Saturday, February 26, 2011

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen | Home-style Lunch

There are many perks to working in the middle of the French Quarter. One of my favorites is lunch at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. The menu changes weekly, but always available are the chicken and andouille gumbo, the shrimp po-boy, and the oyster po-boy. The sandwiches and plate lunches come with one side dish and range in price from $9 to $13.50. The oyster po-boy with a side of sweet potato fries is delicious! K-Paul's oyster mayonaisse makes this one special.

Other favorites include the gumbo, the shrimp enchilada, and Chef Paul’s butter beans “That make you Crazy!” So good!

The French bread for the po-boys and the rolls served with all plate lunches are baked in-house. The sides include sweet potato fries, cole slaw, thinly fried onion rings, potato salad, house salad, cheese grits, fruit salad, or veggie of the day.

I really look forward to a home-cooked lunch at K-Paul’s at least once a week. The staff is friendly & welcoming and the casual dining room makes you feel right at home.

K-Paul's serves a "deli-style" lunch Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check out the deli lunch menu online.

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gabrielle Restaurant | Oh, How We've Missed Ya!

Were you a fan of Gabrielle Restaurant on Esplanade Avenue at Mystery Street? Are you tired of being denied your Slow Roasted Duck with Peppers, Mushrooms and Orange-Sherry Sauce at Gabrielle? How about the BBQ Shrimp Pie?? Mixed Sausage Grill? You are in luck! You can be part of 2 upcoming dining events at The Uptowner featuring the Sonniers' one-of-a-kind specialties.

First, on Thursday, Feburary 24th at 7 p.m., Vintage Orleans presents "Gabrielle in Purgatory." The five course menu features several of Chef Sonnier's signature dishes, including Oysters Gabbie, Mixed Sausage Kabob, Petit BBQ Shrimp Pie, Slow Roasted Duck, and Pontchatoula Strawberry Shortcake. Each course will be paired with wines to match. The cost is $85 per person inclusive of food, wines, tax, and tip. Reservations required, limited seating, contact

Next, Mystery Street Productions, LLC is hosting their first tweetup cocktail reception on Friday, March 18th at the Uptowner featuring some of Gabrielle fans' favorites from Chef Greg! More details to come. Follow Mystery Street on twitter @MysteryStProd. Website is

The Uptowner is located at 438 Henry Clay Avenue. To stay updated on events at The Uptowner, "Like" their Facebook page at Gabrielle @ The Uptowner.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Red Maple | Gretna Icon

5 generations of the Trauth family starting with Emma Trauth Whiteside have operated restaurants in Gretna for 100 years! Here's my article on the family's iconic Red Maple Restaurant that ran in The West Bank Beacon last year:

Emily “Emma” Kerner Trauth Whiteside opened her first restaurant in the early 1900’s. Whiteside Sandwich Shop was located on Kepler Street between Franklin Avenue and Stumpf Boulevard – across from Da Wabbit.

Years later, Emma moved the operation to a new building at Fifth Street and Stumpf Boulevard. It was there that Whiteside’s became a Gretna institution. Until the 1950’s, the restaurant, bar, reception hall and local gathering place was open 24/7. Whiteside’s flourished. The whole Trauth family worked at Whiteside’s including Emma’s 2 sons, Herbert and Elbert Trauth. Elbert and his wife Stella had 3 children: Marvin, Marian and Dorothy “Dottie” who would all be involved in the family business for decades to come.

Emma Whiteside died in 1962 at the age of 81. For a short time after her death, it was business as usual at Whiteside’s. Her granddaughters Marian and Dottie worked the kitchen and Jack Sullivan, Marian’s husband, tended bar. In early 1963, the family made the decision to rent Whiteside’s to another businessman who opened it as El Swingo’s.

In early 1963, Marian and Jack Sullivan opened a new lunch spot – “new” Whiteside’s on 2nd Street near the Gretna courthouse. In April 1963 Marvin Trauth converted Emma’s house at 1036 Lafayette Street into a bar. A red maple tree in the side yard inspired the name of the bar – The Red Maple.

In 1965, Marvin converted his parents’ single shotgun house next door into the first dining room with 12–15 tables. The Red Maple was a full service restaurant specializing in steaks and has been in business ever since. Two more dining rooms were added in the 1970’s, and with that expansion, the menu grew and business took off.

Marvin Trauth died in 1980 at which time his sisters, Marian and Dottie, stepped up to the plate. Dottie ran things at the Maple during the day and Marian, who worked lunches at Whiteside’s by the courthouse, ran the Maple at night.

When Whiteside’s by the courthouse closed, Marian and Dottie ran the Maple together until Dottie’s death in 2000. Marian was left to run the whole show at the Maple. In 2002, Marvin’s son Brent Trauth bought all shares of The Red Maple and after an 8-month renovation, re-opened in 2003. Today Brent along with his brother Marvin operate the restaurant and bar.

The menus are extensive. In addition to a regular lunch menu offering local favorites like an 8 oz. hamburger steak ($11.95) and seafood platters ($17.95-$25.95), 2 special menus are offered. The Panini sandwich menu offers 8 sandwiches including a French dip au jus ($9.95), grilled or blackened shrimp topped with swiss cheese ($12.95), and a Reuben with homemade corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese ($9.95).

The summer salad menu offers 8 lunch salads including the Red Maple salad ($11.95), an Asian chicken salad ($10.95), Thai steak & noodle salad ($14.95) and grilled salmon salad ($14.95).

The appetizer menu includes 2 original Emma Whiteside dishes: turtle soup ($6.00) and crabmeat remick – lump crabmeat with bacon and topped with Emma’s remick sauce ($11.95). Other appetizers include eggplant with crabmeat ($8.95), and fried calamari ($7.95).

The dinner menu offers a variety of seafood, steaks and local dishes. Crispy fried mirliton with shrimp, andouille, jumbo lump crab meat, fried oysters and bordelaise sauce ($22.95), porter house pork chop with jalapeno pepper glaze ($27.95), pan-seared baby white veal topped with jumbo lump crab meat ($32.95), grilled Ahi tuna ($19.95), an 8 oz. filet ($29.95), and a 12 oz. filet ($37.95). Only sterling silver steaks are served which are the upper 3% of U.S. prime.

Try to leave room for dessert, if you can. Emma Whiteside’s original bread pudding is served daily!

A kids’ menu offering pasta, chicken tenders, catfish bits, fried shrimp, and mini hamburgers is available. ($6.95 - $$9.95).

Wait, there’s more. Tuesday night is all-you-can-eat crab (snow crab and dungeoness) served with corn and potatoes from the boil pot for only $24.95. Wednesday night is $10.95 lobster night. Thursday night is steak night – an 8 oz. top sirloin with potato for only $15.95. And from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. it’s Happy Hour in the bar, Tuesday through Friday.

A catering menu is available upon request. The big dining room can accommodate up to 80 people for a sit-down dinner and up to 120 for reception-style.

The Red Maple’s summer hours are: Tuesday – Friday, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. with continuous food service; Saturday, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. The bar is open “till” Tuesday through Saturday. The address is 1036 Lafayette Street, Gretna, LA; the phone number is 367-0935. You can follow The Red Maple specials on Facebook.

Next time you go, make sure you take time to look at the display of pictures on the wall in the downstairs bar. It’s a pictorial history of 5 generations of the Trauth family starting with Emma Trauth Whiteside and documents almost 100 years of Gretna history. The food, service, ambience and history make for a special dining experience at The Red Maple.

Reprinted withe permission of The West Bank Beacon.

Red Maple Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hogs for the Cause | A NOLA FUN-Raiser

So you think you can cook a pig? Do you love to eat and give to a good cause? "Music, beer, and pork ... what more could you ask for?"

Hogs for the Cause is shouting out to all amateur cooks, restaurant chefs, and BBQ Masters who want to compete for the title of the 2011 Hogs For The Cause Grand Champion. The party starts on Friday afternoon (March 25th) and keeps going all day on Saturday, March 26th. The deadline to enter a cooking team is February 15th.

According to their web site, Hogs For The Cause enjoyed a breakout year in 2010, as approximately 2500 people showed up on beautiful March day to compete for the title of Louisiana’s pork champion. The crowds responded enthusiastically to helping choose the best dish by depositing donations into the piggy banks of their favorite teams. All told close to $30,000 was raised, with a portion of it going into a fund to provide support to families facing the fight of their lives.

This year Hogs for the Cause is moving the FUN-raiser to City Park to accommodate more revelers.

Hogs for the Cause is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning that your donations are tax deductible under the full amount as allowed by the IRS.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Beer Tasting at SoFAB | Bayou Teche Brewery

Bayou Teche Brewing is located in Arnaudville, LA. According to their web site, after returning to America after a six year deployment in West Germany, their brewmaster dreamed of creating a beer that would pair with the Cajun cuisine he grew up eating. Living in Europe, he had learned to appreciate the regional foods and beers of many countries, and how they had evolved to complement each other. After returning to Arnaudville, he taught his brothers and collaborating they brewed commemorative batches of beer for their family’s holiday meals.

On Saturday, February 12th, you can sample the local brewery's 4 beers at Southern Food & Beverage Museum. For details, click here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's Carnival Time | Get Your Hi-Do Bakery King Cakes

Hi-Do Bakery in Terrytown has one-of-a-kind king cakes including crab and crawfish-shaped cakes as well as the fleur-de-lis cake pictured. For the full article in the February issue of The West Bank Beacon, click here.

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.

Hi Do Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lido's Italian Restaurant

Here's my review of Lido's Italian Restaurant from the October 2010 edition of The West Bank Beacon.


In 1970, Pete and Josie Callagaro opened Lido’s Italian Restaurant in Marrero. In 1987 Tom and Emily Lingoni bought it from them. For 21 years, the Lingonis operated Lido’s and built up a loyal clientele. In April 2008, the Lingonis sold Lido’s and their recipes to Jeff and Dennette Young. Jeff made a smart move by keeping the Lido’s staff, including 15-year waitress Gail Lingoni and longtime cooks Lydia Martinez and Mindy Guitterez.

Originally from Florida, Young went to Nicholls State University on a soccer scholarship where he met his wife and has been here ever since. Young has an extensive restaurant background in the New Orleans area, including serving as maitre d' at Palace Café and front house manager at Redfish Grille. After working for others his entire career, Young decided to take the leap into owning a place of his own. That dream came true for him when he bought the established, family-owned Lido’s in April 2008.

Lido’s menus offer a variety of traditional Italian fare at both lunch and dinner. I recently enjoyed lunch there with my sister. We shared the Combination Appetizer of fried eggplant and artichoke hearts ($6.75) served with a warm marinara sauce for dipping. The batter was light and the vegetables were fried to perfection. For my entrée, I had the Veal Parmesan ($8.50) served with a generous side of pasta (wheat pasta is available). The veal was tender and delicious. My sister enjoyed the Chicken Impanante ($7.95), a boneless chicken breast, breaded, fried and sprinkled with lemon and parsley. The delicate flavors of the lemon and parsley nicely compliment the dish.

The lunch menu includes an assortment of appetizers including Antipasto ($9.50), Stuffed Artichoke ($9.00), and fried vegetables served with warm marinara sauce ($6.00). There are 8 salads offered at lunch including the Lido Salad of salami, cheese, asparagus, artichoke hearts, olives and tomatoes ($8.00). Sandwiches include meatball, Italian sausage, chicken breast, veal cutlet, catfish, shrimp and oysters. ($7.50 - $8.00).

The dinner menu offers a variety of traditional dishes and includes several specialties not on the lunch menu. Shrimptini is a new appetizer for 2: shrimp in butter, worstershire and Crystal hot sauce served in a 50-ounce Martini glass with 4 toast points. Eggplant Lydia with spaghetti is fried eggplant medallions topped with rich, slightly spicy crawfish and cheese sauce ($15.75). Shrimp and Oyster Bordelaise is shrimp and oysters served in olive oil, butter and garlic sauce served over fettuccini noodles ($17.50). Chicken Modenese is boneless chicken breast, breaded, fried and topped with mozzarella cheese, prosciutto ham and tomato sauce ($15.75). Veal Scallopini Marsala with new potatoes is medallions of white veal, sautéed with mushrooms in butter and Marsala wine ($16.50). And Tom’s Special is shrimp, onions and bell peppers sautéed with butter, white wine and lemon juice served over wheat angel hair pasta ($16.50). So many terrific dishes to choose from!!

Young prides himself on using only the finest and freshest local vendors from whom he procures top cut veal, seafood and produce. That commitment to quality is evident in the final product at Lido’s.

Lido’s main dining room is quaint and comfortable. The tables, adorned with red & white checkered table cloths, seat up to 75 comfortably. The restaurant offers a full bar and wine list. There’s a back dining room that seats up to 20 people for private parties or meetings. Young also has a catering menu that can be provided upon request. Lido’s participates in gift certificates and through May Lido’s Clipper Cash in Clipper Magazine can be redeemed with meals. Lido’s is located at 1019 Avenue C, Marrero (next to West Jefferson Medical Center). Their hours are Tuesday - Friday 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and Tuesday - Saturday 5:00 to 8:30 pm. The phone number is 504-347-8203.

Jeff Young and his staff welcome everyone to Lido’s. It’s a wonderful place to bring your family, friends and colleagues. On your second visit everyone will know your name and how you like your drink. Lido’s is a welcome respite from our busy and impersonal schedules. Make sure to stop by soon to savor all it has to offer.

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.

Lido Italian on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Gambit's" 2011 Winter Restaurant Guide

Here's the digital version of Gambit New Orleans' recently published 2011 Winter Restaurant Guide, for your convenience.

Restaurant Trifecta at Fountain Park Centre

Restaurant Trifecta at Fountain Park Centre

When local businessman Robert Guidry decided to build Fountain Park Centre at 1901 Manhattan Boulevard, he envisioned a retail and restaurant center like no other on the West Bank. He included 3 restaurants with 3 distinct styles to anchor the center: Parrot Pete’s, Alligator Pear, and Royal Palm. Mr. Guidry sought out a talented and energetic team to achieve excellence in dining and to provide customers with a beautiful, family-friendly, safe atmosphere.

Overseeing all 3 restaurants is General Manager, Tony Duong. Mr. Duong is a 2002 graduate of the prestigious College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University. He spent 6 years as an executive chef in South Florida restaurants and hotels before accepting Mr. Guidry’s offer in 2008 to manage all 3 restaurants in Fountain Park Centre.

The original Executive Chef was New Orleanian Robert Bruce formerly of Smith & Wollensky fame. Joining Chef Bruce as chef de cuisine was the young Jeremy Latimer who had most recently worked as sous chef at Riche by Todd English in New Orleans’ Harrah’s Hotel for a year and a half. Originally from Cleveland, Mr. Latimer is a graduate of the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Before coming to New Orleans, Mr. Latimer cooked at resorts and restaurants in the Caribbean. Upon Chef Bruce’s departure, Mr. Latimer was promoted to Executive Chef whose duties include overseeing the kitchens of all 3 restaurants.

Parrot Pete’s, the most casual of the 3 restaurants, serves breakfast and lunch every day but breakfast is the mainstay here. The breakfast menu is available every day from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The breakfast menu includes “Eggciting Omelets” like the Fa Get About It omelet with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers and marinara topped with mozzarella cheese ($11.95) or the Down Da Bayou omelet with andouille, potatoes, crawfish tails, tomatoes, onions and bell pepper topped with pepperjack cheese ($12.95). The pancake menu includes a long list of pancakes, waffles and French toast ranging in price from $5.50 to $8.50. For the more adventurous breakfast eaters try an item from the “Pete’s Best” section of the menu including Huevos Rancheros ($7.95), Pedro’s Burrito ($7.95), or the Cocka Doodle Moo – ribeye steak topped with chimichurri and served with 2 eggs and grits or hash browns ($11.95). A children’s menu is available. And, in addition to the wonderful breakfast items, lunch-goers can choose from 2 entrée salads and 5 sandwiches.

Parrot Pete’s has rightly become best known for its treats. The cake and pastry selections alone are outstanding! The Triple Berry Cake, Blackout Cake and Doberge are standouts. Don’t want a whole cake? No problem, individual servings of the cakes are available and can be enjoyed with a cup of Parrot Pete’s steaming hot coffee or an ice cold frozen drink including milkshakes. Not into cakes? Satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop ($2.50) or two ($3.50) of ice cream with all the toppings. All of the sweets, treats and beverages are available until closing. The restaurant hours are 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Monday – Thursday, until 10:30 on Friday & Saturday, and until 9:30 on Sunday. The kitchen is open daily until 4 p.m. The phone number is 504-362-9780. Their web site is:

Alligator Pear is a café-style restaurant offering an assortment of sandwiches, burgers, wok dishes, seafood platters, and po-boys. Traditional New Orleans-style daily specials are offered for $10.95 Monday – Friday including Red Beans & Rice on Mondays, Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes on Tuesdays, Smothered Chicken on Wednesdays, White Beans & Rice with fried catfish on Thursdays, and Creole Shrimp Stew on Fridays ($11.95).

The wok dishes are delicious and you can choose the pad thai ($12.95), crispy chicken ($12.95), Mongolian beef ($11.95) or Bourbon chicken ($10.95). Or you can build your own and choose your favorite meat and vegetables. Meatlovers can choose from the babyback ribs ($13.95 half rack & $21.95 for whole) or the rotisserie half chicken with garlic mashed potatoes ($13.95). The seafood platter is piled high with an assortment of fresh, local seafood ($18.95).

Alligator Pear offers a selection of beers and wines by the glass.

Alligator Pear is Zagat-rated. The hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday, until 9:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday, and until 9 p.m. on Sundays. The phone number is 504-281-4472. The web site is:

Royal Palm is in a class all by itself. I recently had dinner there for the first time with my sister and brother-in-law. And, oh, what an outstanding dinner it was! The dining room is big and the décor is simply beautiful. We started off with cocktails, a Belvedere martini for me and Sazeracs for the rest of the table. The cocktails were perfect. In addition to the regular menu, a 3-course Coolinary menu was offered for $34.00. We decided to choose from the “regular” menu that isn’t regular at all. Chef Latimer came to the table and answered questions about the menu items.

To start, 2 of us chose the crab cake ($12.75) and 1 ordered the crabmeat au gratin ($18.75). As entrees 2 of us ordered the petite filet ($34.95) medium rare, one with a side of Maytag blue cheese, and 1 with Bernaise sauce. The steaks are served with a choice of garlic potatoes or baked and a side of roasted asparagus. My brother-in-law ordered the pork chop – more on that decision later.

Once we placed our food order, General Manager Tony Duong made sure to come to the table to welcome us and to introduce us to the wine list. Tony is very proud of his wine list and with good reason. The wines offered at Royal Palm aren’t labels readily available in local wine stores and grocery stores. We chose a 2005 “Burly” Cabernet Sauvignon to complement our entrée choices. The Napa Valley wine had complex aromas of ripe plum, currant and black cherry – perfect for our meal.

The crab appetizers were fantastic! The crab cakes were full of lump crab meat. The crabmeat au gratin was divine! The dish was full of lump crabmeat with just the right amounts of butter and cheese. Unlike many au gratins, crabmeat, and not cheese, was the main ingredient in this dish. It was delicious.

The filets were cooked perfectly – a nice char on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The baked potatoes were cooked just right, not overcooked and mushy like so many these days. The asparagus still had a little crunch. The oversized, double cut pork chop was food art! It was cooked with candied sweet potatoes, pecans, sweet onion jam and served with a piece of battered, crispy fried bacon. It was beautiful and the flavors exceptional. For dessert we had crème brulee that didn’t disappoint.

We got a tour of the busy and spotless kitchen. It’s an impressive operation.

Our meal and dining experience was one of the best we’ve had in quite a while in the metro area! I can’t wait to go back.

There’s not enough room in this article for me to tell the readers about all the Royal Palm menu has to offer. Please check out their web page at:

In addition to the main dining rooms, Royal Palm has a couple of private dining rooms – one that seats up to 8 people and one that can accommodate between 30 and 40.

Royal Palm also has large reception rooms perfect for weddings and receptions. Each room has a built-in stage to accommodate bands as well as a built-in dance floor and bar. The rooms are gorgeous and can accommodate 275 people for a sit down-style reception and up to 500 for reception-style. There’s a wonderful outside bar and balcony for events – perfect for the cooler weather. The dining room and reception rooms all offer a terrific view of the fountains in the center – it’s a really beautiful setting.

That’s not all. The bar in Royal Palm boasts having the largest bar in the city. It’s a lovely setting with an award-winning bartender at your service. Royal Palm bartender Jason Lee recently competed in GQ’s Bombay Sapphire “Most inspired Bartender” competition. He competed against 25 bartenders from Louisiana including bartenders from the Carousel in the Monteleone Hotel, Clever Wine Bar, and Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel, to name a few. Jason won 1st prize for his “Sapphire H20” cocktail. On August 29, 2010, Jason will compete in the contest finals at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas against bartenders from every state. Top 10 finishers get a mention in GQ Magazine and a video clip. The 1st place winner gets to be on the cover of GQ! Good luck to Jason!

From April through September, the bar hosts karaoke on Fridays from 10 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Beginning this Fall, the bar will host musical acts including jazz and blues quartets.

Royal Palm is open for dinner only Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.; until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The phone number is 504-644-4101.

The third Friday of every month from April to November the centre provides FREE live music at “Festival Fridays.” Bring the family and enjoy a meal or dessert and cocktails at any of the 3 wonderful restaurants.

Look for coupons to the restaurants in Clipper Magazine, the 2010 Entertainment Book, and in Living Social/Groupon.

If after eating all the treats at Parrot Pete’s you need a gym to stay in shape, look no further than Exclusive Fitness in the centre that is open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. And Salon La Rouge is a full-service hair salon right above Alligator Pear.

Fountain Park Centre is conveniently located at 1901 Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey. Parrot Pete’s, Alligator Pear, and Royal Palm offer diners a wide variety of meals and treats. Put the family in the car and head on over there!

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.

Parrot Pete's on Urbanspoon

Alligator Pear on Urbanspoon

Royal Palm Steak and Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon