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What you’ll find:
A food-themed drive west of New Orleans threads through a vivid landscape of country smokehouses, backwoods butcher shops, and Cajun meals that range from soothing comfort food to edible fireworks.For some serious down-home eatin’, travel west on Interstate 10 to Earl’s (337-237-5501) in Lafayette
, the Cajun capital of Louisiana. It’s actually a small market where butchers make pork and rice sausage, called boudin, behind the counter, and where plate lunches of fried chicken or red beans and rice are presented in Styrofoam containers, perfect for a picnic. Johnson’s Boucanière
, also in Lafayette, has been serving up boudin and smoking other meats since the 1940s. Try the Parrain Special, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with crumbled boudin balls and dressed with barbecue sauce.
Bring your dancing shoes—along with your appetite. Café Des Amis, deep in Cajun country, offers live music Saturday morning and Wednesday night.
For a different kind of Cajun sit-down, visit Café Des Amis
in nearby Breaux Bridge,
the crawfish capital. On the menu: hot beignets (sugar-dusted fritters) for breakfast and a selection of gumbos, crawfish pie, and po’ boy sandwiches. Show up on a Saturday morning and you’ll get more than a great meal—a live zydeco band performs as diners jump up out of their seats to dance. About 25 miles north, in Port Barre, Bourque’s Supermarket
is known for its jalapeño sausage cheese bread, a round loaf chockablock with savory bits of sausage, hot pepper, and melted cheese.
Next up, hog heaven: A short trip west on U.S. Highway 190 leads to the prairie region and the town of Ville Platte,
home of T-Boy’s Slaughterhouse (337-468-3333). Here, butchers make use of the whole pig—rooter to tooter—in sausage, chops, hams, and fried pieces of pork skin and fat known as cracklins. You’ll have to take your meal to go since there are no tables, but a bag of cracklins makes for great car munchies.
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