Recently returned from a wedding in Lafayette, LA.
While there we managed to get in a couple of days in New Orleans:
Brigsten's. What can I say. Wow. Had Rabbit & Aundouille Gumbo and Butternut Shrimp Busque (beginning to see a pattern here) . Rabbit was good but bisque was the clear winner. Based on recs from this board, we both had the seafood platter. Not something we would normally order, and we don't normally order the same thing (the better to share). Probably the best seafood platter we have ever had. Cafe au Lait Creme Brulee for dessert was a perfect ending. The board was definitely on target regarding the service-no pressure, relaxed, prompt, friendly.
Commander's Palace Jazz Brunch. What fun, and on a beautiful Sunday. Great food and wonderful setting. Turtle soup, bloody mary's, quail, rabbit, bread pudding souffle, and bananas foster cake. But, I must admit the coffee was a bit much. We have been away from Louisiana for almost 40 years. The family still sends our coffee (Community) to us. I love the coffee when down there. But, the Commanders version melted my spoon.
We kept our 12 week old grandson while our kids went to Commander's Palace for dinner and while they went to Brennans for breakfast the next morning. I know, I know, the board suggested we send them elsewhere. But, we had gone to both when young. This was their first trip to New Orleans. They absolutely loved it.
En route to Louisiana: lunch at the Catfish Galley in Rutherford, TN. Catfish Wiskers still good and a bargin at under $4.00 a plate. However, they did not seem quite as light and fresh as usual. My wife thinks they were as good as usual.
Had a wonderful lunch at Hal & Mel's in Jacksonville, Ms. They had only one of their own beers on tap, described as light. Not normally one I would have tried. However, it was very flavorful. Also, had an outstanding beef and mushroom soup. I almost didn't try the soup, sounded boring. Wrong again. We had a seafood gumbo with an unusal brown roux. More like a chicken gumbo. Extremely tasty.
On our way to Lafayette, LA, we stopped at Poches Market. We picked up crawfish boudin and regular boudin. Both were outstanding (though I still prefer Best Stop for the regular). The crawfish was the best of that type I've had.
-Ate three times at Old Tyme Grocery. The first night the oyster po boy was only so-so. The shrimp po boy was great. On our second visit the oyster was back to the usual high standard.
-Had a decent lunch at T-Coons. The chicken and sausage gumbo was flavorful, just a bit more thin than I prefer. To be fair, my wife makes an outstanding chicken gumbo, so it's difficult for someone else to measure up.
-Scott: Got regular boudin at Best Stop. Great as usual. Also picked up some cracklings. I didn't think I would care for them, but they went down rather nicely. Somewhat habit forming.
-Abbyville: First trip to Blacks. Had a table of eight people and the whole bar area to ourselves. Wonderful raw oysters (though a bit small). Also had good fried oysters and seafood gumbo.
-Tried to go out in Eunice, but everything was closed on a Sunday.
-Opelousas: The Palace Cafe. We had shrimp/oyster gumbo and a seafood bisque. Both were excellent (and very large, glad we didn't have an appetizer). The gumbo was filled with shrimp and oysters. The bisque was interesting--thicker and more brown than expected, and nicely spiced. Great service.
Okay, we may be a bit biased about the Palace (but the food was really good). My wife grew up in Opelousas. We had eaten at the Palace when dating-about 40 years ago. She recognized the owner and we had a delightful conversation. I can't believe she can recognize someone after all these years. I have problems recognizing myself on some mornings (but that's another story).
Henderson: Robin's. Great crawfish platter. Also had a seafood bisque and a seafood gumbo. both were excellent. I do have to admit that the tabasco ice cream confused the hell out of my taste buds. The fig ice cream was very good.
Had pie at Lea's in La Compt, LA. Good but not quite up to family standards.
Stopped in De Valls Bluff, AR and picked up a pound of sliced pork at Craig's Barbecue. Love that slightly vinegary, peppery taste. Walked across the road and picked up an outstanding coconut pie at Mary's Family Pie Shop. This one equaled that of my family. Feasted on the above on our room that night.
We also had great food in El Dorado, AR. However, this was all at relatives. Still, if you are passing through let me know. They put on quite a spread.
Now, we have to start planning our Christmas feasts.
Thanks again to the board for all your helpful posts.