Three days in Cajun Country; four days in New Orleans. Just got home (Milwaukee), thinking about a cleansing fast.
Thanks to Chowhounders for recommendations!
Boudin: Tried several places. Best was at Chadeauxs on 167 in Kinder. Nicely smoked and spiced. Close second was Johnsons Grocery in Eunice.
Pralines: Best we found in Louisiana were at Thibodeauxs, 2 miles south of Longville on 171 (about ½ hour north of Lake Charles, and well worth the detour). Also Pralines by Jean (recommended elsewhere on CH) on St. Charles St. in NO were wonderful, as was Jean herself. She seems Chowhoundish, and we spent some time talking about different restaurants. She even made a couple of phone calls for us. Jeans sister owns Gabrielle, and she highly recommends Chateaubriand, FWIW.
D. I.s Cajun: Roadside place between Evangeline and Eunice on hwy. 97. Reminiscent of Mulates in Breaux Bridge, but more local. Im not a big Cajun connoisseur, but I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner. The barbecued soft-shell crab was a highlight. My wife enjoyed the crawfish pies.
Brigtsens: Dinner Saturday night. My meal (seafood platter) was fabulous. Quite simply the best seafood Ive ever had, especially the gulf fish in basil sauce. My wife, however, was not so lucky. She found her dish (Duck with cornbread dressing) too salty, and was a little miffed that our server spent the entire meal chatting with another table without even looking at us as she walked past. My wife mentioned that to another server, and we were immediately surrounded by the hostess and two other servers who insisted on removing her entree from the bill, giving us free desserts (which we would have ordered anyway), and offering us complimentary champagne. They went WAY beyond what they needed to. A simple gee, sorry for ignoring you, just didnt want to interrupt your meal . . . would have been fine. Truly a class act.
Coops Place: Based on CH recommendations, we headed to Coops for Jambalaya. Again, a winner. I ordered the Jambalaya Supreme, which adds tasso, shrimp, and crawfish to the basic jambalaya of rabbit and sausage. Absolutely sublime, especially when you consider the fact that youre eating it in a smoky bar. So good, in fact, that we sacrificed more culinary exploration to return the following night.
Central Grocery: Another double-visit place. Ive had muffulettas several times, and Centrals was easily the best. I think the main difference between Centrals and imitators is the quality of the bread.
Johnnys Poboys: We wanted to hit Parasols for poboys, but time ran out. We consulted the guidebook, crossed our fingers, and hit Johnnys. I had the Johnnys Special, which was wonderful, but hard to enjoy after seeing cockroaches crawling on the table. I cant comment on my wifes bacon and egg poboy, because she lost her appetite after contending with the roaches and changing tables.
We also wanted to try (but were thwarted by vacations, off days, time constraints, or weakness in the face of temptation): Mandinas, Mandichs, Uglesichs, Parkway, and Parasols. Add to this list the places we were ALREADY saving for next time, and I think we can start planning for several more trips.