Sunday, December 15, 2013

Breakfast in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is about the size of a small city in America, but has at least 10 times the population.  This city is host to nearly 600 restaurants, many of which serve international cuisine because Cambodia country encourages immigration.  Typical breakfast here is noodle soup, a favorite of Asians.  But you know me.  I am going after more carbs and fats.  And here are my favorite finds:

Continental Breakfast from Comme a la Maison 

Comme a la Maison (the House of Food in French) is a bakery with all of the great selections that one would expect in a French bakery.  Cambodia, I believe, was colonized by the French, so some of their cuisine still remains.

French beget above has had a heal robbed from it ... for my breakfast.  Also shown are the following: a normal croissant, a croissant stuffed with chocolate, and a croissant stuffed with shredded pork.  Not shown are the croissants stuffed with cheese and ham.

Usually the French breads are either water based begets or phyllo dough loaded with butter.  Both are true here.  A group of expatriate friends of my daughter Michelle gathered all of the different croissant rolls from across the city for a taste test.  The croissants at Comme a la Maison were voted the best of the best.

Paddy Rice Irish Sports Pub

Typical Irish Pub with a Southeast Asia twist to it's menu.  I ordered a more traditional breakfast with coffee.  The Pub is located in the northern section of the city just across the street from the Mekong River.  I sat just inside where it was cooler and I had a view of the river.  Now-a-days with a growing economy here, there are very few street solicitors in Phnom Penh, but they will solicit from those who sit outside in the sidewalk cafe portion of restaurants.  Inside you can have an uninterrupted breakfast.

The full farmhouse breakfast: eggs anyway you want, beans, grilled tomatoes, potato paddies, buttered toast, and two slices of round bacon.  Round bacon is typical in Cambodia.  Here's the best part: two links of homemade Irish pub sausage.  My daughter has been living here forever and doesn't know about this place.

Coffee the Cambodian way:  On the right is a French press coffee pot in which is placed boiling water.  After it seeps, you push down on the plunger on top as you pour and brewed coffee comes out.  This pot holds three cups.  For you diet freaks, coffee in Phnom Penh is served with white sugar; you have to ask for sweetener.  This coffee had a slight, but tasty cocoa flavor.

Freebird Bar & Grill

No angry birds eat here.  A little know international secret is that bars have some of the best breakfasts.  Freebird is ranked on one listing as 21st and on another as 35th out of 571 restaurants in Phnom Penh.

Freebird is a favorite spot of my friend Glen's.  He typically orders lower fat breakfasts (veggie omelets) with a side of fresh tomatoes ... but not me.  

Here is their full breakfast which I ordered.  It comes with three eggs, strip bacon, sausage (hiding next to the bacon), mushrooms, beans, and crisp home fries, along with juice and a cup of coffee, all for $7.50.  Their home fries must have been deep fried, and were the best I have ever eaten … anywhere.

Le Jardin's Outdoor Restaurant:

Le Jardin's is a great place to take kids: it's outdoors, has a slide, and a huge sandbox. It's as close to a McDonald's Playground that you will get in Phnom Penh.  The kids' menu is as good if not better than the adult menu.  An adults aren't allowed waffles and chocolate pancakes.  My grandchildren love this place and so do their parents.  It's ranked 73 out of 571 restaurants.

My daughter ordered the scrambled egg plate and opted beans for the sausage.  With each breakfast are home fries, grilled tomato, toast, sausage, and strip bacon.

I ordered eggs over-easy.  Note there are no beans on my plate, but there is the sausage.  Sausage in Phnom Penh, unless it's made in-house, comes from Dan's Meat Market.  Dan's will be another posting.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dot's Restaurants of Metairie Louisiana

Dot's is a chain of six Jefferson Parish restaurants, just outside of New Orleans.  Mom-n-pop is their style and remains that way no matter how many locations they have.  Note: parish means county in Louisiana.

At least three of the outlets are located on Jefferson Hwy which runs parallel to the winding Mississippi River.  If you exit I-10 on Causeway Blvd. and head south you will reach Jefferson Hwy.  Go left or right and you'll find a Dot's.

My favorite location is on Jefferson Highway next to the Mississippi River bridge.  This is the dive-est looking one from the outside, but the food is great.  This location has in my opinion the best grits.  The grits are thick enough to pass the pepper test, but are so creamy that it seems as if they make the 30-minute grits there and not the 5 minute ones that you find just about everywhere else.


Crawfish Creole Biscuit:

Here it is and for less than $5!  Grilled biscuit topped with swiss cheese and an over-easy egg and on top of that Dot's own Crawfish Julie sauce.  This is their signature dish in my opinion.  Order two!

Bacon, Eggs, & Grits:

Great bacon and grits.  The over-easy eggs look like my Mom made them.  This is breakfast!

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits & More:

You would think that Dot's was located in Kentucky or Tennessee for the chunks of sausage in the cream gravy.  If you look carefully, you can see a piece of biscuit peaking out to the right of this thick blanket of sausage gravy.  Yes, the breakfast comes with eggs, grits, and breakfast meat.  I ordered sausage ... of course.

New Orleans Style Coffee:

Now this is a cup of coffee ... and not for the fainthearted.  This is thick New Orleans style coffee, thick but ever so smooooth.

Note: this is only a smattering of what is on the breakfast menu at Dot's.  For more information, go to

Lunch -------------------------------------------


Twelve slices of bacon on Dot's Baconater.  Did I say 12 slices of bacon!  Now that's a bacon club sandwich.  Thanks to my cousin Sharon for taking these bacon photos for me.

Monday's Special:

You heard me tell this story before: the moms of New Orleans in the olden days cooked a pot of red beans and rice on Monday so they had time to tend to the family clothes wash.  That tradition has spilled over to restaurants in the area.

Dot's is the place to go on Mondays for red beans and rice.  The dish comes with grilled sausage (above) or pork chops (below).  Sorry, Dot, that the pics are not better.  These plates were shot before I decided to do a food blog.  You can always send me better ones.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Doughnut Hole Bakery/Cafe of Destin Florida

If you can find Destin, Florida, you can find the Doughnut Hole Bakery and Cafe.  It's on US-98, just east of Destin proper across the highway from Walmart.  Go early before the line forms.  And they make more than doughnut holes here.

Get here early.  And it doesn't matter what day.  Get here early.  The Cafe opens at 6 a.m. and there's a serious line forming sometime between 9 and 10 a.m.  I would shoot for arriving no later than 7:30 a.m.  If you look to the right of the photo, you can see the line forming at about 8 a.m.  A line is always a good indicator of a great restuarant.

Gulf Coast Crabmeat Benedict

English muffins are topped with crab cakes, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce and served with homemade hash browns.  The cakes are loaded with claw crabmeat and are quite tasty.  The hash browns are obviously freshly shredded prior to pan frying.

Bacon & Cheese Omelet:

Bacon is applewood smoked Boars Head and the cheese is cheddar.  Need not say anymore.  Great stuff!

Monster Omelet:

Bacon, sausage, ham, this omelet has it all ... onions, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms ... and don't forget the cheese.


Put your silver dollars back in your pocket.  These pancakes are huge and dusted with powdered sugar.  Lick your finger to transfer the sugar powder to your lips before hitting the cakes with the syrup.

Mushroom and Cheese Omelet:

Another cheddar masterpiece ... this time with mushrooms.  See the grits ... and it comes loaded with butter.

Chicken Fried Steak:

Smothered in gravy, this steak is breaded and fried crisp giving the dish a great taste with eggs and biscuits.

French Toast:

My granddaughter Makayla's favorite, the French toast was the special for the day.  It's made on their homemade bread ... this is a bakery of course!  Makayla loved it.

The Breakfast Burger:

I like a place that serves burgers for breakfast.  Burger, cheese, bacon, eggs-your-way with all the dressing, accompanied by half a plate of homemade hash browns.  A burger cooked your way for breakfast ... it doesn't get any better than this.

Cheese Grits:

This is Florida, this is the deep south.  Yes, they do have cheese grits.  This is a side-serving size, but you can get a larger one instead and load it down with crumbled bacon.

And yes, they do have a "Diet" Plate:

Their Diet Plate comes with homemade buttermilk biscuits topped with cheese (this place likes to serve up the cheese), eggs your way (mine was over easy), and smothered with cream gravy.  Two peppery sausage paddies and a side of hash browns come with this diet plate.  See that shiny stuff on the sausage paddy ... that's the grease.  Yes, they do call this the "Diet" Plate on their menu.

Great Coffee:

Coffee is a plus here.  But they serve doughnuts, so the coffee should be a plus.  Can't have good doughnuts and bad coffee.

Homemade Breads:

What I like about great bakeries that serve a country breakfast is that the biscuits and breads are made fresh daily.  Look at those crisp, but flaky biscuits, and the cinnamon-raisen toast.

Doughnuts and Pastries:

Before leaving, grab a bag of doughnut holes or a box of their pastries.  If you're going to have a sugar high, this is the stuff to do it with!  If you come just for doughnuts, come early.  Remember, around 8 a.m., the line starts to form.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy's Soul Food Shack of Oregon

Happy's is located on the Main Street, Springfield, Or.  If you're not from the area, use your GPS to get to Main Street.  Once on Main, it's easy to find.  Happy is the owner/operator and a native of Alabama where he learned to cook soul food.  I grew up in the south and have to say this soul food is authentic.

This is a to-go food restaurant and most of what they serve is cooked or heated when you order.  So don't be in a hurry ... the food is worth the wait.

Soul Food Sides

Sometimes, I go just for the sides.  Pictured above is a combo plate of mac-n-cheese,  chicken-n-dumplins, and red beans-n-rice.


I consider his greens his masterpiece of soul food production.  It's a mainstay in the southern African-American diet.  Great stuff if you're on a low carb diet.  His portions are larger than this, I just got hungry before snapping the picture.

Mac & Cheese:

Sometimes I dream about this dish.  The mac-n-cheese is made like I never had it before.  By the way, this dish is not on a low carb diet, neither is it on a low fat diet.  You have to forget diet when you're eating his mac-n-cheese.  Happy's dish has tomato in it.

Red Beans & Rice

Growing up in New Orleans, I have had a lot of red beans and rice in my life.  Monday there was wash day in the 50s and the stay-at-home moms cooked a pot of red beans for the family dinner that day to give them time to tend to the laundry.   Happy's red beans are as good as they come.

Chicken & Dumplings 

Talk about scrumptious.  This is country chicken and dumplings.  Thick cream chicken gravy with old fashion dumplings.  He uses white meat but it somehow doesn't lose the flavor in stewing.  This stuff is great stick to your ribs eating!


Pork Ribs:

Usually I don't want my ribs served with barbecue sauce on them.  But these soul ribs are fall off the bone ribs.  You can eat these ribs with a fork.  Happy says, "you need no teeth to eat my meats"  And the sauce is great.

Tri-Cut Barbecued Beef:

This is a cousin of the brisket, but a better cut.  It comes from the cow in a triangle wedge, hence the name.  And you don't need teeth to eat this stuff ether.

Happy is not satisfied with serving good food.  He told me if it's not GREAT then bring it back for a refund.  I din't bring it back; I ate it instead.  Great decision.  If you like soul food and you're in Oregon, this is the place to go.  If you never had soul food, Happy's is a must.  By the way, he serves up great coffee for the road.  For more info go to:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Louie & The Redhead Lady of Mandeville Louisiana

Louie Finnan and his wife Ginger run this great restaurant in Mandeville, Louisiana, just off the Causeway Bridge over Lake Ponchartrain north of New Orleans.  This place is a must stop if you're in the area.  The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday.  Don't do like my brother Joe and I did and try to go on a Monday.  Louie's  is set back from the road as you can see and is located on the south side of the East Causeway approach.

This place is much easier to get to if you're coming from the Greater New Orleans Area.  When you veer off of Causeway, keep in your right lane and drive at a moderate speed because you will have to turn off onto the service road as soon as you see the place.

If coming from the north, go to the far right of toll booths at the foot of the Causeway Bridge and turn to the right; there is a service road there which circles back.  (Don't go through the toll booth or breakfast will cost $3 more).  Take the first right that goes under Causeway Blvd. and that will get you to the East Causeway approach.

I'm not sure how well your GPS will work in getting to Louie's, but it's worth taking several passes to get there.  The food is not only great, but Louie and Ginger make you feel like family.

Grits & Grillades:

This is their signature dish: sautéed veal served with Chef Louie's special gravy.  My guess is that the gravy comes from what sticks to the bottom of the pan when the veal is sautéed.  See the caramelized onions on top.  This is one of the BEST breakfasts that has ever passed my taste buds.  Grits were meant to be topped with Chef Louie's gravy.

Great Cup of Thick Coffee:

This restaurant is across the lake from New Orleans.  They're supposed to have great coffee and it's supposed to be thick.  No matter how thick the coffee is, it's always smooth, never bitter.  And please don't pour water in your coffee like my Aunt Mildred does.

Eggs Nouvelle Orleans:

Eggs Benedict like many of you may have never had them before.  Two crab cakes are topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.  Look at all the crabmeat in those paddies.

Jambalaya Scramble:

You can hardly see the egg for all the stuff Louie has in it: shrimp, smoked sausage, onions, tomatoes, green pepper.  Two of his other omelet specials include: Shrimp Vera Cruz Omelet and the Chorizo Monterrey Omelet.

Eggs Buras:

This is traditional Eggs Benedict with a side of flash-fried oysters.  The oysters make a succulent complement to the flavor of Eggs Benedict.

Hash Browns:

Have you ever seen such a perfectly cooked mess of hash browns in your life.  This stuff is crisp all of the way through.  This is the way hash browns should be cooked.

French Toast:

In the New Orleans area, you get French toast on French Bread.  In the olden days when I was a kid, you did one of two things with day-old French Bread.  You either made bread pudding or you made French toast.  My granddaughter Makayla almost always orders French toast for breakfast and to her this was the best.  She let me have a taste and I agree.

Biscuits and Debris:

Day-ole is a great word in Louisiana.  The French really know what to do with yesterday's food.  Debris is what's left from the day before after cooking down roast beef for po-boys.  What you see is the debris from bottom of the pot spooned on a couple of open biscuits.  This is good stuff.

Grilled Biscuits with homemade preserves:

My Mom introduced me to grilled biscuits.  That is what she did with day-ole biscuits, but Louie does it with fresh ones.  My brothers and I never pigged out on fresh biscuits hoping there would be enough left for grilled ones the next day.  Louie makes his own jellies.  The one on the biscuit above is a combination of pear, strawberry, apricot, and something that both my brother and I forgot.  Great stuff for biscuits.

Eggs New Orleans:

Two fried green tomatoes (like in the movie) topped with poached eggs and Louie's special hollandaise sauce.  How does he get the sauce so orange.  I can't do that.

Creamed Spinach:

I promised myself that I wouldn't try this dish, but it came with the Eggs Buras.  And if you put it in front of me, I'll taste it.  This turned out to be great stuff, flavored with garlic and other tasty spices.  To me, there must have been a hint of crab boil in the spinach, but the waitress checked with the cook and said no.

Traditional Breakfast:

Yes, Louie and the Redhead Lady serve a traditional egg breakfast as well.  What you can't see are the grits.  Me, I'll never get this because they have too many other special dishes to order ... I mean they have poached eggs with creamed spinach and with hot sausage, and omelets with shrimp or crabmeat.   And that's not all, there's bananas foster pancakes and oysters la lousianne.  I'd have to live in Mandeville to surf everything on their menu.

Suggested Lunch at L&R

Seasoned Biscuits:

These are tasty little morsels of seasoned biscuits.  And you can keep ordering more!  Note: the plate came with four, but I quickly ate one before I realized I needed to take a photo.

Chicken & Anduie-Sausage Gumbo:

Excuse the mess.  Same problem here: I ate some gumbo before I realized the need for a photo.  This is a roux based gumbo and tastes great.

Oyster New Orleans and Shrimp New Orleans:

Lite pasta in a butter sauce circled with either fried oysters or fried shrimp.  I asked for half and half, and they did it!  The breading tastes as if it is a lite mixture of white four and corn flour.  Just enough corn flour in the mix to stick to the seafood, but not overwhelm the taste.  Good stuff.

Louie and the Breakfast Bro:

Louie has a great kitchen and wait staff that takes care of business freeing him to mingle with the customers.  And that he does.  He want's you to feel like you're visiting family when eating here.

For more information about Louie and the Redhead Lady and a full menu go to