A cow wearing heart shaped glassesThere’s a saying, “You know you’re from Louisiana when the topic of dinner conversation is food you’ve recently eaten, food you’re eating now, and food you plan to eat in the future.” Food IS life if you’re in Louisiana. How could it not be when you’re surrounded by some of the best cooking in the world? Not only that, but the state motto is “The Sportsman’s Paradise” because of all the wonderful hunting and fishing that’s available. Holly and I grew up with this culture and if there’s one thing that we miss, besides friends and family of course, it’s the food. When we went back last weekend, we did what we always do – we grazed across Louisiana. 😀

If you’ve ever been to Louisiana, you know how good the food is, but if you haven’t I’ll try and paint a picture. For starters, the majority of the restaurants are not chains, the are family owned businesses. If they have been around awhile, it’s because they are known for their good cooking. There are a few chains that people frequent, but normally that is because the restaurant started as one business and expanded. So places like Ralph & Kacoo’s and Piccadilly are chains now, but that’s not how they started. Oh and don’t think just because you branch means the new location will succeed. If it’s not as good as the first one, the location will fail. That’s becoming the case with the Jambalaya Shoppe. The original location is the best and people will drive out of their way to go to that one, even if a closer one is nearby. Suffice to say, Louisianaians take their food seriously. 🙂

If Holly and I moved back to Louisiana today, it would take us months to eat at all of our favorite places. So imagine how hard it is when you only have 4 days! :0 Granted, we have found some very good restaurants here in Nashville, but there simply isn’t the ratio per capita like there is in Louisiana. So when we make a schedule about what to do when we go home to visit, it’s usually around where and what we’re going to eat. None of our friends or family mind, in fact they more than understand when we say, “Can we meet tomorrow because I’ve got to go to Denham Springs for a poboy and I’m not going to make it back in time.” 🙂 Since we only had 4 days, we had to really plan out what we wanted to eat. Some places, like Zorba’s, just wouldn’t fit into the schedule, so we’ll have to visit them next time, but other places, like Central Grocery, were a must and nothing was going to prevent us from going there. 😛

As I began writing up all the food that we ate, this one simple entry was turning more and more into a series of restaurant reviews, or maybe even a Travelogue of Food, if there is such a thing. LOL So instead of trying to cram everything into one entry, I’ve decided to break things up a bit and do multiple entries. This way I can spend a bit more time “setting the scene” or going into more detail on the food instead of just plowing through to finish an entry.

For those of you salivating and wondering what we ate, I apologize for being such a tease. I didn’t intend for this to happen, but I think you’ll appreciate it in the end. To tide you over until the next entry, here’s a breakdown of what’s in store.

» Part Two – Cafe Du Monde & The French Market
» Part Three – Mary Lee Doughnuts & LaFonda’s
» Part Four – Making Gumbo
» Part Five – Cajun Dancing & Pat’s Of Henderson
» Part Six – Central Grocery