And a bonjour to y'all out there in Amigo Land. Amigo Noah here putting my fingers to the keyboard as I recount some of our fun times and memorable meals on our recent trip through the Deep South, in particular, the incredibly diverse and gorgeous state of Louisiana.
We touched down at Louis Armstrong international airport and drove straight to an educational workshop at New Orleans university, to watch the great jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton and other musicians give feedback to highschool jazz ensembles from around the area. While we were quite famished from a full morning of traveling with minimal food, we fortunately had the foresight to bring along with us left over fried chicken from the previous night in West Palm Beach, Florida; the chicken became dubbed as "travel chicken." While The travel chicken originally came from a soul food restaurant called Bay Bay's in West Palm Beach (not in Louisiana), it was certainly some delicious fried chicken, and kept us fed through out first day in New Orleans.
That evening, we ventured to the historic Casamento's restaurant and oyster house, located in the Garden District. We feasted on huge fresh gulf oysters, char-grilled oysters, fried crab claws, fried oysters, and gumbo. The char-grilled oysters stood out as an Amigo favorite, as they were topped with melted butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. The gumbo was another delicious addition to the meal. The dinner was of course accompanied by Tabasco, Crystal hot sauce, and Louisiana hot sauce.
The following morning, we had a leisurely morning and took advantage of our time to go for a large brunch in the Lower Garden District in preparation of our drive to Lafayette. We were joined by Amigo Sam's friend Roxane as we ate a crab and avocado omelette, corned beef hash and eggs, huevos rancheros, and one massive and delicious banana pancake. This pancake was huge and had a fabulous consistent texture with lots of mashed up banana packed in.
Our first meal in Lafayette was at a famous local dinning hall, Don's Restaurant. While we could barely understand our server, speaking with a deep southern accent combined with a lifetime of cigarettes, we were recommended to get the crawfish étouffée and the gumbo. This was certainly one of our best meals on the entire tour. The gumbo was served with white rice and fillé on the side, a local plant that is ground up into powder and acts as a thickening agent for the gumbo. The soup was filled with crawfish, crab, shrimp, okra, and was heavily seasoned. The crawfish étouffée was also an amigo favorite, with peppers, onions, rice, tomatoes, and crawfish, all sautéed in a delicious fragrant sauce. And let's not forget the Tabasco, which is bottled just a couple of miles away from Lafayette. Our evening gig was also accompanied by a large crawfish boil, so we got to experience a local tradition of folks chowing down on pounds of succulent little crawfish, freshly boiled, and caught locally that morning.
After a morning of teaching at Acadiana High School, we headed straight to Old Time Grocery Store, where we ordered the best po' boys Louisiana had to offer. We had both fried shrimp and fried oyster po' boys, and these simple sandwiches came with a little lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, secret sauce, and were absolutely stuffed with sea food. Of course the sandwiches were eaten with Tobasco.
While we were all really sad to leave Louisiana's rich culture and unique food behind, we had to move onto Alabama; essentially moving on from seafood to pork and BBQ territory.
Sam and Will enjoying their road chicken in the mile high club.
Char-grilled oysters from Casamentos in New Orleans.
Crawfish étouffée from Don's in Lafayette.
Gumbo with shrimp, okra, and crawfish at Don's in Lafayette.
Fried shrimp and oyster po boy from Old Time Grocery in Lafayette.