Monday, January 13, 2020

Louisiana Vacation

It's all about food and family when I visit  Gonzales, Louisiana.

I stay with Mom and on Friday's she usually gets the Fried Fish Plate from Cajun Catch.

Cajun Catch is a local seafood market with a to-go counter serving daily lunch specials. They stop taking lunch orders by 3pm so don't wait too late.

Click on any photo to see larger.

And I wash down to-go meals with a local brew called Dixie. It was hard to find until recently, I guess there is a reboot going on at their headquarters. At least they have not messed with the flavor.

My brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chef, likes it too!

Even Mom's kitty, Howie, has a use for Dixie Beer.

Louisiana is usually cloudy with frequent rainy days during winter. It rained one day only when I visited Gonzales and it only grew cold the last couple of days of my vacation.

I like to start the day with a cup of a local brand of java called Community Coffee

And if I'm lucky Mom does a bit of baking when I visit, including homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Cajun country has a great sausage culture that is unique to the South. Along with typical smoked sausages there are Hot Links and a rough ground Andouille sausage that's used for Gumbo and Étouffée.

Louisiana Sausage slide show.

Other local delicacies.
Butter Beans

My L.A. girlfriend, Linda, flew in from Philadelphia where she was visiting her own relatives, to spend a few days with my Cajun family and celebrate my Mom's 85th birthday

We picked up Linda at Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport then drove to the French Quarter for a quick chicory-flavored Cafe au Lait and sugar powder-covered puffy Beignets at Cafe du Monde.

 Dale & my sister Denise
 Linda + Cheap$kate

I made a video about Cafe du Monde a few years ago. My video is a fun behind the scenes look at an order of Coffee and Beignets -- I give prices at end of video, but that has changed.

For Mom's birthday she wanted to hit the L'auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge right on the Mississippi River. She plays the penny and nickle slots.

Everybody got in on the action, especially with comped Bloody Mary's flowing.

We made it out of there with the shirts on our backs, too.

On the way back to Gonzales we stopped for a quick bite at St. Gabriel Grocery & Deli in Iberville Parish on River Road. This roadhouse dates back to the 1820's and serves tasty Sausage Po-Boys and Shrimp & Corn Soup. 

Locals Foodstuffs
And a whole lotta other stuff...
I always try to find Southern-style Boiled Peanuts and they had them here -- extra spicy too!

But the dining highlight of my vacay is usually a visit to the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at Country Kitchen in Gonzales -- all for about 11 bucks! My girlfriend Linda was blown away at the flavors and variety of veggies. Below is just a small sample as the menu changes daily, and Fried Chicken was at the top of the menu that day.

 Mac & Cheese, Jambalaya
Yellow Crookneck Squash

It's always a fun and literal filling time when I visit my Mom in Cajun country. And it was especially great to have my girlfriend Linda to show around...and boy did we finish the trip in high style with a Cajun Happy Hour. Just click on the play button to watch the video below!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Best Cheap$kate Food Finds of 2019

Deals Deals Deals - come and get 'em! 2019 was a great year for my budget food foraging finds, everything from Vegan Chao Slices of vegan cheese to old school Velvetta.

Well, if you are a frequent visitor, you have seen some of these photos illustrating my delish recipes, and special Deal of the Day reviews like below (click on names to see the original cheap$kate review.)

Raw Fresh Frozen Black-eyed Peas

 Cheese Ravoli with Sun-Dried Cream Sauce

Video Deal of the Day Reviews

I get comments all the time how awful dollar and 99 cent stores must be. I can't argue with that, they carry an abundance of dross and Frankenstein foodstuffs -- hey, you get what you pay for. But I am a bottom feeder on a budget, with over a decade of blog experience picking out the best for less. But don't come down on me too harshly, I do highlight plenty of organic food-stuffs that Dollar Trees and  99c only Stores now wisely stock.

 Click on any photo to see larger - to read ingredients or descriptions.

Hey, I'll admit to eating, from time to time, a few preservatives and cooking with unhealthy oils like generic vegetable oil -- gotta keep my liver exercising! Of course, do substitute healthier ingredients in my cheap$kate recipes...if you have a Whole Food budget, or can even find any untainted ingredients in the food desert you may reside in.

I gotta give it up to my local 99c only Store and Dollar Tree. Without them, my food blog would be anemic and barren. When I'm low on food, I will go to a regular grocery store for coffee and freshly baked bread, veggies on sale, fresh seafood and specialty cuts of meat, but I always make time for a quick stop at my fave cheap$kate 99 cent and dollar stores for many food deals.

99 thanks budget stores and keep stocking the shelves for starving students, hardworking minimum wage earners, retirees on a budget, single-parent families, and everyone else without much change to spare and just plain old penny-pinchers.

For my Best Food Finds of 2019 I've learned to be an impulsive shopper - walk past one of these cheap$kate deals below, and by the time you get home, change your mind and return to get the deal, well, it will likely be gone.

Here's what you're missing all you naysayers and snooty gourmands. Sometimes you gotta bite the budget bullet, but don't worry all my fellow penny-pinching gastronomers, the 99 Cent Chef has your back, or at least your stomach!

Best Cheap$kate Food Finds of 2019
The first meal of the day for your tiny tot can be found at budget prices if you know where to look!

For adults, nothing beats a cup of joe first thing in the morning
 World famous chef Wolfgang Puck shows up on the shelves.
 Slow-cooked White Beans are in my fave French recipe Cassoulet.
 I like Anchovies in my pasta sauce and on pizza.
My Mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe is right here!
Add a little Fruit Vinegar to your salad dressing.
Get out the Tums!
Everything you need for a Tuna Helper Lunch
 Mmm...and Tuna Salad on Crackers.
A cupboard staple, Artichoke Hearts for Salads and Pasta Sauces.
France, the largest consumer and producer of Nutella.
Instant Breakies.
Well, excuse Lobster Bisque cheap$kate review.

You want organic? Okay, you got it!
These Organic Raisins were kinda dry and mealy - not a fan.

Well, this man does not live by veggies alone...
One of the best deals this year, Slow Roasted Roast Beef.
Chili No Beans? Now that's what I'm talkin' bout !
I like me some Louisiana Hot Sauce and Creole Seasoning on mine, yeah.
And Newman's Own BBQ Sauce is good on almost anything.

 Whew, I need to lose a few pounds after this blog post!

And keep checking back for another year of scrumptious blog postings!

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