Westbank eats at Perino’s Boiling Pot

Whenever I go over to the Westbank, there’s a few places whose cuisine I tend to crave, places like Pho Tau Bay, Hong Kong Market, Tan Dinh and Perino’s Boiling Pot. It’s kind of like that Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn’t belong.” Usually, if I’m on the “Wank,” I’m all for the Asian/Vietnamese joints because, well, there’s a lot of them. But Perino’s drew me in a long time ago, a recommendation from a local on where to get the cheapest oysters, which were at that time only 25 cents each.

A few months ago, John, Casey and I headed for lunch at Perino’s only to find that not a whole lot has changed, except the oysters have jumped in price, but that’s to be expected. We still ordered a half dozen as an appetizer just for the hell of it, even though they now cost $8, approximately $1.30 each. They were plump, briny and delicious, as usual, but they just served to rev us up for our entrees.

Instead of each getting a seafood basket, we decided to split two baskets between the three of us, crab claws and alligator, both of which came with curly fries. It was all crisply fried and just as tasty as I remember, especially the tender alligator, a local treat of which I can never really get enough. I need to get back to feast on boiled crawfish and crab (their specialty), but I’ll wait till the season is right.

Perino’s is super-casual with paper-towel rolls instead of napkin dispensers and huge sodas that come in durable, plastic cups, but that shouldn’t discourage diners one jot. The only thing I found a bit difficult to adjust to is all the wildlife watching you eat. Don’t worry, they won’t steal your food…

Perino's Boiling Pot on Urbanspoon

Looking for the log ride at Parrot Pete’s

On Saturday, John and I went to have breakfast with two dear friends, Casey and Brandon, who live almost in the middle of the Jean Lafitte Preserve on the Westbank. Seeing as I am very unfamiliar with the geography on that side of the river, the extent of my knowledge being Pho Tau Bay, I asked Casey if she wouldn’t mind hunting down an interesting restaurant.

I think we were all surprised when we discovered Parrot Pete’s Coffee & Sweets located inside a theme park resort…minus the theme park! This is my 49th cheat and I am down 68 pounds.

When we pulled into Fountain Park Centre, all of us were gawking at the spectacle before us. How often does one find hundreds of palm trees, huge man-made ponds sparkling with tall, playing fountains and scattered statues both in and out of the water mimicking geese, ducks, swans, dogs, turtles and even children on Manhattan Boulevard? I kept expecting to see a log ride or a line of ticket booths off in the distance…perhaps even a man-made mountain with snow-capped peaks, a roller coaster track twisting around it and emitting screams of terror and joy.

Still rubbing our eyes, we stumbled into Parrot Pete’s only to be stunned anew by the proliferation of yet even more palm trees, all of which were adorned by several fake parrots, and iron chandeliers with clinging fake cockatoos. One of the many, many staff members told us to choose a seat anywhere in the sprawling restaurant. As this resort restaurant was obviously a great place for families with children,  we attempted, in vain, to avoid the noise and selected a table in the back near a large marble fireplace sporting a painting of (what else?) parrots in palm trees over the mantle.

Since there were only two tables aside from ours filled with rambunctious (and loud) children, the staff outnumbered the patrons and our server was anxious to be busy doing something. He quickly took our order and rushed off to get our drinks.  After he left, we noticed some fun frozen drinks at the bottom of the menu like a “Caramel Freeze” with frozen espresso, caramel sauce and whipped cream.  We were going to order a few when our server returned, but he informed us that the “machine” was down.

We accepted our loss gracefully, especially when our entrees suddenly poured out of the kitchen in a flurry.  Casey and I both got “Lafitte’s Pirogue”, two delicious buttery biscuits topped with a large slices of spicy andouille sausage, two perfectly cooked, over-easy eggs and a slathering of Hollandaise sauce with dill and large crawfish tails.  I have to admit that the restaurant’s theme made me fear an overly-generic approach to poorly prepared food, but I was wrong.  Everything was quite fresh and good, especially the flaky grilled biscuits!  My only complaint would have to be a lack of seasoning on the crawfish tails which were obviously not from Louisiana.

John ordered “Pedro’s Burrito”, which was basically a large breakfast burrito stuffed with sausage, scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheddar cheese, bell peppers and onions.  This mammoth burrito also offered a side and John selected bacon.  The burrito, while nothing special, was quite tasty using obviously fresh ingredients and a whole lot of ’em!  There was a “salsa” on the side that was pretty disappointing though, almost like a spicy ketchup, something that the restaurant could easily remedy.

Brandon went for a sweet breakfast with “Ain’t Yo Mamma’s Praline Pancakes” topped with candied pecans and an oh-so-sweet praline syrup.  It was a hefty stack of five pancakes and I was impressed that Brandon made his way though half of it before throwing in his fork. He let me taste a bite of his leftovers and I thought they were quite delicious…fluffy pancakes with a buttery praline syrup could rarely go wrong in my eyes.

Since I had a savory breakfast, I couldn’t walk away from a pastry shop without dessert.  When I wandered up to the dessert case to make my selection, several members of the staff recommended the Triple Berry Cake with mascarpone frosting. I simply couldn’t say no to something with such an overwhelming fan base!  The cake turned out to be quite nice and light with sweet berries mixed into the middle layer of frosting.  Casey opted for a cannelloni which she thought was tasty, but somewhat average.

Since it was still raining steadily when we left, I was unable to get a lot of photos from the theme-park-lacking resort.  So, we all piled into Brandon’s car and headed back to their house on the edge of the bayou.  (Remind me to tell you sometime about the “swamp-Sasquatch-monster” they spotted late one night running across Barataria Boulevard)  Until then, I will keep my eyes out for the missing theme park on Manhattan Boulevard.