Sunday, July 30, 2017

Habanero hits the spot

Habanero hits the spot
         I'm told Habanero Bar & Grill serves a more Mexican style of Mexican food. That is to say, less Tex-Mex. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
         My mom has been bragging about the restaurant at 6685 Eastex Freeway in Beaumont and now I can vouch for it myself. I enjoyed my grilled chicken and sides and scooped up every bite with chips and salsa. And more chips and salsa. I even eyeballed dishes arriving at other tables and got jealous of their orders. So, we'll have to head back.
         Habanero is in the sit of the old J&J Steakhouse. Remember that? Apparently a lot of people do, because this info is printed right on the the business card of Neno Chavez. 

  Com     Community  Coffee and the Big Game
                      Does Community Coffee put you in the mind of football, brisket sliders with spicy slaw, sweet and spicy chicken wings and cream cheese swirled mocha brownies?
                      Want to win a trip to Minneapolis for the Big Game? Get  a specially-marked bag of Community Coffee from our friends in Baton Rouge and enter Tailgate Traditions. Also look for Community® Porch Breeze™ tea at participating locations where Community, while supplies last. Specially-marked bags or boxes contain Code on the package. More information here:
                            My mornings have been starting off smooth with Private Reserve Brazil Santos Bourbon, that smells very, very exotic. Study up on the contest rules with Signature Blend Dark Roast and  Extra Bold French Roast, the stuff that fuels offices from Louisiana to Southeast Texas. We love those red labels. Now look for the ones with Tailgate Traditions markings. The link features game day recipes, like Smokey Maple-Glazed Nut Mix, with coffee, rosemary and pepper. What a wake up!

                             The Savoy Turbo sounds like an English race car. But Krups, the trusted name in coffee appliances, is behind this sleek, programmable coffee maker that brews up to 35 percent faster. Need 12 cups of your favorite? You’re ready for the day. It’s easy to work and looks good in the kitchen. This model will rev you up. There are so many choices out there these days. If you want a dependable product, get a trusted name that will last a good, long while. I expect to work with this Krups for the long stretch.

                             Just a little schmear
                        Did you ever hear a friend say she didn’t want to hit the grocery store because she didn’t want to put on makeup? A little Dermelect is all she needs to brighten her look. It’s my favorite pick-me-up. America just celebrated National Lipstick Day (you did, right?) and Dermelect Cosmeceuticals4-in-1 Smooth Lip Solution and Smooth + Plump Lipstick was on the scene. The 4-in-1 combines the luminous properties of lipstick, lip stain, lip balm, and lip gloss, all in one, so just one step for a great look. I tried Smooth + Plump Lipstick with peptide-infused pigments and a plumping technology for smoothing. You get what you pay for in lipstick, so I’m taking good care of a tube of Adorned, pinkish coral full of keartin peptide, vitamins A, C  & E, hyaluronic acid and shea butter.



Saturday, July 22, 2017

The 'usual suspects' at Monica's

              The ‘usual suspects’ at Monica’s
                      Chef Monica Cobb is famous for pop-ups, Vietnamese sandwiches and the freshest of produce to create meals to be enjoyed and remembered.
                      Other than standard hours had prevented me from experiencing Monica’s Restaurant, 6385 Calder Ave. in Beaumont. But some time off and an invite from my mother rectified that. I was thrilled to get to the counter and choose Blackstrap Molasses Pork Loin and The Elvis. But it was tough to pick those over other selections such as Ghandi and Lemongrass Chicken.
                      Mom pointed out that these options can come as a banh mon sandwich or a salad, so we did the pork as a sandwich and The Elvis as a salad that came with almond-hoisin glaze, fried plantains and “the usual suspects.” We traded off so we could share all the flavors.
                      The suspects are on several dishes and are grouped as soy aioli, cucumber, seedless jalapeno, Asian slaw, pickled carrot-daikon, chili-mango vinaigrette and sriracha with red curry honey glaze. I’m all about it.
                      There’s art on the wall and diners who love to experiment and I can’t wait to try more. As we waited for a nut bread dessert, I heard others arriving and some noting “I’ve never been here before!”
                      I’ll bet their introduction to Monica’s was as fun as mine was. Thanks, Mom.

                      Gaea does EVOO
                      Gaea’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a dash of lemon seems a natural for fish and salad. But my first thought was to drizzle some onto popcorn. Now that was a fresh taste.  
                      Subtle flavors in high quality olive oil delight me more as I learn more. I never pass up the opportunity to dip my bread at sampling stations and I know how just a little makes such a great difference in your meal.
                      Gaea’s Estate Grown Sitia is from Crete and the label is a work of art, explaining a fruity and slightly peppery aroma. An egg breakfast comes out as tasteful art with a drizzle of this “100 percent natural & authentic” EVOO.
                      One more surprise, the top comes off and pouring spout pops out to direct your flow.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fair foods beyond the sticks

                      There’s a photo of Triple Cheeseburger Doughnuts on the cover of “Fair Foods,” Thank you, Iowa State Fair.

                      “Fried Everything” is a chapter title, going all out on Deep Fried Butter and Fried Coca-Cola. Thank you, Texas State Fair.
                      Sure I’ve heard of crazy fair food, but I’ve never been to a fair with pesto coleslaw, Violet Soda (made with flowers) and I don’t know who thought of a dill dipping sauce for fried oysters.
                      George Geary tells us how to make all these delights in “Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State & County Fairs.” Thank you, Mr. Geary. He’s also responsible for “The Cheesecake Bible.”
                      If you need to know how to deep fry a Snickers bar, assemble a doughnut sandwich or fry something else, like butter, this is the place. The chocolate bacon recipe below is one on which I’m willing to splurge on calories.

                      Chocolate-Encased Bacon
                      (Most fair vendors serve this bacon frozen, since the chocolate melts fast in the heat of the day.)
                      12 strips applewood bacon
                      1 pound chocolate candy coating
                      sea salt
1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.   Thread bacon strips onto skewers and place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, turning bacon strips halfway through.
3.   Drain and pat excess oil away with paper towels. Meanwhile, melt chocolate coating in a bowl over a double broiler.
4.   Using a pastry brush, coat bacon strips evenly with chocolate on both sides. Place strips on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5.   Refrigerate until ready to serve.

                      Meaux’s Gumbo
                      I’d been hearing about Meaux’s Gumbo and I finally got to try what the family served up at the State Fair of Texas. It was as dark and rich as I expected. I loved it.
                      Leah Ambrose is the woman behind the recipe. This is a traveling “food truck” affair caught around Port Arthur.
                      Seafood nachos is also a good bet, and I heard good talk about their beans and rice. If you find them and get to try their food, make sure you strike up a conversation with these friendly folk.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Did someone say chocolate?

                      Chocolate tasting party? Who wouldn’t give a quick and positive R.S.V.P. to that?
                      Blocks and rounds and rubs and sauces are in the pages of The Cocoa Exchange order catalog. A table spread out with nibbles of dips and spreads and for bread and chicken all paired well with chicken salad croissants and wine the hostess served at a party I attended.
                      Debbie Henagan of Suphur, La., represented the products that spoke for themselves. She gave a few sentences on how she became involved, the perks of being in control and then the guests were on their own to browse the pages of her book. Women kept dashing back to the serving table to check what was that little bite of heaven called. Did I mention the evening began with a chocolate martini, topped with chocolate shavings?
                      I’ve attended parties for candles, baskets, stamps and jewelry. This was the most low-pressure and pleasant experience of all. I mingled with women happy to discuss the pleasures of cocoa beyond the popular bags at the grocery store checkout line.
                      I’m anticipating delivery of a jar of white chocolate raspberry honey mustard for dips with pretzels, braised vegetables, glazing chicken or pork or used as a marinade.
                      I expect my bottle of fig balsamic vinaigrette with white chocolate will be with me a long time, as a little bit goes a long, luxurious way.    Why have  a party? Micha Katherine Leigh, a Port Arthur hostess, shares her motivation:   "When I first met Debbie at the LiveWell conference, I was intrigued about her in-home chocolate experience. I signed on immediately! It was great fun and the products are delicious!"

                      Get in touch with Henegan at or Henagan to organize one of these fetes.

              The Little Kernel

                      Little Kernel looks is an adventurer who popped to toe top of his class because of his insatiable desire for exploration.
                      Like snack foods to have a back story? Little Kernel is also into altruism, and makers of this character's popcorn support Generation Rescue, for families affected by Autism spectrum disorders.
                      Snacking is the kernel's first order, so let me tell you, these tiny, flavorful pops are made with olive oil and you just kind of feel good after eating them. They are very tiny and perhaps a bit more crunchy than your typical popcorn. And light.
                      It's a kinder, gentler snack in the sense that I consider popcorn as a good-for-you food that could be taken to the extreme. The Little Kernel keeps everything in healthy balance. Follow his orders.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mom's yellow production

                      I had it made when a friend dropped off garden gleanings and my mom offered to come up with a meal with it all.
                      Yellow corn and yellow squash were the stars, with shrimp nearly taking the background in a buttery, seasoned presentation. Some potatoes were in the supporting cast.
                      I support this situation happening again. Readers, share what you’re doing with your garden goodies.

                      How does your inner priestess kitchen look?
                      Your kitchen is the heart of your home and connected to your health, well-being and even your sensuality, writes Asa Soltan. I was into her book and didn’t even realize Bravo’s hit show “Shas of Sunset” is about her family. I like the way she thinks and writes, with a “babe” and “lover” thrown in when she’s relating to the reader. She shares some hard times her family has been through, including losing everything a couple of times. That’s made her a fighter who wants to represent her art and style and help others get their groove. Her book is “Golden: Empowering Rituals to Conjure Your Inner Priestess.”        
                      So that’s why you need to clean out rotting food and replace it with what nourishes your body. That kitchen clutter could be blocking the flow of love into your life, she writes. Example: If you have salad dressing that entered your home when you moved from your last apartment, it’s time to let it go.
                      Soltan wants to help you love your self more and clean out the “junk” of your life.