Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Louisiana (page 2 of 3)

Don’s Specialty Meats: Who dat? Boudin!

If it’s made of meat and it’s Cajun, rest assured that you can find it at Don’s. Being a purveyor of all things meat, coupled with a curiosity about Cajun fare and a thirst for roadside culinary adventure and you can bet that we were stopping at Don’s at all costs. As we passed through Carencro, Louisiana we exited off the highway for a quick detour to the meat shop. Conveniently located across the street from a used car lot and a boiled crawfish shanty, Bryce, Kate and I elbowed our way into Don’s on Friday afternoon with our meat pie breakfast barely settled.

 

Part convenience store and part butcher shop, Don’s had about half a dozen items on the menu that I had never even heard of much less tried. Still burdened by the hearty breakfast, I only had room for a small snack at Don’s, so I opted for a Cajun delicacy that I had heard a lot of hoopla about: Boudin. Boudin (pronounced Boo-dan for those unfamiliar with the nuances of the Louisiana drawl) is a spiced sausage stuffed with a combination of pork (including organ meats liver and heart) and rice, and is a staple of Cajun foods. I took one wrapped to go from Don’s and enjoyed it in the truck. It had a pleasing snap from a natural casing, along with a robust meaty taste that finished with quite a kick from a combination of some spices and peppers.

 

 

It was my first introduction to Boudin and I’d certainly come back for more, given my general affinity for all encased meats. There’s a long list of Don’s delicacies on my list for future visits, and you should give it a try too.

 

http://www.donsspecialtymeats.com/

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Lasyone’s Restaurant: Meat Pies with a side of Meat Pie

If you follow the blog closely you may recall from last year that I was rather crestfallen that we would be unable to sample the notorious meat pies at Lasyone’s restaurant in Natchitoches. Since I had spent the better part of the last year practicing how you actually pronounce Natchitoches (it’s Nack-ih-tish by the way), I assured myself that this year the meat pies would not elude me again The place is an anchor in Natchitoches however they keep some rather elusive hours so our trip out to Baton Rouge required military precision to hit this unique Louisiana landmark.

 

We arrived for a mid morning breakfast and settled into a table without any crowds. I took an obligatory glance over the menu, despite the fact that I had already fawned over it online for the last two weeks. When the waitress ambled over I promptly ordered up a meat pie breakfast with a side of – you guessed it- more meat pie. In fact some of us (Kate) were even wise enough to skip the breakfast part entirely and order meat pies exclusively. Consistent with all great places simplicity prevails at Lasyone’s as there is only one choice of meat pie on the menu which the waitress informed us was a combination of spiced beef and pork.

 

The pies are most aptly described as a fried empanada. However, unlike empanadas which can tend to get a bit dry, the Lasyone’s meat pie is moist throughout and needs no condiment to ease it down. They have a wonderful crispy crust that flakes away to a moist spiced ground meat center with just the right ratio of crust to filling to make them satisfying but not heavy. There is nothing complex or extravagant about the meatpies at Lasyone’s, they’re just good, simple food.

 

www.lasyones.com

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The Chimes

Ask anybody where to go for food or drink on gameday in Baton Rouge, and the inevitable response will be “The Chimes”.There were a handful of other places mentioned, but The Chimes was unanimously at the top of the list.So on Saturday afternoon before the game, to the Chimes we went

http://www.thechimes.com/overview.cfm

The Chimes is an LSU campus staple, but could aptly be described as slightly more upscale than your typical college beer sling.On gameday it is expectedly packed, and given the hour plus wait for a table, we opted to elbow our way into some bar seats. (Next to the impressive lineup of taps)

The beer menu is the runaway winner at the Chimes and they boast over 60 beers from 20 countries.I obviously opted for the darkest local beer they had on tap, which proved to be Turbo Dog from Abita Brewing company (a dark brown ale).Abita is a Louisiana brewery located in Abita Springs, LA, and I was favorably impressed enough to bring a six pack back to Texas with me.

http://www.abita.com/

As promised we sampled the fried gator tail.Which of course, resembled and tasted like chicken, and in a blind taste test I would be hard pressed to tell the difference.This of course adds more credence to my theory that all deep fried foods essentially taste the same.You could deep fry a rusty screwdriver and it would still taste like chicken

The one fault I found at Chimes had less to do with the Chimes itself, and more to do with the concept of the “Po’Boy”.As a born yankee, I was quite eager to sample my first Po’boy and I promptly ordered up a shrimp version of the Louisiana staple.In my head I had mistakenly built it up to be a unique Louisiana take on the sandwich (something akin to a Philly Cheesesteak or a Primanti Bros. sandwich)

Instead, I was slightly chagrined to find that it’s simply a sandwich, and a rather boring one at that.Shrimp, lettuce, tomato, bun.These things make a Subway footlong look like a nine course epicurean tasting menu.

The offending “sandwich” with the fried gator in back.

It’s time to drop this deceptive “Po’Boy” nomenclature, and call it for what it is: just a sandwich.

In all though, The Chimes is a pregame must do, and the beer menu alone is worth the visit

http://www.thechimes.com/beermenu.cfm

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The other side of syrup…

Typically, I wouldn’t write about a simple diner that we stopped for an unassuming and straightforward breakfast, unless of course there was something legendary about their bacon

Dwyer’s café in Lafayette blindsided me, however, with a breakfast innovation previously unknown to me, this time in the world of Syrup.As a hearty New England boy, and having worked for a Maple Sugar operation for over a decade, you might say I have some rather strong and provincial opinions about syrup.Maple syrup specifically, and I stubbornly refuse to let anything other than 100% pure Massachusetts Maple Syrup adorn my breakfast plate.

Sunday morning was a rare exception.After we ordered a couple of unique pancake offerings, buckwheat and sweet potato pancakes, we noticed an unfamiliar offering on the menu: 100% pure Sugar Cane Syrup

Cane Syrup, is of course made from the juices of sugar cane and a quintessential Louisiana delicacy that you likely won’t find anywhere else.The flavor was quite unique, there was the requisite sweetness that you would expect, but there was a surprising peppery/cinnamonish aftertaste to the syrup that actually gave it a little bit of “bite” at the finish.The spicy sweetness paired extremely well with the sweet potato pancakes. (The smoked sausage pictured was no slouch either).

While it won’t displace my hometown affection for Maple Syrup, Sugar Cane Syrup is a classic treat unique to the sugar cane growing southern states.We were delighted to find such a simple, old fashioned regional delicacy with authentic Louisiana heritage.Try some!

Looks like you can order some cane syrup here:

http://www.steensyrup.com/

Or read a more in depth article about it here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/13/dining/13cane.html

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