.  It’s smoky, it’s thick, it’s got a sweet hint to it and y’all know sweet and savory is my thing!

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Sadly, but not surprisingly, I was on the full side after indulging in these delicious delicacies, but what do they say? The show must go on!  An entrée was ordered, the French Toast Burrito.  So big, I couldn’t even finish it.  STUFFED with bacon, egg AND crumbled sausage.  Drizzled with maple syrup, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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I definitely over did it, BUT I had no complaints.  How could I complain when all that goodness cooked with love was in my belly?! The service was great, everything I ate, with no surprise, was delightful!  Don’t forget, when you go, start off with that Praline Bacon and your day will definitely be A-OK.

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This review, this acknowledgement, this recognition of culinary goodness is well overdue.  It brings me joy to write this, really.  I’ve been putting it off only because I want it to be nothing less than fantastic.  Let me say, I absolutely loved everything about Pink Magnolia.  My expectations were more than met.  Let me keep it really real though – they exceeded my expectations, above and far beyond, even with our rather sarcastic, somewhat slick-talking waiter Mr. Chip.  I’ll leave that subject sitting right here though.  It’s all about the part that y’all wanna hear about: the FOOD.

From the moment my reservation was made for Sunday Funday brunch, I could not stop looking at the pictures and suggestions on Yelp (of course), couldn’t stop perusing the restaurant website, looking at what I might possibly order and I was most excited about meeting the amazingly fun, Chef Blythe Beck.

If you don’t know about Chef Blythe, get into her.  Quickly. I fell in love with her brash, blunt, colorful, saucy attitude back in 2009 on her reality show The Naughty Kitchen, especially when she hosted former Dallas Cowboy Bradie James’ engagement dinner.  It screamed classy, elegant, yet casual and entertaining.  So well put together and I remember one thing specifically – the Mini Chili Dogs.  The fact that she could prepare such a nostalgic item, with her flare to it, I knew for sure when I saw it served, along with every other mouth-watering meal, I was sold on Chef Blythe Beck.

Walking up to Pink Magnolia, well just looking at the building, located on Davis St. in the heart of Bishop Arts District in Dallas, TX, it’s so home-like, comfy and cozy.  Walking inside, everything is literally right in front of you.  The bar, the kitchen, an open kitchen, which is love, it’s so personal and intimate and an outside, covered patio area for more seating.  The place gets pretty packed, from what I could tell on this beautiful Sunday.  As soon as we sat down, I saw her.  Chef Blythe and her bright red hair, going to work over the fire-blazing stove, flicking her wrist, pots and pans everywhere.  I was so star struck, but I had to focus and figure out what I was about to devour.

What’s crazy is, the weekend I chose to to visit Pink Magnolia, it was within the 21 days that I chose to give up any form of bread *blank stare*.  So, unfortunately I wasn’t able to indulge in the Garlic Biscuits & Cinnamon Brown Sugar Butter.  I must say, they looked so flippin’ good and smelled even better.  So flaky, hot and fresh.  Because I didn’t get my bread fix, I was ready to eat.  Fast.

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I decided on the Corned Beef Hash.  I see it on pretty much every brunch menu I’ve ever looked at, but I’ve never had it, so what’s what I got.  It was very good, a filling portion, lots of thick, flavorful, savory corned beef, not thin and shredded like I’ve had before.  Chunky potatoes, seasoned perfectly, a little too much grease at the bottom of the bowl, but I saw it as flavor.  The egg on top, was supposed to be sunny-side up, but it wasn’t runny at all.  Cooked hard, kinda rubbery, but I just moved it to the side, didn’t let it ruin my moment.  Along with my main entree, I couldn’t resist ordering sides, a side of grits, buttery cheese grits and Kentucky Bourbon sausage links.  So much food, but who was not complaining?! Is this girl right here.  I didn’t get to taste the other dishes at my table: Steak & Egg Tacos and the Fried Chicken and Mini Waffles, but judging from the clean plates spread about the table, I’d say everything was pretty dang tasty.

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One really neat aspect of this restaurant, the restrooms.  Weird huh?!  Sure you weren’t expecting me to say that.  You walk in, and plastered ever so neatly on the walls are Chef Blythe’s family recipes.  To share such personal keepsakes with complete strangers, strangers that have fallen in love with her food within an hour or two, is just so cool, such a loving touch.  It really shows where her passion for food comes from.

The hospitality from Chef Blythe and her staff, was awesome, so energetic.  We paid our bill and ended up talking more, an hour or so more, and ended up ordering dessert and coffee.  It was only right!  If you have the pleasure of visiting Pink Magnolia, which it should already be on your “To Visit” List, get the Butter Cake or the Gingerbread Cheesecake.  Trust me.  I would not steer you wrong.  You all should know that by now.  The ending to a great Sunday, happened when Chef Blythe Beck, took the time out, even while running a hectic kitchen, to take a picture with little ol’ me.  Smelling like “bacon and shame” as she said, with a huge smile on her face, we were both ready for the camera.  It truly made my day.

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The magnolia flower is a symbol of sweet, southern strength.  Chef Blythe Beck spreads positivity in everything that she does, from every picture that she takes, to every customer she greets in her restaurant.  Not just any kind of positivity, PINK positivity.  Pink Magnolia exemplifies this all.

 

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