Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Little Daddy's Gumbo Bar - League City, Texas

Image from Little Daddy's website
What do you call a two location restaurant with franchise opportunities available? It's not a chain yet but might grow up to be one someday. Whatever you call it the Dining Companion and I had lunch there recently, Little Daddy's Gumbo Bar.

The space is nice; decorated with quirky murals and art pieces. Our waitress mentioned that the murals were painted by a friend of the owner.

I liked the tin ceiling, exposed brick and the overall color scheme. It all works to give the dining room a comfortable feeling.

Little Daddy's serves beer and wine


The main feature of Little Daddy's Gumbo Bar is their Steam Kettles. These are used for their made to order gumbos and seafood items listed on the menu as "from the kettles".

Steam Kettles
We looked over the menu and made our selections. The menu features, besides just gumbos, also burgers and po'boys. I decided on the Seafood Platter and the Dining Companion ordered the Cioppino. We got to watch the Cioppino being made in one of the steam kettles.

The shrimp and oysters on my seafood platter were cooked perfectly, light and crispy. Sadly, the fish I was served was overcooked. A few minutes fewer in the fryer would have made all the difference.

Seafood Platter - shrimp, oysters and fish       

The Cioppino was really good. Clams, mussels, fish and shrimp all in a flavorful tomato based broth. Cioppino is an Italian-American seafood stew that has its origins in California. Despite that it's right at home along side the Gulf coast staples on the menu.

We finished lunch with the house-made bread pudding. The rum sauce was the star of this dish. The bread pudding was just ok. It needed a little more...something. Maybe vanilla and cinnamon? Next time I'll try the Red Velvet Cake.

Overall Little Daddy's Gumbo Bar was good. In fact we plan to get back here again to try the gumbo. It's an interesting concept and a unique way to feature what is being called Gulf Coast comfort food.

If you're planning to visit the Gulf Coast region make sure to try the local seafood. Whether stuffed into a po'boy, cooked up in a gumbo or fried to perfection, you really can't go wrong.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mother's Restaurant - New Orleans, LA

Looking out the window of our hotel room in New Orleans, I kept noticing a line of people at a place across the street. My curiosity piqued I set out to find out what everyone was lined up for. I figured if people are lining up for food in New Orleans we had to check it out.

Turns out we were right across the street from Mother's Restaurant. Mother's has been around since 1938 and is famous for, among other things, the Ferdi Special. The Ferdi was named for a local merchant and is a po'boy made with roast beef and Mother's famous baked ham. Mother's has been featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Man vs Food and Food Paradise. We didn't know any of this when we walked in the door.

You walk in, look over the menu as you head toward the counter in the back. You place your order and are given a ticket and told to grab a seat. (Mother's is usually busy so at peak times there may be no seats to grab.) Your order will be delivered to your table. 
Turkey Ferdi - Turkey with ham, the original debris & au jus

Fried Shrimp Po'boy - So many shrimp my po'boy couldn't contain them
The Dining Companion had the Turkey Ferdi and I had the fried shrimp po'boy. Everything about it was good; the right bread, crispy shrimp and pickles. And of course the other things you need for perfect po'boy enjoyment were there too...

Mother's serves breakfast too. Check out the Early Bird Special:

Served Monday-Friday, 7-9 a.m. only
Scrambled eggs, smoked sausage, grits,
biscuit, coffee or small orange juice

All that for $6.50! If you're not an early riser have no fear, Mother's serves breakfast all day. (Four of my favorite words to see on a menu.) You can even get some of their po'boys as early as 7:00am. There's something here for everyone.

Mother's is open 7 days a week from 7am - 10pm serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The thing is, you can get po'boys all over the city. Part of the fun of visiting a great food city like New Orleans is trying different places and finding the things that will become your favorites. Get out there and explore; there's a whole city full of tastes waiting to be discovered.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Dining Companion and I (and the 4 Pound Wonder) spent a recent weekend in New Orleans. We stayed at the Loews New Orleans Hotel located in the Warehouse District.

The Loews is a very nice, pet friendly hotel located an easy walk from the French Quarter. They were offering a weekend package that included some dining incentives, gifts and welcome drinks in the hotel bar. Add to that the fact that they treat pets like guests and we had to check this place out.

The 4 Pound Wonder was welcomed with some nice amenities all her own.

If all of that wasn't enough there was also this...

That's right, a room service menu just for her. 

The only downside was the lack of a park or other outside space that was dog friendly. The hotel is downtown so this really wasn't a surprise to us. There is a public plaza adjacent to the hotel that has some trees and small areas of open ground. She made the best of it and it worked out fine.

Enjoying some time in the sun

After getting the 4LBW settled we stopped in at the Swizzle Stick Bar in the lobby for a drink before dinner. There are two parts to the bar, the bar area and an adjacent lounge area.

Lobby Lounge - photo from Loews website
We had dinner at Cafe Adelaide also located in the hotel. The chef offers a modern take on traditional Creole cuisine.The food and service were good. We dined here again for brunch on Saturday.
Cafe Adelaide decorated for brunch
Saturday we spent some time walking around and just seeing the sights before our lunch reservation.

A celebration around every corner


I love walking around the city. The beautiful architecture, the people, so much to see.

Part of the weekend package from Loews were gift cards to use at local restaurants. One of them was for dining at Peche Seafood Grill. We had lunch there on Saturday.

Lunch started with Shrimp Toast "snack" and a drink called the Ancient Mariner

Shrimp Toast

Ancient Mariner - Plantation 5 yr rum, Goslings Black Seal rum,
grapefruit, lime, allspice dram
We moved on to entrees with the Mahi special and the Chicken Diablo. Yes, chicken, in a seafood place. It turned out to be one of the best dishes we had at Peche.

Chicken Diablo w/ roasted sweet potatoes

Grilled Mahi, Carrot Rice and Broccoli Rabe
 Dessert was a Salted Caramel Cake with a rum pairing

Salted Caramel Cake with caramel buttercream - paired with Prichard’s Fine Gold Rum
Lunch was good. The dining incentive brought us in but the food will bring us back.

Looking out of the window in our room I kept noticing a line of people at a place across the street. My curiosity piqued I set out to find out what everyone was lined up for. I figured if people are lining up for food in New Orleans we had to check it out. (And we did. All will be revealed in an upcoming post!)

On our last day in New Orleans we had brunch at the renowned Commander's Palace. It's hard to believe but Commander's has been a New Orleans landmark since the late 1800's. It has a long and storied history. Commander's is the type or place where jackets are still required and people dress for dinner. If for no other reason it needs to be on your must visit list for its place in New Orleans history. Unusual for me, but there are no pictures from brunch. I wanted to give this gem and my Dining Companion all of my attention.

If you plan to visit any major tourist area take a look online to see if any of the local hotels (or chains) or local businesses are offering any specials or deals. We took advantage of a package at Loews New Orleans Hotel and got not only a very nice room but several hundred dollars in dining and drinking incentives. Your next weekend getaway may be just a couple of clicks away.

Happy travels!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

To market, to market...Pike Place Market - Seattle, WA

The Pike Place Market's unofficial bronze mascot, Rachel the Pig
No first time visit to Seattle would be complete without a stop at Pike Place Market. We made our way there on an overcast Monday morning. It was fairly quiet and a nice time for a leisurely stroll through the market.


Beautiful fresh produce being set out for display


Yes, please

The had me at BBQ Pork Sticks...Delicious!

Crabs, shrimp, fish and more. The market has it all.

Not only seafood of course...

It would be easy to spend the day taking in all of the sights at Pike Market. There are candy vendors, bakers, fish mongers, artists, all manner of things to see and do.

We wrapped up with a few souvenir purchases and some delicious chocolate cherries from the Chukar Cherries store.

Photo from Chukar Cherries website

After walking through the market we headed over to the original Starbucks store. I wanted to see where it all began. While Dunkin' Donuts will always be my nostalgic favorite, there's a place in my heart for Starbucks as well. Many years ago, whenever my friends mom would visit from Seattle, she would bring us a few bags of Starbucks coffee. None of us knew at the time what a huge sensation it would become.

And with that the Great Road Trip of 2014 comes to an end. Three states and 1100 plus miles. Memories that will last a lifetime. It's not everyday that you can help a friend and cross things off your bucket list. I was lucky enough to do both.

Happy travels!