During a trip to Kinder a few years ago - before I started providing you these valuable trip reports - we went to that casino that they advertise here so much called, Coushatta (exit 44 in Kinder). Anyway, I'll simply say that we had planned to stay in a "chalet" for 2 days but checked out after the first night. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it is a nice place and all, but like I say, we checked out after the first night. On our way home from Exit 44, we stopped in the Isle of Capri for an hour just to check it out, and thought maybe we would come back. Of course, this is all pre-Katrina.
So the prior night as I was looking at the web-site, there was just something that made me cancel my booking of a room in "The Inn", the hotel across the parking lot from the actual casino. It may have been because the web-site did not give me a secure connection, or it may have been that little gut feeling I tend to get.
So we make really good time on our drive back from the FLA panhandle other than what seemed like 45 minutes to get through Mobile and the that big bridge before you enter the George C. Wallace Tunnel.
We drove right by Exit 44 and my wife asked me if I was sure I didn't want to give Coushatta another chance (and I probably should have), but that would have required me to turn around and go back east, and that just wouldn't be right.
So we pull into Lake Charles and jump off I-10 to pull into the Isle of Capri. We drove around the parking lot a few times and I just looked at my wife and said, "We can stay in the hotel, but we'll have to find some place safe to park the truck." I'm sure it is a fine establishment, but I haven't even made the first payment on my truck. It was my wife's idea to just skip the casino adventure provided I would agree to take her to Vegas some time soon.We drove up the road a few more exits and found a Hampton Inn conveniently located next to a bar and a cemetery. Only the best for my bride. Actually, I think we may have stayed at this hotel before and I give them high marks for cleanliness, comfort, amenities and everything but, who builds a hotel on a cemetery?By now it was pushing 8PM and besides being hungry, I knew my wife was a bit disappointed at night having a night out on the town - so to speak - at a smokey casino in Lake Charles. I asked the young guy at the hotel desk if he could offer any dining suggestions for something a little bit more classy than Cajun Charlie's (though I'm sure it has its own merits for a lovely evening out). He mentioned the obvious locations within a few blocks but could sense that I was looking for something a little more upscale. We pulled into Joe's Pasta & Pizza located just about a half mile north of I-10 and at first, I was worried that it might not be authentic Italian cuisine. Thankfully, the sign assured me that we were in good hands.Admittedly, when we walked in, the place looked really wide open. I mean, one big room with lots of tables. But the looks were surely not representative of the food we were about to enjoy.
The hostess seated us and handed us off to a waitress who turned out to be related to the owner. The family comes from Sicily, though I'm not quite sure what prompts people to move from Sicily to Sulphur, but the U.S. is the land of opportunity, so you I guess this was their place to make it big. And please don't get the idea that I'm knocking Sulphur or Louisiana for that matter, I just wonder how people from other countries end up in places that the average American has probably never heard of. If you come from Italy, I'd expect you to end up in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles. Maybe, they told the Greyhound bus driver they wanted to go to LA and he thought they meant Louisiana, not Los Angeles. Who knows?My wife ordered a glass of wine and I had a beer. With drinks, we received a plate of bread. It was fresh but not warm. Still, it was actually good.The menu was loaded with more options than I feel comfortable with, so I waited to see what my wife was going to have. She ordered up the chicken Parmesan which I am here to tell you was OUTSTANDING. No kidding around, it was wonderful.I first ordered the Veal Parmesan only to find that they had just sold the last veal so I went with the next random thing on the menu. I could have sworn it was Chicken Marsala, but after looking up the recipe, I'm not so sure. Honestly, I have no idea what it was other than simply wonderful. The waitress warned me that it was spicy, but really, the green peppers, which I just assumed to be jalapenos were not near Tex-Mex spicy. The sauce was just so delicious, and the pasta was cooked perfectly. With it being so late, I ate about half of it and ate the rest of it later, and it was still good fresh from the microwave.I don't know if the people who run Joe's are really from Sicily or not, but damn, they put forth a wonderful, mouth-watering Tasty Treat. Honestly, if you are one of the people who frequently drive to the casino's in Lake Charles or Kinder for that matter, you ought to make it a point to get off I-10 in Sulphur and give Joe's Pasta & Pizza a try.