1541 Martin Luther King/Highway 171 North, Lake Charles, 244-2078
With the influx of all the new industry and home development in this area, we’ve seen more and more new places opening around town, as well as some already established places moving into new locations. To name just a couple, 121 Artisan Bistro is supposed to be getting a new spot on Nelson and Casa is opening a new Sulphur location.
I’ve found that we’re getting new places that simply offer great plate lunches for the working man or woman. How can you go wrong with a good plate lunch?
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a new place opening up on 171 near I-10 named Pa-D’s. It’s located in a small, unassuming location that you’d miss if you blinked. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.
My friend Garrett and I stopped in recently on a Monday to check it out. As we went inside, we saw all the food offered for the daily specials. The first thing I noticed was some baked chicken — you know, the kind your grandma covered in seasoning and baked until you could pull out the bones. I ordered some along with rice and gravy, green beans and cornbread.
The gravy was just made from the drippings in the pan; they left it loose and didn’t try to thicken it up. That was fine by me.
Garrett had the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. Both entrees were seasoned perfectly. Nothing needed to be added to the meats at all.
The portions were just right, so you could make it through your day and not feel like you needed a nap.
Garrett and I decided to make it back for ox-tail on Tuesday, as I love me some ox-tail. Well, these cuts were larger than any I’ve seen before. They weren’t cooked down into a thicker gravy — something I’ve become used to. The cooks were again using just the meat’s natural juices and pan drippings to make their gravy. The meat was super-tender; it melted in your mouth. The gravy and rice brought it all together nicely.
I had cabbage with this meal. With me, there is no middle ground when it comes to cooking cabbage; you either hit a home run or you strike out.
Our area cooks aren’t creating the wheel here when it comes to plate lunches. They don’t have to, because if you take every place in town that makes plate lunches, you’re going to find the same menu items over and over, but they’re all going to be cooked a little differently. That’s great because it gives us that many more options to choose from.
Pa-D’s is a local business with people from our area. We need to get out and support the businesses that represent who we are in SWLA. I’m all for supporting new business that doesn’t originate here, but I damn sure am going local first.
I stopped in for lunch with Garrett at Cajun’s Wharf (3500 Ryan St.). Before, I had never thought of this as a place to get lunch. But it turns out it does have a nice little lunch menu with several tasty treats.
I chose to get the duck tender appetizer, which comes with a type of pepper jelly. The duck was tender and well-seasoned, and it had a crisp batter that didn’t smother the taste of the duck. The sauce was just right for dipping the duck in.
Garrett and I and our friend Blake all had the pound of boiled shrimp. Man, were these shrimp nice and fat and cooked just the right amount of time. There’s nothing worse than over-cooked shrimp.
This is another local place that we need to show some more love and support for. I promise you won’t be disappointed.