Shwarmas 2401 Ryan St., Lake Charles
My son, Dayton, and I enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine more than anybody else in the family. When the opportunities arise, we take advantage of the situation and do a little catching up over Middle Eastern food.
This story began several months ago when Lake Charles was still deep into the impacts of COVID and the hurricanes. Dayton mentioned a new Lebanese restaurant, Shwarmas — an eatery located on Ryan Street. With a simple text, I asked Dayton if he’d like to meet up at this spot. With schedules aligned and confirmed, we planned our dinner.
A little behind, and a U-turn later, I arrived in the correct driveway. As I approached the building, I noticed the beauty of the brick exterior — the hand painted window scenes with planter boxes and perfectly placed lighting.
Having only heard of the restaurant, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went inside. As we walked through the front doors, the light creams and tans of the tiles and granite caught our eyes. When I saw the venue’s wide-open dining room, I realized it was a counter-service-style restaurant. A digital menu hung on a wall at the entryway; there was another as we got closer to the point of ordering.
We could view the food options though tall glass panes. We noticed the two spits stacked high, one with seasoned chicken, the other with beef, slowly rotating as the meats were seared.
We built our meal, paid and took our plates to open seats. I hadn’t paid attention to Dayton’s choices; turned out we ordered the same dish, one beef and one chicken shawarma sandwich, which defeated the purpose of sharing food. However, this was OK, because we were certainly impressed by what we had.
During a more recent visit, variety was in order. Although Dayton was not able to join me on this lunch date, he did request I place an order to bring home.
This time around, I wanted to try the beef shawarma plate. The beef is shaved off the spit per order, placed on potatoes, drizzled with a tahini sauce, and accompanied by sides of creamy fresh hummus, warm pita, smoky baba ghanoush and feta salad. Dayton had requested the falafel — a deep-fried, seasoned chickpea finger food served on a bed of greens.
Shwarmas is impressive, family-owned Lebanese cuisine, offered quick and hassle free.
Bad Apple Saloon 3436 Ryan St., Lake Charles
Is it irony or coincidence? It’s the Annual Most Wanted Hamburgers Edition, and I’m just happening to share with you one of the best burgers in Lake Charles. It was quite a few years ago when I, and many others, began to take notice of online banter and a bit of camaraderie among the Twisted Cooks kitchen, headed by Jerrett Overmeyer, and other burger joints in the area. Between the pictures of the burgers and the many options available for customizing them, it didn’t take long for me to stop in, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
After a stint of redesigning, revamping and rebranding, the Bad Apple Saloon emerged. The tasty food and amazing burgers come from the skilled hands of Jessica, a cooking veteran slinging out the orders to hungry customers.
Their flagship burger is the Bad Brad. It’s a monster of a burger with three patties, making it a full one-pounder; it’s layered with bacon, a fried egg, cheese, grilled onions and all the trimmings.
It’s always tempting for me to attempt to tackle the massive burger. However, I usually opt for a downsized variant: a bacon double cheeseburger, with lettuce, tomato, onion and jalapeños with a side of fries. And even that’s a lot to get through.
If it’s too early in the morning for a burger, they do serve breakfast. If you’re in the mood for something different, the Bad Apple also offers fish or shrimp baskets, fish tacos, a chicken sandwich or the Sloppy Jeaux. Are you a fan of the Bloody Mary? Robyn, with her witty humor and entertaining antics, serves up one of the best in the city, fully adorned with its own garden.
Take out or delivery services are available.
Full disclosure — this is a bar. While it is smoke-free, the Bad Apple is not for the kids. It’s 21 and older. If Granny Nana likes to cut up, she’s probably going to have a good time and leave well fed.
Heaven became a brighter place.
I had stopped in a parking lot when something in the next lot caught my eye. A carhop walked out of the Iowa Sonic building and headed to one of the vehicles full of people awaiting their meal. It took half a second for me to realize the exuberance and radiant attitude of this woman, who was adorned with the most colorful socks I’d ever seen hiked up to her knees. I was amazed at her smile, the way she beamed. It was a blistering day. Nobody else was smiling due to the heat, but, there she was, unaffected.
I had never done anything like this, but I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away; I grabbed my phone and asked permission to take her picture. Without a pose, without hesitation, she replied yes and I snapped this picture. It would capture exactly who she is and who she was with everybody she ever met.
On this day, I met Mrs. Cathy Meyers. I posted her picture online, and the love poured out for her. There was nothing but kind words and recollections in hundreds of comments.
A couple of years later, I went on to do a story and asked her to be part of the interview process. She gladly obliged.
I only knew her for a small sliver of time. But the impact she left was immeasurable. Anyone who met her could reiterate the same idea. She would call just to say, “Hi, I’m thinking about you. How is your wife, how are the animals? I just wanted to catch up and send my love.” Her voice would struggle as she got tired with her words. I put the rest of the world on hold as I listened to her.
An angel gained her wings; our community, and the world, lost a precious soul. She was a mentor and an ambassador to the food service industry.
She is home now. Rest in peace. Cathy Lurleen Meyers May 20, 1950 – June 30, 2021.