Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Eating Out: Buzzard Billy's

We were attending the final Iowa Barnstormers Arena football game of the season in downtown Des Moines with Jo's sister Michelle and her husband, Terry. Where to eat? We decided on a place that has been in Des Moines for many years, and is just down the street from Wells Fargo arena (where the game is played). Let's check out Buzzard Billy's!

Buzzard Billy's serves "the best of authentic New Orleans and American cuisine". What's not to like about that? Get some good food and a few beers, then walk up to the game. 
Now, Buzzard Billy's has a huge menu. From appetizers, wings, soups, salads, dinners, and sandwiches, I count 92 different choices!  While trying to decide what to eat, we choose the "Cajun Nachos" for an appetizer. 

                                 Cajun   Nachos

Certainly a great way to start the night..."Corn tortilla chips smothered in cheese sauce, topped with a spicy Cajun sausage blend, mozzarella cheese, banana peppers and fresh pico de gallo." It comes with salsa and sour cream on the side.  The serving size is huge!

While I was drinking a beer, Jo opted for the "Category 5 Hurricane", a New Orleans legend. It must have been pretty good, because she told me we need to learn how to make these at home.

                                  Category 5 Hurricane

After much thought, we finally decided on what to eat for dinner. Terry likes spicy burgers, so he chose the Swamp Thing..."A 1/2 lb. Certified Angus Beef topped with coleslaw, Creole honey mustard, jalapeno bacon and Jalapeno Muenster cheese, served on a jalapeno bun."

                                   Swamp  Thing

He said it was good, but he would have like some more spice on it. Those are sweet potato fries on the side.

I chose the "Louisiana Purchase"...Fried crawfish, Fried Alligator Tail & Fried Oysters served with Creole Honey Mustard, cocktail sauce, Remoulade and Tartar sauce. It comes with French fries, hushpuppies and coleslaw.

                                Louisiana  Purchase

The crawfish were good.  The fried gator and the oysters were pretty small and mostly breading. Fries were thick and good. Great taste on the coleslaw, but it was room temperature. Coleslaw is one thing I think needs to be served cold. I'll probably pass on this one next time and go with the dinner Jo got...Chicken Tchoupitoulas.  "A fresh chicken breast seasoned with Cajun spices and grilled, served over a hash of diced fried potatoes, ham, mushrooms and green onions. Topped off with a New Orleans Barnaise Sauce".

                             Chicken Tchoupitoulas

Chicken was cooked perfectly, the ham was excellent, and the sauce brought it all together. Very tasty. And the corn side dish was very different, but very tasty...although it could have been hotter (spicier AND temperature).

Michelle opted for the fried gator strips with sweet potato fries...

                                                                Fried  Gator 

Dinners are in the $12-$20 range. Our food took quite a while to get to the table, but the place was getting busy with people coming in before the game.

After dinner, a short walk up the hill to Wells Fargo Arena for the game. The Barnstormers lost...again.

But we had a fun night, and some good food at a restaurant we'd never tried before. We liked Buzzard Billy's, although it didn't necessarily "knock our socks off". It will probably warrant another visit in the future...and I can guarantee that visit will include the Cajun nachos and the Chicken Tchoupitoulas!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cheye's Summer Green Bean Salad

Yesterday I got to spend the day with my sister and niece.  We are getting together again today for a family reunion.  Since they are staying in a hotel for the night, we got to talking about what we were bringing.  My niece, Cheyenne, loves to cook.  She told us that she wanted to make a green bean salad.  Without a kitchen it would be difficult.  So as a wonderful aunt, I offered to make it.

I asked her to tell me the recipe and she ended up typing the ingredients into my phone so I could make it. She is John's kind of cook, because there were only amounts and instructions to add spices till it tasted right. So in Cheye's honor, here is her salad.  Hope she likes it!

We started with fresh green beans.  I love fresh green beans so much!  The difference from canned ones is night and day.  It is almost as if they aren't the same vegetable.

I don't have a shot of us cutting off the ends.  I had a pile of them and was cutting them one by one and John so diplomatically asked if that was how I was doing all of them.  Next thing I know another knife appears and he is chopping five at a time.  So efficient!

We blanched the green beans.  Cheye said they have to be al dente!  And then asked if I knew what al dente meant.  (She was a culinary student!)  I assured her I knew and put John in charge.  We boiled the water and then dipped them in for a short bath...maybe a minute.

After they cooked, (we did it in two batches), we put them in an ice bath to cool down fast and stop the cooking.

John had already fried up the bacon.  Everything is better with bacon.

Cheye had me sold on this recipe as soon as she said bacon!

We added a combination of Miracle Whip and mayo.  After tasting it, I would probably just do mayo.  It was a little sweet for my taste.  Cheye said we could use either.

Add the bacon.

Then we seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  It is hard to tell when you are shaking it out. 

John folded it carefully to keep the beans whole.  This was about a pound of beans which looked like a lot at the store, but we could have made three times as much with no extra trouble.  Next time!

Here it is ready to cool down and take to the reunion!  Hope I made it right Cheyenne!!!