20×49.com’s 10 Favorite Meals of 2016

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Featured photo: The Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine food truck serves a crowd at Sainte Terre in Benton on Sept. 23, 2016.

2016 was a fascinating year in the Shreveport-Bossier food and drink scene. New restaurants and food trucks opened, new dining clubs and events debuted, tacos (and “taceauxs”) were everywhere and – not unlike 2015 – international flavors reigned. Here’s a list of 10 of the most interesting, memorable meals that I ate in Shreveport and Bossier City in 2016.

If you enjoy this kind of coverage of food and drink in Shreveport-Bossier, please check out the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s annual local eats guide, Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Chef Cory Bahr’s Menu at Pineywoods Supper Club‘s “A Night in Sportsman’s Paradise”

The first course of Chef Cory Bahr’s menu for the Pineywoods Supper Club event held this past July was one of the most creative interpretations of local ingredients that I’ve ever tasted – a pickled Gulf shrimp and local watermelon salad served atop a smoked sweet corn yogurt called lebna. The evening progressed along those same lines: creative, locally sourced, beautiful plate after beautiful plate. Read the full post here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6135″ size=”medium” align=”left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6145″ size=”medium” align=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The Kuan Fried Chicken (KFC) Dinner at Lucky Palace

In May, Lucky Palace in Bossier City hosted a tribute to fried chicken that explored how well fried chicken pairs with Riesling wines. The “hot XO style” chicken – passed around in buckets bearing a cartoon image of Lucky Palace owner Kuan Lim – was fantastic. But the single best bite of food that I ate this year was a warm buttermilk biscuit drenched in Sichuan peppercorn-infused honey. Genius. Read the full post here. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Dry-Aged Ribeye Steak from The Reserve Steakhouse at The Petroleum Club

During the first-ever 318 Restaurant Week, The Petroleum Club’s Chef Eddie Mars opened the club’s members-only steakhouse dining experience to the public for one night. Chef Mars displayed his handmade dry-ager filled with beautiful cuts of meat and served intensely flavorful ribeyes and filets. In my opinion, the ribeye benefited most from aging, taking on a subtle, blue cheese-y funk and a deep, earthy flavor. Read the full post here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6146″ size=”medium” align=”left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6127″ size=”medium” align=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Ribs and Brisket from Butler’s Smokehouse

For me, barbecue should be intensely smoky and tender but not “falling off of the bone” – you want to have to give a little tug to pull the meat from a perfect rib. Butler’s Smokehouse on Cross Lake knocked my socks off with incredibly smokey brisket and ribs, outstanding smoked hamburgers and a strange but delicious take on banana pudding. Read the full review here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Kahuku Garlic Shrimp from Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine

I love big, beautiful Gulf shrimp almost as much as I love garlic. There is no such thing as “too much garlic,” as far as I am concerned, and the guys at Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine spent the month of September serving this famous Hawaiian dish: shell-on Gulf shrimp that had been practically shellacked with caramelized minced garlic.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6128″ size=”medium” align=”left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6126″ size=”medium” align=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Bún bò Huế from Southern Pho

The whole experience at Southern Pho can be hit-or-miss, but in June I ate the single best bowl of soup that I’ve ever eaten in my life there. Bún bò Huế is a super-spicy Vietnamese soup made with thick, chewy noodles, marinated cuts of beef and oxtail and loads of lemongrass and other spices. When it’s prepared correctly, Southern Pho’s version of bún bò Huế may be the best Vietnamese dish in Shreveport-Bossier. Read the full review here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Mole Enchiladas from Ki Mexico

An awful lot of great cooking is coming out of the kitchen at Ki Mexico these days. The mole enchiladas that occasionally pop up as a limited-time special (the ones in the photo were served in April) are almost painfully delicious. There is a depth and complexity to Lido Villaseñor’s rich, spicy and subtly sweet mole sauce that is unlike anything else I’ve ever eaten. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6144″ size=”medium” align=”left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6147″ size=”medium” align=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Nashville Hot Chicken Tacos from Parish Taceaux

One of the most addictive menu items to debut at a Shreveport restaurant in 2016, the Nashville-style hot chicken “taceauxs” at Parish Taceaux are stuffed with chili oil-dredged chicken, sweet pickles and cotija cheese. Those three elements play very well together and add up to an infinitely craveable snack. I spend more time daydreaming about these tacos than any other dish in town. Read the full post here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Chef Tom Ramsey’s Homemade Sausage from Wine & Swine 2016

It can be a challenge to actually slow down and enjoy the food at Wine Country Bistro’s annual Wine & Swine whole hog roast and wine tasting, but this year’s event was a high-water mark, food-wise. There were lots of interesting eats: Chef Dustie Latiolais of Crawfish Town USA smoked an entire alligator, Chef Anthony Felan of Wine Country Bistro smoked a local hog – but Chef Tom Ramsey’s homemade pork sausage, rich with green onions and green apples, stole the show for me.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6148″ size=”medium” align=”left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][us_single_image image=”6149″ size=”medium” align=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Pork Carnitas Tacos from El Cabo Verde Supper Club

Before opening his popular new brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Provenance neighborhood, Chef Gabriel Balderas hosted a series of pop-up “supper clubs,” including a memorable dinner created in partnership with Chef Holly Moore Schreiber of Sainte Terre. At his April 21 event, Balderas channeled the great Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, serving unforgettably good tamales, tacos and ceviche. After dinner, a dozen or so curious diners followed Balderas into the kitchen to learn how tortillas are made.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

I would like to dedicate this post to my friend Elmer “Bigg Nokey” Henderson, who was best known to many Shreveporters for his unique dip, “Nokey Rotel,” which he served as a vendor at area festivals. Shreveport lost a great future restaurateur when Nokey died on May 3, 2016. I wrote about his passing here.

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