A Foodie’s Guide to Lafayette, Louisiana (the Capital of Cajun Country)

It’s that time of year. Festival season has arrived in Lafayette! While having spent the majority of my time in New Orleans at the Jazz festival in the past few years, this year I am staying put in my new hometown of Lafayette to attend Festivale Internationale de Louisiana.  So I am preparing this guide for those out of town visitors and locals alike looking for some local gems to dine at and to experience cajun cooking (and the occasional non-cajun meal).  As a caveat, my followers will know that I am not cajun, nor am I even from here but having spent the past two and a half in this town and being an avid foodie, I’ve tasted my way through town and can confidently list my favorite places to dine which is quite personal to my taste. I hope you enjoy my picks.

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1. Dark Roux |3524 Kaliste Saloom Road | (337) 504-2346

Dark Roux is Lafayette’s newest farm-to-table restaurant focusing on serving local foods and telling the story of Louisiana foods. The menu features local farmer’s and suppliers such as Gotreaux Family Farms, Mary Mary Markets and Bread & Circus Provisions. Favorites include boudin balls for appetizer and boudin benny for brunch. The restaurant also has a bar and pantry stocked with local products. On weekends a live band plays outside making it the perfect place to brunch or have a romantic dinner with your loved one.  (see menu).

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2. Bread and Circus Provisions | 258 Bendel Road | (337) 408-3930

It all started with a condiment and charcuterie stand at the farmer’s market at the Horse Farm in Lafayette and evolved into a restaurant last year and brought with it a breath of fresh air to the local Lafayette dining scene. This hip restaurant features local favorites with a modern and unique twist. (see menu).

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3. The French Press |  214 E Vermilion St | (337) 233-9449

Chef Justin Girouard spins out some delicious local fare with his own personal touch. He makes his own boudin (not blood sausage as in France but Louisiana’s version of boudin: a mix of sausage of pork, rice, and cayenne).  A great place for brunch and lunch. Everything on the menu is delicious but an all time favorite  is the Cajun Benedict (see my post dedicated to the Benedict…because it is that good)!

French Press

4. Bon Temps Grill | 1312 Verot School Road | (337) 706-8850

Bon Temps Grill is where we take our out-of-town guests for a good local meal. Bon Temp Grill serves “Swamp Edge” cuisine in an urban Cajun atmosphere.  The restaurant layout is cool and the food is fantastic. Favorites include the tuna tartar served with a side of potato chips and the buttery bbq shrimp. Don’t leave without tasting the bbq shrimp, it is absolutely to-die-for! And if you are bold enough try some of the frog legs.

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5. Pamplona Tapas Bar | 631 Jefferson St | (337) 232-0070

While it is hard to find any other types of authentic foods in Lafayette there are a few hits that should not be missed. Pamplona Tapas Bar is our favorite go-to spot for tapas and wine. The restaurant features Spanish cuisine en par to many tapas we’ve tasted in Spain. The cocktails are unique and delicious as are the large variety of spanish wines. So if you are looking for something other than your traditional cajun, hit up Pamplona located in the heart of downtown Lafayette.

6. Saigon Noodles |2865 Ambassador Caffery Parkway |

One of the few authentic vietnamese restaurants in Lafayette, Saigon serves up some of the best vietnamese dishes in town. Located in a strip mall the place can easily be missed. Favorites include the bbq short rib meal served with rice and salad and the large variety of pho to slurp through. Saigon Noodles recently opened a sister restaurant on Johnson street called Blu Basil Wine & Grill.  

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7. The Saint Street Inn |

The Saint Street Inn was founded by Nathan Stubbs and Mary Tutwiler, two journalists turned chefs determined to keep the cooking local. Seafood from the Gulf, produce from Acadiana’s farms and innovative cooking set the table for an inspired menu.  Nestled in the heart of one of Lafayette’s oldest neighborhoods, The Saint Street Inn also plays host to a variety of community events, from benefits and fundraisers to live music events and cookoffs. Both the kitchen and bar stay open late and there’s always a spot on the big front porch to sip a local brew and watch the sun go down.

8. Johnson’s Boucaniere | 1111 Saint John St| (337) 269-8878

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Johnson’s Boucaniere opened in 1937 in Eunice, La and relocated to Lafayette some years ago.  Boucaniere which means ‘smokehouse’ in english is a popular spot for lunch in Lafayette. At JB they smoke all of their speciality meats which include pork sausage, pork and turkey tasso and beef jerky. They also serve plate lunches from their in house made smoked meats which are made fresh weekly. Make sure not to miss this one.

9. Pop’s Poboys | 740 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501 | ((337) 534-0621)

I’ve never been a fan of Po-Boys (shocking!) until I tried Pop’s. Pop’s Poboys opened in April 2015 and is located in beautiful downtown Lafayette. Chef Collin Cormier and team bring eclectic flair to Louisiana’s favorite sandwich and beyond. Their twist on the traditional poboys are out of this world delicious. Favorites so far include the Banh Banh shrimp and the Hot Hot for all those fried chicken lovers out there.

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Photo courtesy of Pop’s Poboy website

For desserts and coffee these three are my go-to in town for quality coffee and sweets:

10. Carpe Diem! Gelato-Espresson Bar | 812 Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA | (337) 534-4155

If you crave real gelato and dreams of being back in Italy make your way to Carpe Diem located on Jefferson street to get your cravings fulfilled.

11. Reve Coffee Roasters | 200A Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA 70501 | (337) 534-8336

Reve is a micro-coffee roaster servicing the greater Acadiana area (and beyond) in the retail and wholesale of freshly roasted, specialty grade coffee beans. Be careful as their coffee is addictive!

12. The Lab | 1042 Camellia Blvd. #6, Lafayette, LA | 337.889.5782

The Lab handcrafted coffees creates delicious coffee flavors that are hard to find around here. Not to mention their delicious baked good and house-made gelato. Located in the beautiful River Ranch neighborhood the Lab is definitely a treat.

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Have I missed any of your favorites? Please feel free to share as I continue to eat my way through Lafayette!

(Please note some of the photos are taken from the restaurant’s online gallery: French Press, Johnson’s Boucaniere, Saigon Noodles, Jolie’s, Olde Tyme Grocery + Bread and Circus).

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My New Favorite Girl, Willa Jean (New Orleans)

A whole lot has changed since we moved away from New Orleans in 2012. New neighborhoods are popping up all over the city along with so many new businesses. It makes my heart smile to see the city doing so well and my stomach even happier to experience so many new restaurant openings. One of the ‘newer’ places that have recently opened that I am just in love with is John Besh’s Willa Jean in the CBD. It is the mastermind of BRG Executive Pastry Chef Kelly Fields and Pastry Chef Lisa White (of Domenica and PIZZA Domenica)  which is named after Fields’ grandmother.

I love the space which is designed by Curtis Herring. It adds a modern and elegant touch to iconic southern food. Brick walls, Edison bulbs and the restaurant’s “Uneeda Biscuit” mural add a stylish touch to traditional southern classics.

The bakery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, allowing the two chefs to show off their savory sides. The lunch and dinner menus are organized by “snacks,” “tartines/sandwiches,” “salads and soups,” “hot plates,” and “extra stuff,”. The Intelligentsia Coffee program is delicious but  Willa Jean also serves boozy slushies as well as tea- and coffee-inspired craft cocktails.

If you need to find me on any given morning in New Orleans, chances are I’ll be here sipping on my coffee and enjoying the space.

Open Sunday through Thursday- 7am-9pm; Friday and Saturday- 7am to 10pm

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Addicted to Fried Chicken since 2010- Rusted Rooster (Lafayette, LA)

There is something about fried chicken and biscuits that has me completely hooked. Growing up in Canada I never had fried chicken (unless you count KFC) but moving to the south opened up a whole new culinary door for me. From fried chicken,gravy and biscuits to the more traditional cajun dishes such as gumbo and red beans and rice, let’s just say I’m hooked. I recently discovered the Rusted Rooster, a small non-pretentious diner style joint on Saint Landry street in downtown Lafayette. Seems like the secret is already out and I’m the last to know as there is quite a wait for lunch and breakfast. Their fried chicken is out-of-this-world delicious as is their selection of burgers, sandwiches and breakfast staples. Their morning hash brown has me craving on a weekly basis. For those seeking a healthier alternative to fried goodness, fear not, as you can order everything grilled.

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Rusted Rooster
105 St. Landry St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 534-4135
Facebook.com/RustedRoosterLafayette

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Wood Pizza Bistro and Taphouse- Warehouse District (New Orleans, LA)

The newest restaurant addition to the Warehouse District is Wood Pizza Bistro & Taphouse located just across the street from Cochon. We were in town for Mardi Gras and as expected all restaurants were packed before the parades began. Initially, we wanted to have a sandwich at Cochon Butcher but with a line up around the corner we thought twice. Looking around I noticed this unassuming new restaurant with a large outdoor seating along an old brick wall. It reminded me of many places in New York and I was immediately attracted. It turns out that head chef, Will Salisbury, grew up in Long Island (no wonder) and spent months eating his way through Italy (as I have). So it was a win-win.

IMG_6673 The restaurant as the name gives away serves pizza and salads. Not any kind of pizza but the real wood-burning oven kind.  Inside, the restaurant is cozy and small with a small pizza assembly open-concept kitchen tucked in the corner and a larger bar serving awesome regional beers (40 beer taps with lots of craft brews from Louisiana and the South).
The pepperoni and mushroom pizza was delicious with a perfectly baked crust, generous amounts of fresh mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and pepperoni. The large salad was generous enough to feed our party of 3 all washed down by our pitcher of beer. Wood has definitely raised to the top of my go-to places in Nola for good eats on a patio. If you are craving pizza, you know the real Italian kind then definitely head to Wood. You won’t regret it!

 

 

Wood Pizza Bistro & Taproom on Urbanspoon

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Breakfast at Toast- Uptown (New Orleans, LA)

One of our favorite places to have a cozy breakfast in New Orleans is Tartine. You could imagine our excitement when we found out that the owners behind Tartine had opened up a new breakfast joint in uptown. Toast is located in the former home of Laurel Street Bakery in a once again extremely cozy and inviting space.

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The menu not surprisingly, features many various options on large generous pieces of toast. A particular favorite was the toast with prosciutto,honey and ricotta cheese and the smoked salmon, egg and cheese. Also on the menu are the much talked about Danish pancakes, aebelskivers, biscuits, crepes and sandwiches.

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The concept is original and like no other in New Orleans and the result is delicious. Don’t take it from me but from the crowds that line up every weekend to dine at Toast.

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What: Toast
Where: 5433 Laurel Street
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.
Contact: (504) 267-3260, toastneworleans.com@toastnola

Toast on Urbanspoon

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Dark Roux (Lafayette, LA)

We were so excited to try out the newly renovated Dark Roux (formerly Brick and Spoon) in Lafayette. Everything from the fresh decor, to the food, drinks and service was perfect. The food is farm to table, focusing on local produce and ingredients and the menu is a perfect blend of traditional cajun with a modern twist.

image_6imageimage_1We started our meal off with a bag of beignets which were like no other beignets I’ve had in Louisiana- round and fluffy with a hollow inside. image_2

For our main dishes, we ordered the chicken biscuits and traditional benny.  The chicken biscuits was a serving of perfectly tender and surprisingly flavorful fried chicken topped with a sunny side up egg and white gravy on two biscuits. It was so delicious I was almost tempted to order a second order. image_3The traditional benny consisted of fluffy buttermilk biscuits, a delicious house cured ham, collard greens, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. The Count ate it up in seconds but was left hungry for more as it does not come with any sides. Advice to the hungry ones, order some sides! image_5Both the Count and I were very impressed with the food at Dark Roux. The prices are a tad bit higher than your average breakfast/brunch spot in Lafayette but I can only assume that is because of the use of local and fresh ingredients. Either way, we will definitely be going back. 
image_4Dark Roux on Urbanspoon

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Sushi at Origami (New Orleans)

Our latest trip to New Orleans had us staying in close proximity to Freret street- which was perfect for my tastebuds. A lot has changed, or rather, opened up on Freret since we last lived in Nola in 2012. So many new restaurants and new developments in the area are popping up making it a perfect place to spend a day exploring…or eating.

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Post-pregnancy and in dire need of sushi we headed to Origami on Freret street based on some great reviews online. The restaurant can easily be missed as it is set in a white house which used to be a dive bar with limited signage. Inside presents quite differently as a sleek and modern minimalist Japanese bistro. Beautiful white paper chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and modern furniture give the restaurant a clean and trendy appeal- quite different from every other sushi joint in the city.

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The menu is consistent with other sushi restaurants. Japanese appetizers, sushi, rolls and the likes. We ordered several specialty sushi rolls including the burning man- which all proved to be delicious and fresh. The miso soup and seaweed salad was consistent and good.

image_3 image_5 For dessert we had the fried banana tempura served beautifully with a serving of vanilla ice-cream and mango mochi. image_11

 

Overall I was very happy with our dining experience at Origami and will definitely be going back for more sushi!

Origami on Urbanspoon

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Another Broken Egg (Lafayette, LA)

 Another Broken Egg is a Louisiana chain restaurant open for breakfast and brunch. Ever since our move to Lafayette and the multiple disappointing dining experiences, the Count and I made a conscious choice to dine mostly in the comfort of our home using local and organic ingredients. This is quite the change from our previous lifestyle in New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York where dining out was a part of our regular weekly schedule. Back then the blog was more active as there were so many restaurants and talented chefs to review. Anyhow- once in a while a girl has got to get out of the house and taste some variety, especially when this girl is very pregnant and craving a good brunch.

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This led us to Another Broken Egg which is right around the corner from where we live. The wait is always horrendous, especially on the weekends. And so we waited for 40 minutes until we were seated. The serve is like most other places in Lafayette, mediocre but the breakfast is pretty decent. We ended up waiting a very long time for our meal which led the manager to come and personally apologize for the delay. There’s nothing worse than making a pregnant girl starve.  Options are plenty including a section for various omelets and healthier options. For those vegetarians amongst us, there also seem to be some veggie options in the land where hunting and feeding on animal meat is a sport (see menu). We opted for the smoked Salmon Benedict and a breakfast burrito. Both dishes were delicious and large enough to satisfy a pregnant girl’s cravings.

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Another Broken Egg on Urbanspoon

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“Swamp Edge’ Cuisine at Steve & Pats Bon Temps Rouler (Lafayette, LA)

From Philadelphia to Lafayette, our latest move has landed us in the heart of Cajun country. And while many locals enjoy the likes of shrimps and grits and shrimp and sausage gumbo in their homes, we have to scavenge the country looking for good cajun food. This is how we found Steve and Pat’s Bon Temps Rouler, a modern restaurant serving traditional and innovative cajun food (see menu). 

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Whenever Gumbo is on the menu I never fail to order it. Gumbo, especially a good home-style gumbo is a traditional Souther Louisiana which quickly became a favorite with my tastebuds. The Smoked Bird & Andouille Gumbo at Steve and Pat’s was no exception.

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The meal started with the Tuna tartar. A generous portion of chopped raw tuna served on top of fresh lime marinated avocado in a bed of  citrus ponzu sauce, served with home made potato chips. It was a creative spin on the traditional tuna tartar and definitely one of my favorite versions.

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Next came the creamy Bbq shrimp and grits….followed by another….and then another (it was that good). The Jumbo shrimps were cooked in New Orleans style BBQ sauce which was creamy, buttery and oh so good served over roasted jalapeno cheese grits.

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The Count ordered the Garlic Panneed Frog Legs for our guests because when in Cajun country, we must eat like the cajuns. Frog legs are perhaps the one thing that I have never tried and am not willing to try but by the bare bones that remained on the plate I assumed that it was one tasty leg of a frog.

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The Seafood Creole Cobb Salad was a great salad for those who love their seafood. Generous portions of lump crabmeat and shrimp served with a few pieces of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, apple wood smoked bacon, cheddar, boiled egg and red onions. The large portion makes it a great main dish however, I found that the proportion of seafood to mixed greens was a little too much.

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Bon Temps Grill on Urbanspoon

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The French Press (Lafayette, LA)

Our latest move has brought us down to the heart of Louisiana: Lafayette. And after two months of settling in I am finally discovering the food scene. Of course, it is not Philadelphia, New York or New Orleans which makes the Hungry Nomad very hungry and in constant search of good food. That is how I was led to the French Press which in my mind is the greatest thing to hit this town. Innovative meals and funky spaces are a rarity in this part of the country and I long for my days spent dining in Philly and New York. But walking into the French Press I felt like I was right back in the city.

1-image_2 Owners Justin and Margaret Girouard have created a funky space where local hipsters and hungry diners blend in perfect harmony. The restaurant features many of its original pieces left behind from its original tenants.  High ceilings, peeling paint, exposed brick  and concrete floors give it a certain old time charm. But what makes this place filled with hungry diners and a line up out the door is the fantastic and innovative food.

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Chef Justin Girouard has created an award-worthy menu consisting of creative dishes which will certainly leave you wanting more (see menu). Our brunch started off with a perfect bloody mary topped off with pickled okras, spicy beans and olives. And while it did take a good 15-20 minutes for our drinks to come out it was well worth the wait. Ironically, it was the french press coffee which took longer than anything to make it to our table. 3-image_7

The cajun benedict was the highlight, a perfectly plated eggs benedict topped with the house gumbo. What an amazing dish. I polished my plate clean and as a result will be going back just for my weekly intake of this wonderful concoction.

4-image_9 5-image_12Our table also ordered the stuffed french toast for dessert. It was bursting with a soft creamy cream cheese topped with a berry-champagne compote. Another to die for dish!

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The verdict of our first brunch at the French Press? Best brunch spot in Louisiana. If you are planning a trip through Louisiana, the French Press is an absolute must.


 

The French Press on Urbanspoon

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