I must admit following my day one fantastic dining experience at Steamboat Bill’s, I went to bed felling like a lucky little kid anxiously waiting for the great experiences that only Christmas can bring. That’s right, I was darn near that excited, knowing that seasoned chefs and the owners of fine, hidden food establishments were about to make me happy, very happy. And I was right.
Wake up call at 6, up at 7; I hope my wife is reading this because that is a fact. First time in 135 years I’ve been up that early, and it was because of food!
First I was off to Dwyers in downtown Lafayette. A long, long time family owned diner where dad (not there), along with the two sons and daughter, were feverish getting ready for their famed beef tongue lunch while serving up a full house of hungry folks breakfast: their speciality, sweet potato pancakes covered with pure cane syrup. Of course the dishes were moving constantly with omelets and other standard fare of eggs and sides, yet I could not resist their slow cooked hash browns they call smothered potatoes. (See the next issue of CP for recipe!) Of course I had them cover mine with eggs sunny side with oozing yoke making a creamy heaven of flavors.
They were quick to tell me that each day they feature a different entry for lunch called “Plate Lunch” and today’s … Ready? Beef tongue. Never had it, and I was both anxious and a bit worried. What if I think it sucks?
Whoa … Pack me up 5 pounds NOW to go!
Finally, (not really) Brett, the youngest of the bunch, told me that he was prepping steamed cabbage rolls. He is invading my mother’s—god bless her—territory. Never can match Mom’s. Never. Well, let me tell you it was so, so, so good. I plan on featuring it as my Editor’s choice. Mom will understand. So, in the next issue of CP I have Brett’s steamed cabbage rolls full recipe, just for you lucky readers. Good salesman aren’t I?
This place is a super must. Simply great down home southern style cooking and ambiance. The patrons are many, and most are locals who return with the frequency every business owner cherishes.
Great time, great food and nothing on the menu will make you get out the ole credit card. It is truly that reasonable.
Then I was off to Don’s Specialty Meats.
Guys. Hold on. This is man-card heaven, and guess what? You are invited to come to my Super Bowl party, featuring Don’s meats that NO one in Houston will have except for Rick. I say that with respect to the ladies, believe me, you CAN BBQ a different meat each day for a year … Yes! A year.
My buddy, Tracy Carter of Tailgating Jac’s, recommended this place by saying , “OMG this place is Fabulous!” Remember that word? Name of this super fun feature.
I spent two hours at Don’ watching them make hundreds of pounds of fresh, scrumptious boudin. Then they displayed for me their endless array of stuffed meats that possess the linage the length of the yellow pages. I can not take the time to list them, Bam will kill me. Go to their web site, get your napkin and be prepared to drool. You can order, and they ship. You can get it in time for the Super Bowl too!
I was then invited back to the prep area called “popp’in” where the cracklings are deep fried. Those two fellas working there should be getting hazardous duty pay. Better yet, this is a great episode for Worst or Most Dangerous Jobs.
Realize that Don’s not only produces these great, unique meat products, they also sell to a continuous crowd of folks who endlessly come in for fresh cooked boudin and cracklings served in a basket, steaming hot and waiting to invade your senses; I assure you I would have embarrassed my wife, over and over.
Roxann Roy and Jared Dwyer (that’s right, kin to the folks who just invaded my waist band at breakfast) gave me the time and info that will make you want to be their neighbors. The next issue of CP will share with you Don’s recipe for his long standing, award-winning boudin that has the mayor of Scott, Louisiana desperately trying to name the city Scott, the Boudin Capital of the US.
Here again, the pricing and the folks serving you are great. They truly care. However, one observation if I may: Check out the next issue of CP where there will be photos of these folks and Don’s facility; note they are all SKINNY. Dr. Oz, should we all be eating boudin and cracklings daily?
Do you believe I did all of this and was done prior to 2:00 pm? My son Sir, the president of CP should be so proud of his Dad.
Lunch was back downtown to Antlers. Let me tell you that I now have a great new BEST friend. John Walters, his adorable wife Jennifer, and his ma. That is one fine lady—I love mature women and my wife knows, so all is well. These folks not only served me some of the finest true southern food I have ever ate, they actually sat with me for an hour after and shared stories of their kids, life and passions. Food is a great bridge to life and those who embrace it.
I don’t really like to name drop, but Dan Aykroyd says, “I like Antlers!” I guess when he is in the area it’s on his hit list.
Located downtown they are open only for lunch. Is that not super? That one can be so successful that they have the late afternoon and evening with their family following a hectic morning and noon making others so darn pleased.
The patrons love this place, it feels like a family reunion when you are there. Everyone knows everyone, and the kitchen is open to all visitors.
Oops, maybe I should say something about the food! Seriously, John has the most unique and simplified recipe for both regular and sausage stuffed pork chops that I can not wait to get home and see if it will make me as popular as he. Remember the next issue of CP—am I doing good Bam and Sir?
They also have the Plate Lunch Specials each day of the week and most of the folks I talked to plan their weekly lunches accordingly to those specialties that they can not seem to get enough of. By the way, when I first visited two fellas at a table who have been eating there for 20 years (do you believe that?), I observed that their bowl of gumbo was so large, it appeared to be half the amount of the pot that was prepared. Their other dishes are not size friendly as well; they are simply huge. I love it!
I also could not leave the gumbo alone, and his fried catfish covered a large, large plate of rice, smothered with crawfish Etouffee and generously garnished with loads and bunches of crawfish (that you don’t have to peal—my wife would love this). It was simply knock down delicious.
To end this feast at lunch, Ma served me her specialty, bread pudding. Man, I am adopting these folks! It was incredible.
Well I have 2 1/2 days to go. I can’t wait to go to bed and dream of sugar plums—STOP—dream of boudin and crawfish with deep fried catfish swimming in étouffée sauce,dancing in my head.
Love this job—will talk with you all tomorrow evening!