Churro Bread Pudding by Tapa Toro

Hi, food friends! Did you know that in August 2016, 7.1 trillion gallons of water fell during the Louisiana floods? Lives were lost, and more 140,000 homes were destroyed. I was deeply impacted and decided to create Good Through Food, a new Orlando-based organization that strives to make lives better through food-related efforts. This past Monday, we launched the first initiative to help called Project 001. Louisiana, which includes local restaurants creating and selling Louisiana-inspired dishes and desserts to help raise funds for those in need.

From October 24  through October 31, local restaurants are selling a Louisiana-inspired dish to help raise funds for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a Louisiana-based charity that seeks to assist South Louisiana residents, which make up the majority of the 30,000 people that were displaced from their homes because of the floods, only to return to neighborhoods they couldn’t recognize. Chefs and restaurants will donate 25, 50 or 100 percent of proceeds to the charity.

5 Participating Restaurants: (Eat one dish or eat them all to give back):


1. Tapa Toro: Churro Bread Pudding

2. Taverna Opa: Loukomades (Greek Beignets) — check out how to make them here!

Audubon District

3. P is for Pie: P is for Pecan Caramel Hand Pie + Coffee

Historic Longwood 

4. Collette’s Clean Eats: Shrimp, Blue Crab & Turkey Sausage Gumbo with Organic Brown Rice

Mills 50 District 

5. Black Rooster Taqueria: NOLA Pork Belly Taco

Please share your dishes on Instagram using the hashtag #GoodThroughFood. For more information, visit Restaurants can still sign up, so spread the word.

Connect on social media on Facebook and Instagram. Check out the video below to learn more.

Thank you so very much for your support, it means everything!

Let’s do good together…

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

Shareable Images for Social:do-good eat-and-give join-us lets-do-good


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Pier 407 is a new Cajun and seafood restaurant recently opened on East Colonial just west of Rouse Road. It’s a family owned and operated restaurant that “strives to serve authentic Louisiana cuisine at affordable prices.”

I dropped by recently to eat dinner with family and friends and was charmed by the friendly owners and their family. I guess you can add this to the list of many Vietnamese owned Cajun restaurants around town, many who have started after leaving Louisiana in the midst of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive wake.


They did a great job remodeling the space, which was rather sparse before with a few posters of Indian films, now the space has as an urban, rustic harbor warehouse feel.

The menu is hand-written, quite decoratively, on a chalk board, listing out their seafood dishes and specials from fried to steamed, po boy sandwiches, gumbo and jambalaya. The jambalaya was hearty and flavorful, yet somehow reminiscent of fried rice – delicious all the same.

I noticed the seasonings here give the seafood a more fresh taste, less heavy handed as some places can be. We ordered the $19.95 special that can with queen crab legs, crawfish, and shrimp. We also ordered the fried shrimp platter and the awesome mini beignet desserts. Really enjoyed the fried shrimp, but especially enjoyed the delightful panko crusted and seasoned fried potatoes that accompanied them.

It’s open from 3pm till 9pm daily now, but they hope to expand to lunch hours in the future.








Gumbo at Pier 407

Fried Soft Shell Crab
Fried Soft Shell Crab
Fried Shrimp plate
Fried Shrimp plate
Jambalaya rice
Jambalaya rice
Seafood combo special
Seafood combo special


Fried Beignet Donuts
Fried Beignet Donuts

Pier 407 Cajun Crab and Seafood
10725 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, Florida
(407) 734-5997
For more info, visit:

One of my favorite Cajun restaurants in town, King Cajun Crawfish on Mills Avenue has some of the best fresh crawfish and fried shrimp and oyster poboy sandwiches in Orlando with reasonable prices and friendly staff.

I love their crawfish with shabang sauce – owner and chef Ha Nguyen adds orange rinds to the mix of garlic, butter, and spicy peppers for that extra bang in the sha bang.

Mrs. Nguyen ran a Cajun restaurant in Louisiana for over 15 years before moving to Orlando to be closer with her family after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast in 2005.

I love their fried oysters and fried shrimp po boys as well. Jambalaya and gumbo are both hearty and delicious.

Definitely save space for dessert – get the beignets, fried donuts topped with heapings of powdered sugar – just don’t choke on it. Wash it down with a hot or iced cup of Vietnamese coffee.

King Cajun Crawfish of Orlando on Mills Ave
King Cajun Crawfish of Orlando on Mills Ave


Gumbo with shrimp
Gumbo with shrimp
Jambalaya rice
Jambalaya rice
Fried Shrimp Po Boy
Fried Shrimp Po Boy
Fried Shrimp plate
Fried Shrimp plate
Oyster Poboy sandwich
Oyster Poboy sandwich


Crawfish with Shabang sauce
Crawfish with Shabang sauce


Look into the Fried Oyster Po boy sandwich
Look into the Fried Oyster Po boy sandwich


Mrs. Ha Nguyen shows off her fresh live crawfish delivered straight from Louisiana
Mrs. Ha Nguyen shows off her fresh live crawfish delivered straight from Louisiana
Beignets - New Orleans' very own powdered sugar donuts
Beignets – New Orleans’ very own powdered sugar donuts
Beignets served best with some hot or iced Vietnamese coffee
Beignets served best with some hot or iced Vietnamese coffee
Live crawfish
Live crawfish
Mrs. Ha Nguyen interviewed by Matthew Peddie and Brendan Byrne of WMFE
Mrs. Ha Nguyen interviewed by Matthew Peddie and Brendan Byrne of WMFE for the What is Little Vietnam series.

King Cajun Crawfish
914 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 704-8863

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Mardi Gras is Tuesday February 17 this year, and if you can’t make it down to Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebration – there’s quite a few places to get your bayou bites on here in Orlando.


Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday”, refers to “events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Epiphany or King’s Day and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lent season.”


King Cake

One of the most popular foods of the season is the “king cake” -a sweet, sugary and iced Danish type cake that is braided with cinnamon inside and a plastic baby doll underneath (said to represent Jesus). The finder of the baby Jesus is said to be made King or Queen for the day and is also responsible for buying the King Cake for the next year. The three colors of the sugar are Purple (representing Justice), Green (representing Faith) and Gold (representing Power).

For King Cake in Orlando, contact:

 Olde Hearth Bread Company
at East End Market
3201 Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 834-8881
$12 each starting Friday!!! Call ahead to order

Here’s what they look like:

Charlie’s Gourmet Pastries
3213 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 898-9561

Cajun vs. Creole

Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana, United States which blends French, West African, Amerindian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian influences, as well as general Southern cuisine. Cajun cuisine is named for the French-speaking Acadian people deported by the British from Acadia in Canada to the Acadiana region of Louisiana, USA. Creole is more known as “city” food while cajun is more “rural” – and a big difference often is that Creole cuisine has tomatoes in it. Popular dishes in both cuisines include gumbo, jambalaya, boudin sausage, and crawfish boils.

Key Terms

Gumbo – typically consists primarily of a strongly flavored stock, okra, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables, which can include celery, bell peppers and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo). Several different varieties exist. In New Orleans, what is known as Creole gumbo generally ranges from house to house though still retaining its African and Native origins. The Creoles of Cane River make a gumbo focused much more on filé. After the base is prepared, vegetables are cooked down, and then meat is added. The dish simmers, with shellfish and some spices added near the end. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice. The dish combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including West African, French, Spanish, German, and Choctaw. The dish is the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana.

Jambalaya – a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence. Jambalaya may have been created in Louisiana and may have its origins in Spanish paella, even if there is a dish also called jambalaia in Provence, southern France, that is also a mash-up of rice, chicken and saffron. Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meat and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. Creole jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the original European sector. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish.

Roux – a substance created by cooking wheat flour and fat (traditionally butter) as the thickening agent. A roux is used in three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: béchamel sauce, velouté sauce, and espagnole sauce. Clarified butter, vegetable oils, bacon drippings or lard are commonly used fats. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. In Cajun cuisine, roux is made with bacon fat or oil instead of butter and dark brown in color, which lends much richness of flavor, albeit less thickening power.

Crawfish – Crayfish, also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters
Po-boy – A po’ boy (also po-boy, po boy, or poor boy) is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat, usually roast beef, or fried seafood. The meat is served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center.

Beignet – synonymous with the English “fritter”, is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets are commonly known in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powdered sugar on top. They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot. The most famous place to get these are at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

Upcoming Events

Celt Irish Pub Louisiana Fat Tuesday Party
February 17, 2015 @ Harp and Celt Irish Pub and Restaurant
11a – 7pm
Crawfish Poorboys
Crawfish Ettouffee
Chicken Jambalaya
Red Beans and Rice

25 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando FL 32801

 Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

Two Locations:

2203 Aloma Ave
Winter Park, FL 32792

494 West SR 436
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

Favorite dishes: Fried oyster remoulade, seafood gumbo – shrimp, oysters, andouille sausage simmered with fresh vegetables, okra topped with rice, and the 12-napkin Fried Roast Beef Po-boy. Great beignets as well.

Belle Isle Bayou
5180 South Conway Road, Orlando, FL 32812
(407) 250-6763

The Big Easy
15502 Stoneybrook West Parkway, Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 654-3279

Voodoo Kitchen Food Truck

For Crawfish, Shrimp, Crab, Seafood boils –


King Cajun Crawfish
914 North Mills Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 704-8863
Great po-boys as well

New Orleans Cajun Seafood
5503 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808
(407) 293-2719
7325 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792
(407) 678-5700

Hot N’ Juice Crawfish
7572 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 370-4655

LA Boiling Seafood Crabs and Crawfish
1242 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 898-7770

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Chef Emeril Lagasse initially gained fame in the culinary world as executive chef of New Orlean’s Commander’s Palace in the 1980s and later opened his first restaurant, Emeril’s, in 1990, which went on to winning “Restaurant of the Year” in Esquire magazine that very year.

Chef Emeril Lagasse today is probably most known for his TV shows Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live! on the Food Network where his colorful personality and catch phrases “Kick it up a notch!” and “Bam!” could be heard throughout TV land, bringing the term “celebrity chef” a whole new meaning.

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In 1999, he opened Emeril’s Orlando at Universal Studios’ CityWalk and later Emeril’s Tchoup Tchoup at Loew’s Royal Pacific Hotel.

Most recently, he launched Emeril’s Florida, which airs on the Cooking Channel, and this year, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation won the James Beard Award for Humanitarian of the Year 2013, supporting non-profit organizations that provide educational programs, life skills development, culinary training and cultural enrichment, creating opportunities in the communities where Emeril’s restaurants operate, including locally here in Orlando.

Emeril has received two previous awards from the James Beard Foundation: He was inducted into the Who’s Who in 1989 and won the Best Chef: Southeast award in 1991.

I’d never been to Emeril’s Orlando before and was recently invited to check out a new promotion going on this June: 3 courses for $30 June Menu featuring recipes adapted From Emeril’s Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emeril’s Restaurants and found myself wishing I had visited sooner!


Emeril’s Orlando is located on Universal’s CityWalk at 6000 Universal Blvd, with free self-parking for Florida residents at Universal Studios garage after 6 p.m.

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The building is a beautiful, modern building with large windows giving the restaurant a lot of natural sunlight as well as an airy open feeling. White linen tablecloths adorn the dining room tables and waiters and waitresses hurray about the rooms with orders and freshly prepared dishes. To one side, a bar area overlooks the kitchen giving an almost chef’s table feeling to diners.

We start off with a sample tasting of Emeril’s New Orleans barbecue shrimp made with Florida white shrimp in a tangy, Creole brown sauce served with petite rosemary biscuit.

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Our appetizer is  a dish of plump, juicy poached oysters in a green, creamy anise-flavored herbsaint cream and spinach sauce with a dollop of black pepper crème fraîche and a little sprinkling of flash fried spinach. The textures of wet oysters with cream and crunchy spinach pieces went well together and the flavor was very nice as well – I think it was one of my favorite dishes from the whole set, so don’t be afraid of eating the oysters even though it’s not a month ending in “-er”.

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Poached Oysters in Herbsaint Cream, Black Pepper Crème Fraîche, Flash Fried Spinach

For my entree, I ordered the poached salmon topped with smashed avocado and a side of mango salsa, coconut rice pilaf and black bean sauce, with a little bit of tortilla chips on top. The salmon, avocado, and mango salsa went together beautifully and the coconut rice and black bean sauce altogether reminded me of a dish I might find in the islands of the Caribbean…very fresh and tropical tasting, and yet not too heavy. The salmon, I found, could have used some salt or seasoning, though the mango salsa did hel photo DSC00889_zpsf99271d5.jpg

Poached Salmon, Mango Salsa, Smashed Avocado, Coconut Rice Pilaf, Black Bean Sauce, Tortilla Ch photo DSC00891_zpsd7220d05.png

My dining partner ordered the Braised Beef Short Ribs on top of Cheddar Polenta with Cole Slaw.

For dessert, we had a very nice White Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake in a Strawberry Sauce, sprinkled with powdered sugar. The cake was absolutely delicious and tasted so very fresh and home made…it was hard to stop ourselves from ordering another to go!

Despite being in the middle of a tourist mecca, I am glad Chef Emeril and Culinary Director Bernard Carmouche continues to provide a strong reason for Emeril’s Orlando to be such a bright spot in the central Florida culinary landscape.

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Dessert – White Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake, Strawberry Sauce

3 for $30 June Menu

Featuring recipes adapted From Emeril’s Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emeril’s Restaurants.

Appetizer – Poached Oysters in Herbsaint Cream, Black Pepper Crème Fraîche, Flash Fried Spinach

Entrees – Choice of One – Poached Salmon, Mango Salsa, Smashed Avocado, Coconut Rice Pilaf, Black Bean Sauce, Tortilla Chips or Braised Beef Short Ribs, Cheddar Polenta, Cole Slaw

Dessert – White Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake, Strawberry Sauce

3 for $30 July Menu

Featuring recipes adapted from Emeril at the Grill.

Appetizer – Watercress, Avocado, Mango Salad

Entrees – Salmon, Peach-Tamarind Barbecue Sauce  or Chicken Paillards, Arugula, Roasted Peppers, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon

Dessert – Grilled Peaches, Mascarpone, Local Honey

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Emeril's Orlando on Urbanspoon

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This little seafood shack in the Mills 50 District used to be a banh mi (Vietnamese Sub sandwich shop) by the name of Saigon Subs (located a few doors down from Tasty Wok). Boiling Crab and Seafood is still Vietnamese owned, but they take their cues from the Cajun south…hot sha-bangin sauces and steamed garlic crabs. A large population of Vietnamese Americans live in New Orleans, and as families started to spread out from the gulf region, they brought their love of seafood and cajun spices with them. Over a course of a few trips, this restaurant has earned a special place in our foodie hearts not only for their fresh seafood but also the friendly service of the owner and staff despite being understaffed at times.

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The menu consists of snow-crab legs, head-on shrimp, crawfish, and Maryland blue crabs as well as more than 13 types of poboy sandwiches filled with everything from fried oysters to catfish. My favorite items consisted of the snow crab legs, very fresh and flavorful, dipped in butter garlic sauce, as well as the jumbo head on shrimps. There are a few Vietnamese items here as well like the seafood laden bun rieu noodle soup with crab and tomato, as well as pho. The prices are very reasonable for the fresh seafood that you get and I hope they keep it that way.

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Chef’s seafood-platter meal for four consists of:

One pound of snow-crab legs and dungeness crab legs
One pound of shrimp
One pound of crawfish
Two blue crabs
Four ears of corn and four potatoes
Four nonalcoholic drinks

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Magical sha bang spicy sauce

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Boiling Crab and Seafood’s rendition of the gumbo soup – beware it is extremely spicy!

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Blue crabs bathing in garlic butter


Definitely check them out if you are a big fresh seafood fan!

Check out their website here:

Business Hours:

Monday-Thursday 10:30-9:00
Friday-Saturday 10:30-10:00
Sunday 9:00-9:00

Boiling Crab and Seafood on Urbanspoon

Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, Donut King is a treat for those who love hand made, fresh daily donuts. Located out in Minneola, north of SR 50 and way out west of Orlando, this unassuming little bake shop packs a big punch in terms of sweet flavors. Strangely enough, there are several menus featured here at Donut King: the donuts menu, a breakfast menu, a burger menu, and a New Orleans style cajun menu (including an impressive list of po boy sandwiches).

When you first step into Donut King, it feels like it used to be a old 50’s fast food joint, despite being open only since 2007. A few scattered chairs and tables, and a bar area on a side are all the seating available. Most patrons come in, salivating over the display of donuts on donuts on donuts, ordering their boxes and go.

Donuts ($0.79 each or $7.79 for a dozen) reign supreme here at donut king, soft, fluffy, and delicious. The glazed donut is heavenly, a sweet donut soft and fluffy like something you’d find on cloud 9 with a touch of vanilla flavor. The red velvet chocolate cake donut and the sour dough cake donut are also great, though they tasted more like cakes in donut form than a traditional donut. The sour dough cake donut reminded me particularly of a delightful apple fritter with out the apples. Custard filled donut holes, chocolate oreo crusted donuts, strawberry glazed donuts, and even a UF Gator themed sprinkled, chocolate glazed donut are some of the many flavors available.

As mentioned earlier, there is a burger menu, consisting of their signature “castle burgers“, which are much like the White Castle/Krystal’s slider variety. The bun was soft and the burger itself was agreeable, though nothing out of the ordinary. I wished there was more toppings in the burger, like more onions and pickles.

The New Orleans style cajun menu here was surprisingly good. The catfish had a spicy, flavorful batter and was fried to a golden crisp. The accompanying grits were standard fare. A whopping platter of gumbo with okra, sausage, cajun spices, and sauce over rice and french bread had a home-cooked, yet very mild taste to it, though I would have expected it to be more soup-like as I am accustomed to. One of my favorite things on the menu here were the chicken wings, fresh, crispy little wings dipped in a mild hot sauce. Simple but good.

Just the sheer amount of variety here will have you liking something on the menu. The donuts indeed were the main attraction

Let the Donut King continue his reign.

Scenes from The Donut King

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Unassuming storefront belies what lay inside

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The Castle Burger

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What wonders behold

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Dozen donuts please

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Catfish and grits

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Glazed Donuts on a stick – i call it the HoneyCatTails

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Gumbo – Large $7.99

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Donut King on Urbanspoon

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The Big Easy


Winter Garden is coming up in the Central Florida foodie scene. Despite being far west of Orlando in western Orange County, many new restaurants have been popping up in this once sleepy area of town. Most recently, Four Rivers Smokehouse BBQ restaurant established a western outpost of their highly popular barbecue restaurant replete with indoor dining out here in Winter Garden.

The Big Easy is a new authentic New Orleans-style cajun “home-cookin'” restaurant located in Winter Garden, serving up some real mighty fine dishes from the heart of Louisiana country. Inside The Big Easy, memorabilia such as gold and purple beads, newspaper clippings, dolls, and umbrellas hang along the walls, all symbolizing the good times found in New Orleans. Vibrant purple and yellow walls frame the interior. Brass band and jazz music is the soundtrack to The Big Easy, and I even caught myself tapping my foot to the beat once or twice.


Authentic New Orleans cajun cooking is hard to find here in Central Florida. There are plenty of imitators but very few originators. Many times in the places I have visited, the spices and flavors are missing or the ingredients are too processed. Not the case here at The Big Easy, the food is the real deal and made from scratch on the premises.

We start with the Cajun Crab Dip ($8.99) a creamy dip made with cheese and crab and served with a toasted baguette. The crab dip is full of wonderful spices and flavors that delight the taste buds, and is definitely a great start to this culinary journey into the Louisiana low country. If the crab dip isn’t your flavor for appetizer, you can try the alligator bites, shrimp poppers, praline kahlua brie, or the nawlins seafood sampler filled fried oysters, shrimp and crawfish with a side of homemade remoulade sauce.


Cajun Crab Dip ($8.99)

We also ordered a cup of the chicken and sausage gumbo ($4.99 for 8 oz cup) , a flavorful dish made with fresh chicken, sausage, rice and a lovely, hearty broth.

chicken and sausage gumbo ($4.99 for 8 oz cup) 

For my entree, I choose Estrelle’s Crawfish Etoufee ($12.99). Étouffée or etouffee (pronounced: [e.tu.fe]) is a dish found in both Cajun and creole cuisine typically served with shellfish over rice. The base of an étouffée is a dark roux which should be dark brown. Onions, green peppers and celery are added to the roux. The étouffée is usually seasoned with cayenne pepper, paprika, white pepper, fresh garlic, fresh parsley, salt, and perhaps even a host of other seasonings. The dish is usually mounted with butter for richness and then served with white rice cooked in seafood stock. At The Big Easy, Estrelle’s Crawfish Etoufee has a certain kick to it, reminded me of the fond memories from my trips to New Orleans and the fine cajun food I experienced there. Its all about the spices and The Big Easy does it right! One thing that I noticed however, was that the rice was a bit dry on my visit and could have been a bit more fresh. The etoufee was still amazing despite this, and the crawfish and roux mingled in a wonderful dance in my mouth. Awesome.

Estrelle’s Crawfish Etoufee ($12.99)

A friend ordered the Louisiana Low Country Shrimp and Grits ($12.99), a heaping of lovely grits topped with shrimp and a thick sun dried tomato alfredo sauce on top. A truly decadent dish that was thoroughly enjoyed at the table. We also ordered the popular Grandma’s Jambalaya ($9.99), made with andouille sausage, chicken, caramelized vegetables, spices, and all mixed with rice.

Louisiana Low Country Shrimp and Grits ($12.99)


Grandma’s Jambalaya ($9.99) with cornbread

The Big Easy also serves a large variety of various po boy sandwiches (oyster, shrimp, etc), muffuletta, and burgers, including a famous Turkey burger.

Wife’s Famous Turkey Burger

The staff here is wonderful; our waitress is attentive and genuine, coming back often to check up on us during our meal. Featuring all the authentic New Orleans down-home country cajun cooking that you can hope to find in Central Florida, The Big Easy should be on every’s list to try this fall!


The Big Easy Restaurant
15502 Stoneybrook West Pkwy Ste 120, Winter Garden, FL 34787
Phone: 407-654-3279

The Big Easy on Urbanspoon

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Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen is the new restaurant on Aloma Avenue receiving rave reviews for their New Orleans style cajun cuisine. Its founders are the same guys that created Tijuana Flats, fellow UCF alumni who started their first restaurant just down the street on University Blvd and Dean Road. They have been quite successful with their Tijuana Flats concept and I am sure they will be successful with their new project Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen (likely to become a franchise soon too?)

A Look inside Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen
Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen in Winter Park, Florida

Located in Winter Park off of Aloma Avenue just east of Lakemont, its tucked inside the Publix plaza next to Aloma Cinema Grill and Mellow Mushroom. On the night that I arrived, they just celebrated their first month since their grand opening and the line was already out the door at 7pm. There was about an hour wait. (I’d recommend trying to make reservations if you are to go). The decor inside is a raucous, vibrant affair with deep purple and light green walls and a eclectic mix of New Orleans paraphernalia decking the walls, creating a festive and fun atmosphere. Our service was attentive and accommodating this evening at Tibby’s with no issues or complaints.

As someone who’s been to New Orleans on a few occasions and having the good fortune to try some real cajun food, I’d have to say that Tibby’s deserves props for trying their best to match the deep flavors of New Orleans. But maybe it was the items that I ordered on this visit that didn’t necessarily match the hype and at times I felt it was missing that cajun spice/flavor in some of their dishes.

For starters, we began with the oysters remoulade ($8), a tangy heap of fried oysters on top of a bed of lettuce and fit inside one of their goblets/chalice cups. It was battered and sweet, a enjoyable enough dish. We also ordered the andouille sausage jambalaya ($4.5 for cup) and seafood gumbo ($5), both of which we thought were a bit small for the price and untypically bland and sparse with meat. The jambalaya and gumbo both could have used some more spices to kick it up a notch. The crawfish pie ($9) was a favorite, served with some of the jambalaya rice, and featuring two meaty crawfish filled empanada pies. The shrimp creole ($11), however, was lacking in flavor; the sauce was reminiscent of a italian/mexican tomato salsa based sauce and the shrimp was hardly the jumbo sized mentioned in menu.

For dessert, we tried the single order of the beignets ($2.25) and some bread pudding ($5).  The beignets were fresh and flaky and definitely a must try if you are at Tibby’s.

Overall, I think Tibby’s is a good introduction to New Orleans cuisine, but alas has a ways to go. They also serve a wide variety of po boy sandwiches which I hope to try on another visit.


A Pimp cup of Oyster Remoulade


Cup of Jambalaya rice


Cup of Seafood Gumbo


Crawfish pies!


Shrimp Creole


Bread Pudding 
Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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