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Made a quick trip through Lafayette, LA last week. It's where I am from and I miss the food a lot! I always try some old favorites when I visit.

I can confirm that the Chris's Poboys on Moss Street on the northside is still as good as ever! Some people swear by Old Tyme Grocery on St. Mary Street by the university but I have always been partial to Chris's. I breathed the whole roast pork poboy. I wish Philadelphia people who are proud of their roast pork sub could compare it with what Chris's serves! So much flavor in the thinly cut, moist roast! Dressed with just some shredded cabbage and a combination of mayo and mustard sauce.

We also went to Pizza Village on Moss Street -- first time in years and as good as I remembered! My wife thought the combination on the Landry Special was odd, but it worked for me! Pepperoni, hamburger, shrimp, onion, and jalapeno. Their pizza doesn't seem to have a lot of tomato sauce on it, but it's got a crispy crust that is just delicious. I wonder what the fans of Comet and 2Amys would think. The combination of ground beef and seafood reminds me of our cherished "rice dressing" dish.

I had seafood gumbo at Don's Seafood Hut on Johnston street, at Shucks' in Abbeville, and at Gooloo's (Hebert's Steakhouse and Seafood) on Highway 14 between Abbeville and Kaplan. Don's was the winner! I think they must use garlic in it. It's just a bit different. Like so many of the places down there, they serve you a little dish of rice on the side so that you add just as much as you want to your bowl of gumbo. Don's also has our favorite bread pudding. The bread they use is the soft French bread, and the warm cream sauce has a bit of rum in it. Great!

Had a surprisingly good lunch one day at the Palace Cafe in Opelousas on the main drag across the street from the courthouse. Roast pork with rice and gravy and a "casserole" of eggplant and ground beef with just a bit of a tomato sauce. I never had it with the tomato sauce before. I believe I will try that next time I make it at home. Another combination with ground beef to stretch it.

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn on the Broussard side of Lafayette continues to be a pleasure, maybe the best Cajun restaurant in Lafayette! One of the simplest things on the menu is also one of the most popular --a crab meat sautee that is something like Crab Norfolk in Maryland, but not. Spiced more Louisiana style. Lots of shrimp and crawfish dishes on the menu. You know the place is good if it is on that side of town but still packed on a Tuesday night. Probably more of an oil center lunch favorite.

Stocked up with a bunch of meats from Hebert's Specialty Meats in Maurice and we called it a successful trip! From the marinated pork strips (they call it grillades but it's not New Orleans grillades, which are veal I believe), to stuffed rabbit, stuffed brisket, quail, tasso, fresh sausage, and their gumbos of duck and andouille, chicken and fresh sausage, crawfish and corn bisque, etc. Those quail are good in a recipe like p. 144 of Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen. Roasted Quail. The sister business, Soop's Restaurant in Maurice, has served quail gumbo for years. Soop Hebert was the daddy of the men who run Hebert's Specialty Meats. I played little league baseball with one of those boys!

The home cooking was good too! My sister made a great crawfish etoufee and my niece's husband threw a delicious crawfish boil. The etoufee in my family is done without roux or tomatoes, though I also like it done with a light roux too.

There's never enough time or enough meals! You wish you could eat 5 times a day!

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That's a mouth-watering voyage, MC. I do enjoy everything you mentioned. I wish you'd also checked in at Avery Island, where the only American product to be found in any Paris 3-star restaurant, Tabasco Sauce, is grown and produced.

In addition to your account, I recommend the late Johnny Apple's tour 6 years ago:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...751C1A9649C8B63

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Thanks for that link! I know that article well and I have been to some of the places mentioned in it. It's sort of well known, well discussed, and even revered down in southwest Louisiana for how truly it depicts the region! Suire's Grocery between Kaplan and Cow Island on HWY 35 is still there. The turtle sauce piquante sure was good when I tried it a few years ago. On my visit in 2006 the area south of Abbeville and Kaplan was all torn up from Hurricane Rita in 2005, but it all looks a lot better this time around. Houses built up on mounds or "stilts," and the livestock and crops have rebounded. Fema trailers no longer in use at Mouton Cove.

If we had had time, we would have gone to Jeanerette to the Yellow Bowl mentioned in your link.

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Well, here we are in the Lafayette area for vacation again! The first two places we went for gumbo (seafood gumbo at Soops in Maurice and Don's downtown Lafayette) both served it with rice on the side. I have the pictures to prove it and will post later. At Soops it came with a scoop of potato salad on the side, and at Don's they had to ask me if I wanted some. It's going to be that way at most of the places we go to. Sister had a shrimp and okra gumbo with no roux in it at Soops, the same kind that Hebert's Specialty Meats store next door in Maurice will sell.

I should have posted last year when I tried 12 gumbos in 8 days! But I won't have any problem meeting or surpassing that rate this year, I am sure! Will be happy to report, and I am pretty sure my rankings this year will be close to last year's!

Crawfish season is ending later than usual here, so while boiled crawfish are scarce, the restaurants are serving lots of crawfish dishes and the grocery stores are still selling packs of tails.

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Well, here we are in the Lafayette area for vacation again! The first two places we went for gumbo (seafood gumbo at Soops in Maurice and Don's downtown Lafayette) both served it with rice on the side. I have the pictures to prove it and will post later. At Soops it came with a scoop of potato salad on the side, and at Don's they had to ask me if I wanted some. It's going to be that way at most of the places we go to. Sister had a shrimp and okra gumbo with no roux in it at Soops, the same kind that Hebert's Specialty Meats store next door in Maurice will sell.

I should have posted last year when I tried 12 gumbos in 8 days! But I won't have any problem meeting or surpassing that rate this year, I am sure! Will be happy to report, and I am pretty sure my rankings this year will be close to last year's!

Crawfish season is ending later than usual here, so while boiled crawfish are scarce, the restaurants are serving lots of crawfish dishes and the grocery stores are still selling packs of tails.

if you have time, check out Johnson's Boucaniere in Lafayette for boudin.
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Thanks for the tip about Johnson's! We have tried it and NuNu's on this trip (now in Maurice as well as Milton) and liked them both! Johnson's was much mushier and hotter. NuNu's was packed a bit tighter. Gotta try Johnson's for their barbecue, etc. Those are nice people!

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That's a mouth-watering voyage, MC. I do enjoy everything you mentioned. I wish you'd also checked in at Avery Island, where the only American product to be found in any Paris 3-star restaurant, Tabasco Sauce, is grown and produced.

In addition to your account, I recommend the late Johnny Apple's tour 6 years ago:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...751C1A9649C8B63

Life passes on but once in a great while I'll read a post twice. StephenB linking Johnny Apple...

Breathtaking how fast time flies...

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Thanks Joe! I remember that NY Times story very well. To me it set a standard for reporting on my old part of the world. Lots of people and places have come and gone since this story came out, but lots remains the same too. It's true that you can find great food in unusual places. Plate lunch hole-in-the-wall awaits us today, or poor boys at the gas station!

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Lafayette LA wins "Best Small Town for Food" competition by Rand-McNally

http://www.theind.com/news/8709-lafayette-wins-best-small-town-for-food

Should also mention that Donald Link, a 2011 James Beard award winner will be opening a second Cochon in Lafayette near the River Ranch development. When I went to Cochon Butcher in New Orleans recently and had the muffuletta it was hands down the best one I've ever had. Lafayette will add to its list of good restaurants with this addition.

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Should also mention that Donald Link, a 2011 James Beard award winner will be opening a second Cochon in Lafayette near the River Ranch development. When I went to Cochon Butcher in New Orleans recently and had the muffuletta it was hands down the best one I've ever had. Lafayette will add to its list of good restaurants with this addition.

We go to Lafayette next week and I forgot about this thread; result was I stated another one that I should not have.

Question: Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge? Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette? The Old Tyme Market for shrimp and/or oyster Po oys in Lafayette: has anyone been?

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We go to Lafayette next week and I forgot about this thread; result was I stated another one that I should not have.

Question: Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge? Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette? The Old Tyme Market for shrimp and/or oyster Po oys in Lafayette: has anyone been?

olde tyme is great, so is juliens.

if you're going to be near new iberia, you need to check out victor's cafeteria.

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We go to Lafayette next week and I forgot about this thread; result was I stated another one that I should not have.

Question: Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge? Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette? The Old Tyme Market for shrimp and/or oyster Po oys in Lafayette: has anyone been?

Went to Cafe des Amis in June. It was good, but prefer Poor Boy's Riverside Inn in Lafayette. http://www.poorboysriversideinn.com/ Really enjoy their gumbos!

Breaux Bridge also has Glenda's Creole Kitchen, featured in a recent No Reservations episode. Zimmern featured Soop's restaurant in Maurice, south of Lafayette. Good lunch spot for home cooking! Really good gumbo and catfish courtbouillon! Lunch changes daily so call ahead. Everybody does. The phone rings off the hook whenever we go there! The patient Hebert sister runs through the daily specials.

Old Tyme Grocery for poboys! That's a good choice. I like Chris's Poboys better. The Roast Pork poboy I can breathe! One location on the southside is in a gas station. The one on the northside is across the street from Pizza Village. Crust like a cracker but good toppings on the Landry Special and Dupe Special. Don't try the gumbo at Chris! No flavor.

Haven't been to Cafe Vermilionville in a long time, but I hear from locals that it is still good.

Have fun!

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We go to Lafayette next week and I forgot about this thread; result was I stated another one that I should not have.

Question: Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge? Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette? The Old Tyme Market for shrimp and/or oyster Po oys in Lafayette: has anyone been?

I haven't been there yet but the Cochon in Lafayette is now open. I'd definitely give it a try.

Cochon in Lafayette

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I haven't been there yet but the Cochon in Lafayette is now open. I'd definitely give it a try.

Cochon in Lafayette

A sincere thank you to everyone who responded. We've "eaten our way" through LA in the past but it's been ten years since the last time. In NOLA we have Cochon, August and Jacques-Imo's. I just made a reservation for Cafe Vermilionville and we'll stop at the Old Tyme Market. Because of the NOLA Cochon we'll skip Lafayette's. We'll probably add a place from driving around where we get a "feeling" but I know I'm looking at 7000 calories a day for four days. I'm guessing that we'll actually have TWO lunches one day (well...maybe two days...), adding Cafe des Amise to a Po Boy from the Old Tyme Market. Somehwere along the line we'll fit in breakfast at Mother's, fresh cracked coconut cake at K-Paul's (I've made this myself; unbelievably time consuming-just want to see how mine measures up) and enough raw oysters to feel that I am still in high school...

Glenda's Creole Kitchen and Soop's look really interesting. I've found quite a bit of information about them on the internet and thank you for suggesting them. Problem is that we are probably not going to be able to have more than two lunches on any day! I really think that the Old Tyme Market (for a Po Boy) and Cafe de Amis look the most "inviting."

Then, there are "local" restaurants like Juniper in Mandeville which do not have a national reputation.

Again, thanks for the response. My diet starts a week from Monday.

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Then, there are "local" restaurants like Juniper in Mandeville which do not have a national reputation.

All good choices! So many good choices, really.

It's no time to start a diet when you're cruising down there! Gonna check out Juniper in Mandeville as that's on our way when we drive to Lafayette. Thanks for the tip. We have been known to stop in Covington at Acme Oyster House to breathe in a poboy before.

Old Tyme Grocery's on St. Mary Street. That part of Lafayette is known as Holy Land, for all the St. streets around.

Please report to us when you're back.

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All good choices! So many good choices, really.

It's no time to start a diet when you're cruising down there! Gonna check out Juniper in Mandeville as that's on our way when we drive to Lafayette. Thanks for the tip. We have been known to stop in Covington at Acme Oyster House to breathe in a poboy before.

Old Tyme Grocery's on St. Mary Street. That part of Lafayette is known as Holy Land, for all the St. streets around.

Please report to us when you're back.

There are things I have read in my lifetime that have made a difference. From a Great website http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/juniper/Location?oid=1274915 New Orleans' Gambit, this is one: "Pork osso buco features a shank braised in garlic Creole sauce, topped with Jack Daniels cane sauce and served over oyster and andouille dressing."

Some words are truly magical. The description above is among them.

Thanks, MC Horoscope, appreciate the help. When you went to Cafe des Amis, do you remember what you ordered? It just seems somewhat different from PoorBoy's Riverside Inn but I'm probably making value judgments based on what I see on their websites. The "website" ambience of Cafe des Amis looks exactly what I would expect a great Breaux Bridge eatery/restaurant to look like. Having said this, we haven't been there and you have! (!!!!!) Can you compare the two restaurants?

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Joe! My notes about Café des Amis in June report that my wife and my brother-in-law both enjoyed their flounder stuffed with crab; my sister liked her dish of fried catfish stuffed with shrimp etoufee; and I was the dud who was lukewarm about my redfish courtbouillon with "corn macque choux." I put "corn macque choux" in quotes in my diary because it just was not the home style dish I grew up with, which I think is one of the most overlooked great Cajun dishes that no restaurant seems to do right. More like Green Giant Mexicorn from the can with some tasso thrown in. Yé yaille!

You're right about the atmosphere of the restaurants! Cafe des Amis is charming! Beautiful old fashioned bar. Live music Saturday morning. On the other hand it's almost depressing to drive to Poor Boy's Riverside Inn, in an industrial part of town. Kind of like driving to Jerry's Seafood in Lanham! It is a great local favorite. Duck and andouille gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, seafood gumbo. Wow. But you would do well to go to Cafe des Amis.

In Breaux Bridge is one of the most unique things to find in Acadiana, the La Poussière dancehall. This is the "cathedral" of Cajun music. As recently as 2009, the Saturday night band had a regular gig there for 35 years. Walter Mouton and the Scott Playboys. Retired. The nice folks who run the place are trying to hold on to some tradition.

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Joe! My notes about Café des Amis in June report that my wife and my brother-in-law both enjoyed their flounder stuffed with crab; my sister liked her dish of fried catfish stuffed with shrimp etoufee; and I was the dud who was lukewarm about my redfish courtbouillon with "corn macque choux." I put "corn macque choux" in quotes in my diary because it just was not the home style dish I grew up with, which I think is one of the most overlooked great Cajun dishes that no restaurant seems to do right. More like Green Giant Mexicorn from the can with some tasso thrown in. Yé yaille!

You're right about the atmosphere of the restaurants! Cafe des Amis is charming! Beautiful old fashioned bar. Live music Saturday morning. On the other hand it's almost depressing to drive to Poor Boy's Riverside Inn, in an industrial part of town. Kind of like driving to Jerry's Seafood in Lanham! It is a great local favorite. Duck and andouille gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, seafood gumbo. Wow. But you would do well to go to Cafe des Amis.

In Breaux Bridge is one of the most unique things to find in Acadiana, the La Poussière dancehall. This is the "cathedral" of Cajun music. As recently as 2009, the Saturday night band had a regular gig there for 35 years. Walter Mouton and the Scott Playboys. Retired. The nice folks who run the place are trying to hold on to some tradition.

About a dozen or so years ago we went to Enola Prudhomme's outside of Lafayette (forget its exact location) but corn macque choux was one of the dishes we tried. I also had this at the Palace Cafe in Opelousas. At the time I thought it would be a really, really good dish to judge a restaurant by. I am typing this from memory (!) but the Palace Cafe had a lot of "character;" I remember it being in "downtown" Opelousas while Enola Prudhomme's was on a highway or major road outside of the city.

FWIW I had a very close friend who moved to NOLA in 1979 and I went down to meet him in early '80. K-Paul's had just opened and Mimi Sheraton had raved about it in the Times. My friend's next door neighbor was a waitress at K-Paul's (sixty or so seats then with incredible lines outside to get in; it was so new that locals hadn't turned against it yet). We had three meals in three days there including the last where (because of my friend's neighbor) Chef Paul sat with eight of us for the meal. It was an incredible experience. It was because of that we rented a car and drove to Cajun Country. Three times. I thought that Louisiana was the most incredible place on earth for someone obsessed with food. In 1980 I loved K-Paul's; by the mid '90's it had grown and was very touristy. Of course then Emeril was still in the kitchen on Tschoupoulitas (sp?) and we were fortunate to eat there several times on a couple of trips. I had a half dozen trade shown in NOLA over the years and did my best to gain as much weight as I could on each trip. This will be my first since the late '90's. (I should note that I haven't done as good of a job as i could have calorically to allow it...)

I'm not so sure what we're going to find on the trip next week-Katrina, poverty, etc.-but we are really looking forward to it. I wish I could remember the names of some of the places we found then just from driving around. I have memories of doughnuts, sausage, pan fried chicken...

Thanks for the Breaux Bridge dancehall. I love places like that! If we're near we will definitely stop by.

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Restaurant August was the best of the trip, certainly the destination restaurant in NOLA. Several Great dishes that were well worth the average $35-40 entree price or $20 first course. This is also an outstanding restaurant to do a tasting menu and just trust them for whatever shows up at your table. I cannot rave about August enough-except for one thing.

I believe they have the most expensive wine list of any restaurant I have ever been to. Most reds seem to be between $250 and $400 with only a handful under $150. Caymus was $190-not Special Select but regular Caymus. I don't remember seeing a single Washington state red on the extensive wine list although the sommelier (who did not decant our $190 red or our $120 red and did not pour a single drop after the first) said they had "three bottles of a K Vintners wine with a funny label." Probably Royal City from her further description.

Great restaurant worth the price of the food; we will return and ask if they have corkage. If not we'll drink the house red.

Cochon was disappointing. It is excellent for what it is, it's just not the kind of food that has anything in common with August or Emeril's or Stella's. We had a total of 18 different dishes among the four of us, sharing a bite of everything. An awful lot was really good but overall I thought it was two rungs on the ladder lower than, say, August. Mediocre gumbo, great fried alligator (serious), cochon was delicious.

Mother's was a terrible disappointment. I've been at least six times over the past thirty years and do not remember them slicing the roast beef or ham with a machine. It's been ten or so years but I really thought they sliced both of these to order-but no longer. Good gumbo, decent jambalaya, disappointing Po Boys'.

Southern Living said that the Royal House has the second best gumbo in NOLA out of twenty or so tasted. Their chicken and sausage was the worst of a trip which saw me try eight gumbos in seven restaurants. However, they have outstanding rich and thick corn and crab bisque that is worth the stop.

The 105 year old Angelo Brocato's is a James Beard Award winner for its gelato. Phenominal. Single best taste of the trip.

Cafe Vermillionville in Lafayette has a great deal of history but little business. It is sadly struggling. The food was overall very good (best gumbo of the trip) but I left feeling that I should have gone to Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge (which we drove by and looked in the window). Vermillionville is a special occasion restaurant with sauces and an overall old school feeling to it. If it were in NOLA it would be lost among many two star (on a four star scale) restaurants.

There is an incredible seafood restaurant called Spahrs Seafood in Des Allemands that is the "catfish capital of the world." It's on the side of the highway (route 90) to Lafayette and we just "had a feeling" when driving by it. It is worth a lengthy post of its own but summarily, the 90 seat roadhouse in the middle of nowhere had every seat taken and 75 more waiting to get in-for lunch. Simply, the best fried shrimp (fresh shrimp coated in house and fried in peanut oil), best fried onions (same), best fried catfish (would never dream that "catfish" could taste this good!) along with everything homemade including tartar sauce, potato salad, cole slaw and remarkably good gumbo that approached Cafe Vermillionville's. Hungry Celeste on Chowhound raved about this place in 2007 that nobody-even on Chowhound-seems to know about. Research on the internet turns up several printed reviews saying it is, at a minimum, the equal of Middendorf's. Spahrs is about 40-45 miles outside of NOLA and worth the excursion out of the city.

We had more meals including an interesting stop at the Tabasco plant on Avery Island where we learned that very little Tabasco sauce is now made there. Most is made off shore. This was also an opportunity to taste Tabasco jalapeno ice cream which was actually quite good. I also bought a two ounce jar of $24.95 "Special Reserve" Tabasco sauce which I'll use tonight. Last, Tabasco now makes a "Buffalo" sauce which is Tabasco flavored like Buffalo wings. Truly addictive. Wonder what kind of ice cream it might make.

Overall, New Orleans felt tired. We drove all over the city and it is amazing what it has gone through and how far it has come. They are trying, very hard. In residential neighborhoods there are still numerous vacant lots and shuttered buildings. Baton Rouge on the other hand is going through explosive growth.

We wish NOLA the best.

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Thanks for the report on Spahr's, Joe! Sounds like the kind of place we should try on our drive from NOLA to Lafayette (in Des Allemands). Been meaning to go to this historic "German Coast" small town in the middle of nowhere. I found out that my father's side of the family lived there even before the Grand Derangement in Nova Scotia ended up with the Acadians and my mother's side of the family moving to Spanish-owned Louisiana. That would make me a mix of French Creole and Acadian, the mix that became the Cajuns.

Cafe Vermilionville had been off our radar for years but I sure would like to try it next time down there if the gumbo is that good!

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Cochon was disappointing. It is excellent for what it is, it's just not the kind of food that has anything in common with August or Emeril's or Stella's.

And if that's what you were expecting, you went to the wrong restaurant.

Emerils is a rung down from August and Stella. I'd rather go to Clancy's or La Petite Grocery than Emerils.

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And if that's what you were expecting, you went to the wrong restaurant.

Emerils is a rung down from August and Stella. I'd rather go to Clancy's or La Petite Grocery than Emerils.

Emeril's is two blocks up the street from Cochon. We have wonderful memories from three or four dinners there eight, ten, twelve years ago. Yes, of course, it is different today. But walking by it brought back a lot of memories. There's a counter in the back of it where a half dozen or so diners sit across from the cooking staff. We sat there in the late '90's with Emeril on the other side. Twice. Being able to talk to him when he worked his heart out for this restaurant is a memory that I will always have. Walking by several nights ago brought it back. We both agreed we should have returned even though he wouldn't have been on the other side of the counter. Emeril's then was a Great restaurant. My mistake was not returning to find out if it still is...

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Watched the No Reservations New Orleans/Cajun Country episode...the boucherie segment looked truly amazing...perhaps one of the best (and primal) segments ever filmed for No Reservations.

I would love to attend such an event...anyone know how to get invited to one?

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Watched the No Reservations New Orleans/Cajun Country episode...the boucherie segment looked truly amazing...perhaps one of the best (and primal) segments ever filmed for No Reservations.

I would love to attend such an event...anyone know how to get invited to one?

There are public ones, some of the towns will do then as part of larger festivals. I know Eunice does them as part of their Mardi Gras.

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St. Martinville does one, called La Grande Boucherie des Cajuns around Mardi Gras time.

But it's not like you get to taste that great porkback stew Tony featured. That looked awesome.

Even better looking, for me, was that crawfish bisque cooked the night before the boucherie on No Reservations. That looked terrific!

As many boucheries as I have been to in my life, and I am from down there, I have never seen anyone make blood sausage, so I think they were doing something rare and unrepresentative there just for the show. For Tony to call that "boudin" will certainly confuse visitors who go to Best Stop in Scott or NuNu's in Maurice or Johnson's Boucaniere in Lafayette and ask for boudin. Not typical Cajun boudin at all. This is the place to look for reviews of Cajun boudin.

Certainly a very positive show! Hope it inspires interest in people who think they have seen it all when it comes to Cajun cooking, when they may have just scratched the surface. Wish someone had shown how to make an okra gumbo without roux!

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St. Martinville does one, called La Grande Boucherie des Cajuns around Mardi Gras time.

But it's not like you get to taste that great porkback stew Tony featured. That looked awesome.

Even better looking, for me, was that crawfish bisque cooked the night before the boucherie on No Reservations. That looked terrific!

As many boucheries as I have been to in my life, and I am from down there, I have never seen anyone make blood sausage, so I think they were doing something rare and unrepresentative there just for the show. For Tony to call that "boudin" will certainly confuse visitors who go to Best Stop in Scott or NuNu's in Maurice or Johnson's Boucaniere in Lafayette and ask for boudin. Not typical Cajun boudin at all. This is the place to look for reviews of Cajun boudin.

Certainly a very positive show! Hope it inspires interest in people who think they have seen it all when it comes to Cajun cooking, when they may have just scratched the surface. Wish someone had shown how to make an okra gumbo without roux!

Or you can follow the Craklin Trail

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Or you can follow the Craklin Trail

Damn you! :-) I was already planning to drive that area tomorrow (enroute to tour Tabasco) while I have some time off...this handy map sure isn't going to help out with the waistline.

FWIW, the 'reserve' Tabasco is supposed to be a 5 oz bottle of their "family reserve", which is selected and aged for 8 years in the barrel just for the McIlhennys. Might bring some to the picnic.

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So I attempted to buy cracklins at NuNu's (Youngsville) but they sold out early in the morning. This is a full-sized supermarket, folks, with an extra-large prepared foods department. Their boudin had just won another local award, so I bought a couple of boudin balls as a snack...positively delicious. Moist, spicy, flavorful.

No tears over the missed cracklins though, as the ones at Billeaud's Grocery (a convenience mart attached to a Shell station) were excellent. Click for an oral history.

One of the locals I was working with favored the Best Stop, in Scott. Maybe on a future trip.

I was somewhat stuffed with boudin and cracklins by that point, so my original lunch plan turned into a light lunch plan. I wish I'd had as good a meal as others found at Cafe Des Amis, in Breaux Bridge, but their spinach and oyster salad just wasn't very good. Pretty enough, but greens overdressed with a rather sweet dressing were paired with really disappointing fried oysters. Slightly overcooked, despite being fried only pale in a cornmeal dredge so bland that I wondered if it had been seasoned at all. Yuck. Not at all what I'd expected from a place with such a great vibe.

~~~

Back in Baton Rouge, I detoured over to Anthony's Italian Deli to try their touted muffuletta. Although it follows the same basic components of the Central Grocery's m, this version comes out very differently, and maybe even more deliciously. For one, their olive salad is more finely cut than CG's, and less salty. There's slightly less of it, and of the other fillings, but then again the bread is also a bit thinner. It doesn't drip with olive oil quite as much. But the winning twist is that it gets pressed like a panini, which slightly toasts both crusts, and also melts the provolone inside as it warms the cold cuts. Maybe it's not the original, but I'd go back for these again.

Lafayette-based Burgersmith has had a Baton Rouge location under construction for several months now. Unfortunately, the grand opening on Monday was a couple of days after my flight back home. Their schtick is that it's ground from USDA Prime beef. I promise to have a report later this month.

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Just reading through this thread makes me hungry. "Tweaked," the Craklin' Trail http://www.cracklintrail.com/ is as good of a food blog as we will find. Thank you for sharing, Martin. ol_ironstomach, your report on Cafe des Amis is really interesting: we drove by it, saw the sofas that diners sat on near the front window and pulled over across the street. We had a decision to make. Actually, for some including myself, a decision that would have a memory for a lifetime. I am serious: we sat there for five minutes. Do we cancel the reservation in Lafayette, park the car and walk into what could be Breaux Bridge's best restaurant? Or do we continue on to Lafayette for "old school" at Cafe Vermillionville?

Even today, I know that I made the wrong decision. I should have sat on the sofa in the window and tried Cafe des Amis. Maybe I wouldn't have liked it but at least I would have experienced it. Vermillionville was good but not exceptional. des Amis could have been different. Several other places we drove by could have been also.

We're just going to have to go back!!!

ol_ironstomach, I envy you for having grown up in one of the most incredible places on earth for someone who loves to eat. Wonderful to read your posts-thank you for sharing. Now, we need to go back and taste some of what you have.

Addendum: we bought almost $100 worth of stuff at the Tabasco plant. Every single bottle of hot sauce that they sell along with salsa and a few T shirts, too. I am pouring the $25 bottle of Tabasco Reserve as I type this. A disappointment. Especially for $25. But, I'll brag to all my neighbors that I have it because you can't buy this here. I think the best Tabasco sauce is the "Buffalo" which is not sold in the D. C. area. The best sauce of all, of the 30 or so bottles we brought back from Louisiana, is the "cheap" $1.25 green hot sauce from Cajun Chef. http://www.cajungrocer.com/cajun-chef-green-louisiana-hot-sauce-p-777.html I've now used two bottles of it and there is nowhere in the D. C. area that sells it. Also, Tabasco green (sold here) is not the same.

Again, I need to go back. And, fill a suitcase with Cajun Chef green hot sauce.

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ol_ironstomach, I envy you for having grown up in one of the most incredible places on earth for someone who loves to eat. Wonderful to read your posts-thank you for sharing. Now, we need to go back and taste some of what you have.

I think you may have meant to thank MC Horoscope. I grew up in Potomac, that realm of overpriced, underperforming restaurants (save for the delightful crabcake sandwich they used to serve at River Falls Seafood).

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There is an incredible seafood restaurant called Spahrs Seafood in Des Allemands that is the "catfish capital of the world." It's on the side of the highway (route 90) to Lafayette and we just "had a feeling" when driving by it. It is worth a lengthy post of its own but summarily, the 90 seat roadhouse in the middle of nowhere had every seat taken and 75 more waiting to get in-for lunch. Simply, the best fried shrimp (fresh shrimp coated in house and fried in peanut oil), best fried onions (same), best fried catfish (would never dream that "catfish" could taste this good!) along with everything homemade including tartar sauce, potato salad, cole slaw and remarkably good gumbo that approached Cafe Vermillionville's. Hungry Celeste on Chowhound raved about this place in 2007 that nobody-even on Chowhound-seems to know about. Research on the internet turns up several printed reviews saying it is, at a minimum, the equal of Middendorf's. Spahrs is about 40-45 miles outside of NOLA and worth the excursion out of the city.

Stopped at Spahrs today on the way to Grand Isle. Very good gumbo and excellent catfish "chips" as they call it. Perfect breading that stayed right on there -- crunchy yet tender. Easily equal to Middendorfs.

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If you are in this area in crawfish season try Yellow Bowl in Jeanerette! Tried it in mid-June for my first time and had the best crawfish bisque I have had in a long time! Really dark stew, well done crawfish heads. And their fried crawfish are better than most places too. I thought fried crawfish were just about the same anywhere you go but I was wrong. Theirs are well seasoned and the fry is much darker.

Note: if you are driving from New Orleans to SW Louisiana try U.S. 90. It's a much more leisurely pace than frantic I-10 with its 18 wheelers whizzing by you (bayou?) You pass through a few towns with red lights, but you make up the time not having to cross congested Baton Rouge!

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Just got back from a trip to Lafayette to see family.

Yellow Bowl continues to be excellent! The winner is the bisque. I don't know what's in that sauce but they should patent it!

First time at Rachael's Seafood in Lafayette for lunch. I enjoyed my gumbo of shrimp, crab, and andouille sausage. Cute little place on the Kaliste Saloom Road side of town. It's an offshoot of Soop's in Maurice. Rachael's one of the daughters.

Dwight's was closed in the evening because of the end of crawfish season so we had to get our fix at LT's Seafood in Broussard. Terrific! Better than Dwight's for boiled crawfish! You could get them in 3, 4, or 5 pound servings, and either mild, medium, or spicy. I ordered 4 pounds spicy and finished every last one! This is a popular place, full on Friday night with locals. They had run out of crabs, which was what most people at our table were craving. Around the table I saw happy people eating soft shell crab dinners, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, and oyster poboy. Everybody seemed satisfied!

Guidry's Reef on Pinhook Road for crab fingers, crab gumbo, and crab au gratin. Older crowd of locals, good sign! This is a place that comes and goes in popularity. A lot of people forget about it but it's on an upswing lately.

Villager's Cafe in Maurice has our favorite poboys (ham and roast beef for me, pot roast poboy for my wife). Will post about a disappointing roast beef poboy at Parkway Bakery and Tavern later in the NOLA thread.

Boudin twice from NuNu's Grocery in Maurice, and once from Johnson's Boucaniere on St. John Street in Lafayette by the Cathedral. I like the spice at Johnson's but the boudin was drier than the NuNu's, if that makes any sense.

The best thing of all though was my sister's home meal of fried catfish! So fresh down there! She just seasons it with NuNu's seasoning and some mustard and Zatarain's Crispy Southern Fish Fry. Awesome! Can't wait to try it out at home. Wish I could get the same quality fish, even if it's cheap fish like catfish. When it's done well it's hard to top!

 

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On June 10, 2016 at 9:11 PM, MC Horoscope said:

The best thing of all though was my sister's home meal of fried catfish! So fresh down there! She just seasons it with NuNu's seasoning and some mustard and Zatarain's Crispy Southern Fish Fry. Awesome! Can't wait to try it out at home. Wish I could get the same quality fish, even if it's cheap fish like catfish. When it's done well it's hard to top!

 

Fiona at District Fishwife often has fresh local Blue Catfish for a reasonable price. I love it and it fries up nicely. 

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Just got back from our first anniversary party in New orleans

The main event was dinner for 8 at Commanders Palace - it lived up to the expectations.  Everything from service, to drinks, to food, to dessert was all wonderful.  Glad I took the effort to make the reservations three months in advance. 

The surprise food find was Luke which we found wandering near our hotel.  AMAZING duck and crisp rice.  second best meal of the trip.

The disappointment was The Court of Two Sisters brunch - Pooch says it was better 5 years ago on his last visit - service was spotty, food was hit or miss

Zydaco's over in Gretna was our crawfish location (The local haunt of our friends that live there) which was great food and friendly service

 

My Travel info spreadsheet

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