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Bucket List item #1... trip to Louisiana!

Itinerary...eat our way through Louisiana!
Seriously; I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the great responses on this board and hope you have a few suggestions for the wife and I. First trip ever to NOLA...been waitin' 66 years!
We are flying in to Houston from Alaska on Nov 21,'13. Spend nite there, rent car and drive to Lake Charles area, spend a few clams in the Casinos there, then drive on to LaFayette in search of some good oysters, crawfish, boudin and what not for the next nite.
Morn of 23rd we plan to drive down the Hwy 190 and eventually wind up in Metarie for the remainder of our stay...(flying back from NOLA airport on Thanksgiving Day) We are just headquartering in Metarie from the 24th thru 27th...will have the car for day trips, etc from there.
We were thinking one trip to Billoxi, just to see some beaches and a little of Miss. for one day.
We want to try it all...Cajun, Creole, Seafood,seafood and seafood! We like out-of-the-way places with down-home food that will welcome our Levis and short sleeves.
We are keenly interested in all things Southern, so any must-see activities as well as must-try cuisine suggestions will be most welcome!

Thank you in advance for your guidance!!

Al H

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  1. Google the following for casual places with good seafood and local specialities that you can easily access with a car: R&O's, the Galley, Dragos, Seither's Seafood, Zimmer's Seafood, Sal's Seafood, Castnet, Harbor Seafood, Liuzza's, Crabby Jack's, Rivershack, Short Stop...these are just a start. It's not crawfish season but there will be good shrimp, crabs, and oysters as well as freshwater and gulf fin fish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: uptownlibrarian

      That is a pretty good list of Metairie "joints" with decen tfood and good prices. I'll add Stingray's in Kenner and Pier 51 in LaPlace for local seafood.

    2. No offense to the lovely people of the MS Gulf Coast, but I wouldn't waste any of your precious time in NOLA day tripping over there. Beaches are ho hum, muddy, not picturesque...you'd have to drive all the way to the FL panhandle to get some decent beaches.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        I-10 at the Scott exit offers the opportunity to sample multiple varieties of boudin from six different makers: Don's Specialty Meats, Billy's Boudin and Cracklin, Early's Supermarket, Mike's Country Corner, The Best Stop, and Romero's.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          HC, I replied to you but don't see it!...might not have hit the reply button.
          The Scott exit is definitely in!!! Thank you!

          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            2nd on Scott. If you're really into Boudin you might check out the SFA boudin trail: http://www.southernfoodways.org/oral-...

            2nd also on skipping MS. I live in Biloxi and work between the MS coast & Nola. Beautiful photo below notwithstanding, our nice beaches are on the barrier islands & are only accessible by boat. Chartering a boat to go out to Horn or Cat Is for beachcombing or kayaking would be a good reason to drive over but didn't see that sort of thing on your list.

            I'd also skip Lake Charles and go straight to Cajun country for a couple of days then onto New Orleans for the remainder.

            1. re: maf

              Speaking of Boudin, you might want to check outhttp://boudinlink.com/
              and if you're into boudin, you might possibly like cracklins...heres a cracklins map

              Note, I can't actually vouch for these interactive site, as I'm just warming up to them in prep of my own trip.

          2. re: Hungry Celeste

            Please spend a day on the Mississippi Coast if you like. The Society of American Travel Writers held their convention there last week and enjoyed all there is to eat, see & do.

            And I think Mr. Taylor caught the beach well.

            1. re: AreBe

              Georgeous picture...thanks for taking the trouble to post it and the link.

            2. re: Hungry Celeste

              Being a Coast native, I agree, regarding the beaches. I used to wonder why folk, from MN, or WI, would rush out into the Gulf in Gulfport/Biloxi, but that was common.

              OTOH, I would drive through the Coast, but stop at the Whitecap for lunch, and Mary Mahoney's for dinner. There are several casinos (seems to be draw for the OP), so two meals would not be out of the question. Then, I would drive to FL for the beaches.


            3. First things first: do you mean HWY 190 or HWY 90? Are you taking INterstate from Lake Charles to Lafayette? (HWY 90 would be the alternate and it is fun, if slow).

              9 Replies
              1. re: hazelhurst

                I knew a sharp-eyed responder would catch that! I did mean Hwy 90. We thought we would get off the Interstate so as to take in more of the local flavor. We don't mind that it may be slower...don't have to be in Metarie till 6pm or so. The fun part sounds great...we are not looking to wrestle any alligators, but if you have any suggestions for activities in that part of the country they would be welcome. Thank you!

                1. re: alaskal

                  Certainly--especially this time of year--I recommend running thru New Iberia and stopping by Shadows-on-the-Teche which is at its loveliest this time of year. The crisp light and shadows of low humidity days really play off the house beautifully. And the design of it is very interesting. The plae across the street, le Rosiere, used to be a favorite of mine but last I heard it quit selling to The Public when the Woods family bailed out. There' a Little River place I have head good things about but I have not have a chance to get down ther in about a year so someone else will have to suggest vittles around there.

                  I agree with HC on the Scott/Duson exit on I-10..lotsa good stuff around there. It would be a VERY long day--and I bet you'd not make Metairie by 6:00PM.but you might want to go Lafayette to Abbeville (Dupuys is good there), then HWY 14 to New Iberia and so on across from there.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Looks like we will be spending another day in the area! Was undecided about New Iberia but not any more. Thank you for the routing tip.

                    1. re: alaskal

                      I wouldn’t waste one day in Lake Charles, New Iberia, Gulfport or any other diversion at the expense of a day in New Orleans. You didn’t wait 66 years to see Metairie. Cut out all that extraneous activity and hightail it over to the Big Easy. There’s plenty to do and see here that will require more than just two nights (25th and 26th) if I read your original post correctly.

                      1. re: shanefink

                        I can see stopping at Avery Island if you're driving in along US 90, but I'm generally agreeing with you: if NOLA is the focus, forget the hinterlands.

                        Driving from Lafayette to NOLA on US 90 isn't especially quick, as the overalll route is a bit longer and significant portions are full of traffic lights & local on/off traffic. On the other hand, you will get to drive a long, elevated stretch between Morgan City and Houma skimming along the cypress treetops; I have seen bald eagles many times along this roadway.

                        Closer to NOLA on US 90, you can stop for a meal at Spahr's Catfish (wild caught, not pond raised) http://spahrsseafood.com/ or if you arrive later in the day, you can stop at Mosca's for dinner: http://moscasrestaurant.com/

                  2. re: alaskal

                    HWY 90 can be a great trip, with small burgs with great food. OTOH, HWY 190 has some charm too. Plenty of good, local spots on each, but a different experience.

                    Most of all, enjoy your travels.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      We'll be travelling NO-Lafayette along the 90. What're your thoughts on the Old Spanish Trail (182) as opposed to sticking to the 90 proper.
                      I realize they join at some points, but I'm wondering more between Franklin and Lafayette.
                      I assume the 90 was built for speed, whereas the older 182 will join the main streets of Baldwin, Jeanerette, New Iberia, etc.

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Hunt, I will hit that shit up.

                        Thanks man. You are a great resource of anything and everything La. centric.

                    2. re: hazelhurst

                      If you are going down Hwy 90 then perfect. RM's Boiling Point is a must stop for lunch. It is just south of Lafayette, right before you get to New Iberia it is right off the highway.

                      The locals take me here for crawfish and head on shrimp. Unbelievably fresh...definitely not fancy and touristy place. It is the place the locals know about.


                    3. The Tabasco factory is about 30 min. south of Lafayette. I enjoyed the Gardens & wildlife there more than the factory tour.

                      Get lunch or snack supplies and something to drink at Martin Wine in Metarie. Dorignac's Food Ctr. is also a good place to gather provisions.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: AreBe

                        Thank you AreBe...Garden and Wildlife tour is right up our alley...and I always keep a bottle of Tobasco in the fridge. Very good to know about Dorignac's Food Ctr, was wondering how far I'd have to go.

                        1. re: alaskal

                          No need to trek out to Dorignac's in Metairie unless you're staying nearby---Metairie is a sprawling suburban area, and you may be miles from said store. There is a nice Rouse's supermarket in the central business district on Baronne St; it is easily accessible if you are visiting the French Quarter or downtown areas.

                        2. re: AreBe

                          Can you have lunch at the Tabasco factory on Avery Island ?


                          Is Nook Bonin's boudin still around ????

                          1. re: kevin

                            Nope, no lunch, but according to the website "The TABASCO Country Store® offers a wide array of TABASCO® Sauces, condiments, collectibles, gift boxes and gourmet foods."

                            I remember lots of samples, lots of sauces not sold by my grocer and a few packaged foods.

                            1. re: kevin

                              There is no lunch but down the road on that side of New Iberia is Bon Creole which is a very good po-boy and plate lunch spot.

                              While the food isn't all that great I do like Victor's for the atmosphere and decent beans and greens in the cafeteria line. and you can pretend Dave Robichaux walked in.

                              1. re: collardman

                                Good option. We have dined at Bon Creole several times, and the food has been great.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Bon Creole is now on the list, thanks to you and Collardman; Mr Hunt.
                                  We are going to pass on the beach as there is just too much else to do with our limited time.
                                  Thanks to all for your invaluable advice!

                          2. In Lake charles, Pat's of Henderson is good. Has a large lunch menu (drink included) that has extensive mix of cajun and creole style dishes.
                            You'll need to check via phone for some of the places to visit around New Orleans. SOme are still closed/remodeling since Katrina or Gustav or Ivan, etc.

                            1. WOW! You folks are great and so is this Chowhound Site. I knew I came to the right place.
                              Thank you all for your insightful advice and links to local establishments.
                              We have decided not to squander our time in MS and spend more time riding along the Boudin and Cracklin' trails. After reading that the Boudin will not last beyond the parking lot of the establishment we purchase it at...we are wondering how big of a bag of Cracklins we are going to need to get between Rabidaux's in Iowa and the closest place in Scott for more! (An interactive Cracklins map...who knew?)
                              Wild-caught catfish at Sparh's in Houma after picking up a tub of fresh schucked Oysters at Wilsons...the list just keeps gettin' longer! We may just have to re-locate to Louisiana for the winter.
                              Once again, thank you all for your excellent advice...you are all great Ambassadors for your State.

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: alaskal

                                Be careful with crackings...(A) they are usually about $10/lb and a pound is a lot 9in volume. Usually you get them in little bags (that should have a skull and crossbones on it) and the are fairly filling. I often see left-over bags because the buyer couldn't finish it.

                                On my foraging trips to Acadiana I take ice chests to put in the trunk and I get samplings of headcheese, cracklings etc to munch on the way back. I learned years ago going to Herbert Dupres (now gone) in Ville Platte that I'd eat it all if I left it on the front seat.

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Agree on the "ice chest in your car" principle. If this visitor is staying in a condo or extended stay hotel w/kitchenette, he/she might find it fun to do a little cooking while in town.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    Now there is a HEALTHY dose of advice. Maybe I should buy a sheet of skull and crossbones stickers to bring along! Seriously I have been thinking about that...fried this and fried that; even the Okra for goodness sake...but like Andrew Zimmern says on his Travel Channel program...if it looks good..."Eat it!" that's going to be our Mantra...just hope I don't kick the bucket while ON this trip! LOL. Maybe ditch the car for bikes...could fasten an ice chest to the back fender with Duct Tape; we have and use lots of duct tape up here.
                                    Thankfully there are Grilled oysters and Boiled crab and Baked Red Snapper to throw into the mix...we are so looking forward to this trip!

                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                      OOps...Hazelhurst I posted my reply to you on HC's comment. So I'll respond to HC here....NOPE...no cookin' for the wife on this trip! She is an EXCELLENT cook and we are planning on bringin' back a BUNCH of recipes and ingredients for the both of us to try and not mess up too badly at home...but this is a vacation for her from the kitchen!
                                      She gets enough of "Cooked Books" the rest of the year...she owns a bookkeeping service here at home!
                                      We may, however; have to pick up a small grill and have some late-nite oyster snacks!

                                    2. re: alaskal

                                      Still looking for an interactive drive-thru daiquiri map...

                                      1. re: porker


                                        Please post when you find it.

                                        1. re: porker

                                          Send me the link when you find it! LOL
                                          Great map...made my wife really happy!

                                          1. re: porker

                                            Dunno of a dedicated drive-thru daiquiri map, but Yelp will give you a decent listing: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=...
                                            They're all over the place (suburbs), so it's not so hard to find one. Please remember that open container laws DO apply inside vehicles; the daiquiris are dispensed in lidded cups with paper-wrapped straws...the lid's straw hole is covered with tape. Keep your straw wrapped and lid on while you're in the car, or risk an open container violation. (Don't want you to get the idea that driving around drinking from a daiquiri in your car, even for passengers, is legal.)

                                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                              "(Don't want you to get the idea that driving around drinking from a daiquiri in your car, even for passengers, is legal.)"

                                              I would never get that idea....

                                              BTW, the link DOES provide a map and it looks pretty dedicated: it'll refresh the drive-through daiquiris when you move the map (gotta click the option at top first).

                                              AND, yelp gives their rating. What more can a person ask for!

                                              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                One can drink while driving here too ?????

                                                Or it's just for the passengers which would be my logical understanding of the situation.

                                                But maybe something defies logic ?????

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  No, you cannot drink while driving. No, your passengers cannot drink while you are driving. Yes, you can drink on the street (most places), provided that your adult beverage is not in a glass container.

                                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                    That's right. That's why the to-go cup. But I thought one could only drink on Bourbon St, not on other streets in the French Quarter, for instance ?

                                                    So for the drive-thru daiquiris, you have to get to your destination first and then partake.

                                                    By the way, am I wrong, when I say I didn't notice any drive thru daiquiri joints in the French Quarter, the Garden District, the CBD, the warehouse district, and the marigny, and the magazine street area. Is it not allowed inside NOLA ?


                                                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                      Wait a minute, didn't the late, great Huey P. Long define alcohol as food?
                                                      Can we eat and drive?

                                                    2. re: kevin

                                                      A DRIVE THROUGH daiquiri joint defies all logic!
                                                      I think I would heed HC's advice though with todays DUI situation.
                                                      I should start one up; here in Alaska; at least it wouldn't melt before you arrived at your destination, assuming it was a frozen daquiri and you purchased it during winter.
                                                      I wonder if they come in Oyster Flavor?

                                                  2. re: porker

                                                    After the second stop, that map would become a bit of a "corkscrew," with twists and turns, that many might not take... [Grin]


                                                  3. re: alaskal

                                                    Yes we have thought we will need to relocate too!

                                                  4. We traveled to Lafayette for a week last March for a culinary trip and returned for the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles(Food, music and art) a couple of weeks ago and then headed to the Big Easy for the rest of the week. We loved the area. We stayed in Metairie too and it worked out great. It takes about 10 minutes to get downtown and we got princess parking on the street every time we went to the French Quarter or elsewhere. You can park for 2 hours on the street or park on a lot. Thanks to this board we had some great recommendations and the food was great.

                                                    Not in any special order

                                                    Lake Charles-Darrell's great po-boys

                                                    Mamou-One of the best thing things on the trip was Fred"s Lounge. Only open on Sat Morning-be there at 8 to get a seat for the radio show with live music. Tante Sue holds court and passes out boudin towards the end and the Bloody Marys are great. I don't know where you can have more fun!!

                                                    Lafayette --
                                                    http://www.bontempsgrill.com we got the boucherie board but had enough left over for another meal The sides ar great-one of my favorite places The sausages were so good.

                                                    Check out Johnson's Boucaneire and the Blue Moon

                                                    French Press-- They serve breakfast and lunch, both from 7-2 Tues-Sun and dinner Fri and Sat I would look to do the lunch or breakfast

                                                    Breaux Bridge
                                                    Glenda's Creole Kitchen-check the hours The lunches we got came with a side and then two smaller sides. Stuffed fried chicken was great

                                                    La Poussiere -great Cajun Dance hall-One of the best things we did "High Performance" is playing the 23rd and they are great. This was also one of the best things we did.

                                                    Going south(we were in Breaux Bridge) we drove through St Martinville and then 182 hwy south that follows the Bayou Teche. You will see a lot more than taking 90.
                                                    St Martinsville-
                                                    The Ville Bakery-all kinds of regional stuff like Sirop cake by the piece, planks other things I can't remember
                                                    St John Restaurant two doors down
                                                    In Jeanerette--- http://www.lejeunesbakery.com/ They only had the ginger cakes when we were there -very mild and not too sweet
                                                    We got shrimp(boiled) at T-Bobs in Jeanerette to and ate them in the park

                                                    New Orleans was great too. We had lunch out and often felt we could not eat dinner as we were too stuffed.
                                                    Many of the restaurants will have a lunch special for about $20 with 25 cent martinis or some kind of drink special.
                                                    Commander's Palace does. We dressed to go there but they have relaxed the dress code for lunch so a jacket was not necessary for men and there were women in slacks. One lady had workout pants on.
                                                    John Besh's "August" does on Friday only.
                                                    I just mention these because they were a great bang for the buck for that type of food.
                                                    A really great place was Butcher by Couchon. The best muffuletta It was really hard to pare down what I wanted to eat here.
                                                    Sucre on Magazine St for ice cream
                                                    We drove the river road 18 hwy one day through Hahnville and Edgard which is the "German Coast" It is an interesting mix of plantations and cemeteries mixed with huge industry. You can't see the river because of the levee. Donaldsonville has the Grapevine Cafe which was good good.

                                                    You just cannot get enough time to eat everything you want to in that whole area.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: wekick

                                                      We were meeting friends in a bar in Montreal when the cook came out. He is a guitar player from a blues/folk band we know and like, our talk quickly turned to music. He mentioned the bass player was downtairs in a Cajun band.
                                                      Off we went (we'd meet our friends later!)

                                                      Once inside, we were enjoying the show when we spotted an aquaintenance who waved us over.
                                                      Speaking of all things cajun (he hired this very band for his father's birthday a year before), he described a place north and east of Opelousas, a place called Fred's, in Mamou, where on Saturday morning you dance and drink and have a grand time. That 5 minute piece of yelling-over-the-band conversation burned in my mind, deciding then and there that Fred's was a destination (I will be in the area early December hopefully catch the Saturday evening show at the Liberty in Eunice as well...).

                                                      Thanks for the tip on La Poussiere!

                                                      1. re: wekick

                                                        Thank you Wekick for your extensive reply. I checked out Freds in Mamou website and that does sound like a great stop!
                                                        My only concern is that we don't get too carried away with partaking of their Bloody Mary "omlets" that early in the day...we plan to drive south to Houma and on to NO that same day.
                                                        I appreciate the parking mention in the FQ...what in the world is "Princess parking?" Does Butchers require a jacket? That establishment has received several mentions on this blog and I think we should include it. Thanks again for your response!

                                                        1. re: alaskal

                                                          Butcher doesn't require a jacket - it's very informal. And it's great.

                                                          1. re: alaskal

                                                            Princess parking is right in front or right where you want to be. Fred's has plenty of non alcoholic drinks. I'm not sure if there is anything left where you have to have a jacket at least for lunch.

                                                        2. In Metairie, try Morning Call for coffee and beignets and Short Stop for po-boys.



                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Tara57

                                                            Yes, definately! Second mention of Morning Coffee here, we will make it our first stop of the morning, thank you!

                                                          2. I just saw a show from Man Vs Food...Which I find quite discusting...But this time the first half of the show....without the one man food fest, was quite good