Tag Archives: brunch

Copeland’s of New Orleans: New and Improved

Picture it: I’m squiring a houseguest around town. Who is this houseguest? Doesn’t matter. Could be my parents, could be my husband’s parents, or my sister, or just someone from college who’s passing through Shreveport on his or her way to one of the coasts. We head down Youree and get to the Bert Kouns intersection. “Oh!” my passenger says. “Copeland’s. That looks…nice.”

And, indeed, it does look…nice. It reminds you of New Orleans in the same way that the Rose and Crown pub at EPCOT reminds you of England. Cleaner, newer, sanitized, accessible.

“It’s a prom night place,” I say, eyes fixed on the congested road ahead. And it is–perhaps a step up from Carrabba’s, Copeland’s is the kind of place frequented by teenagers of the upper-middle class, rolling up in rented limos (wait…you didn’t get a limousine on prom night? It’s OK, neither did I) or their parents’ freshly waxed Camrys. Inside, there’s the din that would be expected in a restaurant the size of Copeland’s. It’s not what someone would call “intimate,” and that’s alright, since intimacy isn’t too high on the high schooler’s list of restaurant must-haves.

Copeland’s was a place that I myself always seemed to overlook. Maybe I was just being snobby, but my idea of a special occasion dinner for grown-ups usually involves Line Avenue, not Youree Drive. My expensive taste, coupled with a desire to patronize locally-owned businesses whenever possible, didn’t really leave any room for a place like Copeland’s.

But you know? I had my 21st birthday lunch (less than five years ago) at The Cheesecake Factory. With its cartoonishly proportioned architecture, American-sized servings, and focused emphasis on cheesecake, The Cheesecake Factory is really just Copeland’s without the Creole accent. And heck, if I thought The Cheesecake Factory was good enough for a milestone birthday, then surely Copeland’s is good enough for similar celebrations. In fact, maybe that same oversized, opulent quality, that same whimsy, is exactly the point. Maybe these restaurants need an upgrade from “guilty pleasure” to just “pleasure.”

A day at EPCOT isn’t any less enjoyable because their countries are watered-down, climate-controlled versions of the real thing; instead, that scrubbed-up, family-friendly quality might actually be part of the fun.

Just this week, I attended a PR lunch at Copeland’s, in honor of the unveiling of their “new and improved” restaurant. After undergoing a $1 million renovation, everything about the Bert Kouns location seems to be new: new management, new decor, and a new approach to their food with fresher ingredients and proprietary recipes. Al Copeland Jr., who made an appearance, explained that the renovation aims to bridge the gap between the food at Copeland’s and the atmosphere. Once dissonant, with no discernible identity, the new decor at Copeland’s is a bit sleeker, more up-to-date, and has a distinctive New Orleans theme. They’re also introducing a Sunday (live!) jazz brunch, to be held each week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

My sample-sized portion of bananas foster cheesecake.

Since I wasn’t a paying customer during this visit, I won’t be doing a real review. But if you already liked Copeland’s, this is a good excuse to pay them a visit. And if, like me, you were dubious, let go of your pretense and your self-inflicted shame. Invent a special occasion and order yourself a 6-inch tall slice of bananas foster cheesecake. It may not be haute cuisine, it may not be “authentic” (whatever that means), and it’s definitely not kitschy enough to be ironic. But it’s damn delicious.

To borrow the words from my friend Tony Bourdain, “Good is just good. It doesn’t matter when or why.”

Copeland’s of New Orleans

1665 E. Bert Kouns Industrial Loop

318-797-0143

www.copelandsofneworleans.com

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Another Broken Egg Cafe

A couple of weeks ago, I took a solo jaunt down to Florida to surprise my family and spend my 4th of July holiday on the beach with friends. Sandwiching my week of subtropical cavorting were two loooong drives, two days apiece. Needless to say, by the time I got back to Shreveport, I had had my fill of Cheez-Its and drive-thru coffee. Cheez-Its, while delicious, get very old somewhere around the Mississippi/Alabama border.

The Sunday morning after my arrival home, my companion and I decided to try the maudlinly named Another Broken Egg. I was in dire need of a good breakfast. Some pre-dining research revealed that Another Broken Egg is actually a chain operating out of Destin, Florida, smack-dab in the middle of the beautiful Redneck Riviera Emerald Coast. While I’m normally not too keen on chains, Another Broken Egg only operates in three Gulf Coast states, plus one rogue location in Dallas.

We usually like to time our breakfast visits to synch up with when we imagine everyone else is in church. Shreveport is a city deserted during these hours, and we tell ourselves that we’re saving some of the waitstaff the chore of standing around and twiddling their thumbs. At around 10 a.m., Another Broken Egg was predictably empty; we walked in and were seated within 30 seconds. Things seemed to be going smoothly. We were quickly greeted by Spencer, our sheepish server (and I hope he likes alliteration, because that’s what he’s getting). It was Spencer’s first day on the job and he was nervous, but he passed. Don’t be so sheepish, Spencer!

The first thing that jumped out on the menu were the “delectable starters,” also known as breakfast appetizers. I know, weird, right? But when it comes to appetizers, Another Broken Egg seems to take a “why not?” approach. I can get behind that. Their appetizers range from the fancy (Baked Brie) to the innovative (Biscuit Beignets) to the slightly bizarre (Blackberry Grits). We didn’t have any appetizers on this visit, but I was lucky enough to watch a steaming plate of the Biscuit Beignets float by–a vision in powdered sugar accompanied by honey-marmalade dipping sauce.

Breakfast people: this is your menu. Nearly every conceivable combination of eggs, home fries (ABE calls them “country potatoes,” but you know what I’m talking about), bacon, sausage, and pancakes can be (and often already is, creatively) conjured up. Another Broken Egg gives special treatment to their Eggs Benedict(s), which includes the classic ham/Hollandaise number alongside interesting, albeit heart-stopping options like Benedict Oscar, which includes an entire sirloin atop an English muffin, finished with eggs, crabmeat, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce.

Anyway, I ended up on the “safe side” with a smoked salmon omelet: filled with cream cheese and finished with smoked salmon, diced red onions, capers, and tomatoes. Inside the warm confines of the omelet, the cream cheese had melted down to something a little less solid and a lot more delicious. My only complaint with this omelet was that the smoked salmon was presented in two neat piles on top. I was hoping for some salmon bits mixed in with the eggs themselves. It felt clumsy to divvy up and slice, so I ended up eating the omelet first, then the salmon by itself. The omelet was served with the aforementioned country potatoes and an English muffin which was assigned an inadequate dab of butter. More butter!

The sheer variety of omelets, though, is enough to keep me coming back. Another Broken Egg shows off its geographical know-how with choices like The Floridian (cream cheese, garlic butter-sauteed crabmeat, melted jack and a “touch” of scallions) and The Mardi Gras (smoked andouille, red peppers, crawfish, and scallions topped with tomato-Hollandaise sauce). Other picks range from the luxurious (Lobster et Fromage) to the standard (Garden Delight).

Always seeking to out-flapjack himself, my companion ordered Another Broken Egg’s pancakes. “Good,” he said, “not Southfield.” I tried them myself, and while they were indeed passable, they weren’t outrageous. The bacon they came with, however, was top-notch.

I didn’t want to mention it, but a glaring grammatical error on their professionally-printed menus ate away at me for some time after our visit. Apparently, Another Broken Egg can turn any waffle, pancake, or French toast slice into “Banana’s Foster.” Listen, folks. THIS IS NOT CORRECT. As Louisianans, you should be able to see through this, but I know a lot of people have problem’s with their apostrophe’s, and as someone who supports the English language, I have problems with their problems. Just to be sure, a quick Google search of “bananas foster” yielded the original Brennan’s Restaurant recipe, as well as the Wikipedia page, all without the apostrophe. Quick lesson for those of you who have been asleep since third grade: an apostrophe denotes a possessive. “Banana’s Foster” indicates that the Foster belongs to the Banana. This is not so. In fact, Bananas Foster is named after Richard Foster, a member of the New Orleans Cuisine Commission (whatever that is, I want to be a part of it) at the time of the dessert’s inception in the 50s. The “Bananas” in Bananas Foster is, in fact, plural, indicating more than one banana. To make something plural, you generally only have to add an “s” to it. PLURALS NEVER HAVE APOSTROPHES. And yes, I am planning on writing a letter. I’m sure Another Broken Egg spent a pretty penny to have those menus printed and delivered for use in four states. And yes, I can take as much time as I want talking about apostrophes, because this is my blog, and as long as we want people to speak English in the United States, we as Americans should make sure we know how to use it properly. Rant dismissed.

The food at Another Broken Egg? Great. When they promise a memorable brunch experience, they deliver it in a family-friendly, easygoing atmosphere. My only real issue was with price. A lot of people (myself included), generally think of breakfast as the cheapest meal of the day. In general I understand Another Broken Egg’s slightly elevated prices (between $9 and $12 for most egg-based dishes). Ingredients like crab, lobster, and steak aren’t cheap. But there’s something about a $4.29 cup of cafe au lait that I just can’t support. Still, for a moderately-sized Southern city, Shreveport is surprisingly lacking in the brunch department. The contenders we do have are strong ones, to be sure, but I think Another Broken Egg will have no trouble at all drumming up business.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

885 Pierremont Road, Suite 132

(in the same shopping center as Superior’s Steakhouse)

318-865-1124

www.anotherbrokenegg.com

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Bistro Byronz

…and that’s “Byronz,” sounds like “Tyrone’s.”

Our trip to Bistro Byronz was kind of a fluke, considering we ended up there after attempted lunches at two of our regular haunts. It was our first visit–Byronz is one of those places that, for us anyway (“us” being myself and my boyfriend, who is usually my willing companion on these outings), is perpetually on the “to-try” list but never quite crosses over.  Perhaps it’s the location: in a small shopping center on Line Avenue (shared only with a travel agency), Bistro Byronz is dwarfed by the bigger Line restaurants: Bistro 6301, Superior Grill, and the like. But don’t let yourself be fooled by its lackluster exterior; Byronz is a gem of a restaurant, so insanely delicious that we went back for brunch the next morning.

Bistro Byronz is decorated in highbrow minimalism–think Pottery Barn-meets-pub. White subway tile, antique mirrors, and not much else adorn the walls, while straightforward, naked tables remind you that you’re here to eat and socialize. I was a little dismayed, however, to see TVs mounted in a few corners; I’m of the opinion that a restaurant can’t market itself as a “nice place” if it has TVs on–and I don’t care what’s on them. Eating out means conversation and reinforcing bonds with your loved ones. It does not mean staring vacantly at sports while you ignore your wife.

Okay, rant over. On to the food!

With locations in Shreveport and Mandeville, in addition to the flagship restaurant in Baton Rouge, Bistro Byronz is a true Louisiana institution. Byronz serves up classic French dishes, tweaked to incorporate Louisiana-specific flavors.

My companion and I were greeted hurriedly by our icy waiter. Too busy and distracted to introduce himself to us, he seemed to have all the time in the world to make nice with our neighboring table, a large group of older couples. Our optimism was sinking. But we trekked on–after all, I needed material for this very blog.

Byronz has a well-executed lunch menu. Not too large to be overwhelming, they feature old lunch standbys (salads and sandwiches) along with some decidedly non-lunchy choices: cassoulet and pot roast, to name a few. Despite these tempting options, my companion and I were in a lunchy mood, so we opted for sandwiches. To start, we ordered their baked feta appetizer, which is as great as it sounds. We certainly didn’t expect what arrived moments later: a warm, lusty feta island in a sea (well, more like a pond) of robust, intense marinara sauce–served with parmesan toast points for easy sampling. My companion, unable to restrain himself, also ordered a cup of their sweet corn and crab chowder–chunky, sweet, and just the right amount of cream, it had me hearkening back to my days in Florida.

Our sandwiches were brought out soon afterwards by an inexplicably grim server, but we were so heartened by our appetizers that we couldn’t bear to concern ourselves. My companion ordered a Gruyère-stuffed turkey burger on a wheat bun, served with sweet potato fries. This burger may parade around like diet food, but it sure doesn’t taste that way. The turkey patty was flavorful and moist–everything a turkey patty usually isn’t. Frankly, it was downright beefy. I had a hard time tasting the Gruyère in the few bites I had of it, which was surprising because it’s such a hard cheese to miss. Topped with spinach and red bell pepper, the burger is a definite win.

Speaking of wins, my sandwich was just as good, if not better. Shrimp Louie, also on a wheat bun, is a sort of shrimp salad–boiled shrimp are tossed in a dressing similar to Thousand Island (sans the relish) and served with the obligatory lettuce and tomato. I chose something called “Zydeco pasta” as my side dish, and it tasted exactly as you’d think it would; tri-color rotini and big chunks of zucchini were tossed in a light, herby vinaigrette (rosemary came through the strongest). A dash of Tony Chachere’s gave it the “Zydeco” I was anticipating.

For dessert (of course there was a dessert, how else could I bring you an accurate review?), my companion and I split a piece of key lime pie. I was already waxing nostalgic about my years as a Floridian, so this was par for the course. Between you and me, readers, key lime pie is my absolute favorite pie, winning out over the equally strong contenders of peanut butter and blackberry. Byronz’s version is alarmingly close to homemade; instead of the angular, symmetrical, molded slices usually served up at restaurants of the same caliber, this one was soft, jiggly, and utterly delectable, with a remarkably mouth-watering lime bite. Accented by two little candy lime slices, it was also–I daresay–adorable. The crust was crumbly, toasty, and studded with coconut to expand on the tropical theme.

Our sullen server brought us our check, and it was only then that we learned his name, printed across the top: Taylor. At his best, he was chilly–but he brought us such tasty food, it was hard to be anything but miffed.

I am nearly ashamed to say we spent around $50 on a Saturday lunch, but remember, thrifty readers, we ordered an appetizer, a cup of soup, and a dessert in addition to our meals. Considering our minimalist meal at Sake Sushi cost about the same, we considered this a positive experience. Byronz’s lunches run between $5 (a grilled cheese sandwich) and $16 (seared tuna), so you can make your meal an experiment in ascetics, an exercise in opulence, or anything in between.

When you’re hankering for a taste of classic Louisiana without the “not another crawfish place” complaint, head over to Bistro Byronz. Try them for Sunday brunch–they make a ridiculous Bloody Mary that makes Sunday feel a little more like Saturday night.

Bistro Byronz

6104 Line Avenue

318-219-4848

www.bistrobyronz.com

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized