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Outskirts of NOLA Recs? Looking for a cajun destination lunch 45min-1.5hr away

Hey guys,

I'm going to be in NOLA (sorry, staying in French Quarter) in two weeks and was wondering if you had some great recommendations for destination lunches outside of the city. I feel like I've seen a ton of Anthony Bourdain/Travel Channel/Mind of a Chef/etc segments on awesome, authentic Cajun food places that aren't too terribly far from the city. I'll have a car and am happy to drive.

I know I'm being a bit vague, but basically what I'm looking for is an authentic cajun cookout, where I can really experience the local cuisine. I'll eat anything, and want to try everything. I don't care about the setting, decor, or need any tablecloths. The more local the better. As long as the food is great, I'm a happy camper.

Thanks!

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  1. These are pretty much local places but that do attract some tourists. Most of these places have web sites.

    Spahrs Des Allmends known for their catfish. A favorite stopping place for oil field hands traveling hwy 90.

    Hymels on the river road in Convent

    The Cabin in Gonzales

    Pier 51 Laplace family seafood, There are a number of similar good seafood places in Kenner. Kenner Seafood is a trip back in time and I think it has every Jazz Fest poster ever printed.

    Jolly Inn Houma. Simple Cajun food plus live music.

    6 Replies
    1. re: collardman

      Have you been to the Cabin in recent memory? I have not but that is because I've been steered away from it as though it were an overturned truck of HazMat materials. It might be fine, I don't know. I just default to Hymel's or go into Baton Rouge.

      1. re: hazelhurst

        I haven't been upriver in a while. My only recent forays have been Kenner Seafood and Jolly Inn. I think there was a visitors favorable review of Hymels last year.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          any great off roads bars ???? no tvs of course.

          old, old, old school.

          1. re: kevin

            Upriver being definitely LSU country I don't think you will find a bar without a TV and being football season it will be on.

            Driving up the river road you will see a few bars clustered around a grain elevator or chemical plant. My time on the river road always involved work so I've never stopped into any pure bars.

            1. re: collardman

              Sadly, I agree: there is no such thing as a bar without television anymore. Even little places on Lake Salvadore or Lac des Allemans have them, tuned to WWL and, as you say, ANY football game of whatever incompetence...doesn't matter what it is, just have the goddamn box on.

              Sometime back I went to a swamp joint with friends for a special night of cooking...drove 90 minutes or more to get there. An otherwise perfect night was marred and jarred by a damn guitar"player" with amplification for a room no bigger than a pressbox. Cannot have conversation anymore, just goddamn noise from whatever source.

        2. re: collardman

          Thank you!! These are awesome suggestions. Going to look into them all

        3. I don't know, I'd just go to Middendorf's. Without getting too far into the "authentic Cajun cookout" (???) conversation, I think Middendorf's has pretty much everything you have in mind and it's fun to be out on the lake.

          7 Replies
            1. re: Smarttyparty

              Middendorf's is a good food choice, but it's funny a "Cajun" place called Middendorf's run by a Chef named Horst Pfeifer.

              If you read the history the founders were poor hunters and fishermen but good talkers and bartenders!

              Well, Alsace and Acadian both start with an A. :-)

              Not to steal a thread but I wonder if there are other N.O. older restaurants that have the apparent disconnect between its name/founders/cuisine.

              1. re: collardman

                just saw a movie with the name Horst, in it, i know it's not about food, but is is a common Cajun name ?????

                thanks.

                also, anyone happen to know if Nook Bonni's is still making superb boudin ??????

                1. re: kevin

                  Horst is not at all Cajun which was my point.

                  Although the Germans had a great influence in New Orleans with their wave of immigrant laborers. St. Roch cemetery has a lot of German vaults.

                  The movie may have had Horst Bucholtz in it.

                  1. re: collardman

                    movie had the character's name as horst, mazurksy's "bob carol ted alice"

                    i see, got it, thanks.

                  2. re: kevin

                    Because no one responded to your last question I'll step in. Nook(Waldo) Bonin died in 2007, I think it was, and his wife Delores (who lots of people said made the stuff) died a year or two before he did. Every now and then there used to be rumors of the stuff surfacing somewhere but I've never substantiated one and think it is just a fun legend to spin. Sorry.

                    You might try NuNu in Milton,LA.

            2. How about Boutte's in Lafitte? I haven't been there since I was a kid, but it's still open and fits the bill with local seafood...about a hour away.

                1. I've only been once, and would defer to more informed opinions, but would B&C Seafood, in Vacherie, qualify here?

                  I loved that place.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Monch

                    I think B&C qualifies f'sure. I was just down by their crab processing plant today. Crabs, by the way, are running great.

                  2. Really enjoy B and C. Always unhappy that we can't bring home the fresh shrimp. Their house seafood spice is a great alternative to Old Bay. Anyone have any experience with Frenier Landing in LaPlace. Doing an andouille run to Jacobs in 2 weeks and looking for cajun/creole in LaPlace.

                    1. Be aware that there is a demarcation of "Cajun food," as defined by either the bayou communities or the folks who dwell in the areas west of Baton Rouge. For example, the bayou idea of a gumbo is radically different from a prairie version, whether you're talking shrimp/seafood or chicken (or wild duck, practically nonexistent in bayou country).

                      Thibodaux/Houma is probably the closest destination, so your best be is to review menus and reviews on the horrible Yelp site. Lafayette is the best Cajun-centric area for that cuisine in terms of numbers of restaurants, but it is a good distance from N.O.

                      If I had to pick a fairly decent generalization of the style, I would take someone to Bubba's or Bubba's II (latter a plate lunch place), which has pretty decent cajun fare like crawfish etouffe.

                      The beauty part of the Thibodaux area is Bourgeois Meat Market, located abt 2 miles south of Thibodaux. If you aren't driving and don't have an ice chest or a vacuum sealer and freezer availability, the best bet is to grab a few vacuum packs of their beef jerky, which is absolutely the best on the planet.

                      If you can transport chilled/frozen goods, get a few links of Bourgeois' andouille, which is the absolute best representation of the style anywhere in Louisiana and can be added to any non-seafood gumbo or any dish that uses any type of bean as the main course/side dish. Bourgeois does many things well, but unfortunately, you're out of season for their crawfish boudin which (like their beef jerky and andouille) is the benchmark for the style.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Eldrad

                        You make a valuable point in distinguishing the general idea of Cajun territory although the demarcation lines are less sharp than they seemed to me to be in 1965 or even 1980. And you are dead-on right about Bourgeois and the jerky. I was once at a duck hunt near Morgan City, a VERY "toney" place, where the members were all wearing custom-made camouflage (OK, that's an exaggeration) and one fellow made jerky for our blind the next morning. Every man in the group said it was equal to the Thibodeaux Gold Standard. The wizard tried again the next day and, while it was good, the Magic had escaped him. Bourgeois does it every time, though.

                        As you no doubt know, calling Bourgeois' Andouille the "best representation of the style anywhere in Louisiana" is screaming for a fight. I agree it is hard to top and prefer it to the Jacobs product for many uses(not to slam Jacobs...just that it is SO smoke-heavy as to get out-of-control sometimes). But I bought some Andouille at Todd's in Lutcher last week and put it into a batch of butterbeans with great result...so good, in fact, that I toyed with running back the next day to buy up the rest of that batch.

                        We all have our "secret spots" and I admit that part of the fun is awaking at 4:30AM in late October and driving west against a dark-blue sky, jockeying with cane wagons on smoky roads that crystallize sugar on your nose hairs, grabbing coffee at someplace like John's(or, later in the day, Johns II) near Parks, all to get to Nonc's or Blue's or Z-Tank's by 7:00 on account he be sold out in five minutes from opening...if he woke up on time after that jambalaya he made at the Bridge Country Club in the VFW Hall last night.

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          Love the info and anecdotes. For those of us who find ourselves far away from the vistas of the N.O. skyline in daylight or after dark light pollution, there is a communal rite of passage. The 4am-5am mobile breakfast of boudin and coffee, on the way to whatever locale we are destined towards by first light. The overstuffing of coat pockets of oysters in shell, with a church key, a couple of Guinness Stouts, and a couple of stogies before the trip out to the duck blind on what portends to be a bluebird day; and then high-tailing it to the nearest town for a big bowl of roux-heavy gumbo for early lunch before settling down for a nap. The simple pleasures...

                           
                          1. re: Eldrad

                            STOP! You are making me nostalgic, weepy, sappy, sentimental and gooey. And I goddamn LIVE here!

                            I think I'll make grillades for breakfast....

                            Who remembers what a church key is these days?

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                Can't relate to most of El's tale, but this Bronx woman sure knows what a "church key" is! Still have one, too.

                                PS: enjoying following this thread for ideas re: my next trip down to Cajun country.

                                1. re: mcsheridan

                                  What's a church key for the blatantly ignorant ?????

                                  thanks.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      With twist off caps and pull tabs you only need one for good Beer.

                                2. re: Eldrad

                                  No hunting or fishing involved but a house guest this weekend showed up with a box of Don's boudin. Breakfast was boudin scrambled eggs. Amazingly good.

                                  And I have used a church key to open beer, although it never saw a church door and is most commonly called a skeleton key.

                            1. Mosca's - across the river from New Orleans, Hwy 90, oysters mosca, crab salad
                              Nor-Joe's Import in Old Metairie, get the hot muffelata *note this is more of a store and to-go restaurant - but WORTH IT
                              Best Stop, Scott, right outside Lafayette, best boudin in the world - get the boudin balls
                              Chez Jacquline, Breaux Bridge - great creole/cajun
                              Hymel's - anything boiled or fried and huge mug of extremely cold beer
                              Middendorf's as noted by others, I do love the thin fried catfish