Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hometown Vacation Double-Post

Well hello again foodsters!

Well, I'm back in L.A. after my lovely visit back home to LA. Ha. And I have two posts' worth of fun to share with you today!

First of all, immediately after picking me up at the New Orleans airport, my awesome parents took me to one of my favorite sushi restaurants, Hana. I have literally been eating here since I was about four years old. I was so hungry after the plane ride, and so very excited to eat something I haven't been able to fit in my budget since being in LA, CA, that...I'm so sorry, I did not take any pictures. :( I should have, because it was amazing. For my loyal readers, the Urbanspoon link below will lead you to the Hana info page, where you can view photos of most of the menu.

Hana Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

**One of my favorite things about Hana? A complimentary chilled noodle salad given to you when you first sit down. It has a creamy dressing that is so hard to describe, but absolutely delicious! And when all my noodles are gone and some dressing remains in the tiny bowl, I mix my soy sauce with it for the sushi rolls :)

NOW, onto a place where I remembered to take some pics. My little hometown of Houma, Louisiana is not exactly known for it's locally owned restaurants. There are a few, but the town is mostly filled with chains. So, when my Dad informed me that a Mediterranean cafe had opened, I was very excited, and made plans to feature it on the Foodster here. Now, Los Angeles has spoiled me when it comes to Greek and Mediterranean food, so I went into "Sarah's"
with a very open mind and an already established respect for the place for being Houma's first Greek restaurant.

Sarah's does not have a site just yet, but here is their Facebook, which has many images of their food: http://www.facebook.com/Sarahscuisine?ref=ts#!/Sarahscuisine



Onto the reviews! I'm afraid you're about to hear something you've not yet heard from the Foodster...me being just a bit negative. I was torn 50/50 on Sarah's, you see. Let's just start with the appetizers --

My table of four, including me, my parents, and a good friend of ours began with an order of falafel and some spinach pies:

While visually pleasing, the falafel, I'm sorry, were just not good. They were a bit salty and dry. While we ate them all, my table agreed they weren't very impressive. The tahini served on the side made them a little better.

And while the crust on the spinach pies was nice and flaky, the filling, again, was too salty. The feta cheese on the inside added to that flavor a little overbearingly.

Here's where the positive 50 percent comes in - the entrees. My choice was the "gyro plate"

It came with a large serving of gyro meat over seasoned yellow rice, warm fluffy pita pieces, a side of hummus, and a small Greek salad. This saved the meal for me. The gyro meat, served with grilled peppers and onions, was incredibly tasty. And the plate as a whole was so filling, it provided me with leftovers to take home.
My Mom had the chicken shwarma salad:
While I thought it had a biiit too much feta on top, my Mom loved the salad, and said it was delicious. I tasted the chicken to find it very flavorful and tender. And it was very light on dressing, a plus for me.

My Dad went for the hummus with meat appetizer as his meal:


This is not the first time my Dad has gotten this dish at Sarah's, and raves about how much he enjoys it. It is a very simple, but very satisfying meal for the light eater. It is served with a side of pita bread, which is available in regular or wheat! It is topped with a garnish of pine nuts for another light and tasty flavoring.

One thing I was also impressed by was the Lebanese iced tea I ordered, which I was told was infused with lemon, rosewater, and pine nuts. Very unique and a very different flavor! I consumed my whole glass.



So the final consensus on Sarah's - While I was not wowed by this place, I still hold tons of respect for it, being the first of its kind in my tiny Louisiana town. I can also say it isn't hurting for business, seeing as the parking lot and interior were completely full.
(Sarah's on Urbanspoon is below)

Sarah's Mediterranean Cuisine & Cafe on Urbanspoon

THIS POST IS NOT OVER!!

Now, are ya'll ready for some down home southern cookin'? I am very pleased to share this next food find with you, my readers. For it is not at a restaurant at all!

My Dad has a very good friend not far from my hometown, who is a well-known business man in the shipping industry. While I was down for my visit, he insisted we come to his home for him to cook lunch for us. And what a delight it was!

Now, for those who don't know, especially my Cali-based readers. South Louisiana has a strong French heritage and history, as well as a cuisine all its own. My Dad's friend (let's call him Mr. R) home cooked what is known in most Cajun French circles as "grillades" *Pronounced 'gree-odd'*

He began with thinly sliced pork end:


Next, he placed them on his own grill pit, unseasoned. He used pecan wood for the cooking process because he enjoys it that way, but informed me most people usually use charcoal.


He flipped the slices constantly, joking that it made him look like a "hibachi chef!" He definitely had the process mastered, and told us he cooked this very often.

Right before the meat was considered completely done, he seasoned it with a real Louisiana favorite, Zatarain's seasoning. He sprinkled it liberally on the cooked slices and flipped them some more.


Here's where you can be mad at the Foodster again, for at this point, I was so hungery and eager to taste this southern treat...that I forgot to take pictures again. Allow me to explain how we ate the final product. Mr. R had some loaves of fresh French bread, which we sliced ourselves. We spread our bread with some real, full force mayo and put the sliced "grillades" on it, and ate it sandwich style. Now, you wouldn't think something so incredibly simple would be memorable. WRONG. So very wrong. It is amazing. Tender, seasoned pork on flaky, fresh bread was so delicious, I am definitely going to try to duplicate the recipe here in L.A. The fact that it is so simple is all the more incredible. I feel like so many people forget simplicity in their quest for delicious food, and they end up missing out on truly satisfying meals like this. Eaten at a big table, with friends, and good conversation. It was a wonderful experience.

Whew. Is that a lot of words, or what? I sincerely hope you enjoyed this special post as much as I enjoyed eating everything in it! To my parents, who I know are reading, thank you for a great visit. I had a beautiful time, and can't wait to be back. I love you!

Aw, emotions. Well, the Foodster will be back soon with a new recipe to share. Thanks as always for reading, and until next time, Happy Eatings!

Yours,
The Lone Foodster

6 comments:

  1. Woot!!! Sarah's is awesomeness!!! Went with my mom the week it opened! Nomzzz

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  2. Thanks, I haven't tried Sarah's but all I hear is good. Haven't tried Ichiban's either, so I am looking forward. Appreciated the write. Keep in good health and spirit.

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  3. I'm sad I was unable to see you this visit!!! Will make it a must next trip!!! Love you!!

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  4. Try HoumaEats.com!

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  5. Ehhh... Sarah's is OK. I'm from Baton Rouge and the Greek and Lebanese places there (Albasha's; shout out!) put Sarah's to shame. I'm a HUGE gyros fan and I hated the way it was crumbled up and put with peppers and onions instead of the traditional gyros that comes off the vertical boilers. Poor Houma people have no clue what they're missing out on as far as Greek and Lebanese.

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