Thursday, June 26, 2014

In Louisiana, meals are meant to share. We enjoy the dining experience from the shaken specialty cocktails, to the fresh vegetable sides, and most importantly, the company that gathers at the dinner table. Memories are made at the dinner table.
The Cable Car from Ember 

As we adapt our meals at home to the seasonal vegetables and warmer weather, restaurants do as well.  I was able to get recipes of a few of my favorite summer selections from the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel’s Otis & Henry’s and L’Auberge Casino Resort’s Ember Grille and Wine Bar.

Ember Grille &Wine Bar
Recently, I shared a memorable dinner at Ember listening to the soulful John Guidroz singing with Kevin Lambert playing piano while I sipped on the old Ember classic Cable Car. 

I’ve attempted to make the Cable Car at home many times – even for my Pokeno group – but since I don’t have a little blow torch, it just isn’t the same.

John T. Edge, an esteemed Southern food writer and founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance, once said, “What intrigues me is how food in public is everyday theatre.” 

The Ember Prime Tamahawk
As the mixologist dramatically melted sugar with fire for my Cable Car, the servers at Ember were definitely in the midst of a performance when they brought the main dish to the table.  The Ember Prime Tamahawk, a 40 ounce rib eye for two, was carved tableside and was as high quality as it gets.  Although it comes with your choice of two sauces, my dad always told me that you never want to cover the taste of good piece of meat with sauce.  The quality of the meat, simply prepared with salt and pepper, spoke for itself.

Ember's New Banana Nut Honey Churro
As a side dish, we shared the Truffled Mac n’ Cheese, an adult version of the childhood staple.  Cheesy, rich and delicious, this nostalgic Southern dish brought me back to my mom’s kitchen in the house where I grew up.  (They also offer Crawfish Mac n’ Cheese that is packed with flavor!)

For dessert, award winning Pastry Chef Bill Foltz prepared a banana nut honey churro.

For an affordable lunch date, my husband and I love going to Otis & Henry’s at the Isle of Capri – especially on Saturdays and Sundays when they have live music.  (Check out the Events Calendar to see who's playing.)  The bartenders are always crafting their specialty martinis that are fun to try.  It’s like being at an island oasis!

Otis & Henry’s Shrimp Cocktail is making a splash on their summer menu and is an outstanding appetizer choice.   It just doesn’t get any better than flavorful, Louisiana seafood
Otis & Henry's Shrimp Cocktail 

I enjoy the Cajun Rib Eye (medium plus please!) that is always seasoned just right and expertly prepared.  We always split the Bourbon Pecan Pie for dessert.  It’s made from scratch and tastes pretty close to my great grandmother’s recipe.

On Sundays, the Otis & Henry’s has their Blues Brunch that is an option for live blues music and delicious food.   

Check out a few of these recipes to try at home this summer.
Monday, June 16, 2014

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is coming back to Sulphur for a rematch against the Bayou All Star Celebrity Team, Friday-Saturday, June 20-21 at McMurry Park, 300 S. Hazel St., Sulphur, La.

Come see several celebrities including reality television stars Willie Robertson, of Duck Dynasty and Gator Queen Liz and Justin from Swamp People hit the diamond to help raise money for the wounded warriors.
Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team in Sulphur June 20-21

The Bayou All Star team also features Jennie Finch-Daigle, former pitcher for Team USA softball; former MLB players, Casey Daigle, Patt Rapp, John Thomson, Kevin Mench and Roy Oswalt who is a 3 time MLB All-Star and Future Hall of Famer. Other athletes playing are David LaFleur, former Dallas Cowboy, Thomas Henderson, former Houston Rocket, Calvin Murphy, NBA Hall of Famer and former Team USA Softball players, Leah O’Brien-Amico and Toni Mascarenas.

The wounded warriors and celebrities will participate in a game Friday and Saturday nights, home-run derby and have a meet and greet autograph session with their fans. The activities begin at 5 p.m.

All proceeds from the event will go towards helping wounded warrior amputees. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at all Calcasieu Parish McDonald's locations. For more information, visit or

Monday, June 9, 2014
Nate Livings featured at a Little League Match at Mallard Cove
Have you ever wanted to golf with celebrities? Well, here’s your chance! The Nate Livings Foundation/SWLA Junior Golf Association is holding a celebrity charity golf tournament Saturday, June 28 at Mallard Cove Golf Course. The charity provides programs to help serve the underprivileged youth and allow physical education coaches to incorporate a 3 week golf curriculum in elementary and middle schools.  

Grab your clubs and golf with featured celebrities like Marcus Spears, Early Doucet, Ben Wilkerson, Justin Vincent and Nate Livings, all on the 2003 LSU National Championship Team. Other celebrities include Damarcus Ware, Andrew Whitworth, Jason Hatcher, Kevin Guidry, David LaFleur and Isabelle Harrison.

Not only will you have the opportunity to meet a celebrity, but there will be a variety of thrilling contests to test your skills from closest-to-pins par 3’s, long drive to hole in one prizes and winning a chance to play a hole with an elite team member.

Registration is $500 for a four person team and $100 for a single sponsor.  The first 25 teams will play at 8 a.m. and the second 25 teams will play at 1 p.m.  All entries must be dropped off or mailed to Mallard Cove Golf Course, PO Box 900, Lake Charles, La. 70602. The deadline is June 13. For an entry form, contact Chase White at 337-274-2127 or or Derek Smith, PGA Professional for Mallard Cove, at

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Capt. Sammie Faulk with Gotta Go Charters
It was 30 years ago when Sammie Faulk decided to leave his day job and become a fishing guide.  He never looked back!  Capt. Sammie Faulk’s Gotta Go Charters started out on Lake Calcasieu (locally known as Big Lake) when there were only a handful of guides at the time.  Since then, the area has really gained a lot of notoriety and has attracted anglers from across the country.

Whether you are looking for fresh water species such as bass, crappie and catfish or saltwater fish like red drum (redfish) and speckled trout, you will find it in Southwest Louisiana. The Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers are great locations for freshwater fishing.  For inland saltwater fishing, Calcasieu Lake is known for its trophy sized speckled trout, numerous redfish and flounder – a.k.a. The Cajun Grand Slam.
I spoke with Faulk recently to get a few tips and tricks of the trade.  My husband is interested in taking up recreational fishing since it is a good family activity we can do together and begin teaching our son.

Best Bait for Beginners
For the novice fisherman, Faulk recommends a Berkley Gulp Soft Plastic in chartreuse. “There’s nothing that looks like that in the wild, but the Gulf has shrimp pieces in it so it’s almost as good as using shrimp and fish will pick it up,” said Faulk.     

He praised open faced spinning reels, preferably the light action 7 foot Ugly Stick and Shakespeare spinning reel that are affordable for beginners to get a feel for the sport.  “For the little children, Zebco’s are fine but when they get a little older they can handle a 5.5 foot rod with a spinning reel.  You’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll learn,” said Faulk.

Best Bait for the Advanced
Faulk says he advises advanced fishermen to use a top water bait in Southwest Louisiana because it is pretty simple to use and gets a ferocious strike.  “Under the right conditions, you can get a heart stopping strike,” said Faulk.

Buying Bait
In Southwest Louisiana, Faulk said Academy has a large bait supply.  For a more personal touch, he likes Lake Charles Tackle, which has a new location on Common Street.  Cajun Tackle, on Country Club Road, is a smaller shop but it has new tackle.  For live bait/shrimp, he likes Calcasieu Point Marina and Spicer Bait in Hackberry.

Professional fishing guides are plentiful in Southwest Louisiana.  Learn more about guide services here.