Lunches: Louisiana

July 25, 2015 • 2:29 pm

I’m hanging around Cajun country for a few days, centered in Lafayette, Louisiana, for I know I can take only one large Cajun meal per day. (On this trip I’ve generally been eating only one meal of any sort per day, as I usually have just coffee in the morning and I find that I get drowsy if I drive after lunch.)

Yesterday, after arriving in this capital of Cajun country, I went to what’s perhaps the most famous Cajun restaurant in Lafayette, Prejean’s. Yes, it’s a bit touristy with faux-log supports and a big alligator over the servers’ station, but it’s justly famous for its food. I can verify that after my lunch of crawfish étoufée, a crawfish pie (remember the lyrics of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya“?), and rice. It was absolutely superb, with the crawfish stew studded with nuggets of sweet meat, which also went well with the buttery crust of the “pie” (more like a pasty).

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And today I went to another famous place, this time located in Breaux Bridge, which proclaims itself the “Crawfish Capital of the World.” (It’s also famous for allowing residents to use nicknames in the phone book.) The place is Café des Amis. Built in the 1890s and refurbished after two fires, it still has some of the old fixtures and considerable authentic charm:

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The inside. It’s usually crowded but there was a zydeco breakfast this morning, with lots of dancing, and people left after breakfast while they cleared out the instruments and amplifiers and replaced the tables for lunch.

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My lunch: first, a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo with fresh, locally made bread (potato salad on the side). Yum!

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Then an oyster po-boy, which they gave me with three sauces. I used the one the locals eat: a mixture of ketchup, mustard, mayo, and hot sauce. You dress the sandwich lightly, as you want to taste those fried oysters. For those of you who find the idea of a fried-oyster sandwich weird, all I can say is that you haven’t lived till you’ve had a good one.

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Look at all the fresh, plump oysters on that sandwich!

I knew that I wanted the local dessert, found only in this region: gateau sirop, a heavy, pecan-studded spice cake over which they pour cane syrup (a thin form of molasses), and then top with ice cream. But I was too full to tuck into it there, so I asked for one to go. The waiter, who was a really nice guy, told me that since I wouldn’t be able to take out the ice cream, they’d give me as lagniappe a piece of their famous white-chocolate bread pudding. Here are both desserts. I’ve polished off the gateau sirop, which was stunningly good (and HEAVY), and will essay the bread pudding later.

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Remember, folks, I don’t always eat like this, so no food policing, please.

30 thoughts on “Lunches: Louisiana

    1. O my, my … … my, my, my: as well as my loooong, longtime boots’ envy, I too now as well, host / hold Pilgrim Coyne – noms’ envy.

      That oyster sandwich? I am freakin’ certain … … although my never, ever having prehended any other than stewed ones: I like it! I love it! I want a whole passel more of it!

      Blue

  1. Prejean’s sounds great… it’s been ages since we’ve been there. We just purchased a new vehicle, though (Subaru Outback), and have been bitten by the day trip bug. So maybe we’ll get over there again soon.

    For now, it’s Equatorial Guinea hot in New Orleans (plus we’re under a boil water advisory), so I think we may head down to Grand Isle and the beach tomorrow.

    Have a great time in Louisiana, Dr. Coyne, and let us know if you’re planning to head this way!

  2. Jerry – you should save some pie for breakfast then you’ll have enough sugar in your for the afternoon!*

    *you probably shouldn’t listen to me; I often forget to eat and get dizzy or eat just sugar and get sleepy after.

  3. I am waiting for my dinner to be done, and that gumbo has my mouth watering. I’ll be back in NOLA in September, and my first meal will start with two bowls of gumbo.

  4. I see the place in Breaux Bridge has Angelle for Governor signs out. Angelle is one of three Republicans running, with Vitter being the odds-on favorite. Angelle isn’t as wacky as Vitter who, like Jindal, has close ties to the Dominionist Louisiana Family Forum (Family Research Council), but Angelle’s campaign commercials still feature lots of praying and lots of guns. The lone Democrat running probably doesn’t stand a chance.

    1. yeah, I couldn’t help but notice the signs. I’ve thought it usually unwise for a business to publicize political support. Some may choose to take their green elsewhere if you’re backing the red over the blue, or vice versa. In this case, it’s no surprise. Being in the South, you pretty much know what to expect and it’s only the level of conservatism that is in question. *sigh*The South would be such a lovely place if it were not for the people.

  5. Dayum!

    ‘sal um gtta say about those pix.

    I went to a cajun/soul food place in San Francisco recently and had crawfish and cheese stuffed beignets. This post makes me crave that food again.

  6. Cajun food is delicious! I passed through Breaux Bridge last November and stopped at a place called Crazy ‘Bout Crawfish. Not only did they have great gumbo, they were selling containers of their Cajun spices, one of which I bought and still haven’t finished with.

  7. If you happen to find yourself in New Orleans I’d be more than honored to show you some of our favorite local places for food and drink. I am on a light clinic schedule for the next two weeks so breakfast or dinner are options every day except Friday when it would be lunch and dinner.

  8. For those of you who find the idea of a fried-oyster sandwich weird, all I can say is that you haven’t lived till you’ve had a good one.

    True that.

    1. You guys chow down. Even before becoming a vegetarian I couldn’t stomache oysters, fried or otherwise. “…haven’t lived till you’ve had a good one” hmmm. Probably lucky to live after you’ve had a bad one!

      I won’t embed it, just google Jim Gaffigan and oysters, with whose opinion I wholeheartedly agree:

      “hey I found a rock with snot it it. thinkin’ of eatin’ it.”

      in this case, I guess it’s fried snot. 😖

  9. “Remember, folks, I don’t always eat like this, so no food policing, please.”

    I think you’ve shown a lot of restraint and self-discipline. I would have doubled up on the seafood.

  10. I am shocked — shocked, do you hear? — that you were able to eat multiple meals in Lafayette without once visiting a boudin house or, apparently, eating any boudin.

    What can explain this lapse?

  11. Oooh a new cake! I never heard of Gateau Sirop before. I think cane syrup must be a close relative of Golden Syrup, so I will choose a recipe and give it a shot.

  12. The few times I’ve had cajun food (in Vancouver, for example (!)) it has been very interesting. Never got to the “home territory” though. Maybe sometime. I understand also people bring it to the Fete Nationale des Acadiens, which I again can’t make …

    Also, are oysters in season or something? I just had some at an Asian food festival (two weekends ago) – in a Thai omlette, of all things.

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