Saturday, October 13, 2012

Abbeville Daiquiri Round-Up

Skip-N-Ria's, a daiquiri drive-through located in Erath, La.
My wife and I visited relatives in Abbeville, La., this weekend and, as always, I had my mind blown by a handful of daiquiris during the visit. In order of preference, they were:

1) "Red Hot"/Cinnamon Schnapp's from Cajun Blenders in Abbeville, La.
2) "Push-Ups" (190 Octane and Pina Colada mix) from Skip-N-Ria's in Erath, La.
3) Banana from Skip-N-Ria's in Erath, La.

The simple fact of the matter is that the stretch of highway that includes Gueydan, Kaplan, Abbeville and Erath is home to some of the best daiquiri shops in all of Louisiana. In this region, it's actually legal to sell mixed cocktails through a drive-through window, as well, so you can pick up a Crown Royal and soda at a drive-through. It's incredible.

I drank a handful of small daiquiris during our trip. The stand-out daiquiri of the trip was the "Red Hots" from Cajun Blenders, a little drive-through bar that I've heaped praise upon in previous blog posts. But this cinnamon-flavored daiquiri really is unusual - I've never seen it on any other menu, anywhere. It tastes exactly like the "Red Hot" candies that you ate by the handful as a child.

I also loved the banana daiquiri from Skip-N-Ria's (pictured). While it did taste faintly of bananas, it tasted more like rum-spiked homemade ice cream. I detected Eagle Brand pet milk in the mix somewhere. Just like the Red Hots daiquiri, the banana from Skip-N-Ria's is a rich, intense taste that (for me at least) had a nostalgic effect.

I love the daiquiri shops in this area and intend to review a few more soon.

The menu from Cajun Blenders in Abbeville, La. Note the Fallout 3 logo in the bottom-right.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Where Disappointment is Always 2-for-1

Frostie Express in Shreveport, which claims to be "Still the
Best in This World." No mention of other worlds.
Last night, I decided to finally take the leap and try Frostie Express (3135 North Market St.), a bizarre-looking daiquiri shop on North Market Street. I say "bizarre-looking" because it's a pretty huge place that specializes in daiquiris, yet there's no drive-thru window (there's a walk-up window). The color scheme of the building is bright pink and blue. Inside, an L-shaped bar wraps around a bay of about 12 daiquiri machines. There are pool tables and three really old-fashioned video poker machines.

It may also be the case that I am incapable of divorcing the place itself from its completely insane website. Especially noteworthy is the "Girls of Frostie" page, which surely has led many a Shreveport bachelor to run, not walk, to the establishment to see the "girls" in person.

As for drinks, we get the usual suspects: Strawberry, Pina Colada, Vodka Freeze, Fuzzy Navel, White Russian. In addition, there are some surprises: The Horny Bull (a frozen Tequila Sunrise), Peach Margarita, Strawberries and Cream. I decided to not just dip my toes in the water here; I decided to take a butt-naked, flying cliff jump into the essence of the place. I opted for a large Horny Bull.

I should point out that a large drink here is 32 ozs., but "Large" isn't the largest size. There's an intimidating 44 oz. size called "The Iceberg" (see right). Now, I'm arguably the world's biggest advocate of huge, highly alcoholic frozen drinks. But I'll tell you: There's some room for debate about the ethics of selling a 44 oz. daiquiri. The phrase "vehicular homicide" comes to mind. But, I digress.

The Horny Bull tasted like bathroom cleaning chemicals. It tasted the way Joe's Bar and Grill on King's Highway used to smell. For those of you old enough to remember Joe's. The Horny Bull tastes like anonymous, cheap corn liquor and broken dreams.

To tell the truth, I saw this coming the minute I stepped foot in Frostie Express. Something told me "go basic." If I go back, I'll try something harder to screw up, a margarita or the strawberry daiquiri. But, to be honest, I'm not sure that I will be going back. When a place's product is as middle-of-the-road as this, it needs one special thing to justify its existence. This one thing can be a bartender with a great smile, a good house sound system tuned to a good Pandora station, a rad jukebox, etc. I couldn't really find that one thing here. I know for a fact that it isn't the Horny Bull.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Best Daiquiri in Shreveport?

The Orange Creamsicle at Chicky's Boom Boom Room.
I'm naturally predisposed to be mistrustful of daiquiris served in fancy stemware. Something about it smacks of desperation and seems to undermine the casual nature of daiquiris, which, to me, long to be consumed out of anonymous styrofoam cups on hot days in all manner of places where the consumption of alcohol is formally prohibited.

So, it takes a special daiquiri to drive me to carry around a big, precious piece of gaudy stemware. It takes a profound, life-alteringly good daiquiri to make me consider such an unfortunately-appointed drink my new favorite drink in town. The Orange Creamsicle daiquiri at Chicky's Boom Boom Room (205 Texas St., downtown Shreveport) is such a daiquiri.

I am guessing it contains orange liqueur, vanilla vodka, orange juice, and who knows what else. As served normally, it's already tasty - a near-perfect replica of the taste of the cream-filled orange popsicles that I loved as a kid. But ask the bartender to add a shot of real cream (which he'll happily do) and this drink goes from better-than-average to something really, really special. Once I'd added the cream, the taste of the drink went from being refreshing to nostalgic; it simply tasted exactly like the orange creamsicle popsicles I consumed by the boxful when I was young.

A word of advice: If you're looking for a great excuse to try this daiquiri, try to make it to Chicky's on a Thursday night. They have a 20+ piece orchestra - Bill Causey's Constellation Orchestra - who play swing and big band tunes, only on Thursdays. An older clientele shows up to dance, and the douchey, Affliction shirt-enshrouded masses tend to be put off by the classy spectacle that is dozens of elderly couples cutting a rug to an orchestra. It's a fun night out. The orchestra plays 7-10 every Thursday night, which is also ladies' night, so the gals get in free.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Swamp Water" from Cajun Blenders in Abbeville

Cajun Blenders in Abbeville, LA.
I recently had the opportunity to drink some daiquiris in the parish seat of Vermilion Parish, Abbeville. There are a handful of great little places to get daiquiris (most of which are drive-thru) in this beautiful, old city, and I sampled several drinks from a few different spots. My favorite, by far, was Cajun Blenders, a daiquiri shop housed in a small mobile building on Highway 14, a four-lane highway that runs the length of the city.

I try to avoid hyperbole whenever possible. People are always saying "That's my favorite song" or "greatest ever," etc. I get cranky about that kind of language. Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety, but I genuinely appreciate sincerity these days. So please know that I am being completely sincere when I say that the "Swamp Water" from Cajun Blenders may be my favorite daiquiri ever. It tastes of lime, Chartreuse, and pineapple juice, and it'll put hair on your chest. Best of all, it's unique, just like the city itself.

There's something about daiquiris from shops in the area of Gueydan, Kaplan, and Abbeville - the texture's different. They're thinner, slushier than most North Louisiana daiquiris I've had, and may have actual ice in them. You don't get the sense that they've been whirling in a machine for days, being kept from freezing. They're also absurdly strong. If you're accustomed to drinking daiquiris from elsewhere in the world, I'd say go a size smaller than your regular order when you're drinking in Cajun Country.
The Orange Crusher

I also had the "Orange Crusher," which was basically Orange Crush and Everclear, and was, frankly, too strong to drink. Cajun Blenders has an absurdly large menu of 100+ flavors, so there's lots to experiment with here.

Honestly, this just kind of feels like the type of place that won't be around in 10 years. There'll probably be a T.G.I. Friday's standing on this land some day. If you love daiquiris, you must visit Cajun Blenders.