Innovation or Violation? Gumbo Ramen - Daily Advertiser

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Despite gumbo’s universal appeal across Louisiana, the classic dish is often defined more by its polarizing variations than by its commonalities. Depending on what part of the state you’re from, you might think including tomatoes is a cardinal sin, or you may be disgusted by the (inexplicable) practice of serving gumbo over potato salad. But a stranger frontier in polarizing variants of Louisiana’s official state dish has less to do with regional adaptations and more with the Cajun classic’s intersection with international cuisine.

— Andrew Capps

James Beard announces WEL fellows

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We're thrilled to announce the 25 fellows participating in the 2020 Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program, taking place virtually from October 5 to November 19. Now in its fourth year, the WEL program is part of the Foundation's broader Women's Leadership Programs presented by Audi and aims to support woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, and chefs in order to grow their careers and scale their businesses.

— Maggie Borden

Tsunami Owner selected for James Beard WEL program - Daily Advertiser

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It was New Years 1999, and Michele Ezell was spending the evening at a sushi bar in Los Angeles with family and friends. "I was excited to be (at a sushi bar) and everyone was like, 'Calm down Cajun girl,'" she said. "Of course the conversation was like, 'What, you guys don't have sushi in Lafayette?' And they said, 'Well, you should open a sushi bar.'" She laughed it off but secretly started plotting her business plan. About two years later, she opened Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette.

— Victoria Dodge

Owner selected for James Beard WEL program - Advocate

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Tsunami Sushi managing partner Michele Ezell is finding a way to grow during the pandemic. The local restaurateur has been selected to join the 2020 class of the James Beard Foundation Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Developed with Babson College and presented by Audi, the year-long program is targeted to women chefs, owners, experts, and funders who are looking to expand and grow. After carefully reviewing approximately 120 applications, Ezell was selected by the Women's Leadership Advisory Committee.


Masked up and tables far apart, some Lafayette restaurants entering a changed dining market

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Tsunami Sushi owner Michele Ezell isn’t complaining when she says this: Her restaurants are feeling more like an operating room. As many restaurants opened their interior seating areas Friday for the first time since being reduced to takeout only in March because of coronavirus, they did so under strict guidelines. Restaurants can only allow 25% capacity. Employees must wear masks. Tables must be spaced 10 feet apart.


Michelle Ezell with Tsunami restaurant on the Discover Lafayette podcast: Downtown eatery has been a family affair

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When the concept for the first sushi restaurant was being developed in 1999, Michelle Ezell, her husband, Sean, sister, Leah, and cousin, Tara, looked for names that had an Asian influence. They settled on Tsunami, which can be defined as "a force that comes into a community and takes hold of it."

— the acadiana advocate

Gambit's 2020 Winter Restaurant Guide: JAPANESE & SUSHI options in the New Orleans area

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A Hung Lo roll includes shrimp, cream cheese, cucumber, jalapenos and masago and is topped with seared tuna, snow crab, fried onions, scallions and ponzu and Sriracha sauces. Delivery available. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. $$$

— Gambit

Louisiana Hospitality Foundation’s P.O.W.E.R. Palates Program: Featured women participating

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NEW ORLEANS — As thousands of New Orleanians head to lunch today, for the first time in New Orleans history, diners can help Fidelity Bank and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation (LHF) celebrate women in the hospitality industry by participating in the first annual P.O.W.E.R. Palates. The month-long celebration of women in the hospitality industry begins today and is part of Fidelity’s “Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized” (P.O.W.E.R.) program. To date, 30 women-led restaurants and bars are participating in the first-of-its-kind program. The goal of the program is to raise awareness and drive business to women-led restaurants and bars in the New Orleans area.

— myNewOrleans

New Orleans, Faces of Sushi

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With bold flavors, aromas and textures, Tsunami blends local and Asian flare to create a dining experience that stimulates all the senses. From simple sushi rolls to extravagant nigiri creations, each dish is made with the finest, freshest ingredients, and the team’s talented chefs transform even the most traditional menu items into edible art.

— myNewOrleans

Readers Picks Tops of the Town - My New Orleans Magazine

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To make the list, a choice had to have a significant number of votes; places without enough votes were eliminated. Categories without enough voters were also removed. Where there was evidence of ballot stuffing (and there wasn’t much) the votes were adjusted accordingly. We know that there are some significant places that didn’t make the list, nevertheless we’re confident that those that are listed are all worthy and are among the tops in their field.

— myNewOrleans

The Best Restaurants in Baton Rouge - Thrillist

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If there’s anything people in south Louisiana know, it’s good food, good drinks, and good company, and there’s no better place to combine the three than at a favorite neighborhood haunt. Oft overshadowed by the culinary mecca of New Orleans, the Baton Rouge food scene is quickly establishing itself as a hotspot for new chefs and creative cuisine. Each year a flood of new ventures join established favorites to diversify the city’s offerings. Whether you have a taste for contemporary Creole cuisine, sweet treats, or craft brews, the Red Stick has something for you. Here’s a sampling of the best restaurants Baton Rouge has to offer.

— Katie Gagliano

Restaurant Development & Design (rd+d) - Best Full-Service Restaurant Design Winner

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This renovation turned a heavily draped sushi restaurant into a modern space filled with natural light. The project team accomplished this by creating zones using lighting, textures and subtle transitions between bar, group dining and banquette seating. Japanese Wagara patterns inspired the creation of screens and texture surfaces that create privacy but don’t truly close off any one area of the restaurant from another. The judges felt “the design is fluid, consistent” and maximized seating without feeling “clustered.” One judge said, “This was a renovation that doesn’t feel like a renovation; it feels like a brand-new space.”

— Restaurant Development & Design

AIA Louisiana - Honor Award in Design and Architecture - Tsunami New Orleans


New Orleans Food Wine Experience Jared Graves Gold in Seafood Salita Natasine Gold in Dessert

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The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, which runs Wednesday (May 23) through Sunday, features two grand tastings. They are "grand" because they fill sprawling rooms inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with wine pours from more than 1,000 bottles and small bites from 75 New Orleans restaurants.

— Ann Maloney

Tsunami Sushi opens Downtown New Orleans - DDD Nola

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The newest edition to the Tsunami Sushi family has opened in the CBD. Mon-Sat lunch and dinner you can be swept into a culinary wave of flavors from our sushi bar and grill. We have dishes to please the most adventurous palate to the slightly more conservative. Delicate sushi rolls to our grilled ribeye you are sure to leave with plans for a return trip for more. Either dining alone or with a large group our space is accommodating for all guests.

— downtown development district

Dorito Crusted Sushi Downtown New Orleans - Eater

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A new sushi spot has opened in the CBD, but don’t expect the traditional approach to sushi that diners saw at the now-shuttered Horinoya. Tsunami Sushi, which opened on the ground floor of the Pan American Life Center on Wednesday, brings an extensive menu and playful ingredients to the CBD, reports Helen Freund.

— Stephanie Carter

Tsunami Sushi - The Sexiest Spot in Baton Rouge

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In 2000, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, revivalists and sisters, Leah Simon and Michele Ezell, started a revolution when they opened Tsunami, a West Coast-style sushi restaurant — complete with a rotating roster of in-residence sushi masters flown in from Japan — in downtown Lafayette. The region had never seen anything like it, and Tsunami was an instant, white-hot success. Ezell said when they launched Tsunami they tried to keep the offerings very traditional Japanese but customers soon started driving the menu. Hence, the incorporation of alligator, crawfish and soft shell crab on the bill of fare.

— Jyl Benson

Tsunami Sushi Open in New Orleans - Advocate

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The Lafayette-based restaurant company that turned alligator into a sushi bar staple has a new restaurant in the works for downtown New Orleans. Tsunami Sushi plans to open inside the Pan American Life Center at 601 Poydras St. sometime in 2016. Tsunami will take over a corner spot in the ground floor of the CBD high rise, which was previously used as conference space.

— ian mcnulty

Tsunami Sushi to open in New Orleans - The Ind Buzz

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Tsunami Sushi is set to open a New Orleans location, signing a lease on a property in the CDB earlier this week. The new location will be the fourth Tsunami iteration since the sleek contemporary Japanese eatery and sushi bar first opened in Lafayette 15 years ago. Earlier this year, Tsunami opened its third location inside of Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton, taking over the spot once occupied by Rik Rak.


Chef Tracy Fete Rouge 1st Place

While I like to entertain whenever I can, I love outdoor parties most of all. Guests seem more relaxed and open. I know I am. There is something different and less formal about being outside the house. Interior parties can be stuffy and confining. In the winter, of course you can make them work. Put up some holiday decorations and plan a menu of your favorite dishes. Everyone enjoys a roaring fire and a mug of hot cocoa. But there are other ways to entertain friends and family.

— Grace

Tsunami Cypress Bayou opens - Daily Advertiser

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The newest location of Tsunami Sushi at Cypress Bayou Casino Hotel in Charenton officially opens this week. Tsunami's grand opening will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in the casino restaurant, which has moved into the former Asian restaurant RikRak. The space has been remodeled to include a private room and larger dining area. The sushi restaurant's management announced earlier this year that it would be opening a third location in the casino and that a fourth location in New Orleans is a possibility. Tsunami first opened in 2000 in downtown Lafayette. A second location opened in 2004 in downtown Baton Rouge.

— Megan Wyatt

Can Lafayette Chefs Cook Up a Food Revolution?

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It's tasted in the complexity of dishes, smelled in the duck fat gravy used to tempura okra. It's visualized as three people's hands work simultaneously to perfect a plate before it makes it to a table. It's felt as a bottle of Crown Royal is passed from person to person in the kitchen as the final course is served. And it's heard in the rock-star-style applause they receive when introduced following a dinner. This is Acadiana's new chef community.

— Megan Wyatt

Louisiana Meets Asia Runaway Dish

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Adventurous foodies dined late into Monday night on dishes that blended the cooking techniques of southwest Louisiana and southeast Asia during the first Runaway Dish dinner of the year. Chef Toby Rodriguez of Lache Pas Boucherie et Cuisine and Chef Jerrod “Wu” Adams of Tsunami came together to put on Caijin at the Feed N Seed in downtown Lafayette.

— Daily Advertiser

Tsunami Opening Soon in Cypress Bayou Casino Hotel

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For the last 15 years we have all enjoyed the delicious cuisine at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. Now, there will be a new location in the area to enjoy their fantastic fare. Tsunami will be opening soon inside Cypress Bayou Casino Hotel in Charenton, Louisiana. Construction has begun on the former Rikrak, an Asian restaurant that closed last month.


Bites: Tsunami Offering Dorito Topped Sushi Roll

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If you thought the Doritos tacos at Taco Bell were odd, brace yourself. Local downtown restaurant Tsunami Sushi is now offering a sushi roll that is topped with Doritos seasoned tortilla chips. The latest sushi roll, the Munchie, is filled with salmon, cream cheese and avocado, is wrapped together with seaweed and rice and is topped with crushed Doritos.

— Megan Wyatt

Darrell Bourque's Favorite Eats

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Darrell Bourque grew up in Sunset. His long career as a writer and professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette has given him a deep understanding of the region. Bourque was appointed Louisiana Poet Laureate by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco in 2007 and then reappointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2009. He served in the position through 2011.

— Jan Risher

Dancing with the Stars Plans it's Showstopper

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Lately it’s become chic for those who “lean in” to do so in a purple dress, not a power suit. Women at the top say they’re no longer afraid to be themselves style-wise, and eschew the masculine for something more “themselves.” Don’t kid yourself. No one takes a flower print seriously.

— Patricia Gannon

Things to do, see in Baton Rouge for Rebel Travelers

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This weekend, the LSU Tigers will host the undefeated Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. Rebel fans will be making the trip to Baton Rouge to cheer their undefeated team onto (hopefully) a victory. College Game Day will also be in town to highlight the game between the No. 3 ranked Rebels and No. 23 Tigers.

— hotty toddy

Getaways for Grownups - Bite into Lafayette

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My friend Erin, editor of partner publication Deep South Magazine, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana. That is not the most interesting thing about her, but it does help to explain how and why she stepped up as tour guide during my recent visit.

— Hope S. Philbrick

Atlanta Magazine - College Towns of the South

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As the state capital, Baton Rouge is the epicenter of Louisiana’s political life and a great place to discover the state’s past. The city’s vibrant culture, a blend of French, English, and Spanish influences, rivals that of its older sister, New Orleans.


Inaugural New Orleans Sushi Fest Slated

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Students from Nicholls State University’s Chef John Folse Culinary Institute will fire up the grill for the next five weeks as part of a cooking competition sponsored by the Dansereau House Bed and Breakfast.

— The Advocate

The Advertiser - Absolut Best Martini Contest Underway

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When you think of martinis, you might be thinking of the original vodka and vermouth version. But in The Healing House's competition to find Lafayette's "Absolut Best Martini," the contenders won't resemble anything like that. Think pear infusions, cocktails mixed with raspberry rock candy or sake, and even a Bushwacker version featuring Godiva liqueur.

— Kris Wartelle

FACE - Absolut Best Martini

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Times Best of Acadiana

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Eat Lafayette 2014

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Go inside the Tsunami kitchen with executive chef Jerrod Adams as he cooks up fresh salmon and collard greens


Tsunami Makes Open Table's Top 100 in the US

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As we bid adieu to the polar vortex, we look forward to warm spring weather and a hot dining scene. OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, has announced the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

— restaurant news

The New York Times - 36 Hours in Baton Rouge

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Louisiana’s capital has neither the nonstop party scene nor the obvious cultural charm of its more celebrated neighbor to the southeast, yet this laid-back Mississippi River town offers a unique appeal. The French, Spanish, Creole and Cajun influences of its three-century history blend with the youthful spirit of Louisiana State University’s nearly 30,000 students, stewing up a Southern mélange that’s on full display during Baton Rouge’s own Mardi Gras celebrations, through March 1, as well as events like the Baton Rouge Blues Festival (April 12). Along rural roads and in revitalized downtown neighborhoods, inside strip malls and by industrial sites, this unheralded city reveals a dynamic musical heritage and rich culinary history that demand to be discovered.

— Brendan Spiegel

2nd Saturday ArtWalk - Jeffery Muccullogh at Lounge Gallery

Thanks to foot surgery in November, the last couple of months have been rather unpleasant at times. I am looking forward to the New Year with lots of exciting work with artists and projects and posts that I will be doing!

— Jeffery Muccullogh

A Taste of Lafayette

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A different world exists in the Cajun country of South Louisiana. Lafayette, a city of 120.000, and about a two-and-half-hour drive from New Orleans has caught up with the Big Easy on culinary allure, showcasing exotic foods with distinctive French flavors.

— Susan Benton

Fourth of July in Baton Rouge: What's happening and where to find it

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July Fourth in Baton Rouge means Independence Day celebrations much like the rest of the United States, replete with family get-togethers, cook-outs and yes, fireworks, even if they are banned in East Baton Rouge Parish. Here, you'll find a full list of all the ways to celebrate the Fourth in style or let us know how you plan to spend the holiday in Baton Rouge in the comment stream below.

— Chelsea Brasted

Eat Lafayette 2013

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The final installment of the EatLafayette "Downtown" Dish of the Day series is Tsunami's Ragin' Cajun roll.


Feaux Cajun - Spicy Salmon Sushi

Okay…there’s nothing inherently Cajun about sushi. At all. Granted, most Louisiana sushi spots have crawfish and/or oyster rolls on their menu, but other than that… not much. However, for me, sushi and Louisiana are intrinsically linked, because I didn’t LIKE sushi until I moved to New Orleans. But that’s part of starting a new chapter in your life. You move to a new place, you try new things. Sometimes, you’re coerced into trying those new things by friends.

— Feaux Cajun

Cooking Classes Return to Tsunami

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Learn to roll with the pros. Tsunami is opening up its kitchen again so everyday eaters can learn the tricks for making professional-grade sushi. The class, priced at $50 per person, includes hands-on instruction of building, rolling, cutting and eating rolls - yes, there is more to it than dunking each piece in soy sauce. The class centers around a meal that includes a California roll, which you will make yourself, plus one other regular roll of your choice. With it comes edmamame, miso soup and a drink (non-alcoholic, unfortunately).


Best of Baton Rouge

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What a view! From its unparalleled vantage point atop the Shaw Center, Tsunami offers a sweeping panorama of the Baton Rouge riverfront. Sip sake or a signature cocktail on the rooftop terrace while you watch riverboats and barges churn the waters of the mighty Mississippi, then head inside where you can continue to enjoy the view through glorious floor-to-ceiling windows, bathed in the glow of a Red Stick sunset.

— 225 baton rouge

Cooking Culinary Arts Best of Baton Rouge

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hen travelers visit the incredible city of Baton Rouge, they typically do the same things each time. It is standard to see the state capital building, visit the local zoo, take an alligator bayou swamp tour and then dine on some Cajun or Creole cooking. There is no denying the fact that favorites like gumbo and jambalaya are integral parts of the local diet and culture, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat the same foods during every day of your stay in the capital city of Louisiana. In fact, this city has a varied dining scene that is full of incredible foods from around the globe. Whether you happen to be in search of the best burger, pizza, Asian fare or just about anything else, let this guide help you.

— Sandy

Eat Lafayette

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One of the best things going for Lafayette is the fact that we have the best restaurants in the world! The Eat Lafayette campaign continues on now through August 15th and it highlights the locally owned restaurants in the Hub City. For the last couple of weeks we've been showcasing some of the restaurants participating in Eat Lafayette. We roll today with one of the finest dining spots around -- Tsunami on Jefferson St. in downtown Lafayette.


The Independent - Passing the Bar

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Booze. Hooch. Vino, hard liquor, spirits, beer and malted liquor - call it what you want but chances are you might drink it occasionally, and if you do it means you probably graduated from Mad Dog 20/20 to a nice Powers whiskey.


Bon Appetit- The Capital of Cajun Country

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It's long been one of the South's great stomach-stretching pleasures to eat outside of Lafayette in South-Central Louisiana, to burn a tank of gas or two zigzagging through Cajun country. Maybe in search of the ultimate link of boudin (that pale, ricey, spicy sausage that's debated here with ferocity) or to down plump gulf oysters at Shucks! in Abbeville. Or, perhaps, to tuck into mounds of rice topped with pork backbone stew at Poche's Market & Restaurant in Breaux Bridge.


The Missing Link: Donald Link Opens Second Cochon in Lafayette

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Donald Link barely gave the chickens a chance to stop sizzling before he put his hands around them, subjecting each to a tactile examination that looked like nothing so much as a quarterback blindly feeling his way to a football's seam.

— Brett Anderson

Anthony Bourdain in Cajun Country

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A few weeks ago, I heard Travel Channel star and chef Anthony Bourdain was going to be in Lafayette filming for his show, “No Reservations.” I didn’t know exactly when he’d be here, but figured the local rumor mill would start to churn once he arrived. On Friday afternoon, a few people tweeted they’d seen him at Tsunami Sushi downtown. It didn’t take long for y’all to wonder why Anthony Bourdain was eating sushi instead of a poboy or bowl of gumbo, and he actually replied to a few tweets saying he’d only had a beer. To further clarify, he and his crew were staying in the lofts above the restaurant, and Tsunami does serve a crawfish roll.

— Erin Z. Bass

Ragin' Asian

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Even with a growing Vietnamese population in Acadiana, the taste for authentic Vietnamese food has taken a few years to cultivate. But these days, a few area kitchens are merging Asian and Cajun and creating spectacular cuisine; probably the most notable merging of the cultures is Driftwood Diner’s much-loved Viet Poboy or Bonsai Sushi’s Bonsai Special (tempura shrimp, fried crawfish, fried oyster, snow crab, roe, avocado and cucumber).

— Jan Risher

Locals Keep Breaking Dawn Protected

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"No, sorry but we have bigger things to worry about than the economy." —Spokesperson for Tsunami restaurant in Baton Rouge, La., when we called to see if Hollywood Life's item about Robert Pattinson's "wild, boys' night out" had any truth to it. Are you loving or hating this Breaking Dawn lockdown?


The Independent: Cool Town

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Lafayette is becoming a magnet for the creative class. Here's why. When Susan Shaw, a native New Yorker, visited Lafayette during Festival International, in 2008, she was enchanted by the fountain in Parc Sans Souci.


2009 Best of 225

After a surprising victory in Best Oriental Cuisine as a relative newcomer last year, P.F. Chang’s leads the pack again for best Asian restaurant in Baton Rouge. This chic Chinese eatery clearly has its chopsticks on the pulse, offering everything from unique dishes like warm duck spinach salad to more familiar (but still extra-savory) fare like Moo Goo Gai Pan. Their sweet and sour offerings with whole chunks of pineapple and bell peppers will make you swear off the orange paste you get with other Chinese takeout. It’s raw fish all the way otherwise, as sushi slingers Ichiban and Tsunami place strongly in second and third.

— Rachael Upton

Inaugural Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off

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Saturday at the first-ever Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, 12 chefs from around the state brought their best recipes to the Superdome and made them during the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Grand Tasting. At the end, Chef Brian Landry of Galatoire's in New Orleans won the right to compete in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, to be held in the city on August 2 and 3.

— Judy Walker

Eat Lafayette - Tsunami

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UL journalism professor called to Afghanistan Fifty-nine-year-old UL journalism professor Robert Buckman has been recalled to active duty by the Army Reserve and expects to report to Afghanistan sometime in July. Buckman retired from the Army Reserve nine years ago after 28 years of commissioned service but is still subject to recalls. "They are badly in need of people," says Buckman, who's had two hip replacements and a shoulder replacement in the past ten years but still managed to pass an army physical two and a half years ago.


Tsunami Sisters' Lofty Living

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Tsunami Sisters' Lofty LivingLafayette's Tsunami Sushi sisters are planning a downtown loft development in the former Club 410 building next to their popular restaurant.


Tsunami Sushi opening soon in Cypress Bayou Casino

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Tsunami Sushi is opening a new location in the Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton in the coming months. Construction has begun on the former Rikrak, an Asian restaurant that closed last month in the Acadiana casino. Michele Ezell, owner of Tsunami, expects to open the restaurant in about three months. Customers can expect the same menu, pricing and service as the Lafayette and Baton Rouge locations of Tsunami.

— Megan Wyatt