Many great tastes come to mind when we think of Asian cuisine, but sausage is seldom one of them. Over the years I’ve sampled some lap cheong, the thin Chinese preserved sausages, but almost all were packaged and imported from China.
I raised my eyebrows when I read that Lafayette’s Casian Seafood restaurant had scratch-made artisan sausage on a unique menu featuring Hmong dishes from Laos, and Cajun favorites from Louisiana.
One taste and I was wowed—these sausages are like an Asian flavor fest captured inside a big grilled bratwurst. The kitchen grinds juicy pork belly with fresh ginger, lemongrass and zesty Thai chili peppers for a legit mouthwatering experience. It was served with a fiery dipping sauce made with fish sauce, plus sides of sticky rice and house-made kimchi.
We also sampled a bowl of true-to-its-form seafood and sausage jambalaya and a refreshing lettuce-wrapped fusion of shrimp ceviche and larb, the popular Southeast Asian salad.
Owners Dau Xiong and Maria Nguyen also serve shrimp and seafood boils, fried oysters, Cajun fried rice, Cornish game hens, papaya salad with fried pork skin, banh mi and fried-fish po’boy sandwiches.
The food has intrigued so many diners since the restaurant opened in Lafayette that it received a semi-finalist nomination for the 2022 James Beard Awards.
Boulder Recipe Flashback: John’s Restaurant
In the Glenn Miller Ballroom in CU’s UMC building, Boulder’s culinary community gathers annually for the Taste of the Nation, a walk-around restaurant sampling event that benefits local hunger relief organizations like Community Food Share, and the national efforts of Share Our Strength.
In 1995, a group of volunteers created the Taste of Boulder Cookbook featuring recipes from favorite local restaurants. Chef John Bizzarro of the much-loved John’s Restaurant (now the site of River and Woods) contributed the following recipe.
John’s Figs with Mascarpone, Almonds and Port
About 16 large almonds (regular or Marcona)
8 fresh ripe figs (4 whole, 4 quartered)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
6 teaspoons (approx.) powdered sugar
6 ounces port wine
Toast almonds in a skillet or oven. Score the four whole figs by cutting an “X” in the top, three quarters of the way down, and separate the sections so they look like flower petals.
Stir powdered sugar and two ounces Port into mascarpone. Spoon mascarpone (in a dome shape) into four bowls. Place four almonds in the middle of each flower. Arrange fig quarters around the edge. Spoon one ounce of Port over each dessert. Serves four.
Culinary Calendar: Taste of Summer
Dine out on April 28, 2022 for Dining Out For Life at participating restaurants that include Santo, Blackbelly, Avery Brewing and The Post—all of which will be donating 25% of the day’s sales to Project Angel Heart, an organization providing medically tailored meals to Coloradans living with life-threatening illness. diningoutforlife.com … The Denver Botanic Gardens has reopened its authentic Japanese Tea House for tea ceremony experiences on weekends from June to September. https://bit.ly/3iH3A0H … Plan ahead: Botanica — A Festival of Plants is June 18 and 19 at Lafayette’s Three Leaf Farm. botanicafestival.com … Slow Food’s summer food on the farm gathering with tours, burgers and a campfire is June 25 at Longmont’s Community Table Farm. slowfoodboulder.org … Eagle Mushroom & Wild Food Festival, Aug. 5-7, with classes, forays and food. eaglemushroomfest.com