By Mario Pacetti
I recently had the opportunity to judge a jambalaya cook-off at the Burton Coliseum for the B.A.A.K. Poker Run. I solicited the help of my good friend Garret Broussard.
The event, now in its ninth year, was started to raise money for Harbour House, which is the only emergency shelter for abused children in the five-parish area. It was created by Bob Redmon as a way to bring awareness to an issue that all too often doesn’t get discussed. All the proceeds from the event go directly to Harbour House to benefit the children and help with administrative expenses.
This was the second time I’d been asked to be a judge — the first time was by a good friend, Julius Guillory, who was the event coordinator at the time. With Julius’ untimely passing, his wife, Monica, has picked up where he left off.
Seven teams were slated to compete in the event, but thanks to the need to reschedule due to rainy weather, there were only four: Louisiana Mortgage, Iberia Bank, Berkshire Hathaway and Performance Contractors.
The judges got a chance to walk around and talk to the contestants without their knowing we were the judges. We were able to get some sneak peaks of how they prepared their dishes. I’ll focus on the winner — Performance Contractors.
First off, I loved the pot that this cook used to make his jambalaya. It was a big cast iron wok-shaped pot. In it, this guy made one of the absolutely best jambalayas I’ve ever had the chance to try.
The chicken and the sausage were perfectly cooked, and the flavor of the stock was infused in the meat. As soon as I bit into it, I could see the color throughout.
My favorite thing about the dish was that the rice was cooked in the stock — not made separately and stirred in. In my opinion, when you stir the cooked rice in later, it never gets the flavor cooked into it. At the same time, if you don’t know how to cook it, the rice comes out messed up.
The rice here was perfect, and the dish had so much flavor, I went back for seconds; Garrett took a bowl home with him because he couldn’t eat any more.
The turnout this year wasn’t what we wanted, but there was still a good showing. Please look out for this event next year; it’s on the first weekend of June. Come out and show some support for a great event. Go to baakofswla.com and check out what they’re all about
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305 West College St. • Lake Charles • 337-513-8174
Recently, I made it over to the new Weenie Dogs location at 305 W. College St. in Lake Charles. The location is right down the road from the mall. Even though it is not on the main drag, there are three other restaurants that have done very well for themselves on the same two-block area.
I went with the Philly cheesesteak, and also tried the boudin and mac and cheese eggrolls.
The Philly had onions and peppers, and was topped with Cheese Whiz, which, in my opinion, is the only way to have it. The meat was so tender that it melted in my mouth.
Now, the eggrolls were the bomb.com. The eggroll wrap was crunchy, but the filling of boudin and mac and cheese was tender and full of flavor. It came with a cheese dipping sauce — and everything is better with cheese. This is a snack that will have you laid out on the couch after you eat it; you keep putting a bite in your mouth even though you’re completely full.
Kristi is an amazing chef, and you need to get out and show her some love. You won’t be disappointed.