Chelsea and I decided to go check out the Smokin’ Hot Grill food truck at the Crying Eagle Brewery. I had seen posts about this truck on Facebook, but I hadn’t seen it around town, so I wanted to go check it out.
I asked the young lady that was working the window to choose two items for us, and she picked the Crawfish Fettuccini and the Bourbon Chicken Bowl.
Now, I’ve had crawfish fettuccini more times than I can count, and I really have never been wowed by any of them. I wasn’t really expecting to be overwhelmed in this situation, either, but I was!
The dish is what it is; you can really only do so many variations of an Alfredo sauce with crawfish and pasta. But there was this hint of sweetness in this sauce that caught both Chelsea and me by surprise, and made it a very memorable dish.
The Bourbon Chicken Bowl was a top-notch dish that I could see eating every time I go to the truck without getting tired of it. The chicken was tender and delicious, but the rice and gravy were my favorite part of the dish because the rice had a sticky texture to it, and the watery gravy was just soaked up in the rice. It made me think of my grandmother’s rice and gravy from back in the day, when that was all we ate but never got tired of eating it.
The young woman that owns the truck is named Jessica Yonich, and I asked her where she learned to cook at such a young age. Her response reminded me of how Marco and I got started — having a mom that worked a lot and being left to cook for ourselves.
Jessica explained that she cooked for her siblings at a young age because both her parents worked. She said she started helping her grandmother in the kitchen at the age of 5.
I also asked her what made her want to get into the toughest business there is, and she simply said she wanted to share her love of food with people. Well, she is 24, and is off to a good start. I wish her the best of luck, but I’m thinking that if she just continues to make this good food, she will be just fine.
412 Jefferson St., 337-234-3474
My wife Chelsea recently celebrated a birthday, and I wanted to take her to eat somewhere we hadn’t been. We’ve been on an Asian kick, as of late, so a few friends recommended that we try Tsunami in downtown Lafayette. We met our friends Christine and Alex there Saturday night for what would turn out to be an amazing meal.
First off, the place itself made me sad that we don’t have any places in Lake Charles with this much character — none that aren’t situated inside a casino, anyway. I enjoyed just looking around this place, and taking all the décor in.
We started off with the Ika Fries — fried strips of calamari steak served with a spicy dipping mayo. Now, this wasn’t your typical fried calamari, as the strips were much thicker than I have ever had before, and they were fried in a delicious tempura type batter. The calamari was so tender. The pieces were so large that when I first saw them I just knew they were either going to be chewy or tough. I was so wrong. I could have had a double order, and I would have forced myself to get through it.
We also got the Gyoza Umani as an appetizer, which was pork dumplings topped with fresh cilantro, French fried onions and an Umani sauce. I have no idea what was in that sauce, but you could have substituted those dumplings for pigs’ feet, and I would have eaten them all. The sauce really brought the dumplings together.
The real showstopper of the meal was the Shrimp and Grits. The shrimp were sautéed in a ginger garlic butter sauce and served over creamy corn grits. If you know anything about me, you know that my brother Marco makes, in my opinion, the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten, and I have tried more than my fair share, so my opinion isn’t without merit.
That being said, I must admit that my brother’s dish is now my second-favorite. I could have eaten just this and nothing else, and I would have found a way to write my entire column about this one dish. The ginger butter sauce was off the chain.
We also ordered the Sumo Ribeye — a 22-oz. mesquite grilled bone-in ribeye, served with asparagus and ginger caramelized onion butter. The chefs here are big fans of ginger butter variations, and I must admit that this was a new flavor for me, but one I will try on my own to make.
The ribeye was mid-rare/medium, and was grilled perfectly. It tasted earthy and fresh, which made it all the better.
The real delight in this dish, though, was how damned good the asparagus were. The ginger butter was a big part of that, but the asparagus were crisp and fresh, and had just the right amount of pop to each bite.
We need more places like this in Lake Charles, especially in our downtown area, in order to better utilize some of the older buildings and give us some newer, urban style places to enjoy.