Friday, September 01, 2006
A couple of nights and a few delicious pounds in Lafayette, La: Alicia Ault for the NY Times
BAPTISM OF FIRE
Start your culinary tour at Prejean’s Restaurant (3480 Interstate 49, North Lafayette; 337-896-3247), a semi-haute tribute to that South Louisiana trinity of salt, fat and deep-frying. “If you’re on a diet, you came to the wrong place,” chirped our waiter, Sebastian. Prejean’s has the scent of a tourist trap, with a 14-foot, 600-pound alligator watching over the dining room, but the food is the real deal. Start with the crawfish enchilada ($6.99), a baked cheese-covered tortilla rolled in a deathly rich crawfish-tail-studded velouté and move on to the blackened catfish étouffée, a moist fillet topped with a pile of roux-covered crawfish tails ($17.99).
ROOTS AND BEER
Since opening in 2002, the Blue Moon Saloon (215 East Convent Street, 877-766-2583; www.bluemoonpresents.com) has grown from a quirky youth hostel to a premier place to listen to local Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop, as well as national roots acts like the Iguanas and the Weary Boys.
After eight years, it’s no longer a novelty, but the zydeco breakfast at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge (140 East Bridge Street, 337-332-5273) still packs them in every Saturday morning from 8:30 until the band stops at 11.
SOHO IN GRAND COTEAU
Near a convent on Grand Coteau’s main street is an understated restaurant whose ambience somehow suggests a cross between a quiet country inn and Manhattan chic. The polished wood floors and oversize Kodachrome-rich photographs of local flora and fauna are the perfect backdrop to the sophisticated Louisiana-rooted offerings at Catahoula’s (234 Martin Luther King Drive, 337-662-2275).
Ault has more on food and music, including the news that Grant Street dancehall has reopened.
Sadly, she ignores the rest of the arts scene. Try the ULM Museum for starters. And if you're serious about South Louisiana, check out Rebecca Hudsmith's 3 articles on the scene in Arnaudville. They ran on SptBlog in June.