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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love that Cajun Cookin'

My favorite type of food is Cajun with German a close second.  Both are rare treats for me which probably helps maintain their status as my favorites.  When out riding I search for opportunities to dine at local one of kind restaurants.  I love the experience of sampling the culinary efforts of chefs that do not have to follow the cooperate recipes sent from some 12 floor office.

On a recent 4 day extended weekend trip my brother-in-law and I headed towards southwest Louisiana, Lake Charles to be exact.  Weeks before our departure I began thinking about Cajun cookin' and was looking forward to finding a local eatery with a unique flair.  Of course Google provided some suggestions that I noted but, I like asking the locals for recommendations.

We checked into our hotel after a second great day of riding and good stroll on the beach of the Gulf Coast near Holly Beach, LA.  The local suggestion coincided with my research so we jumped on I-10 and rode to Steamboat Bills.  As we were pulling into the parking lot a trio of parking attendants directed us to a motorcycle parking area.  The parking attendants remained busy with a steady flow of customers.
Front entrance of the busy Steamboat Bill's.
We were greeted by a friendly lady with a thick Cajun accent.  She explained that we were to order and pay at the counter and then they would seat us and bring our order when it was ready.  I asked "What's the best thing on the menu?"  She gave me a quick lesson on the menu and what was popular.
Order and pay at the front counter before being seated.
Upon her recommendation I ordered a crawfish pistolette as an appetizer.  I chose the Sampler plate so that I could taste several different items.  My brother-in-law is not a big seafood eaters so he ordered the grilled chicken with red beans and rice.
 Grilled chicken and Red Beans and Rice
His salad and my pistolette arrived shortly.  The pistolette is a roll that is cut and filled with crawfish (or shrimp) etouffee'.  The roll was light and had a flaky crust.  The roll was one of the best rolls I have eaten.  The etouffee' had great flavor and just a little "heat".  The pistolette was a great treat.  I will order pistolettes in the future and not just one!
Crawfish Pistolette - a house speciality
The Sampler plate came loaded with fried shrimp, a piece of fried catfish, a stuffed crab, a stuffed shrimp, cole slaw, fries, and a roll.  I tried to limit my fried foods but I must admit the fried stuff at Steamboat Bill's was not oily and did not have a typical fried flavor.
The small sampler plate is loaded with plenty of great food.
The catfish was fresh, tasty, and flaky.  The stuffed crab was my least favorite item but it was good.  The shrimp seemed to have been caught that morning.  They were fresh and did not have the frozen then thawed texture that places inland have.  The best part was the stuffed shrimp.  The big shrimp was stuffed and then deep fried.  Not for sure what all was in the stuffing but it was great. I wished they would have given me more than one.

Overall I greatly enjoyed my meal.  The atmosphere is festive, the service friendly and quick, and the food top-notched.  If you are on I-10 and near Lake Charles stop by and check out Steamboat Bill's.  I really think you will be satisfied and pleased. 

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