Wednesday Night Wine Tasting at Song Phi Nong

wine
It’s not difficult to enjoy yourself with six glasses of wine….

Where to eat: Song Phi Nong ( 279 Enterprise Dr #A, Houma)

What to order: Wine Tasting (Wednesdays at 6:30 pm)

Spicy Asian food, six different wines, and bingo; it’s an odd combination that somehow works beautifully and looks to become my new Wednesday night ritual.

Song Phi Nong has been the top contender for my favorite restaurant in Houma for a good while now, but a chance encounter with the restaurant’s Facebook page may have just sealed the deal. Every Wednesday night, you can get six small(ish) glasses of different wines chosen for you by the bartender and your choice of pad thai, fried rice, or chicken wings, all for fifteen bucks. The chance to try different wines, served by a very knowledgable bartender, alongside Song Phi Nong’s delicious food is well worth the price.

facebook
Finally, all that time I waste on Facebook pays off!

Lindsay and I ordered pork pad thai and shrimp fried rice. If you’re not already in love with Song Phi Nong and its pad thai, stop reading this and go get some right now! It’s a spicy mix of noodles, green onions, bean sprouts, egg, and your choice of meat. We always choose pork as it’s very tender and compliments the flavors very well.

While waiting for our food, we started with two glasses of wine: a riesling and cabernet. The riesling was a bit sweet and buttery, while the cabernet oaky and a little bitter. I was hesitant about mixing wines with spicy Thai food, but our bartender correctly assured us that the second couple of wines would go well with our dishes. A malbec worked well with the flavorful and spicy pad thai while the white torrentez (a wine I’d never tried before) suited the lighter fried rice. I was impressed with our bartender’s description of the torrentez’s flavor, “between a sauvignon blanc and a charddonay.” It was spot on.

thai
The pad thai alone is worth the trip.

We finished with a sweet white blend and a red wine called Paso a Paso (I’m not exactly sure which type this one fell into.) I’m not usually fond of sweet white wine, but the blend was kind of nice as a “dessert” after our spicy meal. Our bartender said she found the Paso a Paso to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of wine (though maybe that was just a fun way to end the tasting with a challenge), but we thought it was pretty good. I found it tasted like a very light port, though not nearly as rich.

Topping off the Wednesday night wine tastings at Song Phi Nong is a game of Bingo. Unfortunately, we decided to skip it in favor of getting coffee, but I’m sure we’ll try our hand at it soon enough. We’re told the winner gets a bottle of wine to take home!

Depsite passing on Bingo, we had a great time enjoying one of our favorite spots in a new way. I’d reccomend the Wednesday night wine tasting at Song Phi Nong to anyone looking to expand their knowledge of wine or just to enjoy yourself in the middle of the week. What’s your favorite place to have a glass of wine in the area? Do you know of any other restaurants offering tastings nearby? Let us know in the comments.

Soup & Sandwich at the Weeping Willow

willow soup
The spoon is useless. Just scarf it down with your sandwich.

Where to eat: Weeping Willow Cafe & Bakery (704 W 3rd St, Thibodaux)

What to order: The Willow Sandwich, Tomato & Basil Soup (when it’s available)

The city of Thibodaux never feels much like a city, but for the half hour or so Lindsay and I spend having lunch downtown at the Weeping Willow every odd Saturday, we get a little taste of what our ideal city life would be like.

You walk up to the counter to order, then sit down and watch the surprising number of people that come in to eat lunch, grab a snack, or have a coffee in the small cafe. I like sitting by the window and watching the street while waiting for our food, imagining how great it would be to live within walking distance of such a nice little spot.

The menu is small, like every good eatery’s should be, and consists of sandwiches and salads. There’s usually a soup du jour, and we’re quickly making a habit of using our sandwiches rather than our spoons to eat it. The Willow sandwich is the standout featuring ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce tossed in Caesar, and pesto on fresh baked bread. Wash it down with a flavored tea in a mason jar.

willow coffee

Save room for dessert! I imagine the appeal for a lot of the Weeping Willow’s customers is the dessert case filled with fresh brownies, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and other sweet creations. Get whatever looks good and order a coffee “for here” so they’ll give you a real coffee cup and saucer (unless you want one of the many specialty coffees on the menu). It’s the same coffee they put in the plastic to-go cups, but it’s so much more enjoyable to sit and take your time on a Saturday morning. What’s your favorite place to enjoy your coffee on a lazy weekend?

I resolve to eat more sushi

rainbow roll
Taste the rainbow!

Where to eat: Osaka Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (1867 Martin Luther King Blvd, Houma)

What to order: Rainbow Roll / Out of Control Roll

For 2013, my wife Lindsay and I resolved to eat healthier (on weekdays anyway). We cut out butter, cheese, mayo, fried foods, etc. and set out to include healthier options like turkey, avocado, wheat bread and pasta; not a difficult task as these things are all delicious. We quickly realized, however, that eating out during the week might pose a problem at some of our favorite restaurants.

Osaka has long been our favorite place to eat in Houma (though Song Phi Nong is giving it a run for it’s money), and while I’m no nutritionist, I find sushi to be relatively healthy in comparison to most other dining options. Still, our resolution to eat better in 2013 prevents us from ordering two of our usuals at Osaka: the shrimp tempura and coral reef rolls as both feature fried seafood. Other favorites are ruled out by the inclusion of mayo, either on top in the spicy mayo or inside within the crab stick mixture.

So, we decided to go specifically to find some new rolls that fit our resolution and could become our new weekday usuals. I think we succeeded for most part.

The rainbow roll (above) was light and refreshing. It’s simply raw fish and avocado slices atop rice with cucumber. The flavor is very reminiscent of what comes in an order of regular sushi, both in the variety of fish and its simple taste. The added avocado adds a rich and buttery flavor leading me to believe the rainbow roll is an excellent choice for anyone interested in trying more traditional sushi (just raw fish and rice) but afraid it will be too plain or fishy.

out of control roll
This roll is out of control!

We also had the out of control roll. Similar to the rainbow roll with slices of raw fish and avocado on top, the out of control roll steps things up with the inclusion of spicy tuna inside and a tangy sauce drizzled over the plate. Bits of raw jalapeno finishes off each bite with a light but noticeable burn. Despite the spicy accents, I’d recommend this roll as well to anyone apprehensive about trying the raw stuff.

I can’t vouch for exactly how much healthier these rolls are than our previous choices, but we definitely feel like we’re eating better while still treating our taste buds.

We’ll most likely try a few more options during our next visits to Osaka, but I think these three will be in our rotation for a good while to come. Have a favorite roll at Osaka? Know any delicious (and healthy) options at popular spots in the area? Let us know in the comments!

Graduate your Ramen!

ramen
Ramen doesn’t have to taste cheap!

Thibodaux is a college town. I moved here to attend Nicholls and lived the lazy student life for five years. In that time, I ate my fair share of ramen noodles, but not once did it ever occur to me that there could be more than salty broth and noodles.

If you’re not  dressing up your ramen, you’re doing it wrong!

At the very least, toss an egg into the mix. Just crack an egg into the pot after mixing in the seasoning. You can mix it up to get strands of eggy goodness, but I suggest dropping the contents right in the middle and covering the pot for a minute. The result is heavenly: a flash fried egg that bursts with yolky bliss and transforms your meal from “just ramen” to “dinner!”

Once you’ve converted to this higher branch of thinking, try adding other ingredients to your ramen. My personal favorite is pictured above.

I start by tossing a few strips of spicy “Thai” flavored beef jerky that you can find at any grocery store or gas station into a pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat after a few minutes or once the jerky is tender.

While everything is busy boiling, I chop a few slices of fresh jalapeno and dice up some cilantro. Once the ramen is seasoned and the egg is just solid enough to retain its yolk until I stab it with my fork, I pour the contents into a large bowl, careful to place the egg on top as to not spill the yolk too soon.

I add a dab of spicy garlic chili paste, the jalapenos and cilantro, a few bean sprouts for crunch, the boiled jerky, and a generous dose of sriracha sauce for more spice and flavor. The result is delicious and very spicy. I find the cilantro adds a pho-like quality to the ramen (especially if you use the beef flavored seasoning) and really steps it up from a budget meal to something worth your time.

What kind of stuff do you like in your ramen? Let us know in the comments!

Mediterranean on the Bayou

gyro plate
Gyro plate at Sarah’s Mediterranean Cuisine and Cafe

Where to eat: Sarah’s Mediterranean Cuisine And Cafe (1420 W Tunnel Blvd, Houma)

What to order: Gyro Plate ($10)

Sarah’s Mediterranean Cuisine and Cafe is a beautiful restaurant. Two fountains babble beside the entrance; a unique bottle of wine adorns each table in the dining room; the ceiling displays a bright, cloudy sky that shifts to inky night above secluded booths; there’s a hookah lounge tucked around a corner and a Mediterranean grocery just next door.

The lavish scenery is a drastic change from Sarah’s previous location: a diner attached to a gas station downtown. It would seem the only thing that hasn’t changed is the menu.

Honestly, I haven’t ventured very far into the menu, but that’s only because my usual seems intentionally placed to steal all the attention: the gyro plate (conveniently located at the top of the entrees section) offers a delicious variety for a great price.

The meat (beef and lamb) is very tender and wonderfully flavorful. It’s mixed with peppers atop basmati rice and comes with a Greek salad, hummus, and pita bread. Being gyro meat, the food comes out quick, and for ten dollars, you get a great variety and value.

Obviously, the appeal of Sarah’s are the Mediterranean dishes, something of a rarity around here, but the most adventurous aspect of the gyro plate is probably the hummus. If you haven’t already hopped on the bandwagon, do yourself a favor and dive right in. It’s garlicky and delicious.

I wish I could say more about Sarah’s menu, but I don’t visit often enough to dare miss out on the gyro plate. If you’ve been, leave a comment letting us know what’s good!