Louisiana Road Trip
Take your taste buds on a trip around Lake Ponchartrain for a savory immersion in Louisiana’s passionate food culture.
Circling Lake Ponchartrain I arrived in Slidell on Louisiana’s Northshore in the heart of St. Tammany Parish. You can angle for a fresh catch on the famed St. Tammany Parish Fishing Pier or just go directly to Peck’s, where fried oyster plates, shrimp baskets and fish platters are waiting to greet you.
About 45 minutes across the Causeway bridge (the world’s longest bridge over a body of water) is the city of New Orleans, as rich in cultural history as it is in cuisine. At Katie’s Restaurant and Bar, celebrated chef Scot Craig cooks up pungent gumbo, whole-crab po-boys and fragrant crab cakes. Other not-to-miss stops include Muriel’s Jackson Square for crawfish crepes, Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar for killer po-boys, and Galatoire’s for Friday lunch.
From New Orleans, I headed back up around the Northshore and over to Baton Rouge, the state’s capital and second largest city. In addition to the expected Cajun and Creole fare on menus, you’ll see the Sensation Salad—try it. This justly popular dish—iceberg greens dazzled with a tangy vinaigrette—is a regional favorite. Housed in a charming cottage, Maison Lacour provides a pretty setting for its classic French cuisine. Muffalettas are a must at Anthony’s Italian Deli, and you’ll find classic Cajun seafood bliss at
Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant.
Next up was a stop in Lafayette, known for its laid-back college-town feel. Olde Tyme Grocery tcash, they don’t take credit cards. For dinner, I stepped back in time at the Café Vermilionville. Located in a pre-Civil War inn, 1835, this restaurant serves gumbo, decadent seafood, and thick-cut steaks along with its historic Louisiana locale. Breakfast at The French Press is a
must. The wait can be long but the toasted pecan pancakes and a Cajun version of eggs Benedict are worth it.
I made a final lunch stop in Abbeville in Vermilion Parish at Dupuy’s Seafood & Steak. Oysters were abundant—in fact the entire parking lot is paved with oyster shells. I ordered a half-dozen on the half shell as well as an order of boudin balls before heading back to Texas.
To learn more about the 8 culinary trails, visit louisianaculinarytrails.com.
For more information
St. Tammany Parish,
Photos courtesy of: Lafayette Travel (Bread & Circus); Louisiananorthshore.com (Crabby Shack); visitbatonrouge.com (nightlife); Rebecca Ratliff for NewOrleansOnline.com (Courtbouillon)