Category Archives: Dining Out

Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen Debuts Second Location In Downtown San Luis Obispo


In demand eatery expands its commitment to serving organic, local food

With an innovative seasonal menu that reflects the abundance of fresh, organic foods on the Central Coast, Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen works with local purveyors and farmers to source only the freshest organic and local produce, grass-fed and natural meats, as well as local fish. Breads are always crafted by local bakers who are celebrated artisans of their trade, wine lists are curated to showcase the diversity of the area’s wine region, and special care is taken to ensure the menu delivers bold flavors and innovative, seasonal offerings.

The Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen San Luis Obispo team is led by Executive Chef Justin Casey and Chef Elijah Blackburn. Chef Casey, who has trained under Michelin starred chefs and worked at such praised Bay Area restaurants as Aqua and Thermidor, brings his farm-fresh, seasonal culinary approach to the Thomas Hill kitchen. “I like to focus on using great products and treating them with respect and love,” shares Casey, who strives to create “simple yet elegant food that’s memorable.” Continues Casey, “San Luis has offered me a great place to cook and raise a family, and I am very excited to be working with a restaurant that puts so much focus on utilizing the best of what the Central Coast has to offer.”

In addition to a menu that changes weekly depending on the season and availability of ingredients, Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen in San Luis Obispo features a full bar serving innovative cocktails and Central Coast wines to complement the locally-focused, seasonal menu.

The much celebrated Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen in Paso Robles–established in 2009–was one of the first restaurants in the area to craft a menu dedicated to organic, locally-sourced ingredients. Following the success of her Paso Robles location, owner and visionary Debbie Thomas decided to open a second location in San Luis Obispo to accommodate the demand for her authentic, regional cuisine while furthering her passion for sharing fresh, locally sourced ingredients with the Central Coast. “I am looking forward to being a part of San Luis Obispo with its thriving and vibrant downtown,” says Thomas.

Having spent over four years discussing the possibility of a Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen expansion into San Luis Obispo, Thomas is confident now is the perfect time to carry out this growth. “People on the Central Coast have adopted the movement of farm-to-table and buying local,” says Thomas. And, with the development of the new mixed-use space in downtown San Luis Obispo’s Chinatown, the timing seemed right. Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen in San Luis Obispo is located on Monterey Street above the newly-opened Williams Sonoma, near Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

Hours for the San Luis Obispo location are:

  • Brunch ~ Saturday & Sunday, 9am to 3pm
  • Lunch ~ Monday through Friday, 11am to 3pm
  • Dinner ~ Sunday through Thursday, 5pm to 10pm; Friday & Saturday, 5pm to midnight

Sampling of the Fall Menu


Tito’s Moscow Mule

Casamigos Silver Margarita

Hendrick’s Highballs


Crisp Pork Belly Benedict

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


Baby Beet & Burrata Salad

Black Lentil Tacos

Main ~ Lunch

Painted Hills Hangar Steak Salad

Furikake Crusted Ahi Tuna

Main ~ Dinner

Jerk Spiced Maple Duck Two Ways

Niman Ranch Pork Tenderloin


Salted Caramel Panna Cotta

Negranti Creamery Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream

About Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen

With a dynamic menu reflecting local abundance, Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen sources a vivid array of fresh ingredients to create bold, imaginative dishes. What began as a humble organic CSA showcasing the Central Coast’s bounty quickly evolved into a popular destination for honest food, creatively prepared. Owner Debbie Thomas and the culinary team believe in the significance of organic, regionally-produced food, working with local farmers and purveyors for poultry, seafood, grass-fed beef, lamb and exotic meats. Nearby farmers provide all fruits and vegetables, which are always straight-from-the-earth fresh, and breads are crafted by local bakers who are celebrated artisans of their trade. The new Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen in San Luis Obispo is located at 858 Monterey St. San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, or call 805.457.1616. The Paso Robles location is 1313 Park St., Paso Robles, CA 93446, or call 805.226.5888. For more information about Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen or to make a reservation, please visit

Chef Shota Nakajima to host pop-up dinner with celerated soba noodle maker, Mutsuko Soma

Kamonegi + Naka collaboration will highlight dishes from both chefs

chef-shota-nakajimaOwner/Chef Shota Nakajima will share the Naka kitchen with colleague Chef Mutsuko Soma for special dinners on Wednesday, December 7 and Thursday, December 8.  Chef Shota and Chef Soma will partner to produce a 6-course dinner that will highlight Shota’s kaiseki and Mutsuko’s celebrated soba noodles.  The dinner will highlight crab, uni, black cod, duck from Chef Shota and soba with Wagyu matsutake mushrooms and dessert from Chef Soma.

The cost of the dinners is $90 per person + tax and gratuity.  There will be a sake pairing offered for $30.  Seating is limited to 40 reservations per night available between 5:45pm and 8:45pm.

Soma is one of a few U.S. chefs specializing in the art of making handmade buckwheat soba noodles, working with dough that she describes as “similar to making pottery.”

Reservations may be made by calling (206)294-5230.


Naka, from chef/owner Shota Nakajima, is inspired by Japan’s traditional Kaiseki style of dining. The menu draws inspiration from local and seasonal ingredients and finished dishes are beautifully arranged with garnishes like leaves and flowers.

Naka and Bar Naka is located at 1449 E Pine Street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and is open Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday from 5pm-10:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 5pm-11pm.  The telephone number is (206) 294-5230.

Adventures in Japan: “What am I eating?” Part 2 by Paul Rest

If you haven’t read Part I yet…here it is


Japanese Spider Crab / Wikipedia

After five days, it seemed like the sky opened and it would not stop raining. At one point it rained so hard it soaked through my umbrella. Waiting for a cab (on the wrong side of the street) I realized I was getting soaked to my bones. When we arrived at my host’s restaurant I asked for hot sake, thinking this would be the Japanese thing to ask for. She replied, “A glass of good whiskey works best.”

Japan was like that. I’d think I was getting the hang of things only to find out I had missed the boat once again. Here’s another example. There are these amazing long-legged crabs that are found in the Sea of Japan. They are called “Spider Crabs” and have longer legs than Alaskan King Crab. My host and her daughter took me to this famous restaurant in Kyoto that specialized in these crabs. Soon after ordering, the crab’s cleaned body and a pile of crab legs on a plate was put before each of us.

Now I thought my host would be a very typical Japanese eater of crab. When her daughter visited me in California, I once served our famous Dungeness crab. She meticulously removed all the meat from the shell, legs and claws, put it in a neat pile, discarded the shells and then and only then began to eat. She explained that this is the way her mother taught her to eat crab. So I was expecting a mother and daughter synchronized crab-piling contest. Instead, my host grabbed a crab leg, with a quick twist broke the red spiny leg in two and proceeded with her chopstick to push the meat out with one motion.

I was going to say something but decided to keep my mouth shut. It took me a couple of clumsy tries to master the chopstick-push-crabmeat-out maneuver. I eventually mastered the one motion action and began to enjoy the delicious meat. It was different from our West Coast Dungeness crab, not quite as sweet with a more tangy, salty taste of the sea. I enjoyed every morsel, picking up the loose pieces on my plate as best I could with my chopsticks.

A few days later the rain had finally stopped and I found myself with my host family next to the famous Gion district again; only this time my young host’s father was joining us. We all squeezed in a tiny elevator and rode up to the second floor. The building that looked like every other office building you saw in Japan, drab concrete with rectangular windows in an orderly row. When we emerged from the elevator there was a restaurant immediately to the right with tables filled with diners. To the left next to the dining area was a long fish tank, filled with hundreds of different kinds of fish and assorted shellfish unaware that they would soon be consumed by hungry diners. “You will like this Paul-san,” my host’s father told me.

We were seated and he then began to order. Dish after dish arrived washed down with copious amounts of beer. Then he ordered something that arrived in a shot glass. It was dark and inky. He said something to his daughter in Japanese who giggled and then translated. “My father says it is time for you to become a Japanese man.” I smiled as politely as possible after three plus Kirin’s, wondering what was next? More Japanese followed from my host’s father. “Please Paul-san, he says you must now swallow this,” she told me, again giggling. My host’s father was smiling like the Cheshire Cat. “What is it?” I asked. “Octopus gonads,” she replied. “You swallow all at once Paul-san. Then drink a glass of sake right afterwards. The two go together. It is tradition.”

Putting aside my squeamishness about the yucky looking stuff before me, my host’s family all smiling and looking at me, probably somewhat anxiously, I picked up the glass and like my first oyster let it slide down my gullet in one slimy action. I quickly grabbed the shot glass of sake and downed that with one gulp. Fortunately, I couldn’t taste much of the octopus gonads but what I could, I was glad the shooter of sake quickly followed removing a majority of the taste.

Slapping me on the back, “You now a real Japanese man, Paul-san,” my host’s father said to me laughing. The two women, mother and daughter, smiled and clapped in appreciation that I had succeeded in doing it while no doubt praying that I didn’t retch afterwards embarrassing everyone. For me, I did notice that afterwards the family warmed up to me incrementally more each day. So I guess I did pass a test of sorts.

But one more test was to follow and it was a doozy.

Continue to Part III

Paul Rest lives in Sonoma County, California. He has been enjoying California wines and foods since arriving in California. He can be contacted at

Written by Paul Rest / Edited, Karie Engels Giffin


Carrie Mashaney takes on Executive Chef role at Mamnoon

The restaurant will expand the culinary experience to include shareable sidedishes

carrie-mashaney(Seattle, WA) Carrie Mashaney’s culinary star has been rising ever since she moved to Seattle in 1998, landing supporting and leading roles in some of the city’s best kitchens (Cafe Juanita, Spinasse, Aragona) and competing on Bravo TV’s Top Chef in Season 11. Now, Carrie has assumed the Executive Chef position at mamnoon, replacing Chef David Gurewitz to oversee both savory and dessert menus. After mastering the dessert program at mamnoon, Carrie is now enthusiastically reading, tasting and creating dishes and collaborating with owners, Racha and Wassef Haroun.

mamnoonIn her quest to learn more about Middle Eastern culture, traditional flavors and techniques, Carrie will continue mamnoon’s award-winning tradition of bringing new Syrian, Lebanese and Persian dishes that will broaden Seattle’s palate and appreciation for these deep and broad cuisines. She will also expand the spectrum of offerings to make it easier to choose the specific dishes that they want to eat.  As such, Carrie will be creating a mixed grill plate of skewered kabobs, where guests can try one each of the delicious meat preparations (lamb kefta, beef, chicken and fish) served with their superlative, house made, unleavened markook flat bread and a mezze sampler plate of their favorite spreads to include: hummus, muhammara, baba ghanoush, shamandar bi tahini.  “Dining with friends and family in the Middle East is all about abundance and hospitality,” says Carrie.  “I’m excited about these shared plates because it is relative to the culture. We want to offer guests some of their favorite dishes in a format that makes them ideal for communal dining.”

In addition to dinner, Carrie will oversee items available from the take away street window, including the much anticipated return of falafel and hara frites, weekend brunch, breads and crackers. Always the pastry chef at heart, she will further expand her sweet and playful spin on mamnoon’s delicious desserts.

Content provided by mamnoon

Wassef and Racha Haroun’s modern outpost in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood celebrates their native flavors of Syria, Lebanon and the greater Middle East. mamnoon is located at 1508 Melrose Avenue, Seattle 98122; 206.906.9606.

mamnon street
Located in Seattle’s Regrade district, mamnoon street’s menu includes Mana’eesh (fresh baked flatbreads), sandwiches (falafel and kefta arayess), Mezze and small plates (hummus, baba ghanoush, fattoush and quinoa tabbouleh), but with the addition of roasted lamb and chicken shawarma. Mamnoon street has a full-service bar with a selection of beer on tap, an assortment of cocktails and a curated list of red and white wines available by the glass and bottle. Mamnoon street is located at 2020 Sixth Avenue, Seattle 98121

Stand Up Against LGBTQ Youth Bullying Fundraiser

website_BANNER-1Free2Luv® is an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to standing up against bullying and helping to save the lives of our LGBTQ youth community by rockin’ individuality, celebrating equality, and spreading kindness through arts & entertainment. We empower, engage & enlighten youth to be their true, authentic selves and know that they are perfect just the way they are.

FREE2LUV teams up with Celebrity Ambassadors, Youth Advocates and corporations who believe LUV is STRONGER than hate and BRAVER than bullying. We hold hands with our partners to create thought-provoking awareness campaigns, support and produce community outreach events, and create a cool line of cause inspired merchandise designed to create change.

What: Patxi’s Pizza is partnering with Free2Luv by donating 10% of all sales for a day registered in the restaurant, including dine-in, take-out and delivery orders. It’s part of their 52 Weeks of Giving.

Where: Patxi’s Pizza is located in downtown Ballard at 5323 Ballard Ave NW in Seattle. For delivery or carryout, go to or call 206-946-1512.

When: Wednesday, August 24, 2016 from 11am to 10pm.

Why: According to the CDC, the LGBTQ youth community is 4x more likely than their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide. When people stop in, order lunch for their office, buy a gift card, or even have Patxi’s Pizza deliver, they are standing up to bullying and helping to save lives.

Contact: Jason Gurule at or 512-422-3711. For more info on the fundraiser, go to Eat Pizza, Save Young Lives.  For more information about Free2Luv, go to For more information about Patxi’s Pizza, go to

Barrage Cellars Winemaker Dinner at Russell’s Restaurant and The Loft in Bothell

russells and barrageBarrage Cellars Winemaker Dinner ~ Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 7pm

Make plans to attend a very special Barrage Cellars Winemaker Dinner at Russell’s Restaurant & The Loft in Bothell. The special winemaker dinner featuring winemaker Kevin Correll of Barrage Cellars and special menu created by Chef Russell Lowell

  • Brie on Baguette with Guava, Pistachios & Balsamic Reduction
  • 2013 Riesling
  • 2015 Dry Riesling
Seated Dinner
  • Halibut Cheek with Red Pepper Coulis, Paired with 2015 Viognier
  • Wild Boar Medallions With Caramelized Onions & Scotch Bonnet Demi Glace, Paired with 2012 Cabernet Franc
  • Petite Filet & Short Rib, Paired with 2012 Secret Weapon & Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon


  • Chocolate Cheesecake, Paired with Wine Club #3 Syrah
$95, not including tax & gratuity
For Reservations, please call 425.486.4072
Follow Russell’s on Facebook and Instagram
About chef Lowell
Chef Russell Lowell

Chef Russell Lowell

Russell Lowell is the Executive Chef and Owner of Russell Lowell Catering and two of greater Seattle’s most celebrated restaurants: The Garden Cafe at Molbak’s in Woodinville and Russell’s, a rustic, yet elegant restaurant nestled in the North Creek of Bothell.  Russell’s lifelong passion for food began when he was a small boy, exploring the mangrove swamps of Cuba, catching fish and hunting small game. He began his culinary career at the age of 15, cooking under the direction of a French chef in Southern California. Over the next 35 years, he traveled and worked extensively in numerous high-end establishments which led him to become the executive chef for several well-known restaurants across the nation. In the mid-90s, he launched one of Seattle’s most sought-after catering businesses, serving the most distinguished clients in business, politics, and entertainment. In 2007, Russell’s was selected as Seattle’s host venue for the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Taste America celebration.

Long before it was fashionable to “go green”, Chef Lowell was and still remains a passionate advocate and long time supporter of Washington farms and wineries. He participates in local sorticulture events such as the Annual Snohomish County Focus on Farming, feeding 650 local farmers in support of their efforts to preserve Washington State’s farmland.

In addition to running his businesses, Chef Lowell devotes a majority of his time to numerous community and charitable organizations, such as: the Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, the Fred Hutch Premier Chefs, Swedish Hospital, Virginia Mason, Northwest Medical Teams, Eastside Catholic High School, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, Tessera Autism Organization, the American Liver Foundation and many others. Most notably, he has served on the Chef’s Advisory Board for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research.

Three “Spirits” of Spring Cocktails

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

The above quote is a true description of spring in the Pacific Northwest. A sun filled day over 55 degrees is filled with half naked Western Washington natives. Once the clouds begin to roll in, it only takes a few minutes for a brilliant blue sky to become the familiar, ominous grey. A true Washingtonian always has a jacket nearby.

Even though rain has dominated this year, days are lengthening, the earth is warming and we are celebrating the spirits of spring. This week, we have eleven cocktails inspired by Mother Nature, you can find the first three here, and below are three more. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Planter's Punch

  • Difficulty: Simple and Quick
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Planter’s Punch at The Newes from America Pub at Kelley HouseFrom The Newes from America Pub at the historic Kelley House (Martha’s Vineyard)


  • 1.5 ounces  Light rum
  • 1 ounce  Dark rum
  • 1 ounce Pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce Orange juice
  • 0.5 ounce Grenadine
  • Floater  Dark rum


Shake the first five ingredients together with ice. Strain into a large glass filled with ice and top with a dark rum floater, a cherry, and an orange slice.

Red's Good Time

  • Difficulty: Simple and Quick
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Red’s Good Time at Red’s Restaurant & Lounge at Sea Crest Beach HotelFrom Red’s Restaurant & Lounge at the Cape Cod favorite, Sea Crest Beach Hotel


  • 1.5 ounces  Absolut Citron
  • 0.75 ounce Guava puree
  • Splash Sprite
  • Splash Club soda


Pour ingredients over ice in a 10 ounce highball glass. Stir and fill up with Sprite and Club soda.  Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Polished Apple

  • Difficulty: Simple and Quick
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Polished Apple at KANU Lounge at The Whiteface LodgeFrom KANU Lounge at the illustrious mountain hideaway, The Whiteface Lodge (Lake Placid, NY)


  • 2 ounces Bison grass vodka
  • 0.5 ounce Apple ice wine
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • 0.25 ounce Lime juice


Shake with ice and double strain. Garnish with an edible spring flower.


Destination Monroe, Louisiana by Tara Ambrose

Trio’s (Where Friends Go to Meet Friends!)
Destination: Monroe, Louisiana
By: Tara AmbroseTara’s Taste of the Town

tara Jan 2016 IIConveniently located in the heart of Monroe, between the comforts of the historic Garden District and the elegance of River Oaks Subdivision, Trio’s is a lovely restaurant is where comfort-convenience and class all collide!

Jennifer Johnson and her family have had a long legacy in this area as proud restaurant owners, first with the family’s first venture, “Rendezvous”, which Jennifer transformed into a vision of her own when she took the reign of the eatery in 1995 and proudly dubbed it “Trio’s”. With an eclectic mix of North Louisiana based favorites, mixed with the perfect seasoning of down-home Cajun comfort food, with liberal amounts Mediterranean inspired dishes added to the recipe, one can easily see why Trio’s is where “friends meet!”

Throughout the years, Jennifer has not only been interested in the realm of cuisine, but she comes from the background of being a social worker in the culturally diverse city of New Orleans, which has proven very useful in the restaurant industry. From humble beginnings, Jennifer started out in 1995 with the dream of merely a “dive”, but what evolved is nothing short of a visually stunning restaurant with a menu as different and diverse as the woman behind the scenes!

Tara  Trio's ChiliJennifer humbly shared with me that while some of Trio’s recipes are actually her very own, some of those crafty creations are that of Jennifer’s trusted Chef, Tommy James, who has been by her side for some 18 years, although she can’t help but thank Darrius McCall for the contributions that he has made to her ever successful kitchen that make the menu at Trio’s a fanciful feast to dazzle all of her diners, satisfying both young and old alike!

Amidst the attractive ambiance, beautiful bar, and trendy décor one cannot help but take note of the fabulous appetizers offered as a precursor to your meal. Keeping with true her vision, Trio’s offers appetizers such as its Original Hummus, (served with roasted garlic, black lives, feta cheese and surrounded by sundried tomatoes to be enjoyed with either white or wheat pita bread), Quail Kabobs, Steak Bites (served with house made horseradish), Artichoke Dip, scratch-made phyllo dough wrapped shrimp – lightly fried and served with a mai ploy sauce, as well as the fabulous Flat Bread Mediterranean.  Should you become perplexed at all the phenomenal choices and not be able to decide on just ONE of Trio’s appetizers, the ever popular “Mediterranean Trio” may be just what your girls are in the mood for! Consisting of three amazingly tantalizing dips: Trio’s Hummus, Tzatziki (which is a Greek cucumber yogurt dip), and also the roasted red pepper and feta, all served with enough pita bread to be shared with friends over a glass of wine or spirits!

Trio’s also offers diners with an assortment of Louisiana favorites such as plentiful po-boys bursting with shrimp, oysters, thinly sliced roast beef or grilled chicken breasts, each served on the freshest Gambino bread, and adorned with your choice of amenities.

Tara Jan 2016 IIIFrom scratch-made specialty items such as their Mediterranean Quesadilla, Trio’s famous Seafood Gumbo (served in a bread bowl for the ultimate enjoyment), Crabmeat Moussaka, Crawfish Etouffee, Fish Tacos or a Trio’s favorite – their lightly breaded tilapia topped with gulf shrimp, then garnished with a lemon butter sauce, there isn’t anything on this menu that wouldn’t serve to entice even the finickiest of appetites.

As for those culinary connoisseurs looking to satisfy your palatable cravings without so much caloric concern, Trio’s has a menu sure to please those who prefer the “greener” options.  Starting from the freshest romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce or spinach leaves that have been hand selected for the freshest taste, and paired with such succulent amenities as roma tomatoes, mushrooms, kalamata olives, purple onions, brightly sliced bell pepper rings and topped shredded cheddar, parmesan or feta cheese, scratch made bacon bits and croutons.  To accompany your salad selection, Trio’s offers grilled chicken, shrimp, tuna or the ever popular Gyro Lamb.  For a perfect pairing to your garden fresh delight, Trio’s proudly boasts a variety of dressings that include their house-made Mediterranean, buttermilk ranch, honey mustard, blue cheese, 100 Island, French, Caesar, balsamic vinaigrette, olive vinaigrette, or a sweet/sour vinaigrette that is absolutely mouthwatering!

Now should you feel the need for a little more variety, Trio’s also offers a simply delightful Summer Salad that carefully combines blueberries, cranberries, feta cheese and almonds, all combined together with hand selected spinach and romaine lettuce, dressed with their fabulous white balsamic vinaigrette – a delight even to the most delicate taste buds.

Tara Jan 2016Still not found what your taste buds are craving? Have no fear! Trio’s also offers house-made 12” and 14” specialty pizzas that are crammed packed with options such as feta cheese, cheddar cheese, provolone, sausage, hamburger, pepperoni, spinach, black olives, mushrooms, jalapenos, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic! Now if that still not exactly what will calm your hunger pangs, Trio’s also offers diners with a variety of pastas such as fettuccine Alfredo (topped with either chicken or shrimp), traditional spaghetti & meatballs, or Trio’s Pasta – which consists of sautéed tomatoes, onions, black olives, mushrooms and bell peppers all perfectly seasoned with Trio’s house seasoning, laid atop a mountain of angel hair pasta, topped with your choice of shrimp or chicken, and garnished with parmesan cheese.

As your meal dining experience at Trio’s comes to a close, and you should have saved space, Trio’s offers delightful desserts such as the “Brownie Melt-A-Way” which is topped with Ganache chocolate, the Creole Cream Cheesecake (Chef John Folse’s original creole cream cheesecake), as well as everyone’s favorite bread pudding, drizzled in a decadent rum sauce that will leave even the hungriest of patron with the sweetest of dreams!

A mere step through the front doors at Trio’s will have you and your friends returning again and again for the food, spirits and the good times to be shared by all!  So stop by and visit with Jennifer and the Trio’s gang, but be sure to take your appetite with you!

Q & A with Jennifer Johnson

Where is Jennifer’s favorite place to dine for breakfast out with her family? Jennifer prefers the brunch at Restaurant Cotton whereas her sons, Michael, Leeyton and Ely all prefer IHOP!

Where is Jennifer’s favorite place to dine for lunch/dinner out with her family? Restaurant Sage or Genusas’

Where are Jennifer’s favorite all around eateries in Louisiana? Cochon on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans!

What does Jennifer enjoy doing when he is not at the restaurant cooking? Traveling, reading and spending quality time with my children and my family

What are Jennifer’s favorite teams? The SAINTS!

What is Jennifer’s favorite thing about the North Louisiana region? “The outdoors are nice, so many friends and really everything is just so nice here.”

Does Mark do any volunteer work of any kind currently? Trio’s supports the Salvation Army

What is Jennifer’s personal menu favorite on the menu at the eatery? “Gosh, there are so many choices that I like! There’s the Gyro Salad, Fettuccini Alfredo and the steaks – oh the steaks!”

What is Jennifer’s favorite “junk food”? Raising Canes!

Any accolades she’d like to mention? Nominated for the Thomas H. Scott Award for Excellence

Anything else that he’d like the readers to know about himself, his family, his goals, his vision for the eatery? “Everything in the restaurant business is a passion – good food, good service and being a part of the Family”

Jennifer's Garides Saganaki

  • Difficulty: Very Simple
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“Shrimp baked in tomato sauce with feta cheese”
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp (medium sized, peeled, deveined with tails)
  • 1/2 c finely diced tomato, drained in colander for 5 minutes Salt
  • 2/3 c hard feta cheese (you may leave feta out overnight uncovered in fridge to harden)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley


In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper. Add shrimp until they become firm. Add tomato and salt to taste and cook until sauce begins to thicken. Add feta cheese. To make a heartier dish, I sometimes add orzo. Top with parsley after plating.

Simple and delicious! Enjoy with chilled white wine, salad and crusty bread!

Tara AmbroseTara brings impressive experience to our table. She contributes to several publications including, DeltaStyle Magazine, Louisiana Kitchens & Culture Magazine, Culination Magazine and her first articles will appear in Wine Tourist Magazine in 2016.

Welcome Tara! We look forward to working with you.

If you are curious and want to learn more about Tara, please lease visit Tara’s Taste of the Town on Facebook.