Pigskin Pursuit

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

Tag: LSU 2009 (page 1 of 2)

Tiger Bait!!! – LSU vs Florida…

Wow.

LSU prides itself on being one of the preeminent gameday experiences in college football.Tiger fans take immense pride in their tailgating prowess and boast one of the loudest stadiums in college football. Throw in a night tilt against a conference rival in arguably the biggest regular season game of the year, and you have all the ingredients for an unforgettable college football experience.

LSU vs. Florida in Baton Rouge lived up to all of these lofty expectations and vaults itself into the top handful of games I have ever experienced.

The tailgating atmosphere is a spectacle to behold.Nearly all of the action takes place in a well known area called Dalrymple, where legions of purple and gold adorned Tiger fans start claiming spots on Friday night before the Saturday festivities. Once Saturday rolls around, they spend their day blissfully gorging and guzzling themselves into a well lubricated stupor under the embracing arms of impressive towering oaks and manicured lawns.Purple and Gold shirts flood the landscape as far as the eye can see, and I can only imagine the horror of Florida fans being taunted by crowds of Cajuns rhythmically chanting and pointing “Tiger Bait….Tiger Bait…”

After our pit stop at Chimes to fuel up, we spent the next hour or so wandering around the Dalrymple area, taking in the vaunted gameday atmosphere.A quick glance at the watch told us it was time to head to the stadium and begin the arduous task of finding affordable tickets. (stay tuned for more to come on the student tickets we scored in another post)

The stadium atmosphere in Death Valley fully lives up to its well deserved reputation.90,000+ fans belting out “Callin Baton Rouge” in unison during the pregame was a joy to experience. Tiger Stadium is unequivocally (as difficult as this is for me to say), the loudest stadium I have ever been to.So loud in fact, that you cannot even hear your own voice screaming among the cheers of the raucous crowd.Given the record numbers in attendance on Saturday night (93,129 attendance), one could reasonably assume that we witnessed the loudest game in LSU history.I simply can’t imagine trying to quarterback a football team amongst this deafening roar, but as a fan it was a pleasure to be a part of the pandemonium.

Mike the Tiger being paraded around in his cage before kickoff.

Gearing up for kickoff…

We had the rare fortune of sitting (well standing) in the student section for the entire game (12 yard line Row 9).Like most big football schools, the student section at LSU is the heart and soul of the stadium and bar none the best place to sit (despite the fact that we somehow managed to end up in front of four Big Ten alums).The spirit, enthusiasm and fervor among the student crowd can draw even the most passive of fans into the frenzy surrounding a big play.Before the game even started, we had already screamed and sung ourselves hoarse ardently cheering alongside our newfound Tigerhood brethren.Given the choice, I would sit in the student section in every game I go to, what an unforgettable night

On the field, the Bayou Bengals simply couldn’t put it together on this night.Florida lived up to its’ reputation as the number one defense in the country, and it was painful watching LSU flounder to move the ball. The stagnant offense could only muster a field goal by the nights end. Adding to the Tigers woes, they managed a handsome job of shooting themselves in the foot with a multitude of offensive false starts and defensive offside penalties during key stretches of the game.At any point, they could have played themselves into the lead with a big play or two, but they could just never quite put it together

Final score: LSU 3 – Florida 13

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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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Heartbreak in Natchitoches

Originally, for Sunday afternoon, I was looking forward to this little dream café in historic Natchitoches, LA called Laysone’s Restaurant.Why you might ask?Two words: Meat and Pie.My logic, blindingly simple, I like meat and I like pies, so why not both?The Laysone’s meatpie awaited my ravenous appetite.

http://www.lasyones.com/index.html

http://www.lasyones.com/menu.html

In a tragedy for the ages, turns out Laysone’s is closed on Sundays so the infamous meatpies will have to wait until another visit.

Begrudgingly, we sauntered down the road to another well regarded Natchitoches haunt Mama’s Oyster House.

http://www.mamasoysterhouse.com/default.asp

http://www.mamasoysterhouse.com/assets/imagesMenus4/menusFull/menuMamas.pdf

On the menu this afternoon was some seafood gumbo, a crawfish etouffee, blackened gator tail and a bread pudding with rum sauce finish.In sum, a healthy smattering of native Louisiana fare.

Both the gumbo and etouffee were solid, hearty options, and the blackened gator tail tasted, shockingly, like chewy blackened chicken.While certainly worth trying for novelty, personally I’m inclined to think that alligators are better suited as handbags and boots.The bread pudding satisfied the sweet tooth for dessert, and we clattered spoons a few times skirmishing for the last morsel.

Natchitoches itself seemed like an historic place, and claims to be the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase. A longer visit may be in order on the next go round.

http://www.natchitoches.net/index.php

Crawfish Etouffe and Seafood Gumbo

Blackened Alligator

Bread Pudding with rum sauce

Mama’s Restaurant

 

 

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