Monday, May 13, 2013

Return with us now…

to those thrilling blogs of yesterday. Or something like that.

Today’s blog features three of our favorite Lafayette-area restaurants. And since I have written about all three before—some on multiple occasions—I don’t really have much original to say. So, instead of wracking my brain, I plan to augment my new writing with quotes from blogs past.

We start with Sunny’s Fried Chicken in Church Point, LA, which we agree is the finest purveyor of fried chicken anywhere. (Yes, I did have a momentary flirtation with Gus’s in Memphis last summer, but that romance was of short duration.)

We discovered Sunny’s in Spring, 2011, and I described our initial encounter on April 14th. “…then it hit us. The smell of fried chicken. Not fast food chain fried chicken. Mom’s fried chicken. As if being reeled by an invisible fishing line, the truck was dragged into Sunny’s very full parking lot.

“This is basic dining at its best. You review the menu posted on the wall, you go to the counter and order and pay, you self-serve your drinks, you find an empty table, you wait for your number to be called, and you (or should I say Chuck) go to the counter to retrieve your food.”

On this visit Chuck ordered the three-piece white, while I ordered three wings. As sides we added both a medium fries and medium onion rings.
(Note to selves: Next time a small of each will be more than enough.) I know that I sound like the proverbial broken record here but no one—I repeat, no one—makes an onion ring like the good folks of Louisiana. They are both the perfect thickness and have the most wonderful light batter coating.

And the chicken. Again from our April 14, 2011 blog: “This was perfect fried chicken. I thought that it had to have been broasted to stay that juicy. But no, I was told. This is deep fat fried. And the crust was totally greaseless and crackled when bitten into. Anyone have earplugs? And that is why I like to order wings. With a breast, you are quickly out of crust. With wings, the crust lasts though every bite.”

Next stop—Frosto’s in Crowley, LA.

I start by repeating this story from our March 2, 2012 blog just because I like it.

“’Originally opened by Ralph Roseland in 1950 as part of the national chain Zesto*, the business served hotdogs, ice cream and soft drinks. After a few years as Zesto, the business encountered financial hardship. In 1955, Roseland suggested…that Zesto's manager, Helen Larive Lafosse, take over Zesto and assume the debt for the one year of back rent.
Lafosse was an eighth-grade educated seamstress who had worked her way to manager at Zesto. Knowing that Roseland was unable to pay rent, Lafosse negotiated a reduced rent with the Lawrences (Ed Note: owners of the land and building). The deal was made on a handshake. She severed ties with the Zesto chain to save the franchise fees. In renaming the business, Lafosse tried to save as much of the neon sign as possible to save costs. She kept the S T O and renamed the business Frosto....’” (from a entry that is not sourced).

I’m not going to claim that Frosto’s burgers are the equal to Laguna Burger’s (Albuquerque), Hodad’s (San Diego), Squeeze Inn (Sacramento), or Five Star (Albuquerque again). But if you are looking for an old fashioned straight forward burger, you won’t go wrong here.

While Frosto’s serves items other than burgers, I always gravitate toward the Cajun Burger with cheese, sautéed onions, and to waken the taste buds, Cajun spices. I did have to persuade Chuck not to order the triple burger and he had to make do with just a double.
Frosto’s onion rings are small and ultra-thin like the ones that come from a can and used on Thanksgiving Day Green Bean Casserole (and it’s not Thanksgiving without Green Bean Casserole), but infinitely better. And the fries are perfect if you like shoestring fries—which I do.

And on to Scott, LA, where we revisit Cajan’s Eatery.

I began our April 20, 2011, entry by asking: Can A Professional Soccer Player from Louisiana find love with a Columbian from Florida? Can they successfully open a small eatery in Scott, LA? Can they serve a very good hamburger? The answer to all of these questions is ‘Yes.’”

We always manage to arrive at Cajan’s during the height of the lunch hour (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) and this visit was no exception. The parking lot was full and the café was full. Folks around here know where to find a good lunch at a reasonable price.
A few things have changed since our visit last spring—most notably, the menu which has a fair number of additions. While I usually order the Dixie Burger, this time I was curious about a new item—the Sloppy Jan. But then again, I’ve never had one of Jan’s (he’s the owner) poor boys. “I’m torn between the Sloppy Jan and the Shrimp Poor Boy,” I told Jan. “Which do you recommend?”

A brief look of panic crossed his face, and I could hear his inner voice saying “Why did she put me on the spot like this?” “I’d go with the Sloppy Jan,” was his ultimate response. And I am glad I followed his recommendation.

This is a hand formed patty (I guess a third of a pound) cooked medium well and topped with chile, pepper jack cheese, raw onions, and Creole dressing. It was indeed sloppy. It was indeed delicious.
Chuck stuck with his traditional Cajan’s order—one Scott Dog and one Classic Burger. On February 23, 2012, we wrote: “Cajan’s is the home of the ‘Scott Dog’—a truly different take on the noble hot dog. The dog is split lengthwise and grilled; then placed on a standard long bun and spread with a mild chili. The assembled sandwich is then pressed like a Cuban. Very original and quite tasty.
“But what really keeps us coming back are Jan-Scott’s hamburgers. These are your old fashioned thin patty burgers that are cooked on a very hot flattop so that the crust is seared and has that magnificent beefy, charred flavor. Nothing fancy here—just a burger done right.”

One other thing has changed—the fries. Last year Jan was serving crinkle fries. This year we found a more traditional fry and this is a change much for the better.

All three of these small restaurants provide great value for the money. I don’t think that our bill topped $20.00 at any one of the three. And all three remain on our “must revisit” list.

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