20×49.com is the official destination blog of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. It regularly features posts on upcoming events such as festivals, concerts, and art exhibits. Over time, it became apparent that posts about local restaurants, chefs, and food events were far more popular than other kinds of posts.
If you’re looking for a truly unusual way to celebrate Independence Day, you may want to check out the Amber Waves of Pain Party at Great Raft Brewing. Great Raft Brewing will celebrate Independence Day with the release of their latest beer, live music by The Mansion Family, food by Louisiana Food Prize-winning Chef Jacob Mouser, ice cream by Sweetport and – get this – professional wrestling inside the brewery from 12-4 p.m. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Admission appears to be free. Here’s the official Facebook event.
Louisiana music icon Wayne Toups will headline a free block party in Bossier City on July 4. Courtesy photo.
Speaking of crazy: The ostrich and camel races are back at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. While you couldn’t pay me enough money to ride an ostrich, there are brave souls out there who get the job done during this family-friendly annual event at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. There’ll also be a kids’ zone, face painting, and more. Admission is free. Visit the Facebook event for complete details.
Arguably North Louisiana’s most popular July 4 event, the annual KTBS-3 Independence Day Festival is back and as big as ever. If you’re looking for a lot of details about this event, here’s the only link you’ll need. Newly renamed the KTBS 3 Freedom Fest Finale, this outstanding festival begins at noon and will culminate with fireworks around 9:15 p.m.
After years of intending to do so, I finally got out to Blueberry Hill (5121 Bellevue Road, Haughton), a friendly little berry farm located just a few miles east of Bossier City, for their pick-your-own blueberries and blackberries. If you’re looking for a laid-back way to spend a morning outdoors, I highly recommend this charming spot.
My group of four spent a fun hour picking berries on a recent Saturday morning. We wound up leaving with several gallons of blueberries for around $20 total (the 2019 price is $1.75/pound). If you’ve ever purchased blueberries at a major grocery chain like Target or Wal-Mart, you don’t need me to tell you that’s a fraction of the retail price.
A bucket of blueberries picked at Blueberry Hill in Haughton.
The place itself is welcoming, well-kept and easy to find. The paths that run between long rows of berry bushes are broad and clear, though maybe a little uneven for folks who have trouble walking. There are 30 or more rows of berry bushes, all of which typically bear fruit throughout the month of June and the first week or two of July. Buckets are provided, as well as plastic bucket liners that you’ll want to use if you’re picking blackberries. The check-out counter doubles as a concessions stand with ice-cold beverages. Cash, check and credit card were all accepted on the day of our visit.
Tucked away down a long, winding road in Haughton, Blueberry Hill is easy to miss. But, especially if you enjoy relaxing outdoor activities – or if you’re just crazy about blueberries and blackberries – you don’t want to miss this place. It is a genuine hidden gem that I can’t wait to visit again.
A ripe blueberry is picked at Blueberry Hill in Haughton, Louisiana.
Enter to win a summer getaway. Sign up here to enter a drawing for dining at El Cabo Verde and Retro 521 Cafe, axe-throwing at Bayou Axe Co., shopping at Enchanted Garden and more.
Download or read the fourth edition of Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.
20×49.com is a project of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.
There’ll be a boatload of talent onstage during the June 20 Music Prize event at 211 Market Street in downtown Shreveport, but the star of the show could very well end up being the venue itself.
The building, which housed a Goodyear tire and service shop for years, is kind of the perfect space for an entertainment venue. There’s a large, open garage area that could function as an indoor/outdoor space, with huge, roll-up bay doors. There’s an attached waiting room area that (at least from the looks of it on Google Streetview) appears to be climate controlled. There’s a large-ish parking lot that one can easily imagine being filled with picnic tables. It’s an incredibly cool space, and it’s located at one of downtown Shreveport’s busiest intersections, just a few steps from the front door of Shreveport Convention Center. Talk about potential.
Google Street View’s image of 211 Market Street, where the Music Prize will host a summer concert series beginning on June 20.
In addition to the music, there’ll be food from Taco Wars II-winning taqueria El Bazar Mexicano #2 and a cash bar from Remington Suite Hotel & Spa. The show is all ages and non-smoking. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Music starts at 6 p.m.
If you’re a regular reader of 20×49.com, you may already know that this blog is a project of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau (learn more about us at www.Shreveport-Bossier.org). Among our various projects, we produce and distribute the annual Official Visitors’ Guide to Shreveport-Bossier (this year’s edition features local rising star AJ Haynes, of the rock band Seratones, on the cover).
This year’s guide includes a challenge to visitors and locals alike: Use the hashtag #SBFunSide on your Instagram posts featuring things to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, and you could win a share of $1,000 in cash prizes. Posts must be made between now and December 31, 2019. Cash prizes of $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) will be awarded. Winners will be selected by the staff of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and will be notified by Jan. 31, 2020.
Photos can be of anything, but we’re excited to see your photos featuring local attractions, festivals, nightlife, the outdoors, and more. The complete rules of the contest are available for review here. Put simply, they amount to: 1) Images must be posted to a public Instagram profile in order to be considered, 2) Images must be the original work of the Instagram account holder, and 3) Images should be posted as a single image, not as part of a story or a carousel-style post featuring multiple images.
Through our own Instagram account, @SeeShreveportBossier, we love to celebrate the work of local photographers by hiring one photographer each month to direct a “takeover” of our account. This gives us the chance to see Caddo and Bossier parishes from a different, unique perspective each month while supporting up-and-coming local talents.
If you or someone you know is a practicing or aspiring photographer (and who isn’t, these days?!), consider adding the hashtag #SBFunSide to your Instagram posts, and you may just win a share of $1,000 to help kick off your 2020.
To be completely honest with you, I don’t know if I believe that there’s such a thing as “a bad snow cone.” On a hot enough Louisiana afternoon, even the most average snow cone is still pretty wonderful. But some snow cones are better than others, and The Sno Fox (2225 Airline Drive, Bossier City) serves some of the best that I’ve ever had.
The Strawberry Delight snowcone from The Sno Fox in Bossier City is made with real strawberries, homemade cheesecake icing and graham cracker crumbs.
Owner Brett Misenheimer may not be a chef, but some of the snow cone flavors that he and his team have introduced since opening in April of 2019 are downright hip. The best flavors that I sampled were Midnight Dream (blueberry, lemon and lavender), Sunset Tango (orange, vanilla creme and ginger) and Yellow Mellow (lemon, vanilla creme and chamomile). These signature flavors and others are all made using real dairy, real sugar, and syrups that Misenheimer crafts in small batches using real fruits and no artificial flavors. The ice itself is terrific, more on the shaved, fluffy side than the crunchy.
You can also get traditional snow cone flavors like tutti frutti and cotton candy, though – in my opinion – you’d be missing out. There are also limited-edition flavors as well as sugar-free options.
“It’s just a process of trial and error, taste-testing and tweaking each recipe until it’s outstanding,” Misenheimer said. “We’ve been getting great feedback so far.”
Misenheimer knows that fans of old-school snow cones may require some convincing – especially when confronted with flavors like the delicious Limenero (lime and habanero pepper) – and he’s happy to share free samples with anyone who’s curious. The Sno Fox only sells one size of cone, and cones are $4 for signature flavors and $3 for classic flavors like cotton candy and blue raspberry. So far, Misenheimer said, the signature flavors make up the bulk of his sales.
The Sno Fox is currently open every day from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. There is plenty of parking and picnic tables are available. Dogs are welcome, and Misenheimer and his team are happy to make bone broth snow cones for any four-legged friends.
Featured photo: Chef Gabriel Balderas, of El Cabo Verde, will host a cooking demo during North Louisiana Seafood Week at SALT Restaurant. Photo by Jim Noetzel.
Whether you’re a local food enthusiast, a home cook, or just curious to learn more about Louisiana’s world-renowned seafood, SALT Restaurant at Shreveport Aquarium has an interesting week in store, June 3-8, 2019. Several of Shreveport-Bossier’s most acclaimed chefs will be hosting nightly demos at the restaurant, 4-6 p.m., with each chef tackling a different Louisiana seafood. In addition to these educational demos, there’ll be tastings, giveaways, and nightly specials featuring the dishes being demonstrated. SALT will be open until 8 p.m. each night. Admission to the demos is free.
The Let the Good Times Roll Festival will host its 33rd annual event in downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza, June 21-23, 2019. Though the festival is a well-known celebration of African American art, music, food and more, there’s a lot about this festival that somehow manages to fly under the radar.
2019 Festival Chair Vencil Holmes stopped by 20×49 Live – our new broadcast studio housed at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau – to discuss omega oil (that’s a cocktail), omega sauce (that’s a marinade for smoked turkey legs), the Omega Lamplighters program (that’s a youth mentoring program funded by the festival), and more. From free hair cuts for kids to free wellness check-ups, there’s a lot more to Let the Good Times Roll than just a party. As Holmes says: “It’s a party with a purpose.”
If you feel like you’re familiar with the Let the Good Times Roll Festival, but you’ve never sipped omega oil (a fraternity house concoction that, no kidding, is called “Purple Jesus” in some parts of the world) or chowed down on a turkey leg marinated in omega sauce, you probably need to give the festival another look. For the curious, here’s a 10-minute conversation with Festival Chair Vencil Holmes, who shared his insider’s take on the music, food, booze, and more.
Festival Chair Vencil Holmes Discusses the 2019 Let the Good Times Roll Festival - YouTube
2019 is shaping up to be the year of quirky food trucks in Shreveport-Bossier. Hot on the heels of the debut of May the Cheese Be With You, a Star Wars-themed grilled cheese truck, Sal Marciano has introduced his insane pizza ambulance, Sal’s Emergency Pizza Services (Various locations, 318-762-2137). Marciano previously served his pizza at The Sandbar in downtown Shreveport, where he catered to a late-night (and early morning) drinking crowd. Sometime in mid-May, he introduced his incredible new mobile pizzeria.
Why an ambulance?
“People kept telling me, ‘Your pizza saved my life, man,'” Marciano said. “So, I kind of kept coming back to that as I was deciding what the truck would be like. The ambulance was just perfect.”
Sal Marciano (left) and a team member pose for a photo outside of the Sal’s Emergency Pizza Services ambulance.
The ambulance itself was purchased during a public auction in Michigan. Marciano’s first drive in the ambulance was the return trip home from Michigan to Louisiana, if you can imagine that. He and his friends spent “about two months” customizing the ambulance in his back yard, often working on it until the wee hours of the morning.
Sal’s serves a small menu of pizza pies with standard toppings as well as pasta bowls and quesadillas. The truck has been appearing at businesses ranging from bars to car lots, and has been selling out regularly during its first few weeks in business.
On the day of my visit, Sal’s had been hit hard by an early lunch crowd, with only a few pies left and a failing power generator. Despite that situation, he was all smiles. I’ve seen dozens of food truck operators fighting similar situations, but Sal was the first one that I’ve seen who’s managed to smile through the pandemonium. Due to the line and the delays – and probably the fact that I had a camera and a million questions – I got handed a free pizza, which I try to never let happen. But I believe pizzas from Sal’s run $10-$15, depending on toppings.
The pizza itself was really good, in a simple and unpretentious way. This isn’t Neapolitan pizza; it’s cheesy, decadent, doughy goodness that really would be the perfect lifesaver of a meal at the end of a night out with friends.
Overdoing things is just kind of a way of life for Marilynn’s Place owner Boz Baucum. So, when he introduced me to Alfred – the restaurant’s new “tactical catering command post” – I was not as surprised as I should have been by this eye-catching vehicle.
A former Matco Tools truck that’s been decked out in Marilynn’s Place branding with green strobe lights, ground effects and other features – including some secret panels and hidden capabilities – Alfred was not named after Batman’s butler, as I’d guessed. When Baucum picked up the vehicle from its previous owner, there was a sticker on the side that just read ALFRED. The name stuck.
Seeks “zombie apocalypse bunker”: Boz Baucum, owner of Marilynn’s Place, has gotten himself a new toy.
“In the maritime world, it’s bad luck to rename a ship,” Baucum told me. “You don’t buy a sailboat and rename it, so I’m honoring that tradition.”
The vehicle will help Baucum’s restaurant bring their popular style of Cajun-meets-comfort food to crowds of 500-1,000. If you’d like to take a closer look at Alfred, it’ll be “prominently displayed at Marilynn’s Place” during their brunch service on Sunday, May 26. In fact, Alfred may be staying there until Baucum can find “some sort of zombie apocalypse bunker to store it in.”
In the meantime, if you see a kelly green big rig rolling past, you may just want to follow it – the back end’s probably full of gumbo.
Looking for more information on local food in Shreveport-Bossier? Download or check out the fourth edition of Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.
Alfred, a former Matco Tools truck, is now a tricked-out command unit for Marilynn’s Place, a Cajun-inspired restaurant in Shreveport.
If you’re under the impression that one takeout order of fried rice is pretty much equivalent to the next, I’d point you in the direction of Geaux Wings N Rice (2100 Benton Road, Bosser City) for an example of just how good fried rice can be. Formerly known as Wings N Rice, the super-casual strip mall eatery has been under new ownership since 2018. The menu is simple: fried rice, chicken wings and a handful of fried appetizers (including small, hand-made shrimp spring rolls at $3.49 for two pieces).
Listed on the menu as “Japanese fried rice,” the fried rice at Geaux Wings N Rice is available “plain” or with chicken, shrimp, beef, or some mixture of those options. If you’re looking for something unique, I recommend the beef version ($7.99).
Here’s where this review gets challenging: If you’re accustomed to hibachi-style beef fried rice, you may be surprised by the appearance of the Geaux Wings N Rice version. When I opened my first order, I thought for a moment that they’d forgotten to include the beef. Taking a closer look, I realized that the beef had been finely shredded, as had the carrots, before being cooked along with the rice.
Instead of chunks of beef that just happen to share a space with a mountain of fried rice, this version of fried rice consists of beef that’s practically been minced. When cooked quickly at a high temperature, that beef releases its flavor into every grain of rice. The beef kind of functions as a seasoning. While that may not sound like a compliment, it absolutely is. This stuff is extremely flavorful, with the kind of down-home umami flavor that you’d get from a great link of boudin.