Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Poupart's Bakery - Lafayette, LA

Poupart's Bakery is a local fixture in Lafayette and has been around since the 1960's. Poupart's is more than just a bakery. Besides the bread and pastries they also have soup and salads as well as sandwiches and quiche. Breakfast or lunch they have you covered.

I was there for the beignets. Beignets, for those not familiar, are fried sweet dough that's served covered with powdered sugar. At least that is the most common way that you will find them.

I have a lot of love for these little squares of goodness. I can remember my mawmaw making beignets for us kids. Hers were fried blobs of dough that we ate with cane syrup mixed with peanut butter and washed down with very milky coffee. I imagine many a child that grew up in south Louisiana can claim that same memory.
Lots of goodies to choose from

As it turns out I got a little more than just the beignets I went in for. There were some nice looking handpies and a few other things that caught my eye. I also ended up with a jar of the most delicious fig preserves. Another fond memory from my mawmaw's kitchen. I've been happily enjoying them with my yogurt in the morning.
From top clockwise: Beignets, Small Pecan Pies, Sweet Pretzel Roll, Blackberry and Fig handpies
As no trip to Southern Louisiana would be complete without at least trying a beignet you can go ahead and add it to your ever growing list of things to do when you get there. Resistance is futile y'all. Ça c'est bon!

Happy dining!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

T-Coon's Restaurant - Lafayette, LA

The picture above may look like it was taken in the middle of the night but in fact it was taken at about 5:00 in the morning. In other words, O'dark:30! When you find yourself wide awake on a weekend morning and looking for breakfast T-Coon's Restaurant in Lafayette is a fine place to land.

The tables are set with huge coffeepots, plenty of cups, cream and sugar; however you take your morning brew, they're ready for you.

The table is covered with advertising from local businesses
How wonderful not to have to wait for that first cup of the morning. Sit down, grab a mug and you're all set. While I sipped my coffee we looked over the menu. T-Coon's has a big breakfast menu. A couple different breakfast plates, at least a dozen different omelets, biscuits, bagels, pancakes and more.

The Dining Companion and I decided on omelets. They were stuffed to the gills and served with potatoes, biscuits and grits.

Bacon omelet with grits and a biscuit

Pork omelet with potatoes and a biscuit

T-Coon's is the kind of place where people know each other. Almost every time the door opened, the newcomer was greeted by the folks already there. Groups of older gentlemen, seated in threes and fours at various tables, drinking coffee and solving the worlds problems. A fantastic, albeit very early start to our day.

T-Coon's is one of those places, if you like a good diner with local influence, that you just have to visit. So, when you're planning that trip to Southern Louisiana (and you are right?) plan to stop here for breakfast at O'Dark:30. They'll have the coffee on for you.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Olde Tyme Grocery - Lafayette, LA

When the Dining Companion and I were recently in Lafayette, LA, we made a couple of stops at Olde Tyme Grocery. While it's now an awesome po'boy (poor boy) place, at one time it was a grocery store.

Some of you may not be familiar with this most quintessential New Orleans sandwich. (The other being the muffuletta, but that's a tale for another day.) A po'boy is a sandwich that consists most commonly of fried seafood or also roast beef. It comes "dressed" with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise. However, roast beef po'boys often come with mustard. I don't think anyone is 100% certain how the name came about but Wikipedia had the following:

In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as "oyster loaves", a term still in use. The sandwich was alternately called a "peacemaker" or "La Mediatrice".[4]
There are countless stories as to the origin of the term "po' boy". A popular local theory claims that "po' boy", as specifically referring to a type of sandwich, was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin (originally from Raceland, Louisiana), former streetcar conductors.[5] In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches.[5] The Martins' restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as "poor boys", and soon the sandwiches themselves 
took on the name.[5] In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to "po' boy."[5]

When you walk into Olde Tyme Grocery you still get that grocery store vibe. Only nowadays the shelves are filled with chips and beverages. 

I love Zapp's chips - The Voodoo flavor is seriously good

You place your order at the counter and you can either dine-in or take out. 

The first time we stopped by we ordered the Shrimp po'boy. It's shrimp seasoned and fried to a golden brown, served "full dressed" on a baugette style french bread. The bread is key. Any other bread and you have a shrimp sandwich. The french bread makes it a proper po'boy. And this one was spot on perfect.

Shrimp Po'boy at Olde Tyme Grocery

I spotted some small pies on one of the many shelves and grabbed one of those as well. It was a Buttermilk Pie and oh my goodness... it was wonderful. Buttery and tangy, not too sweet; the perfect way to finish a fantastic lunch.

Buttermilk Pie
We weren't done with Olde Tyme Grocery yet. Finding ourselves at odds and ends for lunch the next day we headed back and tried the Roast Beef and Sausage po'boys. We also snagged a half a shrimp for good measure. Oh yeah, and another buttermilk pie. The Roast Beef po'boy was one of the best roast beef sandwiches I've had. Sadly we ate it all before I could get a picture but trust me on this, get one when you visit.

There are no few excellent food regions in the country and Southern Louisiana is a great one. The diversity of the food and culture and the warmth of the people make it a truly wonderful place to spend some time. I may be biased as I grew up in the area but I believe that everyone should experience it at least once.

As the Cajuns say "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" and of course Happy Travels!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lafayette, Louisiana

The Dining Companion and I recently spent some time in Lafayette, Louisiana. We were there so that I could visit an exhibit at the Rodrigue Studio Lafayette. George Rodrigue is one of my favorite artists. He is best known for his famous Blue Dog. This iconic image appeared in most of George's art and also commercially in ads; famously for Absolute Vodka. George passed away in December of 2013 and this year each of his three galleries are holding a Memorial Retrospective.

Examples of George Rodrigue's art - Hurricanes

Turns out it was a perfect weekend for visiting an art gallery, it rained the entire time we were there. We still managed to eat, drink and be merry, just soggier than we would like. Because of the weather I wasn't able to get out in the city as much as I wanted to. I did get a few pictures...

Beautiful, stately trees seem to be everywhere
These trees are old and majestic. A tree this size could be over 100 years old.

To figure the approximate age of a tree, measure its girth four feet from the ground, convert that measurement to inches and divide by 1.5. An oak will add an average of 1.5 inches to its girth each year, although the older ones grow at a considerably lesser rate.

A charming Double Shotgun - Please pardon the raindrops

From the gumbo to the boudin and everything in between, the food is awesome. Beignets for breakfast, po'boys for lunch and a bowl of gumbo for dinner; it doesn't get much better than that.

Lafayette embraces city sophistication and small town warmth in equal measure. There is something here for almost everyone. You can take a swamp tour, visit a museum and tour the nearby historic homes and view the beautiful gardens.

Lafayette is located in the heart of Cajun country. What that will mean to visitors is that you have arrived in the epicenter of all things good. Great food, warm and welcoming people, fun festivals and so much more.

Lafayette is a great base for your visit to Cajun Country. Its central location in the region makes it perfect for planning day trips to the surrounding communities. You'll be in the heart of everything. This region is a destination in its own right. With all there is to see and do you can easily plan a weeks stay and never lack for something to do. A part of the country you really need to see.

Happy travels!