to get to Fant's!” wrote Lisa Brown at urbanspoon.com. Or, referencing another end-times destination, Frank Rizzo said, “If they serve seafood in Heaven then they must be getting take-out from Fant’s” (urbanspoon.com).
But let me back up a few days. Our friend John who lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has been a regular reader of this blog since its inception. And when he realized that our stay in Lafayette would be extended, he suggested that we be in touch with his brother Kevin, who lives up the road a-piece (about 100 miles) near Alexandria, LA. So we called and made arrangements to meet Kevin for lunch and a brief driving tour of Alexandria. So, at Kevin’s suggestion, we met one noon for lunch at Fant’s—a local “hole-in-the-wall type place that just knocks it out of the park” (Frank Rizzo at urbanspoon.com).
Fant’s is located in a former fried chicken place and is described as having “(a) great casual family atmosphere—but make sure to get there early or be prepared to wait. The building is very small, so it can't accommodate a large crowd at one time. However, the wait is worth it…” (Christie P. at yelp.com).
We decided that one of us would order the fried shrimp platter and one the fried catfish platter. And we would get—as part of the meal—one side of fries and one of onion rings. The fried platters come in small, regular, and large sizes and it is a good thing that we asked the server before ordering the large. The large catfish platter comes with NINE pieces of fish. The regular of each it would be.
In true Louisiana style, the catfish (six pieces) had been coated with seasoned corn meal/flour and under the crisp coating lay moist, flakey, and sweet fish.
I am not sure if John gave Kevin a “heads up” on the type of restaurants we like, but Kevin couldn’t have made a better choice than this 5.0 eatery.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.
After lunch, Kevin, taking time from his role in the preparation for his daughter’s wedding in three days, kindly consented to give us a brief tour of Alexandria. (The photos below were taken from a moving vehicle, so there may be some movement and reflections in the photos.)
We began with one of favorite scenes: the restoration of an historic hotel. The Hotel Bentley, built in 1908, as recently as 1980 had been the only four-star hotel in Louisiana outside of New Orleans. Closed since 2004, the hotel seemed nearing completion of its restoration. We want to return to see the re-birth of this beautiful hotel.
The old parish church of Saint Francis, constructed in 1817, was the only building in Alexandria spared during the American Civil War. As the Union army pulled out of the town during the disastrous Red River Campaign, Father J. P. Bellier disguised his voice to impersonate that of General Nathaniel Banks, the Union commanding officer, and ordered the troops to spare the church. His plan succeeded and the building was saved.
Between 2003 and the present, periods of vacancy alternated with periods of an independent team operating in a league, and the city is once again fielding a team in the United League.
Here it bisects the sister cities of Alexandria and Pineville before spreading into the complex network of marshlands surrounding the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers and eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico.