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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
March 28, 2013     The Ponchatoula Times
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March 28, 2013

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THE NEWSPAPER OF AMERICA'S ANTIQUE CITY www.ponchatoula.com/ptimes THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 2013 33 rd YEAR NUMBER 25 50 Chef Phil O'Donnell back at namesake restaurant By BRYAN T. McMAHON Back at the helm of O'Donnell's Restaurant, 131 SW Railroad Ave, is award-winning chef Phil O'Donnell, 41, with a new menu, in-house cured meats, a dynamic happy hour, an inexpensive lunch, and an excited, ex- perienced crew. "Chefs come to work here because they will have the free- dom to really cook. Jacmel in- troduced me to some great chefs during my five years there and some of them have come here to join me," O'Donnell told The Ponchatoula Times, adding: "I learned a lot opening Phil's Meats in Hammond. We are curing our own meat and bringing it to the menu. If .you have eight dollars to spend on lunch, bring it here and enjoy the great service. We use lunch as a showcase for our fine food so you can get an idea of what to expect in the evening when you come back with your spouse. "I took the restaurant back quietly at the start of the year. My brother Sean is now head- ing a private club-style high- end restaurant in downtbn Atlanta. At O'Donnei]'s, we are selling in a niche where we are more casual during lunch, with lower prices but the same great food. 'Tee want customers to take a stand. Tell us what you want. Challenge us." I did. With a Lenten craving for ceviche, the Latin Ameri- can delicacy where raw fish is "cooked" in lime juice, I ordered that. O'Donnell said it would take 15 minutes to prepare, adding that many restaurants make the mistake of marinating ceviche longer in bigger batches which, he says, destroys the delicacy of the taste. It was the best I ever had, even though when she was alive, Terry Ann and I had acquired a taste for the dish during repeated visits to Mexico, Central and South America. No surprise there; "My crab Cakes won first pla6e in the Louisiana Cookoff, and cra 5 cakes is now our signature dish PLEASE SEE PAGE 3 -'> Y O'Donnell's Chef Phil O'Donnell (Times Photo) And the Bee Man of Lee's Landing By BRYAN T. McMAHON This is bee swarming season and Robert G. Taylor Sr. is a good man to know. Taylor is a beekeeper who lives on Lee's Landing Road. You may have seen his honey at Berry Town Market and in other area stores marketed under the trademark "Ponchatoula's Best; local, unpasteurized honey." Through earlier interviews, stories, and photo shoots foThe Ponchatoula Times, I knew Tay- lor was the man to call when a swarm of bees built a honeybee hive on a low-hanging branch of the signature Magnolia tree PLEASE SEE PAGE 4 '"  LUU - =-- X( .....,,. --- H -.- H - Hcrl HLu H Azalea paradise Great gardener Celeste Layrisson's North Seventh Street yard is a riot of Easter colors thanks to her many blooming azaleas, a pleasure for all to see. (Times Photo) A.G. ruling could hurt Strawberry Festival, scouting, service clubs By BRYAN T. McMAHON Publisher When I returned from Mass on Sunday I found an Attorney General's opinion scotch-taped to the glass on my front door. It would appear that the rebuffed request to stage an Afro- American centric event in Tasker Park during Strawberry Festi- val weekend had'opened a can of worms. The s" cotch-taped documents revealed: Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell on August 10, 2012 replied to a request by Ponchatoula Mayor Bob Zabbia for a legal opinion regarding the city's legal status in leasing taxpayer land to non-profit organiza- tions. At this point it might be provident to think of the Kiwanis Log Cabin in city-owned Kiwanis Park and like situations with the Ro- tary Club, Community Garden Club, Strawberry Festival Board in Memorial Park, and the Jaycees in Jaycee Park. The AG ruled that the city must charge "fair market value" for PLEASE SEE PAGE 4 OUR PONCHA TO ULA By OLE HARDHIDE The Alligator If you see any Easter bunnies, please send them hopping to my cage. Ah Hasenpfeffer! Super Chef Phil O'Donnell of the restaurant of the same name has been doing more to spice up his afternoons with a super Happy Hour featuring all manner of drink specials, especially in the wine category, but he has done far more than that. Meet the fetching new crew of Lasses with Glass- es: Allysa Mauk, Kayla Ory, and pride of the litter Rebecca Miller, whose mammoth ring drew the at- tention of clueless Ole Pinchpenny the Publisher who enquired if it belonged to a boy she was dating who played on a Super Bowl team. No, Rebecca explained, it is her ring, presented to her upon her winning the title Louisiana State Champion Power Lifter. Gulp! Yes Ma'am. Nice ring. Do you suppose Rox's Kathryn Kemp has one of those power lifter rings? (I think all waitresses de- serve one. How do they do that?) Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. Beautiful curvy Miss Sam Anthony at the Pon- chatoula Pub was sweet as could be during Sun- day's benefit for Erika Watts, working on her day off and making all the guys thirsty. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. Do you know which Ponchatoula family contrib- uted to our city: a street commissioner, a city coun- cil member, a city clerk, a main street manager, and an official with both the Chamber and the Ponchatoula Industrial Board? Don't cry because it's over; smile because it hap- pened. Oh yes, the answer to the family question one paragraph up is, of course, Ponchatoula's Branch Family; W.E. "Bert" Branch was street commis- sioner, C.A. Branch was on the City Council, Willie Branch was City Clerk for Mayor Andrew Edwards Jr., Charlene (Branch) Daniels is main street man- ager, and Jeanne (Branch) Zaleski did the rest.