Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend

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Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 3:57 PM
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Bob at Boudinlink.com was kind enough to invite me to his Boudin Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana this past weekend.  The following was my itinerary - click on any of the links to jump directly to that section.
 
Thursday
Johnson’s Boucaniere - Boudin, gumbo, sausage and tasso sauce Piquante
 
Friday
Old Tyme Grocery – Zapps Potato chips, shrimp po’boy
The French Press – Bacon, egg, cheese, boudin on Texas toast.  Bacon praline
Creole Lunch House – Sausage stuffed bread with a chicken fricassee sauce
Villager’s Café – Pot roast poor-boy, shrimp po’boy, french fries  
Judice Inn – Hamburger
Southside Bakery – “Gourmet Hamburger”
Café de Amis – Turtle soup, fried green tomatoes with imperial crab sauce, sirop cake ala mode
 
 
Saturday
Café de Amis – Oreille de Couchon stuffed with boudin, omelet covered with crawfish etouffee, pancakes (crepes) with praline sauce
Boudin Festival - 42 samples of boudin
Boudin Festival Leftovers
Borden’s – Strawberry ice cream
The Bluerunners Reunion Concert
 
Sunday
Meche’s Donut King – Glazed donut, apple fritter
Mike’s Country Corner – Pork plate
<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Sat, 10/23/10 9:22 PM>

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 4:10 PM
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Immediately after landing in Lafayette I met up with Bob (Boudinlink.com) at one of his favorite local eateries - Johnson’s Boucaniere.  He gave me a tour and introduced me to Greg and Lori, the family behind the eating establishment since 1937.
 
After we sat down, we sampled the menu.  You can read a complete review here http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/7388-8093/johnsons-boucaniere 
 
We started with Sausage And Tasso Sauce Piquante

 
Afterward, we  sampled some of the legendary boudin.  For those not familiar with the dish, it is a mix of rice, pork (pork butt, in this photo), red pepper, bell pepper, and a little bit of pork liver.  I admit the photos aren't sexy, and if you have never sampled the dish, it looks fatty, but trust me, it is far from that.  Boudin is lean compared to the sausages common to most people, and Johnson's is completely void of cartilage and other foreign pig parts.
 

 
I sampled some Gumbo, which contained leftover chicken garlic sausage, and pork sausage.  It was very brothy and could probably cure a cold.
 

 
After lunch, Greg took me to the back-of-house and showed me his custom made smoker.  Viola!
 

 

<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Tue, 10/19/10 4:14 PM>

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 4:23 PM
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After lunch I went back to my hotel room and took a well-deserved nap since I woke up at 3:45 AM for my flight!  Upon awakening, I returned back to Johnson's for a private dinner with friends, co-workers and family.  I didn't think it would be appropriate to bring my camera, so I don't have much to show, but we sampled a variety of meats and drank local beer.  The biggest surprise was a dish that Bob concocted while driving from Louisiana to NY for a food festival.  It is a grilled cheese sandwich with a boudin ball and bbq sauce smashed between the two layers of toast.
 
Unfortunately, I only have a fuzzy photo of this dish that I took with my mobile phone.
 
 
Bob, I think we need to send you on more road trips so we can see what other creative ideas you have tucked away.

Tony Bad
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 4:34 PM
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You did remember to bring me a few pounds of cracklins...didn't you?  

Sundancer7
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 4:38 PM
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Stephen:  I consulted with a pharma firm in Lafayette for close to five years post retirement.  I have visited several of the places you mentioned.  Boudin and cracklins are some of my favorite items to purchase when I am there.
 
Too bad you miss T Coons which is a very good Lafayette low key resturant that features rabbit on Mondays and a great breakfast.
 
https://tcoons.com/Home_Page.html
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 4:45 PM
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Friday Morning – Old Tyme Grocery
After a nice welcoming to Lafayette the previous night, I was ready to sample a variety of restaurants.
 
My first stop was the Old Tyme Grocery, a favorite among college students for affordable po’boys.

 
It was pretty clear the meats were ordinary deli-packaged, so I placed an order for a shrimp po’boy.  While waiting, I grabbed a bag of Zapp’s Voodoo Gumbo potato chips.  According to Zapp’s this flavor of kettle cooked chips was an accident - apparently a worker knocked over a bunch of spices and shortly afterward realized the mix was pretty tasty.  Zapp’s was able to re-create and the end result is a melody of sweet and spicy spices.  Be sure to try this if you are ever in Louisiana.

 
When the Po’boy finally arrived, it was served with a hollowed-out roll. The shrimp tasted fresh with a nice fried crunch.  Overall it was an excellent sandwich, but I was on the hunt for a signature dish.


Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 5:11 PM
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Friday Morning – The French Press
The French Press is new upscale restaurant with a trendy vibe.  I couldn’t resist sampling the Acadian breakfast sandwich and praline bacon.
 
The praline bacon had a nice balance of sweet, salty and savory with chunks of pecans interspersed.
The sandwich consisted of bacon, egg, cheese and boudin in between two pieces of buttered Texas toast. I knew before taking my first bite, this was going to be the heaviest sandwich I have ever eaten.  The moistness of egg, cheese, bacon and boudin caused the ingredients to seal together into a powerful artery-clogging delight.  The toast wasn’t thick enough to rescue me from cholesterol overload, so I had two put the sandwich down after a couple of bites if I wanted to continue eating for the rest of the day.
 

 
Overall, an excellent meal, but I would encourage sharing if you plan on having multiple meals before diner.
 

Sundancer7
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 5:16 PM
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Stephen, the sandwich looked super and your description was very good but it sounds like you were trying to outdo Adam Richman
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

buffetbuster
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 5:20 PM
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Stephen, the photos are gorgeous!  I especially like the one with all the hanging sausages.  And I will be jonesing for that fried shrimp po boy the rest of the night!

mar52
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 6:10 PM
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Boudin of my dreams!  Swooooon!
There's nothing un-sexy about your picture.
 
Pork Boudin is one of my favorite things and I always have some in the freezer.
 
So.... do you eat the casing?  I love it when it's crispy.

leethebard
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 6:53 PM
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Great report,Stephen...that French Press restaurant looks fascinating, and love your breakfast...what an interesting sandwich...thanks for the pictures!!!

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 7:58 PM
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Friday Morning – Creole Lunch House
After the hearty breakfast at the French Press, I met up with Bob (BoudinLink.com) for two more of his personal favorites.
 

 
Creole’s Lunch house is discretely located in a residential area of Lafayette.  When Bob and I exited the car, I still couldn’t find the place since it resembles every other residence in the neighborhood.  After the embarrassment of my disorientation, we headed inside Merline’s cozy eatery.  The white board posted an assortment of rotating plate lunches, and Bob persuaded me to save my appetite for the next place and order the sausage stuffed bread with a side of chicken fricassee sauce.
 
As you can see from the photo, the inner ring of the bread was moist from the meat and the thin rustic exterior provided a light chew.  Mopping the stuffed bread into the chicken fricassee sauce amplified the carnivorous flavors.
 

 

<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Tue, 10/19/10 8:00 PM>

stricken_detective
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 8:07 PM
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Hot Boudin
Cold Cous Cous
Come On, Tigers
Poosh Poosh Poosh!!!!
 

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 8:16 PM
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Friday Afternoon – Villager’s Café
 
Located just outside of Lafayette in the small town of Maurice, the Villager’s Café is renowned for Poor-Boy’s sandwiches.  The restaurant is a humble structure with an interior that must contain an assortment of items collected at garage sales over the years.
 

 
The bowl of crispy French fries were portioned as quartered discs, lightly salted and prime for grabbing with two fingers and dipping into ketchup.  They visually resemble home fries, but are much crispier – just the way I like them.
 

 
The pot roast po’boy is the distinguishing menu item; fully dressed with thinly shredded lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise, the juices from the succulent slow roasted meat were fighting their way to the outer crust of the bread.  This was the signature po’boy I was searching for.  Don’t leave Lafayette without ordering one.
 


 
We also ordered a shrimp po’boy which was also excellent.

<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Tue, 10/19/10 8:18 PM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 8:39 PM
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So it sounds like boudin is basically Cajun spiced hash and rice stuffed into a casing?  And that stuffed bread must be a meaty cousin of the runza?
 
Terrific pictures Stephen--a weekend spent evaluating po'boys is never a bad thing.  :)

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 8:45 PM
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Friday Afternoon – Judice Inn
 
It seems that everyone in Lafayette knows about the Judice Inn and the Judice family.  There family has been serving burgers in the small town for over 60 years, so it came as no surprise that everyone was praising this eatery.  My Roadfood radar had a good feeling about the place, since they have been specializing in a single dish for a long time, nearly everyone recommended it, and the place was packed at all hours of the day.
 

 
Even the best Roadfood radars have malfunctions.  When I opened the wax paper wrapping, I could tell the heavily griddled single-paddy burger was half-hazardly put together because three quarters of the lettuce and onions weren’t on the bun.  I was so excited about this place, and wanted to like it, but after the first bite I realized the thoroughly cooked burger meat coupled with the dry and slightly stale bun was less appetizing than a kitchen sponge.  After managing to swallow, I was in disbelief that it could be so unappetizing.  Did I get a bad batch?  The place was still busy, so I looked around at the other tables.  Everyone else seemed to be enjoying their meal.  I reluctantly took another a bite.  Check mate – It was no different, so I put the burger down, paid the bill and called it quits.

 

<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Tue, 10/19/10 8:46 PM>

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/19/10 9:05 PM
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Friday Afternoon – Southside Bakery
The second most popular burger recommendation was the Southside Bakery.  My Roadfood radar was immediately skeptical about the place because of the experience at the prior restaurant.  After opening the door, I was engulfed with the odors of bakery sweets cooking in the ovens.  It’s odd to order a hamburger at a bakery, and the menu board branded theirs as a “gourmet burger”, which made me even more skeptical.  In the name of research, I went through with the purchase.
 

 
Several minutes later, a well-done and properly formed patty was served.  The good news – the homemade toasted bun was light, airy and sweet.  I would rank it as one of the top 5 hamburger buns anywhere.  The not-so-good news – the burger was too compact and heavily spiced like meatloaf.  I headed out the door after three bites.
 

 
Strike two on finding good Roadfood.  I needed to get back on track – fast.
<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Tue, 10/19/10 9:06 PM>

mar52
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 12:13 AM
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Maybe Lousiana isn't the place for a burger?
 
Back to Boudin!

Foodbme
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 2:04 AM
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I've been anxiously awaiting your report! And you are delivering! Can't wait for the next Chapter in "City Slicker Meets Boudin"!
<message edited by Foodbme on Wed, 10/20/10 2:05 AM>

Foodbme
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 2:10 AM
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What is the definition/translation/pronunciation of the word, "Boucaniere"?

Michael Stern
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 5:17 AM
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Foodbme


What is the definition/translation/pronunciation of the word, "Boucaniere"?


It means smokehouse in French: Boo-con-year.
 
Stephen: What appetizing photos!

agnesrob
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 7:09 AM
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Stephan, Great report and pictures! I haven't been to Lafayette in many years! I'm so jealous of your trip! Thanks for posting it!

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 8:19 AM
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Friday Afternoon – Café de Amis
 
Café de Amis is about 15 miles east of Lafayette in the quaint town of Breaux Bridge.  The restaurant was literally empty at 3 PM when I arrived, so I had ample time to chat with the wait staff and get their recommendations.
 

 
I started with the turtle soup served alongside tiny portion of sherry which you can mix to your liking.  The meat was hearty and tender.
 

 
The fried green tomatoes with a crab imperial sauce were going to be my vegetables for the day (I had to Google to see if it is a fruit or vegetable http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato) , and they didn’t disappoint.  The sweet interior of the tomato counterbalanced the crisp cornmeal and flower breading. The crab imperial sauce was mild but necessary to moisten the dish.
 

 
Lastly, on the recommendation of the waitress, I dug into the Gateau Sirop, a sweet and spicy cake made from cane syrup and topped with roasted pecans and vanilla ice cream.  Similar to gingerbread, the moist cake should be consumed with half a spoon of ice cream in every bite.  After sampling meats, boudin, and seafood for the prior 8 hours, anything with sugar was a welcomed change.  The cake was delicious, and I contemplated ordering a second one but I came to my senses when I remembered that I would be sampling over 40 boudin sausages the next day and should leave some appetite for the weekend.


mar52
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 11:01 AM
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Over 40 boudin?  *thud*
 
 

Foodbme
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/20/10 11:35 AM
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Michael Stern


Foodbme


What is the definition/translation/pronunciation of the word, "Boucaniere"?


It means smokehouse in French: Boo-con-year.

THANX! Boucaniere sounds so much more exotic than Smokehouse.

Lafayette
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Thu, 10/21/10 9:39 AM
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I live here in Lafayette and it is unfortunate that the Judice Inn is 1. so bad and 2. has such a following that they have zero desire/incentive to make things better.  There is no reason that they can't turn out a good burger and they have the ambiance and history to stand out as a noteworthy roadfood destination.
 
I stopped going here after giving them three tries.  On the third and final attempt the four burgers we ordered came out so burned (not just overcooked but "burned") that they were truly inedible.  I was with some friends and didn't want to make a scene, plus I had the impression that the young guys in the kitchen would have been less-than-receptive to the burgers being sent back.  We voted with our feet and left (for good).
 
There are dozens of awesome roadfood worthy stops in this region.  Thanks for calling the duds for what they are and for giving credit where it is due.
 
Bob
<message edited by Lafayette on Thu, 10/21/10 9:40 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Fri, 10/22/10 11:12 AM
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Lafayette-
Welcome to Roadfood!  Glad you are here.  No doubt that where you live has an incredible amount of interesting Roadfood places and I hope you stick around to tell us about some of your favorites.

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Fri, 10/22/10 8:37 PM
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Saturday Morning – Café de Amis
Gina and Jody from the Downtown Lafayette organization were kind enough to join me at the famous Café de Amis Saturday morning Zydeco breakfast.  We arrived at the restaurant just before the opening at 7:30 AM and there was already a queue of over a dozen people.  Jody and her connections got us through the door and secured us a prime seat for eating, people watching and dancing.  We all ordered a Bloody Mary to jumpstart the day and watched the restaurant completely fill with people in 15 minutes.  Every table was occupied by a diner, every barstool was occupied by an early morning cocktail, and every space between the tables was occupied by someone ready to dance.  Not too many restaurants have this anticipatory energy at 8 AM!
 
The three of us were heading over to the Boudin festival in Lafayette after breakfast, so we started with some breakfast boudin. The Oreille de Couchon starter is thin fried dough shaped like pigs’ ears, and stuffed with boudin.  The sweetness of the powdered sugar mixed with boudin provided a delicious sweet and savory combination.  The outer edges of the dough were brittle, while the thicker middle had a tender and crispy combination from the boudin.  Oreille de Couchon should be on every Lafayette visitor’s breakfast list.
 

 

 
After polishing off the fried dough stuffed with boudin, the Zydeco band started playing and the place really started coming alive.  Both strangers and partners were dancing to the catchy soulful music. Condiments, drinks and our plates were literally bouncing around the table from enthusiastic dancers having fun on the restaurants old wooden floors.  I couldn’t tell you the name of the band, but the lead singer had a voice that reminded me of Van Morison in the 1970’s.  According to my local companions, the place isn’t a tourist trap – they estimated 80% of the people were from the area.  Check out the HD video yourself:
 

 

 
After burning a few calories dancing, we shared an omelet covered with a smooth and tender crawfish etouffee.  A buttery and flakey biscuit was also served alongside a cup of grits.
 

 
Finally, we ordered a pancake after seeing one delivered at our neighbors table.  We initially tried the praline sauce, which was thick and nutty, but found it to be lacking the liquidity we normally enjoy with syrup.  Cane syrup was our backup plan, and the sweet cane atop the thin buttery pancake was deemed the winning combination.
 

 
Parting shot of the band:

<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Sat, 10/23/10 10:05 AM>

Ivyhouse
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Fri, 10/22/10 10:43 PM
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Stephen, the omelette looks wonderful -- how was it?  And why is the etouffee two-toned -- were there two different types?

mr chips
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Fri, 10/22/10 11:52 PM
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What a marvelous report Stephen. Great photos, great description of the food and eating establishments. Can hardly wait to hear about the sausage

Sundancer7
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 6:52 AM
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My next trip to Lafayette will definately include this cafe.  I will order exactly the same breakfast that you did. Great pics Stephen.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 12:05 PM
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Saturday - Boudin Cook-off
 
The annual Boudin Cook-off is a one day event held at a public square in downtown Lafayette.  Over twenty linkeries setup booths where people could sample their boudin creations and other pig parts like cracklins.  Admission was free, you pay for what you eat or drink.  Beyond eating, it is a family friendly atmosphere with bouncy houses, a rock climbing wall, live music, and mini games that involve throwing a fake boudin through a pig’s mouth or pin-the-tail on the pig.
 

 

 

The cook-off featured three different categories:
  • Traditional Link – Steamed / Boiled sausage with rice, pork and red pepper
  • Specialty Link – A more open category serving non-traditional sausage. For example, the boudin link would be smoked or served with crawfish instead of pork.  One entry poured BBQ sauce on top.
  • Unlinked – The most open category, serving boudin in a dish that wasn’t a sausage.  Some examples include King Cake with boudin or pecan boudin pie.
Lastly, there was a People’s Choice award for the most popular cookery.  Participants could purchase sample tickets for fifty cents apiece and get Dixie-cup portions from the competitors.  Afterwards they would submit their favorites to a polling booth where the results would be tallied at the end of the day.
 

 
With the exception of Bob (Boudinlink.com) friends from Jacksonville, Florida, all the competing restaurants were from Louisiana.  People were initially skeptical of Bob’s out-of-town friends who called themselves “The Redneck-Riviera Beachbumbs,” but they were drawn to their duct-taped labeled sign and king-cake boudin dish which sold out in less than two hours!
 

 
After getting acclimated to the event, it was time to start the judging.  Each of the three categories had over twenty submissions, and I was assigned to both the traditional and specialty link category.  I was joined with five other people and we rated the boudin on the following characteristics: presentation, rice, casing, meat, texture and taste.  Each was waited differently, and an overall score was given to the dish that helped determine the winner.
 

 
I don’t think any of the judges sampled this much boudin before, so it took a couple links before we found a rhythm for getting through all the dishes.  Boudin is starchy, so we quickly learned that beer was essential for cleaning the palate of both carbohydrates and spice.
 
Before the judging began I was nervous if I would be able to distinguish between good and excellent boudin.  Coming from the northeast, where boudin is non-existent, I felt disadvantaged from those who grew up in Acadian country. Thankfully it wasn’t an issue - 20% of the boudin was exceptional, 70% was very good, and the remaining 10% was difficult to get through.  The very best had tender and succulent pork, smooth texture, completely void of cartilage, and a warm spice that would slightly pepper the mouth.   The bottom ten percent had a natural casing with visible veins, poorly cooked rice, and meat with occasional chunks of cartilage.
 
The judging process went as follows - A facilitator would retrieve a uniquely numbered clamshell filled with boudin and each of us would grab a sample and squeeze the contents into our mouth and then take notes on the scorecard.  It took me around three bites before becoming comfortable assigning a score.  After a few samples, my plate would fill up with leftover links that I would routinely offer to obliged bystanders hovering over our shoulders – “you can’t let all this great boudin go to waste” proclaimed a hungry spectator.
 
The specialty link category was my favorite because it was open to creativity.  A bacon-wrapped boudin was the most unique, but my favorite had to be the smoked boudin varieties.  The rice and meat had a backcountry BBQ flavor, while the natural casing was snappier than the boiled varieties so it was easier to digest.
 

 
Smoked boudin in the bottom-center:

 
Who were the winners?  NuNu’s from Youngsville was the overall champion.  They took the title for Traditional, Unlinked and the People’s Choice award.  The Sausage Link got first place for their bacon wrapped boudin in the Specialty category.  While my vote only counted 1/6th of the total, and I agree these places were some of the very best, it is important to reiterate that excellent boudin can be found throughout Louisiana. If you are visiting in the area, don’t just limit yourself to this year’s winners.
 
Photo of the NuNu's crew:
 

<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Sat, 10/23/10 12:11 PM>

Sundancer7
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 1:11 PM
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Great review Stephen.  You are correct as boudin is almost a staple is that area of the state.  Great cracklins also.  I have been around Lafayette many times during the spring when the crawfish are being harvested from the flooded rice paddies.  Great time of the year.
 
I am glad you got to be a judge.  Unique perspective! The bacon wrapped looked the best but I certainly see why you preferred the smoked version.  It was much more eye appealing than the boiled boudin.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN 
<message edited by Sundancer7 on Sat, 10/23/10 1:14 PM>

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 3:33 PM
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Saturday - Boudin Cook-off Leftovers
Another highlight of the festival was the boudin eating contest.  Around 10 participants were challenged to finish six boudin links – the first three received an award.  I was judging while this was going on, so I couldn’t see the gorging, but hundreds of people gathered around the long eating table and cheered their favorite participant.  The winner was the gentlemen on the right; second place was the lady in the middle, and third place on the far left.  None of them were professional eaters, and they seemed to be enjoying their moment of fame because the spent the day walking around with their sash attached.
 

 
Finally, the festival organizers were courteous and invited me to judge the Unlinked category of the Boudin Cook-off, but my stomach couldn’t handle the load any more. The only requirement for the dish was that it must contain boudin.  Twenty portions of King Cake with boudin or pecan boudin pie sound delicious on am empty stomach, but the smell of these heavy dishes made me nauseous.  The sampling of 40 links had taken a toll, so I stayed around to photo a praline boudin and then walked off some of my appetite.
 


Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 3:35 PM
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Thanks for the compliments Paul. The people Lafayette are some of the friendliest in the country.  Combining nice locals with great food and music is a winning combination.

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 3:39 PM
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Saturday Afternoon - Borden’s
Towards the end of the festival I walked over to Borden’s to try some ice cream.  For some reason, I can eat large quantities of ice cream even after eating inordinate amounts of food – 44 boudin link samples to be exact!  This is the last of the stand-alone diary shops, and they are popular for ice cream and frappes.  I can appreciate the place for nostalgia, but it is no comparison to the quality of ice cream I grew up with in New England (see our eating tour of New England ice-creameries for more details (http://www.roadfood.com/TheBest/NewEnglandIceCream).  The texture could have been smoother and less icy, and the flavors could have been more intense.  It reminded me of ice cream from the early 1980’s like Howard Johnson’s or Friendly’s – not bad, but very average for today.
<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Sat, 10/23/10 9:20 PM>

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 4:16 PM
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Saturday Evening –The Bluerunners Reunion Concert
After the very successful Boudin Cook-off, Greg from Johnson’s Boucanerie invited me to join him for a sold-out concert at the brand new Acadiana Center for the Arts to see The Bluerunners Reunion show.  I have never heard of the band, but it sounded like an offer not to be missed.  The venue was an intimate and contemporary setting with seating for just over 300 people.  At one point during the show, the lead singer asked how many people were related to a band member and nearly half the audience raised their hand.  Welcome to Acadia country!
 

 
The music was a delightful but unfamiliar blend of accordion, slide guitar, washboard, bass, and drums.  Everyone in the audience seemed to recognize the bands catalog of songs and danced the entire night.  One thing became clear at this concert - people in Lafayette REALLY enjoy dancing.  Just like Café de Amis, the aisles were packed with people swinging their arms and shaking their hips.  I even spotted a few moms dancing with their newborns strapped to their bellies (at 10 PM!), and couldn’t resist sharing this with Greg.  “Oh yah, they start them young” he replied.

After the first set we made our way to the breakout area for some drinks when I encountered the following sign:
 

 
Most concerts I have been too sell popcorn and pretzels.  This was a truly southern menu.  Devils on Horseback, which was new to me, are pitted dates stuffed with mango chutney and wrapped in bacon.  I regret not trying, but my appetite after a full-day of eating was non-existent.
 
After the break the band had a twenty minute Q&A session with the audience, a signature feature of the Louisiana Crossroads series, and then played for another hour.
 
At the end of the night Greg gave me a hug, and said “you are like one of the brothers.”  If there is one thing I learned about Lafayette it’s that food, family, and music is the trinity of life in Acadia country.
<message edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. on Sat, 10/23/10 4:17 PM>

Greymo
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 4:50 PM
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Grest report...............terrific food.................most of all...........wonderful people!

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 7:00 PM
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Sunday Morning –Meche’s Donut King
On the final morning of my visit I met up with Bob (BoudinLink.com) and his family for breakfast at Meche’s Donut King.  This place must keep Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts out of town with their fresh hot donuts.
 

 
We sampled the glazed donuts, apple fritters, and a variety of others.  Anything still warm from the fryer is worth ordering.
 

 
The manager invited me back to the kitchen when he saw me taking pictures of the food.  I quickly turned my camera to video mode and captured the servers placing hot fresh donuts into a box for customers.
 

 

 
My only disappointment with Meche’s is the lack of ice coffee.  I would have thought it there would have been a demand in the hot southern climate.  Nonetheless, Meche’s is a great place to start the day.

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 7:40 PM
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Sunday Morning – Mike’s Country Corner
Mike’s was the last stop of my journey, and even though I had been eating all weekend, I wanted to grab a large meal to hold me over for 10 hours of travel back home.  Plate meals are popular at certain eateries around Lafayette, and Mike’s is known for a special BBQ plate on Sunday.  They make a certain quantity of pork, brisket and chicken, and stop serving when the supply runs out – I was told usually around Noon.   Located just outside of Lafayette, Mike’s Country Corner operates more as a mini-mart than an eatery.  Aside from plate lunches, they also serve boudin, cracklin, and stuffed bread (pistolettes).
 

 
Behind the counter were about 80 styrofoam clamshell boxes with various plate lunches inside.  Without seeing any of the contents, I took a chance and ordered the pork.  The cashier handed me a hefty container that probably weighed five pounds.
 

 
I walked outside to a broken wooden picnic table, cracked open the box and was stunned to see they stuffed a foot-long slab of pork inside.  The brittle plastic forks supplied were no match for a meat hunk of this proportion.  Manners and etiquette were briefly suspended as I lifted the pork with my hands and gnawed like a carnivorous cave-man.  The meat was fairly tender with a strong smoky flavor.  Next time I would arrive earlier to get a warmer piece.  Under the slab of pork was a creamy potato salad, beans, and some of the best dirty rice around.  Mike’s dirty rice, which should be on everyone’s short-list of Lafayette’s must-eats, is a mixture of tiny bits of beef, liver and onions.
 

 
After filling up on at least a pound of rice and half the pork, I rushed to the airport and headed home with a full stomach and some new friends.  Sadly, the trip had come to an end, but I look forward to returning next year with a group of Roadfooder’s.

billyboy
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sat, 10/23/10 7:57 PM
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Wow, Stephen!  What a truly amazing, informative, educational and inspirational report!  I really felt like I was there with you.  Lots of great detail and your pictures are what I aspire to one day.  I've never been to Louisiana and have no experience with Cajun/creole cuisine but this and the yearly tour have made me crave it!  I hope to make it there next year.  Thanks so much!!!

mr chips
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sun, 10/24/10 12:13 AM
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What a great report! Hope to read many more from you. I admire your iron stomach as well as your participation in a lot of local cultural activities

Nancypalooza
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sun, 10/24/10 9:51 AM
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I really hope you do more of these--I feel like I know a lot more about Louisiana-outside-New-Orleans food now.  So how long did it take to get over having consumed part of 44 boudin links?

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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sun, 10/24/10 10:11 AM
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Fantastic report, Stephen.
I've never been to Louisiana but I love cookbooks from there. My favorite has always been 
"Talk About Good" from ...Lafayette
Thanks for putting a face on the area. 
 There are now several cookbooks from the Junior League there:
 Junior League of Lafayette Cookbooks
but I only have the 1st:
 
  Amazon.com: Talk About Good Cookbook (9780935032024): Louisiana Lafayette Junior League, LA. Junior League of Lafayette: Books: Reviews, Prices & more

ann peeples
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sun, 10/24/10 11:14 AM
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Excellent and drool-worthy report.The dirty rice, among all the foods, sure caught my attention!

agnesrob
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Sun, 10/24/10 11:29 AM
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bill voss


Fantastic report, Stephen.
I've never been to Louisiana but I love cookbooks from there. My favorite has always been 
"Talk About Good" from ...Lafayette
Thanks for putting a face on the area. 
There are now several cookbooks from the Junior League there:
Junior League of Lafayette Cookbooks
but I only have the 1st:

 Amazon.com: Talk About Good Cookbook (9780935032024): Louisiana Lafayette Junior League, LA. Junior League of Lafayette: Books: Reviews, Prices & more

Bill, I also have this cookbook. It's one of my favorites. But my all time favorite is The Pirates Pantry from the Junior League of Lake Charles, La. I love this type of regional cookbook.
Stephan, great report! I really enjoyed reading this one!

CajunKing
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Mon, 10/25/10 4:45 PM
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Stephen
 
I must admit that your trip report made me cry. In your report I saw familiar places and foods and made me REALLY miss Breaux Bridge and that whole area. 
 
In having lived there for several years (and having been exiled to Yankee country) I truly miss this unique part of the world.  The people, the area, the food, the traditions.
 
Your photos were little bits of Heaven, THANK YOU for sharing.
 
I have had boudinlink.com bookmarked for several years i look forward to his new reviews.
 
I also must admit that for a Yankee in Cajun Country you dun good!

CajunKing
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Mon, 10/25/10 4:46 PM
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annpeeples


Excellent and drool-worthy report.The dirty rice, among all the foods, sure caught my attention!

 
ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
 
Missed ya!

jtchampag
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/26/10 2:56 PM
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Hey there.  I am from Lafayette.  While i would semi agree with you on Judice Inn burgers, i will have to say that lafayette isnt really a burger town, they are def more of a plate lunch/po boy place.  Judice inn used to be much better, their whole thing was their special sauce and simplicity..not to mention it has been there since the street they were on was a gravel road...and as for your comment about meches not having iced coffee, i say go to starbucks if thats what you want...people love the old places back home because they have thrived on being what they are, and that is a place thats does something great and sticks to it...i dare you to find a better donut....i am surprised that out of all the places for you to try, two of them were burger joints in a town full of so muck more culinarily (is that even a word, ha!)  i will say that i do enjoy your site and writings, but i will say that you should have dug a little deeper in lafayette....

boucaniere
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/26/10 3:38 PM
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Jt, 
Greg here from Lafayette, LA.   My wife owns and runs Johnson's Boucaniere (based on the world famous Johnson's Grocery in Eunice, La) in Lafayette.  Glad you found this post.  We hosted dinner for Stephen Thursday night and a prolifia of restaurants were thrown out there, but he had a very limited window, and I'm actually amazed he crammed that much into his week-end.  He really only had Friday during the day to go to restaurants, because he attended Downtown Alive to promote the Boudin cook-off the next day, followed by The Blue Moon Saloon that night.  Then he spent the day judging the boudin contest, followed by a show to see the Bluerunners that night.  If you have suggestions on other places to eat I would bet that he is sure to return at some point to Lafayette.  Anyway, next time your down in this neck of the woods come check our place out.  We are Downtown one block from the Cathedral.
Cheers,
Greg
<message edited by boucaniere on Tue, 10/26/10 3:40 PM>

Tony Bad
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/26/10 4:23 PM
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Wow Stephen, you really crammed a lot into a short time. Thanks for a great report and great pictures...even if you did forget my cracklins!

joerogo
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Tue, 10/26/10 5:28 PM
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Tony Bad


Wow Stephen, you really crammed a lot into a short time. Thanks for a great report and great pictures...even if you did forget my cracklins!

 
I think the words you are looking for are THANK YOU!

boucaniere
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/27/10 11:22 AM
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tony,
Greg here w/ Johnson's Boucaniere
I just sent you a message for step-by-step instructions for making your own cracklins.  Let me know if you do not receive the mail and I can resend.
 

Nancypalooza
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/27/10 11:23 AM
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Oh now you've done it.  Now he will never leave the house.  :)

Tony Bad
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/27/10 11:46 AM
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boucaniere


tony,
Greg here w/ Johnson's Boucaniere
I just sent you a message for step-by-step instructions for making your own cracklins.  Let me know if you do not receive the mail and I can resend.


 
Thank you very much Greg, message received. As I wrote in the note back to you, I was really just joking with Stephen. He had warned e that cracklins were a bit of an acquired taste...one which I acquired in about 7 seconds! I really liked them but they were gone very quickly!
 
Nancypalooza
 

Oh now you've done it.  Now he will never leave the house.  :) 
 
 
You got it Nancy!
 
 

Foodbme
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Wed, 10/27/10 10:41 PM
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Nancypalooza


Oh now you've done it.  Now he will never leave the house.  :)

 
He'll have to leave the house to cook them outside.
Cajun Cooking Rule #57--NEVER cook Cracklin's or Chitterlings in the house unless you want your house to be uninhabitable for 6 months!

DirtDude
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Thu, 10/28/10 10:57 PM
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Wow, some nice photographs in here. You've got an eye for the angle.

Lafayette
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Thu, 10/28/10 11:37 PM
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Fantastic trip report.  I was with Stephen much of his time here and it is hard to believe that he could hit so many places in such a short trip.  Truly a marathon of culinary explorations.  We hit some great spots.  Are there more?  Absolutely.  Looking forward to his next visit.   
 
I've decided that I really need a new camera.

mattie405
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Mon, 11/1/10 1:08 AM
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I have to agree with your opinion of the Judice Inns burgers. After having lived here for almost 30 years now we finally had to go see what all the fuss was about with these burgers. I fail to see anything good about them and one try was enough to convince us not to go back again. Now, hubby does like the ones at the Southside Bakery but those don't impress me either, the spice they use overpowers the meat and leaves me wondering why the need to hide a good meats taste with all that seasoning. Glad you like Lafayette, it can be a nice town, even if you're a NYC transplant.

anitapizza
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Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend - Mon, 01/3/11 12:21 AM
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Yeah, it is a shame about the Judice Inn.  Years ago I lived in Lafayette and would go there whenever I wanted a great burger.  But the times I've been there recently were disappointing.  Once, the meat was undercooked; another time it was overcooked.  That place could be - and used to be- so much better!  It could be the perfect burger joint!  It's as if they just don't care anymore.  Really sad.

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