La Boca

My parents are in town for my birthday weekend and we went out to La Boca for steaks to celebrate. I’m so glad we did!

I started with a pisco sour – more Peruvian than Argentinian but, close enough! It was very good, nice and limey.

Dad went for the 14 ounce New York Strip. It was cooked to medium rare and he ate more of it than he expected, it was so tender.

Mom and I splurged on the 24 ounce cowboy cut Ribeye Steak – it was ordered rare and came out nearly blue. One of the few times I haven’t had rare steak come out more medium than rare. So nice and tender, there was no talking, only moans as we chewed.

As you can see, we only had a little left on the bone at the end. Just perfect to take home in a doggy bag. Not that my dog got to gnaw on it until I had done so!

Accompanying the meat were some super good mashed potatoes. Creamy and buttery, it was some of the best I’ve eaten that I didn’t make myself.

As it was my birthday, the waiter brought me a piece of flourless chocolate cake. So very dark and delicious.

We also shared some dulce de leche ice cream. Decadently smooth and rich. I could see myself stopping by the restaurant just for the ice cream.

This is the top rated Zagat steakhouse in New Orleans and it shows. The cuts of meat were cooked perfectly and the portions sizes were immense. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the wine list and helped us find perfect pairings with some glasses of Malbec. I highly recomend La Boca.

Jo Bob’s of Grand Isle

My parents and I took the scenic drive down Louisiana Highway 1 to Grand Isle. We stopped at the Grand Isle State Park to read more about Jean Lafitte (pirate, privateer and patriot) and to watch the pelicans and seagulls fight to fly across the strong wind currents off the gulf.

On our way out of town we stopped at Jo-Bob’s Gas and Grill for burgers.

The burgers are 100% beef and made to order. Mom got the Jo-Bob burger with mushrooms and bacon and melty cheese with the seasoned fries. Very tasty burger and I ended up eating part of hers! Mine was the basic cheeseburger. Very good and meaty.

Dad ordered the cheddar burger and and it was deliciously cheesy.

They don’t have many tables upstairs but do offer free drink refills. Very friendly staff and a menu of more than just burgers. Definitely worth a stop after a day on on the beach.

 

 

Dining Out for Life and Spuds

dining out for life 2016One of the organizations close to my heart is the NO/AIDS Taskforce. Each year, they do a fundraising drive called Dining Out for Life, where a portion of the day’s proceeds goes to NO/AIDS Taskforce and the Food for Friends program (they home-deliver meals to those affected by HIV/AIDS and cancer in the New Orleans community).

The list of participating restaurants grows each year (check out the list here) so I always have new things to try as I make a meal matter.

This time, I headed over to Metairie to enjoy Spudly’s Super Spuds. After hanging a hard right to get onto the service road that runs alongside I-10, I found the little shack with big potatoes.

The menu offers a lot of choices if you just want a meal in a potato – over 20 varieties! I started with the fried mushrooms and then had a cheeseburger to the side of a huge baked potato.

spuds

The mushrooms were scorching hot but the ranch dressing cooled them down. The potato was light and fluffy and the burger was darned tasty with lots of melted cheese and a toasted bun.

The place is small and it gets busy but the staff stayed cheerful and friendly. All the servers were quick to check in, even getting me a refill on iced tea before I could ask for it.

I’m definitely coming back to try more of their potato concoctions.

 

 

Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant

logos pahrs

I drive Highway 90 fairly regularly to Lafayette from New Orleans and I’ve always seen the parking lot full at Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant. My parents were in town so we went sightseeing in the area before lunchtime. The cemetery we wanted to see was locked so we drove a bit into Bayou Des Allemands and then to the restaurant just as they opened at 11am.

They seem menu and drinkmighty proud of making their Bloody Mary’s from scratch, so Mom and I started with one apiece. They were nice and spicy but with only a celery stalk as vegetation. I’ve gotten spoiled with the pickled okra and green beans that many of the local bars put into theirs. Flavor was good, though, and the drink was strong.

For a starter we had the Tiger Fries – basically a pot roast and gravy poured over French Fries. The gravy was delicious and the fries were thick enough to stand up to the amount of wet. Definitely my new favorite way to get my meat and potatoes.

Tiger fries

I had the catfish chips. Small pieces of catfish lightly battered and fried. Very clean and fresh tasting. Except for Middendorf’s, these are the best pieces of catfish I’ve put in my mouth.

catfish chips

The Bayou Blazin’ Shrimp weren’t hot at all. While the flavor was okay it wasn’t what we expected and it was hard to tell the difference between the ranch dipping sauce and the blue cheese.

bayou buzz popcorn shrimp

Dad had the soft shell crab (and ate the claws off before I could get the plate to take a picture). He said it was fresh and good but I think they look like spiders cooked like that so I didn’t try any.

soft shell crab

Service was pretty fast, which was good as the place filled up quickly the minute they opened.

It is worth a drive or to make it a stop along the way down Highway 90.

Wayne’s Hickory Pit BBQ – Livingston, Louisiana

IMG_20141001_124346_901-1Driving back from Baton Rouge today, we took the scenic road home which took us past Wayne’s Hickory Pit BBQ. It is midway down S. Frost Road between Florida Blvd (190) and I-12 They offer free taste tests and there are cords of hickory wood stacked up in the back. I was very stoked by these encouraging signs.

Obviously, they haven’t spent much on ambiance. There is a serving counter where you walk in and lots of deer heads (and some longhorns) on the walls of the small dining room. However, the folks are very friendly and Wayne sits at one of the booths watching all that goes on in his place.

I ordered the bbq pork sandwich plate with fries – large pieces of meat, very juicy and smokey. One oddity was the use of mustard over bbq sauce but it went pretty well with the meat. Overall, high marks for the pork.

IMG_20141001_122645_596
Michelle had the bbq beef sandwich plate with coleslaw – the meat was in smaller pieces but still quite good. Not quite as juicy as the pork, it still tasted of smoke. The coleslaw was a little salty but that was a good offset for the overfilled sandwich.

We also had the banana pudding. In a word, awesome. Might even be better than mama used to make! Fresh made as the wafers were still crisp and had a whipped cream topping.

The servers were friendly and the prices are rather good. Had it not been raining (and if we didn’t have the dog in the car), we would have gotten our meal to go as the dining room is very small. Next time, we will also give the racks of ribs a try as well.