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Friday, November 19, 2010

Laissez les bons temps BEAUSOLEIL!!!

Take Away - Shrimp and Risotto Fritters

A new restaurant is always a welcomed addition to Baton Rouge.  Since 2005, the population (and traffic) has skyrocketed rather quickly while the (non-chain) restaurant selection has taken a little longer to catch up.  However, the latest endeavor by a few seasoned restaurateurs will absolutely go a long way in helping balance the karma of population with food selection.  Jeff Conaway and Nathan Gresham, formerly of Galatoire's Bistro, and Michael Boudreaux and Kenny Juban, both of Juban's Creole Restaurant, have combined forces to bring a real restaurant contender to the Red Stick...

With Beausoleil, there commeth a food destination that offers three extremely important qualities to this fat man: 1) excellent food, 2) reasonable prices and 3) a comfortable spot to place my rather large rear end.

When translated into classic French, Beausoleil means "lovely sun."  In Cajun French, it means "sunshine."  Either way, this restaurant is providing a new ray of light to the Baton Rouge dining scene.

Jeff's wife (and our friend) Camille, was nice enough to invite some friends from the 4th floor of the Capitol to taste some of the trial run treats that the restaurant had to offer on opening night.

Stephen and Colleen Waguespack with Kristy Nichols

The tasting menu included: Fried Oysters with creamy truffle vinaigrette; Duck Confit and baby arugula in phyllo with goat cheese; Mussels Bienvielle; Crabcakes with a spicy aioli; Fried Green Tomatoes topped with a tasting of hogshead cheese; Escargot in puff pastry with brie; Shrimp and Risotto Fritters and fresh pork and duck cracklins.

Melissa Sellers, Kyle Plotkin, Anna Dearmon and Jeff Conaway

Nial Patel and Camille Conaway

Did I just type fresh pork cracklin?  Yes.  In fact, upon your seating at this unique establishment, you will not be greeted by standard bread and butter that has seen the refrigerator one too many times.  No sir (or ma'am)!!!  Instead, you will be treated to a tasting of warm pork cracklin.  Sugar bust that!

The lunch menu is not extremely long (which I like), but certainly runs the range of options.  Some examples of choices are:  Grilled Leg of Rabbit over stewed collard greens then finished with a garlic confit bacon jus ; House-made Biscuit with Boneless Fried Chicken Breast topped with country sausage gravy; Fried Mississippi Catfish topped with a rich tomato court-bouillion stew served over rice and (thankfully) Grits and Grillades.  Also...the side dishes range from Duck Confit Hash to Crispy Onion Rings to Bacon.  I'm not kidding.

Hogshead Cheese atop Fried Green Tomatoes
Warm Cracklins

Dinner takes it to the next level with Grilled Jumbo Shrimp over roasted bell pepper risotto with andouille gravy; Marinated Grilled Flat Iron Steak with frites and chimichurri butter or Flattened and Grilled Chicken Paillard with bacon lardon, crispy shallot rings and sliced tomatoes with lemon caper beurre blanc on a bed of baby spinach.

Escargot in Puff Pastry with Brie

In total, it is like several of New Orleans' better restaurant concepts formed a cult and fled to Baton Rouge where no one would ever find them. . . 

Well, we did. . . Since its opening, Beausoleil has been a packed spot for people looking to eat.  However, seating happens rather quickly and the food is definitely worth it.  The bar is a great place to wait as well, since there is no real barrier between the bar, the high top tables and the rest of the restaurant.  Thus, you feel like you are already a part of the flock, even while wetting you beak. 

So, friend, my advice to you with regard to this French Fulgor is to eat early and/or eat often.  Either way, just get there and eat.  It's gewd.

Will be getting Jeff and/or Camille to get me this recipe for the Shrimp and Risotto Fritters ASAP.  Thus, standby.... 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tranquility brought me back!!

Take Away - Broadwell Smoked Brisket
I acknowledge that it has been too long since a new entry and recipe.  Truth be told, I have been a bit busy and neglected the site.  However, a recent visit to a friend's family "place" (coupled with the food that we ate) was enough to breathe life back into thekingfishmenu.  The commeth of the recent cold spell inspired a tribute to the last days of pool life, BBQ and the dawg days of summer..
James Melchers launching his wife's dog into the pool at Tranquility

Jay Broadwell and I became friends shortly after were introduced a few years ago by our buddy, Zach Materne.  A group of us used to sit out on Zach's porch every Tuesday (Stoopday) evening and solve the world's problems over a few beers.  Though the event became extremely well attended, we eventually fell out of practice.  These days, Jay and I see each other most frequently when we tailgate together for Saints games.

To rectify the sometimes infrequent visits, Jay and his wife Anne invited a group of regular tailgating friends to Jay's family "place on the water."  All I had to hear was the word "water," and I was in... so I did not quite catch everything that Jay said when he invited us.

I heard something about about "at Tranquility" and "outside of Slidell."  Thus, I assumed we were heading to some sort of waterfront neighborhood area.  Neither Mollie nor I minded that we would probably be in cramped quarters with so many people staying at someone's family camp.  We were obviously in for a surprise....

Mollie and I arrived at Jay's on a Friday evening, after first thinking that we were totally lost.  We passed a neighborhood or two, but could not find the house number.  My GPS kept telling me that the neighborhood was supposed to be in a certain spot, but all that was there was a large iron gate with no house in site.  Finally, we called Jay. He told us to pull up to the iron gate. . .

As it turns out, "Tranquility" is not a neighborhood.  Tranquility is over 200 acres that Jay's family owns.  Upon that acreage, there sits an iron gate at the front of the property.  Behind that iron gate winds a very very very long driveway.  At the end of that driveway sits a very impressive 4 bedroom house.  Next to that impressive 4 bedroom house sits an EXTREMELY impressive brick pit that is certainly capable of cooking a full size pig.  This was the start to a good weekend.

It was not until later that I truly realized that the impressive 4 bedroom house was actually not the main house at Tranquility.  The larger main house revealed itself the next morning when I stepped out onto the balcony of the "pool house" in which we were staying.  To say the least, the place was not tiny, and it came complete with tennis courts, gardens, extremely strange looking chickens, riding trails, motorcycles and a shooting range.
Jay Broadwell taking a break from brisket preparation
Jena showing off her shooting skills

Captain Materne losing control of his vehicle
However, to be honest, it was the food and the company that made the weekend.  Eighteen of us (plus four dogs) swam, shot, rode boats and bikes, cooked, drank and ate.  The menu consisted of everything delicious and nothing good for you:  crawfish pies, shrimp pasta, red rice with mushrooms, hashbrown casserole, macaroni and cheese, emergency quesadillas (late night), Jenna's fantastic bacon biscuits and.....some of the best brisket I have ever tasted!!

I am not really sure how everyone actually functioned after eating the amount of food that we cooked. I can only surmise that the adrenaline from running and swimming around the adult theme park fueled the the group's appetite beyond normal capacity.

By the time the Saints game kicked off on Sunday afternoon, the guns and sounds of ATVs had silenced, as everyone began to settle into somewhat of a food coma.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the weekend an 11. 

The latest addition to the Materne family was still going at kickoff
Trooper Bruce having a good time on his birthday weekend

Before we get to the recipe, I have to thank Jason Van Haverbeke for taking all of these fantastic pictures.  Mollie and I are actually planning on using a picture he recently took of us as a holiday card.  I truly wish we would have thought of using him for our wedding.  Jason's company is VH PhotoGraphix, his website is and his contact information is

Broadwell's Smoked Brisket
  • Untrimmed select brisket (size does not matter)
  • Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cayenne Powder
  • Pam
  • Seasoning Salt or Tony Chachere's
Trim some of the fat from the brisket until it is around 1/4 of an inch.  Score both sides with 1 inch wide lines. Work a generous amount of Worcestershire sauce into the meat. Thereafter, layer (in this order) a coating of garlic powder then onion powder then cayenne powder.  Utilize the Pam for adhesion. Note:  The Pam will bubble, but it is not a problem.  Finish with seasoning salt or Tony Chachere's.  Thereafter, manually work all of the wet rub into the score lines so that both sides of the meat are evenly coated.

Smoke fat side down over indirect heat for 1.5 hrs per lb using water logged mesquite and water oak (Jay says that the ideal temperature for smoking is below 150).  Thereafter, place the smoked meat in a pan with 2 inches of water.  Cover and cook at 220 degrees for three to four hours until tender. Slice thin against the grain using water as marinade.