Sunday, November 20, 2011

TPC Louisiana Grille | Not Just for Golfers

TPC Louisiana Grille  |  Not Just for Golfers

You likely already know that TPC Louisiana in Avondale opened in 2004 and is home of the Zurich Classic. What you probably don’t know is that the TPC Grille in the club house is not just for golfers!

The Grille is open to everyone for lunch 7 days a week. The lovely dining room overlooks the beautiful “lawn” between the 9th and 18th holes. And beyond that lawn is a never-ending landscape of lush wetlands and native cypress trees.

The lunch menu has something for everyone. From “The Practice Tee” appetizers include onion rings ($6.99), shrimp queso dip ($7.99), and oyster ravigote ($7.00). The Grille’s signature salads can be found in “From the Rough” and include pepper jelly chicken salad: blackened chicken breast on mixed greens, with toasted pecans, currants, blue cheese, and onions ($10.99); seared tuna salad served over a bed of mixed greens, with tomatoes, red onions, carrots and toasted peanuts ($13.99); shrimp remoulade: boiled Gulf shrimp tossed in a tangy remoulade sauce over a bed of shredded greens and fried green tomatoes finished with crispy andouille ($13.99); and a Caesar salad to which you can add grilled chicken ($9.99), grilled shrimp ($11.99) or fried oysters ($12.99).

The menu offers 9 sandwiches including the clubhouse sandwich: grilled chicken topped with sliced turkey, bacon and melted swiss on a brioche roll ($9.99); BBQ brisket topped with crisp coleslaw on an onion Kaiser roll ($9.99); BBQ shrimp wrap: flash-fried Gulf shrimp tossed in a New Orleans barbeque sauce wrapped in a warm tomato tortilla ($9.99); and the Rockefeller: flash-fried Gulf Coast oysters topped with Rockefeller sauce and parmesan served on a sesame bun ($12.99).

Finally, the Grille features 5 different burgers made with 100% pure Angus beef. The Champions Burger is griddled and topped with melted cheddar cheese ($9.99); the Voodoo Burger is topped with the chef’s Voodoo fried onions and melted blue cheese on a brioche bun ($10.99); and, 2 flame-broiled sliders topped with American cheese, pickles and caramelized onions ($6.99). The burgers are served with your choice of french fries, onion rings, potato salad, sweet potato fries, seasonal fruit salad or house-made chips.

A popular option is the twilight “Drink and Dine for $5.99” menu that features several items for $5.99 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Of course there’s a full bar – it is a golf club house, after all. The bar is open until the last golfer leaves.

In addition to daily lunch offerings, the TPC Grille is an event destination that can accommodate groups as small as 10 and as big as 225 for luncheon meetings, showers, weddings, class reunions, holiday parties, and just about any other catered event you might need. The catering menus are extensive and offer everything from hors d’oeuvre party packages starting at $19.95 per person to sit down dinners starting at $23.95 per person. Prefer a buffet line? No problem. Choose from one of many breakfast, lunch, and buffet menus ranging in price from $9.99 to $29.95 per person. Oh, and they offer wedding packages, too! The wedding ceremony takes place on the beautiful lawn overlooking the cypress-lined golf course. I’d like to showcase more of the catering offerings, but have limited space here. Suffice it to say, Jeff and Chef Wells can accommodate every palate and budget for any size event!

TPC Grille also offers special holiday menus. For example, they have a Thanksgiving Day buffet for $35 per person including tax and tip. Also keep the TPC Grille in mind for their Mother’s Day, Easter, and Father’s Day brunch buffets. Jeff and Chef Wells hope to add more special events to their calendar and recently hosted their first beer dinner at the TPC, 6 courses with 6 beers for $55 including tax and tip.

TPC’s food and beverage director is Jeff Chiasson, an Archbishop Shaw graduate, whose resume includes extensive experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, most recently at New Orleans’ Red Fish Grill and the Royal Sonesta Hotel. The chef is Dustin Wells who began his cooking career at Pinetta’s in Baton Rouge. From there Chef Wells cooked with Chef John Folse at White Oak Plantation, also in Baton Rouge. Eventually, Chef Wells made his way to New Orleans where he spent 7 years cooking at Dickie Brennan’s Palace Café and Bourbon House. Chef Wells assumed executive chef duties at TPC Louisiana 2 years ago. Both Jeff and Chef Wells emphasized to me that they serve only local seafood, sausage and andouille, and strive to buy local as much as possible.

TPC Louisiana is a beautiful golf course in a uniquely Louisiana setting. The club house is lovely. Do yourself a favor and get out to the TPC Grille for lunch, far away from the hustle and bustle – you’ll please your palate and soothe your soul.

TPC Louisiana is located at 11001 Lapalco Boulevard in Avondale. General inquiries can be made at 504.436.8721, while restaurant information can be obtained at 504.436.8728. The TPC Grille is open 7 days a week, Monday – Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday open for breakfast 7 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. For more information check out their web site at You can also “Like” TPC Louisiana on Facebook to keep up with events and specials.

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.

TPC Louisiana Grille on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 12, 2011

September is Hunger Action Month


September is Hunger Action Month- a national movement to raise awareness and take action to help the 50 million Americans who experience hunger.

Throughout the month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, including my local Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, is working to engage citizens to take action and help spread the word about how pervasive hunger is in every community.  

Many, myself included, take meals for granted. I have a refrigerator and pantry fully stocked but to some that is a luxury. Some parents have to look their child in the face and say there is no dinner tonight. Some parents are choosing between buying gas to get to work and buying food for the family. It is harsh, but it is happening in cities all over the country.

Hunger is closer than you think. Nationwide, 50 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. In Louisiana 1 in 8 people is struggling with hunger. 1 in 5 children in Louisiana is at risk for hunger. In any given week, nearly 42,000 people receive food through Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.

You can donate food and/or cash to 2nd Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana directly. Or, you can attend one of the upcoming Wednesday concerts at Harvest the Music starting this week on September 14, 2011 in Lafayette Square - proceeds from sales of food & drink will be donated to 2nd Harvest.

Throughout the month of September follow the hashtag #fighthunger to hear how members of our community are taking action and to hear about other ways you can help Second Harvest Food Bank.  For more information on the Power to Fight Hunger campaign visit

For more information:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

O’Brien’s Grille | Upscale Steakhouse

This is my article that ran in the August issue of The West Bank Beacon.
While in high school, Ken Theriot worked as a bus boy at the original West Bank Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Stephens Street in Gretna.  Immediately after graduation, Ken was a waiter at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the metro area – LeRuth’s. Two years later he embarked on a career as a bartender with stints at T. Pittari’s, The Fairmont Hotel, Visko’s, and Salvadore’s Disco.
In 1988, Ken opened the very popular Parkside Café in Towne Square Shopping Center at 601 Terry Parkway. The business thrived and he sold it in 1996. During his Parkside days, Ken also opened Drive Side Daquiris in the parking lot of Parkside.

In 2001, Ken bought a piece of land on Belle Chasse Highway and built what is now the flagship Drive Side Daquiris.  His goal was to build a restaurant, and in March 2005, the financing for the restaurant was approved. But as we all know, Katrina had other plans for this area in 2005. Three years later, Ken and his wife, Patti O’Brien, opened O’Brien’s Grille on St. Patrick’s Day 2008. 
Ken’s goal was to fill the void in fine dining on the West Bank. To achieve that goal, he hired local chef Matthew Donelon who sharpened his skills cooking at two prominent CBD restaurants: Cuvee and Rene Bistrot.

The lunch menu is extensive. Appetizers include oyster & artichoke cheesecake ($11), BBQ shrimp ($12), jumbo lump crab au gratin ($14), grilled scallops ($14), and crawfish cakes ($9). There are 8 entrée salads including the steak & spinach salad ($13), Cajun cobb salad ($13), green goddess chicken salad tossed in LeRuth’s green goddess dressing ($13), and a roasted beet and crab salad ($12). The sandwich menu offers an Irish dip – sliced corn beef and shaved prime rib $(15), BBQ duck breast ($15), prime rib ($14), Cuban ($13), and a grilled chicken wrap ($13). All lunch sandwiches are served with your choice of french fries or fruit salad.

The lunch entrees include a good selection of steaks: 6 ounce petite filet ($23), 12 ounce cut ($36), 12 ounce prime rib ($23), 20 ounce ($34), bone in 22 ounce ribeye ($38), New York strip ($36), double cut bone-in pork chop ($27), and for the fish lovers – grilled blackened tuna ($21). Make sure to ask about lunch specials. Recently the lunch special was a big, thick veal chop that according to a good source, was the best veal chop anywhere ever.
Wedge salad
The dinner menu includes most of the appetizers offered at lunch. One salad offered only at dinner is the blue cheese wedge salad ($6). In addition to steaks, the dinner menu also includes braised beef short ribs served with parmesan and truffle mac & cheese ($29), seared crisp snapper with lump crab meat and a Creole beurre blanc ($27), crispy shrimp and corn grits ($23), and grilled salmon ($26). 
Filet topped with lump crabmeat
O’Brien’s interior is a pleasant contrast to its stark exterior. The dark wood bar, hand-built by Ken, is the first thing you see upon entry. It is well-stocked and seats 6 people. The narrow dining room has a sleek, art deco design. Booths line one wall. O’Brien’s wine list is short, but rich. Ken sometimes has a few special labels not on the list, so make sure to inquire.

By all accounts, Ken has succeeded in achieving his goal of bringing fine dining to the West Bank. He uses only USDA prime beef and fresh local seafood. The portions are huge and the food is excellent. The staff is professional and service is good. 
Owner Ken Theriot with Chef Matthew Donelon
O’Brien’s is located at 2020 Belle Chasse Highway in Gretna (between Belle Meade Blvd. and Wall Blvd.). The phone number is 391-7229. Lunch is served Monday – Friday and dinner Monday – Saturday. Closed Sunday. All credit cards accepted. The dress code is business casual. Reservations are recommended to ensure a seat in this small, busy dining room. Check out O’Brien’s on their web site and “Like” them on their Facebook page to keep up with daily specials.

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.*
*To keep up with all things positive in West Jefferson, Algiers, and Plaquemines Parish, subscribe to receive this free monthly publication in the mail. The West Bank Beacon

O'Briens Grille on Urbanspoon 

Monday, August 8, 2011


WYES will begin taking reservations for WYES’ highly anticipated wine and coffee pairing dinners, WYES SEASON OF GOOD TASTES, on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.  Those interested in making reservations should call (504) 840-4886. Callers will be prompted to leave their name, phone number(s), the restaurant(s) of interest, and number of guests in party. All guests must be 21-and-older to attend.

Please note, your reservation is NOT complete until you receive a confirmation call from a WYES representative. Reservation requests will be responded to in the order they are received. Reservations are limited and these dinners are easily sold out. Your name can be placed on a waiting list. Pre-payment by American Express, Visa, MasterCard or Discover is required. Dinners are community seating.

For all dinner menus and event policies, visit To request an event brochure, call (504) 840-4886. WYES salutes the 2011 WYES SEASON OF GOOD TASTES participants Community Coffee, Louisiana Seafood & Marketing Board, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Thompson Meats, and Martin Wine Cellar for their support!

All dinners begin at 7:00 p.m. and cost $85 per person inclusive of tax of gratuity, unless noted.

Latil’s Landing
Friday, September 16

Antoine’s Restaurant
Wednesday, September 21

Thursday, September 22

La Provence
Thursday, September 29

The Lakehouse
Thursday, October 6
$60 per person

Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard
Tuesday, October 11

Vega Tapas Cafe & Catering
and St. James Cheese Company
Thursday, October 20
$115 per person

Heritage Grill
Tuesday, October 25

Chateau du Lac
Monday, October 31

Nuvolari’s Ristorante
Wednesday, November 9

Tuesday, November 15

Monday, November 21

5 Fifty 5
Friday, December 2

“The Teddy Bear House”
Home of Artist Ricky Lenart
Lisa Tanet & Chef Christian Wagner of ETC! Catering
Saturday, December 10

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Donewar's Superette & Diner


Here's my article on Donewar's Superette & Diner that ran in the July issue of The West Bank Beacon: 

 Frank Fradella opened Fradella’s Grocery store on the southwest corner of Hancock and Burmaster Streets in 1927. During World War II, he opened a slaughterhouse in the building next to the grocery. 
   In 1948, Frank’s daughter Josephine “Josie” married Charles Donewar, and the Donewars worked in the business with Frank. Charles and Frank slaughtered live cattle on premises, and sold freshly butchered steaks, roasts, and ground meat in the grocery store.
When Burmaster Street was expanded to four lanes in 1959, the Donewars had to relocate the store. They hired local McDonoughville contractor, James “Chick” Bush of J.B. Bush, Inc. to build a new store across the street, on the northeast corner of the intersection. Donewar’s Superette & Diner has been there ever since. 
Charles and Josie’s son, Jody, worked in the new store as a young boy. Charles taught Jody how to cut meat and how to make the homemade sausage from a recipe passed down by Frank. Additionally, Jody stocked the store shelves, racked the deposit soft drink bottles, and cleaned up. 
In 1977, Jody took over the family business full time. In 1980, Jody’s fiancée, Sandy Miller, began working with Jody in the store, and they married in 1981. Donewar’s operated primarily as a grocery store and meat market that served take-out sandwiches and plate lunches until 1992. At that time, Jody and Sandy took the bulk of the groceries out and converted the space to a diner. 
Donewar’s serves breakfast from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. The “Breakfast Special” is 3 eggs any style with your choice of ham, bacon or sausage, grits and toast ($4.50). Other breakfast items include egg sandwiches – eggs & bacon, eggs & ham, eggs & sausage - on toast, bun or french ranging in price from $2.50 to $4.25. Biscuits are $.75 each or 3 for $1.75. 
Hot plate lunches are served Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. Daily lunch specials cost $7.75 and include red beans & rice, fried pork chop or smoked sausage, salad and bread on Mondays; ½ fried chicken or ½ baked chicken, lima beans or french fries, dessert and bread on Tuesdays; spaghetti & meatballs or homemade Italian sausage, vegetable and bread on Wednesdays; white beans or jambalaya, pork chop or smoked sausage or country fried steak, dessert and bread on Thursdays; and on Fridays it’s fried seafood day and you can choose from fried fish or shrimp, french fries or baked macaroni, dessert and bread for between $9.00 - $12.00. 
Donewar’s also offers a selection of sandwiches on slice, bun or french ranging in price from $3.30 to $7.00. Fried fish and shrimp sandwiches are available only on Fridays. Jody told me the crowd pleasers are their roast beef, homemade hot sausage, and their “awesome” muffalettas (half $7.50, whole $15). Some of the offerings remind me of the sandwiches available at corner groceries I went to as a kid, like luncheon meat and livercheese. Who doesn’t get a childhood flashback from that? Other sandwiches on the menu include meatball, hamburger, country fried steak, ham, turkey breast, smoked sausage, and a club sandwich. Sandwiches are served all day long.
The Donewars pride themselves on making as much from scratch as possible, including the sausage, gravies, meatballs, and cooking roasts for roast beef sandwiches. Sandy does almost all of the cooking. On Tuesdays, Sandy’s dad Elmo Miller fries the chicken and on Friday’s, her mom Gwen Miller fries the seafood. Ms. Josie still lives above the store. Jody still makes the link sausage from his grandfather’s recipes. Donewar’s homemade sausage is available for sale along with their hogshead cheese.
In addition to owning the diner, Jody has been a licensed salt water fishing guide since 1998. He told me that as a boy, he fished and hunted with his dad every chance he got, and became a very good angler. In 1998 he decided to become a professional. The web address for Captain Jody’s charter service is

Years ago the West Bank headquarters of LP&L (now Entergy), South Central Bell (now BellSouth/AT&T), and Coca-Cola were within a stone’s throw of Donewar’s, providing a built-in lunch clientele.  Even though the staffing at those offices is either non-existent or not what it was back in the day, workers from AT&T, Entergy, the City of Gretna, the Jefferson Parish Courthouse, the Gretna Police Department, and other local businesses still flock to Donewar’s for a good, home-cooked meal.

 Walking into Donewar’s is like walking back in time – when times were simpler and less hectic. Here, you will be greeted by friendly owners and staff who serve quality food at low prices. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Donewar’s Superette & Diner is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The address is 938 Hancock Street (at the corner of Burmaster), Gretna. The phone number is 366-3353. Take-out orders are accepted. Donewar’s accepts cash only. Make sure to “Like” Donewar’s on their Facebook page.

 Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon. 
Donewar's Superette on Urbanspoon 

Saturday, July 16, 2011


It’s my sister Kathy’s birthday weekend. We started off the celebration with dinner at Iris last night. It was our first time there.

I started off with the veal sweetbreads – 3 small sweetbread “medallions” perfectly fried served with baby shitake mushrooms and risotto in a sage-infused broth. Delicious! Kathy ordered the smoked duck confit served on a bed of baby greens with sugar snap peas and baby beets topped with a sherry vinaigrette. The duck was tender and the smoke flavor didn’t overwhelm the flavor of the duck itself. Very good appetizer – actually, it’s large enough to be served as an entrée.
For my entrée, I ordered the veal chop served with roasted squash and zucchini. The huge chop was really tender.  Kathy got the black bass served with fairy tale eggplant, edamane, cherry tomatoes, and a delicate silver queen corn broth.

Veal chop
Black bass
Finally, for dessert I ordered the poached pear with salted caramel ice cream and Kathy got the ginger crème brulee.

Ginger creme brulee
Poached pear w/salted caramel ice cream

The meal was delicious! The service, however, was spotty and a bit impersonal. We had to wait a LONG time to get our check – one of my pet peeves. And while the dining room is lovely, it is way too noisy. Kathy & I could barely hear each other at our table.
Iris is located in The Bienville House Hotel in the French Quarter at 321 N. Peters St. Phone number is 504.299.3944. Dinner hours are Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 6 p.m. ; bar opens at 5 p.m. Lunch hours are Thursday & Friday, 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Iris on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Rib Room | Chef Rene Bajeux's New Lunch Prix Fixe Menu

Here's the press release announcing Chef Rene's exciting new prix fixe menu - 3 courses for $25 - at the historic Rib Room:

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Got the summertime blues? Well, we’ve got the cure! Let Chef Rene Bajeux tempt you with his sizzling daily prix fixe lunch and dinner specials that are big on flavor, but small on the wallet. Enjoy a three-course lunch for just $25 (plus tax and gratuity) or indulge in a three-course dinner for $35 (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations are not required, but are recommended by calling 504.529.7045. The Zagat-rated Rib Room is located in the historic Omni Royal Orleans Hotel at 621 Saint Louis Street in the heart of the French Quarter.

Chef specials change daily, but recent examples included:
Petite lump crabmeat salad with a creamy remoulade; Chicken "Grand Mere" with onions, mushrooms, bacon and au jus; and white chocolate bread pudding

Organic tomato gazpacho with gulf shrimp; Sautéed black drum with roasted potato and asparagus salad in a lime emulsion; and creamy cheesecake with a caramel sauce drizzle

Chilled cucumber soup with crabmeat and sun-dried tomatoes; Sautéed redfish with lobster sauce; and fresh strawberries with Champagne sabayon

Smoked salmon galette; Tuna medallions with pasta, summer veggies and saffron oil; and Petite bananas foster cream pie

Located on the most fashionable corner of the French Quarter in New Orleans, St. Louis at Royal Street, the Rib Room has been the haunt of literary greats and the politically infamous for 50 years. Specializing in 100% prime beef and classic New Orleans cuisine, the Rib Room boasts an exceptional wine list, premium cocktails, outstanding service and rich, opulent décor. For more information on the Rib Room, visit

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Salvo's Seafood

Here's my article on Salvo's Seafood that ran in the June 2011 of the West Bank Beacon.

Salvo's Seafood

Sal St. Philip was born and raised in Plaquemines Parish. For much of his life, he worked as a welder, fitter, and commercial fisherman. In the 1980’s, Sal and his wife Carolyn opened a bait and tackle shop on Barriere Road in Belle Chasse. They started serving sandwiches in the bait shop. Eventually, food became the biggest seller at the bait shop, and in 1991, Salvo’s Seafood moved to its current location at 7742 Highway 23 in Belle Chasse.
Salvo’s menu offers a variety of boiled and fried seafood as well as daily lunch specials. The daily lunches range in price from $6.95 - $8.99 and include shrimp stew or hamburger steak on Tuesdays; stuffed bell peppers or white beans & rabbit on Wednesdays; BBQ brisket or chicken on Thursdays; and, shrimp creole, shrimp alfredo, or jambalaya with fried catfish on Fridays.
Salvo’s fry cook turns out really good fried seafood – crispy outside yet juicy on the inside. The po-boys are stuffed with your choice of shrimp ($8.25), oysters ($10), catfish ($7.25), or softshell crab ($9.95). For another $1.25, you can get a seafood plate with any of the fried seafood plus a house salad, bread, and your choice of fries or potato salad. I recently enjoyed a delicious ½ shrimp and ½ oyster plate ($11.50) that was overflowing – could have been enough for two – but I ate it all! In addition to seafood sandwiches, Salvo’s also offers roast beef, BBQ chicken, pulled pork, and hot sausage, to name a few.
The side orders at Salvo’s offer something to please everyone. There are typical sides including fries, onion rings, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans. Salvo’s also serves up stuffed artichokes, crabmeat-stuffed jalapenos, stuffed crabs, and fried pickles.
On the lighter side, the menu includes a selection of salads including a Caesar salad ($5.95) to which you can add grilled chicken ($6.99), tuna ($7.99), shrimp $8.50), or scallops ($8.99). Salvo’s has a child’s menu with prices ranging between $2.75 - $6.50.
Salvo’s “After 5 p.m.” menu offers full dinner service with specialties and sides including sautéed potatoes, corn on the cob, French bread and a house salad – grilled catfish ($10.99); grilled tuna steak with grilled onions ($10.99); BBQ rib plate with choice of 2 sides (1/2 rack $9.99; whole rack $15.99), and jumbo butterflied shrimp ($14.99). Sal told me he’s recently introduced a selection of steaks to the dinner menu, prices include a baked potato and Caesar salad: 12-ounce ribeye ($15.99), 8-ounce flat iron ($10.99), and an 8-ounce filet ($17.99). Add 5 jumbo butterflied shrimp for a surf-n-turf combo for only $2 more.
Salvo’s is also a seafood market where you can buy an assortment of freshly-caught Louisiana seafood including shrimp, oysters and crawfish. Salvo’s boil pots are seemingly always active. As of the date of this writing, boiled crawfish were $3.15 per pound; buy 5 pounds or more for $2.99 per pound; and, 20 pounds or more, the price drops down to $2.59 per pound. I recently bought 40 pounds to feed a group of Alaskan friends in town for Jazz Fest. The crawfish were a bit hit!
Look for all-you-can-eat seafood boil and fry specials every night at Salvo’s. For example, on Friday nights Salvo’s features its $29, all-you-can-eat, boiled Seafood Extravaganza: snow crabs, dungeoness crabs, rock claws, stone claws, mussels, shrimp, blue crabs, crawfish, and 6 sides!
Need to put on a big boil for friends or clients? Salvo’s does on-site catering. They also ship seafood all over the U.S.
Salvo’s food is consistently good at a great price. Make sure to inquire about their Senior Citizen and Military discounts. The atmosphere is down-home comfortable and the staff always friendly.
Sal & Carolyn have worked hard to build and maintain their family business. Their daughter recently finished graduate school and is back working with them. I have been a big fan of Salvo’s for years. Next time you are in the mood for some good seafood, head on over to Salvo’s.
Salvo’s Seafood restaurant is located at 7742 Highway 23 at the corner of “I” Street, Belle Chasse, less than a half mile from the Belle Chasse tunnel. The hours are Tuesday - Thursday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. The phone number is 504-393-7303. The web page is Follow Salvo’s on Twitter at @salvosseafood.

Reprinted with permission of the West Bank Beacon.
Salvo's Seafood & Deli on Urbanspoon

Eat Fest at Jazz Fest 2011

Here's my article on eating my way through the 2011 Jazz Fest that ran in the June issue of the West Bank Beacon.

Eat Fest at Jazz Fest 2011

I went to the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Thursday, May 5th. It was a cool, breezy, sunny day. In other words – a perfect day to be outside! With me were my sister Kathy and two friends, Kelly and Casey, from Anchorage, AK, in New Orleans for the very first time. We met up with more friends from AK at the Fair Grounds – who had their Jazz Fest cubes highlighted and apps loaded with their music schedule for the day. My mission for the day, however, was to eat and to report about it to you. I know - it’s a tough life I lead.

With marching orders from me, my group of 4 sought out these good eats at the Fest:

Cochon de Lait Po’Boy - Love at First Bite, New Orleans

Love at First Bite’s cochon de lait po'boy was mounds of juicy pork topped with just the right amount of perfectly-seasoned slaw and creole mustard. The combination of flavors and textures were perfect. The French bread was light but just sturdy enough to handle the juices without falling apart. It was hands down the best thing we ate at Jazz Fest.

Softshell Crab Po-boy - Galley Seafood Restaurant, Metairie

The Galley’s softshell crab po-boy is one of my all-time favorites out at the Fest. This year the crabs were flavorful and crispy, but a little small for the bread. Still, I enjoyed maintaining the tradition of having one of these delicacies at the Fest.

Crawfish Enchiladas - Prejean’s, Lafayette

Prejean’s in Lafayette is a Cajun institution. Their order of 2 crawfish enchiladas was filled with cheese and crawfish, more crawfish than cheese. The sauce was spicy but not overwhelming so that the flavor of the crawfish was maintained. C’est si bon!

Cuban Sandwich - Canseco’s Markets, New Orleans

I have to admit, a Cuban sandwich at Jazz Fest isn’t something I would have sought out. Lucky for me, it appealed to my AK friends. This sandwich was a combo of roasted pork and ham on French bread, pressed Panini-style. Surprisingly good. Thanks, Kelly & Casey!

Crawfish Strudel - Coffee Cottage, River Ridge

The strudel – a 5-inch phyllo dough pastry – is stuffed with crawfish in a spicy cheese sauce. Very flavorful albeit a little tough to cut the outer shell with those tiny forks dispensed at the Fest.

Beignets, Café du Monde, New Orleans

My AK friends ate their first-ever beignets at Jazz Fest. Pure deliciousness.

Trout Baquet and Crawfish Bisque – Baquet’s Li’l Dizzy Café, New Orleans

The trout baquet was a big piece of trout topped with crab meat in butter. ‘Nuff said. But while the bowl of crawfish bisque was filled with stuffed crawfish heads, the bisque itself was not very tasty – it was under-cooked tomato sauce that lacked any hint of a bisque flavor.

Crowder Peas & Collard Greens, Praline Connection, New Orleans

Kelly made sure to try some real soul food out at the Fest. The plate of crowder peas and greens was piled high and she thoroughly enjoyed the dish.

Tagine of Lamb, Jamila’s Café, New Orleans

Casey picked this dish towards the end of the day. Located on Maple Street, Jamila’s Café serves Tunisian food. The tagine of lamb is lamb stew served over basmati rice. I was too full (really) to try it but it smelled wonderful!

There you have it, friends: a chronicle of my Eat Fest at Jazz Fest. We had a wonderful time taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Fest.

Reprinted with permission of the West Bank Beacon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

WYES Presents Two Nights of Beer, Food & Fun!

Join local and national beer companies for two nights of beer sampling and beer talk.

Join WYES along with local and national beer distributors for a weekend of beer tasting. On Friday, June 3, 2011 from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. enjoy a relaxed evening of beer tasting with a limited number of guests during the WYES PRIVATE BEER SAMPLING. Julie Council’s Jubilee German Band will be welcoming guests to this year’s event at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd. in the Black Gold Room, 2nd Floor in the Derby Building (adjacent to the Grandstands). This event is in honor of the craft of American and European brewers and will feature over 50 rare craft brewed beers, specially made cask and home brewed beers, as well as special one-off beers from local breweries. Guests will be able to talk one-on-one with brewers, home brewers, and other beer industry members, as well as talk amongst fellow beer connoisseurs. Tasting tickets are $50 which also includes lip-smacking food by Crescent Pie and Sausage, and samples from St. James Cheese Company and Cabot Cheese. Tickets to Friday’s event can be purchased by calling (504) 486-5511 x 200, or by visiting Stein’s Market & Deli at 2207 Magazine Street.

Then the following night, don't miss sampling over 250 beers at the 28th annual WYES INTERNATIONAL BEER TASTING Saturday, June 4 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena. Sip regional craft beers from Bayou Teche LA-31, Covington Brewhouse, Heiner Brau, Lazy Magnolia, NOLA Brewing Company and Tin Roof. Try home brews from Brasseurs a la Maison, Crescent City Homebrewers, LA Lagers Homebrewing Club, Mystic Krewe of Brew and Redstick Brewmasters. Sample ales and lagers from Crescent City Brew House, Deutsches Haus, Gordon Biersch, The Bulldog and Zea Rotisserie & Grill. For a list of all brews from Crescent Crown, Glazer's Distributors, Southern Eagle Sales and Services, visit

While enjoying a quarter-mile of beer sampling at the WYES INT’L BEER TASTING, guests can learn more about their favorite refreshment because new this year - attendees can participate in two beer seminars! The first, offers a guide to good matches for pairing beer with food. For the second one, join home brewers Hank Bienert and Richard Cuccia as they conduct “Beer Tasting 101,” where attendees can stock up on the basics of judging beer. Don’t miss tasty nibbles by Bailey’s World Famous Andouille, Cabot Cheese, Cook Me Somethin’ Mister, Jambalaya, Cousins Products “Home of Creole Tomato Salad Dressing,” Saundus Sauce BBQ, and Zapp’s Potato Chips. Enjoy performances by Rocky’s Hot Fox Trot Orchestra, the New Orleans Ragtime & Dixieland Band and the Kilts of Many Colours Bagpipe Band. Tickets are $35 in advance, $30 for groups of 6 or more and seniors 55 and older in advance, and $45 at the door. Purchase tickets online at through Ticketmaster; any Ticketmaster location; at the WYES offices at 111 Veterans Blvd., Ste. 250; or by calling (504) 486-5511 x 200.

During both tastings, make sure to purchase our new “cool” beer t-shirt and don’t miss your chance to purchase a raffle ticket for our massive beer giveaway. The beer shirt is designed by Lauren Thom of Fleurty Girl and retails for $22. Take a peek at the shirt and purchase it online at At each event, one of every beer offered that evening will be placed in a “basket” and raffled off. This is a one-of-a-kind raffle with a chance to win an enormous amount of beer! Tickets can be purchased at each tasting for $5 for one chance, or $20 for five.

Many thanks to: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Fleurty Girl,, Cox Media, Zapp's Potato Chips, NOLA Brewing, The Brew and WRNO.

WYES encourages everyone to drink responsibly! You must be 21 to attend.

LeBlanc's Restaurant | Neighborhood Cafe

Here's my article on LeBlanc's Restaurant that ran in the May issue of the West Bank Beacon.

LeBlanc’s Restaurant – Neighborhood Cafe

In 1973, Karen and Tommy LeBlanc opened LeBlanc’s Grocery at the corner of Lafayette and 3rd Streets in Old Gretna. It was a quintessential neighborhood grocery store where you could buy everything you needed for the day. A limited menu of lunches was available, too. And Karen and Tommy were always there to greet you with a smile.

In 1992, they closed the grocery and opened a full service restaurant - LeBlanc’s Restaurant - a block away at the corner of Lafayette and 2nd Streets. Sadly, Karen passed away in 1994 just as the restaurant started taking off. Tommy continued to work hard to fulfill the dreams he and Karen imagined for themselves and their children, Lynn and Tommy, Jr.

Throughout the years, Karen and Tommy generously gave back to the community. They were early benefactors of the Boys & Girls Club of Gretna. They were also active in the Gretna Business Association where Tommy served as president.

During its 19 years of operation, LeBlanc’s has become a touchstone in the community. The clientele has always been a melting pot. Judges, lawyers, and politicos meet there early for coffee. The Entergy and BellSouth crews stop in for breakfast. Workers from Zatarain’s, Stone Oil, Richard Tools, the Gretna courthouse, and Gretna City Hall come in for an early lunch. Old Gretna natives like my dad and his cousins convene there now and again to catch up over a home-cooked lunch. It really is a neighborhood meeting place where you are bound to run into someone you know.

In 1998, Tommy added a bar to the restaurant that was operated by his son, Tommy, Jr. At that time, Tommy, Jr. started learning the ropes of running the restaurant, too. It was Tommy’s dream for Tommy, Jr. to one day take over the day-to-day operations of the entire enterprise.

Tommy LeBlanc never met a stranger. His big, booming voice and gentle smile always made customers feel at home. You always felt Tommy was glad to see you. He was generous and kind. Unfortunately, Tommy died earlier this year after a long illness. Gretna lost a terrific citizen, and many of us lost a great friend.

Tommy’s planning 13 years ago paid off. Tommy, Jr. was a good student of his dad’s and has run the day-to-day operations for some time, well before his dad’s passing. The place is still as welcoming as ever and the menu mostly the same. To spice things up, Tommy, Jr. has added some new lunch items to the menu. He told me that he and his dad have been working on these recipes for some time but just didn’t get around to putting them on the menu until now.

Breakfast at LeBlanc’s starts at 6:30 a.m. and runs through 10:30 a.m. Monday – Friday. There are breakfast combos including 2 eggs, grits or hash browns, bacon, ham or sausage, and biscuit or toast ($4.39); 3 pancakes, bacon, ham or sausage ($4.39); and, a 3 egg omelet, bacon, ham or sausage, cheese, biscuit or toast ($4.99). There’s also a selection of breakfast sandwiches ranging in price from $1.69 - $5.49. On Saturdays, breakfast is served all day from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Monday through Friday daily lunches are only $6.49, and the portions are huge. Mondays offer red beans & rice with either a breaded pork chop or smoked sausage, and a salad; beef tips & egg noodles or creamed potatoes, vegetables, and a salad; or beef liver & onions, creamed potatoes, and vegetable. On Tuesdays, choose from a hamburger steak, creamed potatoes, and vegetables; baked chicken, baked macaroni, vegetable, and salad; or pasta labella with a salad. Wednesdays its spaghetti & meatballs or Italian sausage, and beet salad; white beans & rice with a breaded pork chop or smothered rabbit; stuffed chicken breast with rice & gravy, vegetables, and a salad; baked lasagna and a beet salad; or veal parmesan with a beet salad. Thursdays is my favorite day at LeBlanc’s. The fried chicken with smothered cabbage and yams is excellent! Also offered are BBQ pork ribs, baked beans, and potato salad; or beef stew and potato salad. And Fridays offer lots of seafood: stuffed pepper with baked macaroni, potato salad, and vegetables; shrimp stew over rice (delicious!) and potato salad; fried catfish filet, baked macaroni, and potato salad; smothered okra with shrimp over rice with potato salad; and, seafood gumbo and potato salad.

Throughout the week, look for the new lunch items which include: seafood enchiladas – shrimp, crab and crawfish topped with butter garlic cream sauce ($7.49); pan-seared shrimp remoulade po’boy ($7.49); softshell crab po’boy ($7.99); and 2 crab cakes over angel hair pasta with crawfish cream sauce ($7.99).

In addition to the daily lunches, LeBlanc’s has an extensive selection of po’boys and sandwiches ($2.99 - $7.25). There are also several salads including a caesar salad ($5.25), chef salad ($5.99), grilled chicken salad ($5.99), tuna salad ($5.99), and shrimp salad ($6.59).

Good news for nearby businesses - LeBlanc’s is delivering again. Call in your delivery order early to beat the lunch rush. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

When they opened LeBlanc’s in 1992, Karen and Tommy LeBlanc envisioned a family-style, neighborhood restaurant where friends could gather over a reasonably-priced, home-cooked meal. Without a doubt, that vision was realized through their hard work, appreciation of their customers, and commitment to their community. Their children, Lynn LeBlanc Hamilton and Tommy, Jr., are determined to honor the tradition. Stop by for a visit soon.

LeBlanc’s Restaurant is located at 136 Lafayette Street, Gretna, LA. The phone number is 361-9216. The hours are: Monday – Friday: breakfast 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., lunch 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., breakfast all day and a selection of daily lunch specials.

Reprinted with permission of the West Bank Beacon.

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