We were talking with a Lafayette resident the other day, and she explained that she will be leaving her job later this summer to both home school one of her children and to build her business making all natural artisan soaps. During this conversation, she described how Lafayette is becoming a “crunchy” city. I knew exactly what she meant and the words “crunchy granola” immediately came to mind. (Crunchy granola is a descriptor for “defining oneself by ecological awareness, liberal political views, and support or use of natural products and health foods..” [dictionary.reference.com]).
While local restaurants have always prided themselves on serving Louisiana fish and seafood, many now tout their local sourcing of dairy, meats, produce, etc. and many display lists of suppliers inside their restaurant. And “(i)t’s easy to offer farm-to-table cuisine in Lafayette, for the region is ripe with farms, bakeries and butcher shops and a long tradition of living off the land and environment. Not to mention Lafayette is home to some of the country’s finest chefs…” (mylafayettetravel.blogspot.com).
And so the next couple of days we will visit two of our favorite farm to table Lafayette restaurants starting with The Saint Street Inn.
The first thing you need to know is that The Saint Street Inn is not the kind of place where you pop in for a quick bite. Food can be slow coming out of the kitchen. For distraction, you can admire the changing works of art that decorate the walls like this piece entitled “Storm I-49” by Baton Rouge artist Katherine Lemoyne.
We both passed on the day’s specials—the roasted tomato, chickpea, and Swiss chard soup and the crawfish red curry. My selection was the Shroomwich sandwich on a ciabatta roll with local shiitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms with Swiss cheese, arugula, and basil pesto.
Chuck’s choice was the Black & Gold—a vegetarian black bean burger with arugula, tomato, sprouts, and spicy avocado spread.
For dessert, our server enticed us to order the strawberry shortcake with house-made vanilla ice cream. Sounded good to us.
No shortcake. Are they waiting for the strawberries to ripen? Chuck flags our server and asked about the delay. I suspect that she had forgotten. Five minutes passes. Then ten. The server comes to our table and says it will be only a few more minutes.
We told her to forget it.
It is that all-artisan, all the time pretentiousness that we found so annoying. And you know something? You could set The Saints Street Inn in the middle of Portlandia and it would be right at home. This was our fourth visit over the years, and time has not been kind to the restaurant’s attitude. It is a place that is now trying too hard.
By itself, the food probably merits 4.0 Addies, but the service and attitude only rate 2.5 Addies. I’m not certain that I’ll want to return for a while.
To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.