Dining suggestions wanted for "Cajun Country"/"Gulf Coast"
I'm planning a 3 day return visit in early October to New Orleans, preceded by 3 or 4 days of car travel around "Cajun Country" (perhaps making daytrips out of Lafayette) and/or maybe visiting the Gulf Coast (Gulfport, Biloxi and points further east). I'd appreciate any suggestions from fellow 'hounds for mandatory food stops outside of New Orleans, in Cajun Country or elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. I'll admit that the food stops will likely determine my itinerary!
There's been some disgreement about it in the past on this board, I think, but I highly recommend Enola's Cafe, just outside of Lafayette. She is Paul Prudhomme's sister, and, IMHO, runs a much better (and incidentally) less expensive restaurant. Better traditional Louisiana food than any I've eaten in New Orleans. (This is based on 2 visits in November 1996).
I also highly recommend the two oyster bars in Abbeville - the only one I remember the name of at the moment is Black's.
Vermillionville (also visited in November 1996) is quite good, but not compelling.
On the coast, don't miss "Lil' Ray's" in Waveland on the old hwy(maybe 190?). Great seafood, great prices, not to be missed. In Cajun country, Le Rosier in New Iberia is the finest restaurant in the area. There are many in Lafayette also: Charlie G's, Cafe Vermilionville, Imonelli's, Miz' Helens(VERY casual crawfish joint). Catahoula's in Grand Coteau, north of Lafayette--very good, not as "down" as Miz Helens, nor are the other 3 I mentioned. Pass a good time, cher!!
I'll cover the Gulf Coast if you like. There's not nearly the selection of food you might expect in New Orleans -- coast food is much more casual. I'd suggest the following:
Trapani's in Bay St. Louis -- amazing poboys, fried seafood, and beautifully done fish. Friendly staff, good atmosphere, although it sometimes can get loud. Fried farfalle with spinach and artichoke dip is a must. Get your fish "Eatery style" -- hollandaise, mushrooms, and lump crabmeat.
Pirate's Cove in Pass Christian -- the best poboy on the Gulf Coast. Oyster and roast beef are their specialties, and make sure to swill down a barq's while you're there.
Chappy's in Long Beach -- a beautiful dining experience with solidly good (not quite great) food. Beautiful brunch.
Huck's in Gautier -- great burgers, fun atmosphere. Not the best service (call ahead to make sure they're open), but delicious nontraditional burgers, fun cocktails, and outdoor seating on the dock on the back bay makes for a good atmosphere, especially when they have a band playing.
I try to avoid casino food, although the Beau Rivage seems to have the best overall quality. The brewery food is pretty good, simple, and the least overpriced. Thursday night is salsa night at the Brewery, which I hear is a blast.
Hope that helps!