Monday, March 12, 2012

Wrapping Up Our Stay…

with a culinary overview. Lafayette, LA is a great food city. The city took the top honor in the “Best in Food” category in Rand McNally’s “Best of the Road” competition that sought to find the best small towns in the U.S. At the close of voting, Lafayette was neck-in-neck with Louisville, KY in Southern Living magazine’s “The South's Tastiest Town” contest. The winner will be announced later this month, and I have no doubt that Lafayette will prevail.

So, as we prepare to leave for New Orleans, we give you a brief return to some of our local favorite “joints.” But first, let’s talk boudin. Or boudin balls, to be precise.

As Chuck and Greg Mouton (of Mouton Accordions in Crowley, LA) were talking accordions, Theresa Mouton and I were talking boudin. The subject turned to boudin balls and Theresa told me that we had to try the ones sold at Billy’s Boudin and Cracklin's in Scott, LA. So on our way home from Crowley we made a short side trip.

These boudin balls are exceptional. First, the foundation—the boudin—Is not overly peppery and contains a moderate amount of rice. But it is what they do with the boudin that makes all of the difference. Instead of rolling the balls in a crumb mixture, they dip them into a batter mix before deep fat frying. And if that isn’t enough, you can purchase them with a small ball of pepper jack cheese inside.

Before visiting Billy’s, we stopped for another quick lunch at Frosto’s in Crowley. Wanting to try something else on the menu (I had the Cajun Burger at our earlier visit.), I ordered the small shrimp poor boy. This was good, but my heart still belongs to Bon Creole Lunch Counter in New Iberia.

Chuck ordered the regular-sized hamburger (just as good as the double) and a hot dog topped with cumin-flavored beanless chile. Frosto’s, along with CaJan’s Eatery in Scott, has become one of our “go to” stops for a quick, inexpensive, and very tasty lunch.

Ever since we ate Chef Roy Lyon’s fried chicken at the Mire Diner, we have debated whose chicken reigns supreme—Sunny’s (in Church Point) or the Mire Diner (in Mire). To resolve this quandary, one noon we made a road trip to Church Point to refresh our memories on Sunny’s chicken. Our order was our standard—two-piece white with fries for Chuck and three wings and slaw for me And, of course, an order of their great onion rings.

So whose is better? I give the edge for wings to Sunny’s because they are considerably larger and have that large “bulb” of white meat at the end where the wing was attached to the breast. But the Mire Diner gets the nod for having the juiciest and tastiest chicken breast. So we’ll call it a draw. You can’t go wrong with chicken from either place.

We had to make one final stops at 2Paul’s for barbeque. Chuck’s two-meat combo came with pulled pork and sausage with sides of beans and potato salad. I ordered the
“Everyday Special”—four ounces of meat with two sides—and chose the pulled pork with potato salad and Asian slaw. The slaw contained toasted almonds and crumbled dry ramen noodles, was tossed with an oil based dressing, and garnished with black sesame seeds. 2Paul’s sides, like those at Phil’s in San Diego, aren’t an afterthought. As much attention goes into creating them as into smoking the meat.

What wrap-up would be complete without dessert? I am not sure if I was inspired by the Cajun Dome or a program I saw on the Cooking Channel, but I wondered what would happed if you took a Meche’s Donut King’s (Lafayette) glazed devil’s food donut, split it in half, and—using Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia—made an ice cream sandwich. What happens is decadent yumminess.

So we are off tomorrow to New Orleans. Do you think we’ll find any good food there? (Snark, snark.)

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