Acadiana Profile June/July 2018

Page 1

OUTdoor entertaining backyard crawfish boil

BEST RESTAURANTS From seafood and ethnic fare to pizza and steak, there truly is something for everyone in Acadiana. PG. 38

Mr. Lester’s pepper crusted ribeye cooked to order and topped with melted butter

EXpanded home section pg. 19

features Célébrer le mode de vie acadien


boil advisory An end-of-season backyard crawfish boil to wrap it up with style and flavor by Denny Culbert


BEST RESTAURANTS From seafood and ethnic fare to pizza and steak, there truly is something for everyone in Acadiana. Perhaps we are gluttons for punishment, but over the past several months, we’ve endeavored to narrow down what we think are the best restaurants in the region. We hope you have as much fun debating and trying them out as we did. by cheré coen photographs by denny culber t

june/july volume 37 number 3

lagniappe . . ...................................... 06

la musique...................................... 68

A little Extra

Give and Take Lafayette musician Tiffani Lamson of Givers works on solo material and tries on several new genres

note de l’editeur............................. 10

Editor’s Note lettres d’amour.............................. 12

La ‘Tite Eastonne How an Américaine learned Louisiana French

les personnes . . ................................ 70


nouvelles de villes. . ....................... 14

News Briefs

Special Delivery Tyler Benoit of Darrell’s in Lake Charles is third-generation gatekeeper of iconic sandwich en français, s’il vous plaît........... 72

les ar tistes...................................... 63

food+drink sur le menu..................................... 31

Hidden Treasure Roberto’s Restaurant in Sunshine serves up innovative takes on Creole and Cajun cuisines in a circa- 1950s general store de la cuisine................................... 34

home+style la maison.. ...................................... 19

Too Hot Three kitchens that deliver high function and maximum style pour la maison.............................. 26

Wide Open Spaces The key to acing the open shelf trend À la mode . . ..................................... 28

About Time Watches with texture, clean lines and classic details for the perfect finishing touch

Summer Repast Abundant, sweet tomatoes are ripe for picking and eating alone or as a meal recettes de cocktails.. ................... 36

Tea à la Teche A new summer cocktail at Café Sydnie Mae honors Chef Bonnie Breaux’s ancestral link to Breaux Bridge’s founder

ON THE COVER: Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse at Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel in Charenton got high marks from our editorial staff in our “Best Restaurants” feature for the quality and variety of steaks on the menu. The restaurant is helmed by the award-winning Chef Scott McCue.

Pottery: A Love Story Emily and David Wortman create a tourist destination of their outof-the-way pottery store in Duson

Dr. William Arceneaux l’Héritier légitime 5



A Little Extra


(n.) umbrella

While the summer calls for plenty of outdoor entertaining, Louisiana weather sometimes has other ideas. What’s your favorite rainy day entertainment (either with friends or solo)?

example: Le public portait des bottes de pluie et dansait en faisant tournoyer les parapluies. translation: The audience danced in rain boots and twirled their umbrellas at the festival.

Errol Laborde Melanie Warner Spencer Associate Editor Ashley McLellan Copy Editor Liz Clearman Ar t Director Sarah George Lead Photographer Danley Romero Web Editor Kelly Massicot Editor in Chief

Silver Sarah George for Cover Gold Denny Culbert for Magazine Photographer of the Year

adver tising

Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 / Sales Manager Rebecca Taylor (337) 298-4424 / (337) 235-7919 Ext. 230 account executive Bićh Lê Fraley (828) 260-5706 / intern Kelsey Chauvin Vice President of Sales



While there, pick up a bottle of the company’s special celebratory “Diamond Reserve Red Sauce,” we envision it as a great accompaniment to summer outdoor grilling, cooking, Bloody Mary making and outdoor entertaining. The sauce comes packaged in a fancy foil champagne-cork chapeau, and is made in small batches using Avery Island’s own Tabasco peppers aged for 15 years and steeped in champagne vinegar. $34.95 from

Bronze Will Kalec for Magazine Writer of the Year

Managing Editor

- Bićh

Tabasco is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Be part of the celebration with a self-guided factory tour at the iconic Avery Island home base. The tour walks visitors through the museum, greenhouse, the barrel warehouse and the factory building (General admission, $5.50, kids 4 and under, free).



“My favorite rainy day entertainment is — hello— wine, a smorgasbord of snacks, and wherever my wine takes me from there.”

Cheryl Lemoine Whitney Weathers digital media associate Mallary Matherne For event information call (504) 830-7264

Director of Marketing & Events Event Coordinator

production Production manager

Gold Sarah George for Art Direction of a Single Story

“If I’ve made plans with friends and the day turns rainy, we usually head to a museum. There’s something beautiful about walking through a museum while you can hear the thunder rolling outside.”

Jessica DeBold

- Emily

Production Designers


“I’d like to say I always curl up with a book on rainy days, but more often than not, I end up bingewatching true crime documentaries until I’m too scared to go to sleep.” - Topher

International and Regional Magazine Association

Emily Andras Demi Schaffer Kendall Woods manager Topher Balfer administration

John Holzer Mallary Matherne Subscription Manager Brittani Bryant For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231 Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Distribution Manager

office manager

Gold Sarah George for Overall Art Direction Gold Cheré Coen and Denny Culbert for Food Feature


Bronze Will Kalec for Magazine Writer of the Year Bronze Danley Romero for Portrait Series Silver Denny Culbert for Photo Series Gold Denny Culbert for Magazine Photographer of the Year Gold Sarah George for Art Direction of a Single Story Gold Sarah George for Overall Art Direction

110 Veterans Blvd. / Suite 123 / Metairie, LA 70005 / (504) 828-1380 / (877) 221-3512 128 Demanade / Suite 104 / Lafayette, LA 70503 / (337) 235-7919 ext. 230 Acadiana Profile (ISSN 0001-4397) is published bimonthly by Renaissance Publishing LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 and 128 Demanade, Suite 104, Lafayette, LA 70503 (337) 235-7919 ext. 230. Subscription rate: One year $10; Foreign Subscriptions vary. Periodicals postage paid at Lafayette, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Acadiana Profile, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2018 Renaissance Publishing LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Acadiana Profile is registered. Acadiana Profile is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Acadiana Profile are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

Finalist Magazine of the Year 7

équipe de vente

Rebecca Taylor Sales Manager (337) 298-4424 • (337) 235-7919 Ext. 230

Bićh Lê Fraley Account Executive (828) 260-5706 •

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 •


acadiana profile june/july 2018 9

note de l’editeur

T Edtior’s picks

Check this Out Trail Mix

In May, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, which promotes tourism for Lafourche Parish, launched its new Cajun Bayou Food Trail. The trail includes 15 restaurants in Thibodaux, Des Allemands, Larose, Cut Off, Galliano, Golden Meadow, Leeville and Port Fourchon. Participants can download a trail map and “passport” from the official website, foodtrail, and after getting seven stamps from participating restaurants, can return the passport for a free T-shirt.

Speaki ng of Food (and Drinks) …

In April, Crying Eagle Brewery in Lake Charles announced new hours, creating more time for patrons to enjoy the taproom, bistro and frequent events, including everything from yoga and Latin dance lessons to a comedy tour and live music. Spring and summer mark the time of year when craft breweries across Louisiana roll out their strawberry beers. Crying Eagle pairs its popular Strawberry Rye with a Strawberry Fields “pizza of the day,” from the bistro, which launched in January and offers five pizzas on the regular menu. We’ll drink to that combination.


acadiana profile june/july 2018

he largest crawfish I had in 2017 (and maybe ever) — not surprisingly — were eaten at the end of the season and despite, or perhaps because of their size, they were also the best. We snagged a few giant, spicy and seriously tasty pounds at Myran’s Maison De Manger in Arnaudville one afternoon after having a couple of beers at Bayou Teche Brewing. People like to joke that a big crawfish is the size of a small lobster, but I’m not jesting when I say these mudbugs could have been mistaken for their larger relative. It was raining that day, making the temperature unseasonally pleasant, so we got our order to go and took it outside to eat under the awning in front of the building. The shhhhhh sound of rain showers on the metal roof, spectacular crawfish and a friendly little black cat circling our legs and periodically begging for a bite created an unforgettable moment of that last crawfish hurrah of the year. My husband Mark would argue that the crawfish he is currently eating or the last batch he ate is or was the best of the season — ­ he loves all of it, every single time. My tendency is to compare and contrast not only from batch-to-batch, but also from early, mid and late in the season to the personal touches or additions from the person doing the boil. I understand purists aren’t too keen on including pineapples and artichokes in the boil, but I’m not a purist, so I say load it up with fruits and veggies — the more exotic the better. Brussels sprouts and mushrooms are especially welcome, as they transform into tiny, yet potent spice bombs. This year, our crawfish boils runneth over, with weeks long stretches of weekly boils and one glorious weekend when we had it three days in a row. By the third boil on Sunday, Mark thought he had died and gone to heaven. I’m slightly remiss that I didn’t start a crawfish journal (is that a thing?) that weekend to record my observations on those back-to-back boils but, as always, it was mighty entertaining to discuss and debate with friends while leaning over the table pinchin’ tails and suckin’ heads. As of the writing of this note, we are still in the full throes of the season and don’t really want to think about the unavoidable crawfish-less months ahead of us. But, when that day comes, we’ll be prepared with the tips and ideas offered up in our “Boil Advisory” feature on page 48. The generous cocktail recipes will give us much to drink about until the next year’s crawfish season. Until then, here’s to everyone’s last boil of 2018 being as good as the one we enjoyed at Myran’s on that rainy afternoon. Cheers!

Melanie Warner Spencer, Managing Editor (504) 830-7239 |

lettres d’amour

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ashlee Wilson Michot is a Ville Platte native who makes her home in the countryside of the Prairie des Femmes. She is a trained English and French teacher and spends her time writing, photographing, transcribing Louisiana French, playing music and caring for her growing family.


La ‘Tite Eastonne How an Américaine learned Louisiana French by Ashlee Wilson Michot illustration by Jason Raish


acadiana profile june/july 2018

here is a tape recording of my parents in 1982 where mom calls dad a gros tub (big tub), I repeat it, and he howls with laughter. Mom, from Ville Platte, did not speak French but was always making pat-pat-zoo (pain perdu) and cleaning the gra-doo (gradoux, or pan drippings and other good stuff) off of things. Dad was a Baton Rouge musician with what he called the “dark French skin.” He was so charmed with the Ville Plattians’ expressions that he used them in his songwriting in fact, a song he wrote won the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair theme song contest. At the end of the song, “Mardi Gras City,” a familiar voice can be heard trailing, “’Eh là bas, allons... to the World’s Fair, y’all.” I first heard fluent French in the rural hamlet of Pointe Blue, where I spent weekends with my best friend and her grandmother. Madame Soileau and her son would sit in their cowhide rockers in front of the fireplace and chicane back and forth while we ate squirrel rice and gravy, spitting the BBs out until they went ting ting ting on the plate. Mrs. Soileau gave us Moon Pies and pop rouge as a snack. She’d always say to me, “Aw, chère, you so fat!” They assured me that it was a compliment. She was from a different era and had kept the old ways. I loved her rice and gravy, her button collection and her kind eyes. She called me “la ‘tite Eastonne” because I was of the Eastin family. They were owners of a store in town where the country people had traded eggs for generations. To her, I was a ‘tite américaine. I had an américain last name. And I was fat. One day the kitchen conversation was so lively that I asked what language it was? Mr. Soileau said it was French and did I want to learn? I said that I did. He was eating a banana and held it up. Banane, he said. Even though French seemed impossible for us kids to learn, I kept that word, banane, in my head like a treasure. In 1990, I’d ride to Vidrine Elementary with a Ms. Fontenot who would listen to the French news on the local radio station, KVPI. The whole drive through the misty cow fields of the Vidrine Road I would listen and pretend that I, too, understood this mysterious town language. After awhile I did understand some things like commercials and telephone numbers, because they’d say, trois-six-trois (363) which was the prefix of all the phone numbers in Ville Platte. That year, a girl on the playground started to teach me French curse words, passing them off as something nice to say, but I knew better. Américaine or not, I was learning. n 13

nouvelles de villes news by Lisa LeBlanc-Berry calendar by Kelly Massicot



3 Festivals for June

Reinventing Blue Dog Jacques and André Rodrigue, sons of the late artist, George Rodrigue, continue the process of financially restructuring Lafayette’s Blue Dog Café following their April announcement that the restaurant was filing for bankruptcy. The brothers are re-curating the artwork, installing different Rodrigue paintings and are striving for a “whole new atmosphere” with their new chef. Ryan Trahan (formerly of Dark Roux) offers a more modern perspective with seasonally-inspired, sustainable local ingredients. Jacques says that the restructuring will hopefully allow the brothers to move the restaurant toward profitability (

1 Cajun Heritage Festival June 1-3 Larose

For 42 years, the Cajun Heritage Festival has brought Cajun culture and the art of woodcarving to Larose, Louisiana. The threeday festival consists of a wine and cheese social, duck calling contest and the festival’s annual woodcarving competition. Visitors can also participate in an auction and various raffles throughout the festival.

2 Louisiana Catfish Festival Anthony Bourdain Instagram

June 22-24 Des Allemands

The catfish festival was founded in 1975 as a way to raise money for St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church in Des Allemands. The three-day festival includes carnival rides, concerts and lots of delicious catfish. In addition, the festival includes a pageant and the crowning of the Catfish Festival Queen.

3 Lebeau Zydeco Festival June 30 Lebeau

Each year, the Zydeco Historical Preservation Society holds the Lebeau Zydeco Festival. The festival celebrates the music and its roots in the Creole community. Guests can enjoy local food and dancing with zydeco music kicking off at 2 p.m. and continuing until 11 p.m.


Poetic Praise

Congratulations to Barry Jean Ancelet for being named the Second French Poet Laureate for the State of Louisiana. He succeeds Zachary Richard.

Mamou, Opelousas, Grand Coteau

Anthony Bourdain Gets Spicy Globe-trotting Anthony Bourdain’s one-hour Acadiana-themed “Parts Unknown “episode, Cajun Mardi Gras, airs June 17. The characteristically blasé, 6-foot 4-inch-tall Bourdain gets loose (and a foot taller) in a fringed calico costume topped by a pointy capuchon for the drunken chicken chase during Mamou’s Courir de Mardi Gras. The cameras follow Bourdain as he samples spicy boudin and cracklins at Billy’s in Opelousas and a Cajun lunch at Laura’s II in Lafayette. He visits Dave Lemelle and his Step-N-Strut trail ride and zydeco icon Big Sid “El Sido” Williams, then enjoys a home-cooked meal by Chef Toby Rodriguez (Lâche Pas Boucherie) in Grand Coteau. The episode is available On Demand after the CNN broadcast premiere on cable VOD, CNN mobile app and on CNNgo via Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Samsung TV, Android TV and desktop at (

acadiana profile june/july 2018

Morgan City

Getting That Degree Morgan City will soon have a community college that will give residents the opportunity for paths toward a four-year bachelor’s degree. The Young Memorial Technical College campus will realign with South Louisiana Technical College, which has a main campus in Lafayette. The transition at Young’s primary campus is slated for completion July 1, allowing students to begin earning general education credits transferrable to four-year universities and to earn associate degrees in addition to tech degrees ( 15

nouvelles de villes news by Lisa LeBlanc-Berry calendar by Kelly Massicot

calendar Opelousas

3 Festivals for July

Ardoin Still Inspires A life-sized, forged steel sculpture of Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin has been installed at the St. Landry Parish Visitor Center in Opelousas, 75 years after his death. Never speaking a word of English, his famous French waltzes inspired countless dancehall romances (cajuntravel. com/visitor-center.php).

1 Red, White, Blue & You Festival July 4 Lake Charles

Each year, Lake Charles celebrates the 4th of July with a bang. Voted one the top 20 events in July by the Southeast Tourism Society, events include a parade, ball, full day of familyfriendly activities and, of course, a fireworks celebration.

Breaux Bridge

Karaoke, Sushi, Jerky, Bacon Jam and Late-Night

2 Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo July 26 - 28 Grand Isle

The Tarpon Rodeo is an annual international competition and the oldest fishing tournament in the country. In addition to the tournament, participants and visitors can enjoy music, food and arts and crafts from around the area. Pre-registration for the tournament is open until July 15.

3 Bayou BBQ Bash/ “Morgan City Under The Bridge” July 13-14 Morgan City

The Bayou BBQ Bash is an annual BBQ competition and festival. Teams will cook chicken, pork, ribs and brisket throughout the two-day event, which includes a kid version of the competition. In addition, the bash will include arts and crafts booths and live music.


Lake Charles, Lafayette, Houma

Cannabis Coming to a Pharmacy Near You While states like California are benefitting from lucrative hightech mobile gadgets for legal marijuana (pods of cannabis oil snap into place on pen-like “vapes” equipped with Bluetooth capacity), Louisiana is only recently getting into the cannabis biz. Available cannabis products are debuting this summer (stipulated for medical purposes only, to date). In Acadiana, pharmacy licenses for medical marijuana have been granted exclusively to Green Leaf Dispensary in Houma, The Apothecary Shoppe in Lafayette and Lakeshore Medic Pharmacy in Lake Charles. Forms sold (non-smoking) can only be dispensed to patients with a doctor’s recommendation form. Significant expansion of the medical conditions under consideration include PTSD, autism, glaucoma, Parkinson’s and intractable pain.

acadiana profile june/july 2018

Residents anticipating the new family-style bar and grill, Main Street Grub & Pub (719 S. Main St.), welcome the late-night amenities and comedy shows (unique in Breaux Bridge), outdoor seating and music series, family karaoke nights and desserts (co-owner, Shalana Patout, was a runner-up on Food Network’s “Cake Wars”). Recent openings in Breaux Bridge include the April debut of a sushi spot that originated in Youngsville last year, Yoka Japanese Sushi Bar & Steakhouse (930 Rees St.), serving creative sushi rolls, sake and hibachi. The new Cochon Cannery (105 N. Main St.) by Denise and Dustie Latoilais (well-known vendors at local farmers markets and festivals) offers their popular bacon jam and unique gift sets. Checkers (1932 Rees St.) is another newcomer, and the region’s best beef jerky is served at a one-of-akind drive-thru, Acadiana Jerky Co. (102 Refinery St.) owned by master smokers, Bobby and Shawn Viator. They designed the adorable little building made with rusted roof panels to resemble an old train depot (tip: great smoked chicken salad and meaty boudin).


acadiana profile june/july 2018

home+style Inspiration, décoration et accessoires chic pour la vie

la maison

Too Hot Three kitchens that deliver high function and maximum style by Marie Elizabeth Oliver photos by Sara Essex Bradley

Light Bright: Three distinct twists

on the white kitchen movement reveal the magic of sun-soaked neutrals. By combining monochromatic finishes with pops of contrast, they achieve an enduring elegance that’s anything but boring. No matter your style, find inspiration in these fresh designs that deliver flair and function — resulting in spaces you’ll want to linger in long after the dishes are done.

Contemporary Farmhouse Marrying an inviting farmhouse style with high-end finishes, this kitchen by Paige Gary Designs exudes a sense of sophisticated charm. Custom inset cabinets, quartzite countertops, handmade tile from England and the home’s original terracotta floors blend seamlessly to create an of-the-moment space filled with originality. Backsplash Tile: Winchester Tile, Residence Arcadian in Porcelain, Stafford Tile and Stone

Hardware: Schaub and Company Meridian Pull and Montcalm Cup Pull in Polished Nickel, RK International Rope Knob with Backplate in Polished Nickel, Distinctive Hardware & Decor

Faucet: Brizo, Artesso Pull-Down Prep Faucet in Polished Nickel, Facets of Lafayette

Countertops: Taj Mahal Quartzite, Flooring and Accessories Inc.

Walls: Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore Cabinets: White Dove, Benjamin Moore

Floor: Alpha Brick for Floors in Charleston, Amazing Floors

Harrison Paint Company. Lafayette. 337-231-5086 • Distinctive Hardware & Decor. Lafayette. 337-984-1749 • Facets. Lafayette. Stafford Tile and Stone. Baton Rouge. • Flooring and Accessories Inc. Abbeville. 337-898-3978 • Amazing Floors. Lafayette. 20

acadiana profile june/july 2018 21

Modern Transitional Clean lines and a neutral color palette make a bold statement in this elegant kitchen, designed by Brianne Jenkins of Grayson Carter Designs. Its minimalistic style creates the perfect backdrop for striking features, such as grey marble countertops and polished glass tile work.

Faucet: Brizo Artesso Pull-Down Prep Faucet, Facets of Lafayette

Floors: UA Floors in Beachfront Hickory ½-inch plank, Doug Ashy

Countertops: Angelie Grey Crystal Marble, Massimo Exotic Granite, Marble & Tile

Backsplash Tile: SOHO Studio Crystal Glass, Superior White Polished, ProSource

Hardware: BLANKETT Aluminum Handle, Ikea Walls & Cabinets: White Wisp, Benjamin Moore

Harrison Paint Company. Lafayette. 337-231-5086 • Ikea. • Facets. Lafayette. • ProSource. Baton Rouge. Massimo Exotic Granite, Marble & Tile. Lafayette. • Doug Ashy. Lafayette. 22

acadiana profile june/july 2018 23

Classic Traditional Attention to detail and quality craftsmanship brings sophistication to this timeless, black-white-andwood kitchen. Hard-working, yet visually stunning, custom Shaker cabinetry by Mark Dietlein of Heritage Woodworks play perfectly alongside luxuriously thick Carrera counters and classic subway tile.

Faucet: Delta Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet in Polished Chrome, Facets of Lafayette

Hardware: Sommerset II Knobs and Hopewell Cabinet Pulls in Brushed Satin Nickel, Top Knobs

Pantry: Custom Stained Walnut by Heritage Woodworks

Floors: Octagon Matte White With Black Tile, The Tile Shop

Countertops: Cararra Marble ⅔-inch thick, Dale Stutes Stonework

Walls & Cabinets: White Dove, Benjamin Moore

Backsplash Tile: 3-inch-by6-inch Arctic White Subway, Superior Tile

Harrison Paint Company. Lafayette. 337-231-5086 • Top Knobs. • Heritage Woodworks. New Iberia. 337-365-8129 Facets. Lafayette. Superior Tile. Lafayette. 337-237-8344 • Dale Stutes Stonework. Duson. 337-873-3290 • The Tile Shop. 24

acadiana profile june/july 2018 25

home + style

pour la maison

ABOUT THE designer: A New Iberia native, Brianne Jenkins relocated to Dallas after design school before returning to Lafayette a decade later to launch her residential design company, Grayson Carter Designs.

Wide Open Spaces The key to acing the open shelf trend steps

Simplicity and Function

by Marie Elizabeth Oliver photo by Romero & Romero

1 Determine your most-used items and make those your base.

2 Layer a few well-loved cookbooks and serveware.

3 Place potted herbs, like parsley or basil, in plain view.

4 Add canisters or a basket — filled with things you access daily.


eautifully-styled open kitchen shelves are the stuff of Pinterest board and Instagram feed dreams, but when it comes to implementing them in a real life, practical concerns can intimidate even the most ambitious minimalist. That’s where smart design comes in. Brianne Jenkins of Grayson Carter Designs believes magic happens when you find that perfect balance between simplicity and function. Meaning, you can have your open shelves sans clutter and dust, you just need to edit. “Start by asking yourself what items would be helpful to have accessible — what do you use the most?” says Jenkins. Bringing these hard-working items (think plates, bowls and glasses) from behind closed doors streamlines your daily workflow and makes your space more inviting to guests, who will never have to guess the location of your coffee cups.


acadiana profile june/july 2018

Once you have the base layer set, weave in practical items that inspire you. Another perk about open shelving in your kitchen is you can display pieces from your treasured cookbook collection and serveware investments as works of art. Jenkins also loves mixing in vintage accessories, like pewter tea and coffee canisters, to add character. Potted herbs introduce that life-giving pop of green and a pretty painting pulls everything together. It may take a few tries before you have a layout that works for you, but Jenkins advises not to worry too much about following a specific template. “Design is about breaking rules,” she says. “Do what looks and feels right.”n [Art Credit: Painting by Gwen Foreman] 27

home + style


Face Plant


father knows best: For Father’s Day, show Dad how much you value his time by investing in a timeless timepiece.

a la mode

About Time Watches with texture, clean lines and classic details for the perfect finishing touch

rose gold citizen

This watch is a commanding, strong piece. Its chronograph design lends a sense of unmistakable professionalism. Lafayette Jewelers.

by Ashley Hinson photo by Romero & Romero


2 navy Oris

Made in Sweden, this watch conveys a sporty efficiency. Its silver numbers make time-telling easy at a glance. Armentor Jewelers.


3 gold face citizen

The face of this timepiece rests on a cushioned black leather band. It’s a classic style with unexpected texture. Lafayette Jewelers.


4 4 skeleton oris


A skeleton watch’s details are perfectly clear. This exquisite timepiece features golden dashes to mark the hour and a beautiful leather band. Armentor Jewelers.

5 ilv er oris

Shades of silver and gray are layered in clean lines in this gorgeous Oris watch. A broad but simple face keeps it modern. Armentor Jewelers.



hether it’s the earthy texture of rugged brown leather or the clean lines of platinum chains, a watch acts as the thesis statement of his style.You can tell a lot about a man by what he puts on his wrist. Choose from a masculine take of trendy metallics or traditional silver and gold, intricately designed faces or easy-to-read designs, and traditional tones or surprising color for the perfect final touch. Armentor Jewelers, 1921 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, 337-534-8529, • Lafayette Jewelers, 3803-B Moss St., Lafayette, 337-534-4551, n

acadiana profile june/july 2018 29


acadiana profile june/july 2018

food+drink Ça c’est bon

sur la menu

Hidden Treasure Roberto’s Restaurant in Sunshine serves up innovative takes on Creole and Cajun cuisines in a circa-1950s general store by Jyl Benson photos by Jo Vidrine

Fresh catch of the day, wrapped in parchment paper and baked with fresh herbs, lemon and white wine in the traditional French style, topped with jumbo lump crab meat.

Fish en Papillote:

food + drink sur la menu

Roberto’s remains generally packed with regulars who come again and again. The usual steaks and fried seafood are here for sure but skip them unless you become a regular — and you just might.


4 Dishes to Try 1 Shrimp Rober to

Three large shrimp stuffed with seafood dressing, wrapped in bacon, fried and served atop a pool of silky beurre blanc and finished with lemony Hollandaise.

2 The Roasted Duck St . Gabriel

Half of a waterfowl glazed with a currant and blueberry demiglace reduction and served with creamy potatoes.

3 The River Road Shrimp

Packs just the right bite of spice with large Gulf shrimp sautéed in a brandy butter sauce seasoned with plenty of trinity and served over linguine.

4 Peppermint Mocha Crème Brûlée

A silken interior when you crack the sugary crust with the back of your spoon that you’ll never forget.



everal factors make Roberto’s River Road Restaurant in Sunshine memorable. For starters, the location — it is nearly impossible to find to the extent that it can start to feel like a prank as you drive and drive, seemingly going nowhere — and the appearance of the former 1950s general store when it finally sprouts up facing the levee in the gravel parking lot. It pretty much screams “dive” from the exterior but the telltale line outside of the door prior to opening for lunch and dinner is a dead giveaway. Located 10 miles or so south of Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River levee in a clapboard building erected in 1850 that once bore a coat of white paint, Roberto’s changes the game just as soon as you open the door into a warm, rustic, inviting interior. There’s an echo throughout

acadiana profile june/july 2018

the cavernous space as you walk across the old wooden floors. Numerous salvaged mirrors of no discernible lineage and rustic signage lend a casual, shabby chic charm. Mary and Roberto Sandoval started their careers together at the nearby Mike Anderson’s before moving on to join the opening team at Juban’s where, Mary says, Roberto, a native of Guatemala City, really found his groove in the kitchen, which he put to good use as one of the original owners of Mansurs. Several restaurant gigs later in 2001 the couple rented the old J.J. LaPlace Store on River Road in Iberville Parish in order to complete a catering job for which they were under contract when they lost their existing building in downtown Baton Rouge. The state suddenly commandeered it for a downtown

Shrimp Roberto: three stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon, fried, set in beurre blanc and finished with hollandaise and parmesan cheese.

Bonus Bite

If travelling to Iberville Parish consider Nottoway Plantation & Resort in White Castle. The largest remaining plantation home in the south, the magnificent 64-room home was completed in 1859 for Mr. and Mrs. John Hampden Randolph and their 11 children. The Mansion Restaurant is situated in a meticulously restored dining room overlooking centuries-old oak trees and graceful gardens. The menu changes seasonally and the extensive wine lists features over 200 labels.

Nottoway Plantation The Mansion Restaurant

31025 Louisiana 1 White Castle 225-545-2730

Roberto’s River Road Restaurant

1985 Louisiana 75 Sunshine 225-642-5999

redevelopment project. The Sandovals had no intention of remaining in the rather dubious River Road building, which originally served as a commissary and post office, before, in 1990, J.J. LaPlace was robbed, shot and killed while managing his general store. Despite the building’s unsavory past the Sandovals quickly realized the strength of the petroleum industry in the area and the almost built-in clientele that came with the River Road location. They opened for lunch and dinner with Roberto in the kitchen executing riffs on the Creole and Cajun cuisines he had mastered at Juban’s and Mansur’s. And the rest, as they say, is history. n 33

for the gazpacho: It can be made a day or two in advance and actually is better if made ahead. To kick it up, add a splash of ice-cold vodka to each serving — voilà, a Bloody Mary Soup.

food + drink de la cuisine


Gazpacho, My Way

Summer Repast Abundant, sweet tomatoes are ripe for picking and eating alone or in a meal

1 Combine 1 (46-ounce) can tomato juice, 4 large ripe tomatoes (chopped), 1 mediumsize green bell pepper (chopped), 2 ribs celery (chopped), ½ cup chopped sweet onions (such as a Vidalia or a Bermuda), ¼ cup minced green onions, 1 medium-size cucumber (peeled, seeded and chopped), ½ teaspoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste), ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste), 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional), 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce and ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (more or less to taste) in a large bowl and stir to mix.

by Marcelle Bienvenu photo & styling by Eugenia Uhl


y love affair with tomatoes began when I was a youngster following Mama down the rows of our home garden early in the mornings while the dew lingered on the produce. I held a basket while Mama pinched, patted and yes, smelled the tomatoes, choosing just the rights ones to bring to the kitchen. She often allowed me to pick a tomato that was dusted with salt and freshly ground black pepper to enjoy before breakfast. Those tomatoes were a highlight on warm summer days. When I lived in New Orleans in the 1970s, I was introduced to Creole tomatoes and I felt like I had indeed found the love of my life. I made daily runs to the market in the French Quarter to get those babies. When they weren’t available in the city, I thought nothing of riding down to Belle Chasse several times during the season to get a box or two of those juicy, red-ripe, delicious tomatoes. For breakfast, thick slices of tomato slices between two pieces of toast slathered with mayonnaise was a great way to begin the day. I also came to love tomatoes and sweet onions, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and dotted with slivers of fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese or crumbled feta. Then again, a warm tart of tomatoes and cheese is nothing short of a bit of heaven in my book. Of course, I relish slow-roasted tomatoes dressed with fresh herbs, as well as tomatoes stuffed with spinach, and I enjoy a good juicy tomato, cut into quarters topped with homemade pimento cheese. I never let the tomato season end before making a batch of gazpacho. n

main course

Mary Jane’s Tomato Pie After the chilled soup, a warm tomato pie straight from the oven will tickle your taste buds. The recipe comes from my friend Mary Jane from South Carolina. She is always modest when it comes to her cooking, but this one has become one of my favorite tomato-season treats. 4 Pillsbury pie crusts (refrigerated, 2 to a pack) 4 tomatoes, sliced ¼ cup mayonnaise (Duke’s or Hellman’s) 1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil ½ medium-size sweet onion, thinly sliced ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese ½ sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed 2 tablespoons butter, melted Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange sliced tomatoes in pie shell until it is filled almost to the edge of the rim. Then layer as follows: Spread with mayonnaise. Sprinkle the basil and arrange onion slices evenly on top. Sprinkle cheeses. Mix Ritz crackers with the butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving with a spatula. Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.

3 It will last for about a week in the refrigerator and it only gets better with time. Makes 8 to 10 servings


the desser t

Fig & Grand Marnier Ice Cream Soaking the figs in liqueur prevents the fruit from freezing in the mixture while being churned. Counter-top ice cream makers are readily available, so indulge yourself and buy one. You won’t be sorry.

acadiana profile june/july 2018

1 Combine 1 quart ripe figs (peeled and mashed) and ½ cup Grand Marnier in a bowl and set aside.

2 In a large, heavy, nonreactive saucepan, combine 6 large eggs (lightly beaten), 4 cups of milk, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract over medium heat and whisk to dissolve sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

3 Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

4 Add fig mixture and stir to mix. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to quart freezer containers to store in the freezer. Makes about 2 quarts

If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree, the fruit is usually in season in late June or early July. You can also check at your local farmers markets for locally-grown figs. 35

food + drink recettes de cocktails

Add a generous shot of Steen’s cane syrup to deepen the caramel flavor. Serve the chilled tea over ice; then sprinkle with sugar to taste.

Tea à la Teche A new summer cocktail at Café Sydnie Mae honors Chef Bonnie Breaux’s ancestral link to Breaux Bridge’s founder recipe

Tea Pierre

by Lisa LeBlanc-Berry photo by Romero & Romero

1 Combine 1½ shots raspberry vodka, ½ shot Bayou Satsuma Rum, ½ shot Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, 1 oz. Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup and 4 ounces of iced sweet tea in a shaker.

2 Shake all ingredients well, and pour into a glass Bell jar with handles.

3 Garnish with natural sugar to taste and raspberries.


he 1890s building that once housed the iconic Café des Amis, famed for its zydeco breakfast, has come back to life and is serving up superb certified Angus beef and opulent seafood dinner specials, thanks to cattleman Alcee “Chip” Durand. The proprietor of The St. John Restaurant in St. Martinville, Durand brought his executive chef, Bonnie Breaux (aka the Louisiana Seafood Queen of 2017) on board as executive chef of the new Café Sydnie Mae. While Durand named the new Breaux Bridge restaurant after his mother, the late Rep. Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand, Chef Breaux also has extraordinary ties to the “crawfish capital.” Twenty-eight years after Chef Breaux’s greatgreat-great grandfather, Firmin Pierre Breaux, bought a


acadiana profile june/july 2018

large tract of land near the Bayou Teche, he built the 1771 footbridge that gave Pont Breaux its name. Chef Breaux’s cousin, Val Breaux, was an engineer on the current bridge, built in 1950. When asked to introduce an emblematic cocktail representing her heritage for our summer issue, Chef Breaux came up with the Tea Pierre, a deliciously robust iced tea concoction that packs a sweet, powerful punch, made with Bayou Satsuma Rum, raspberry vodka and Grand Marnier, finished with Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup from nearby Abbeville. n Café Sydnie Mae. 140 E Bridge St., Breaux Bridge. 337-909-2377. 37

up to $12 per person $12-$20 per person $20 and up per person

L Serves Lunch D Serves Dinner Serves specialty Cocktails

Chef Collin Cormier presents the muffuletta pizza with mozzarella, fontina, mortadella, curly pepperoni, olives, and sesame seeds at newly opened Central Pizza & Bar.

by cherĂŠ coen photographs by denny culbert

From seafood and ethnic fare to pizza and steak, there truly is something for everyone in Acadiana. Perhaps we are gluttons for punishment, but over the past several months, we’ve endeavored to narrow down what we think are the best restaurants in the region. We hope you have as much fun debating and trying them out as we did.


L ife in the Deep South may be easy, or

so the George Gershwin song claims, but choosing great restaurants is not. Oh, we have plenty — and that’s the problem. How to choose? We’ve narrowed down some of our favorites, dining establishments in several categories that will tantalize the senses. Some are new, such as Central Pizza & Bar in downtown Lafayette, creating flavor marriages on pizza that’s quick fired in a brick oven. Some have been around for years, such as Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse at Cypress Bayou Casino, routinely nabbing accolades. One thing’s for certain. If it’s Cajun Country, it’s going to be a good time. So, pick your culinary specialties and visit some of Acadiana’s best.


acadiana profile june/july 2018

Best Seafood

Cajun Claws Closed Mon. Tues. - Sat. 4 - 10 p.m. Closed Sun. 1928 Charity St., Abbeville


The stars of the show at Cajun Claws are the crawfish, but don’t miss the pillowy, crunchy, fried shrimp while you wait for your table, also on the menu are shrimp boiled to perfection.

Best Cocktails

Social Southern Table & Bar Fresh, innovative and interesting cocktails are the name of the game at Social Southern, which serves up both traditional drinks and cocktails that stretch the limits.

“The majority of our cocktails, but not all, are rift on the classics,” explained Brian Thom, wine director and assistant manager. “It’s something I’m really proud of. We try our best to put approachable drinks out there but push the envelope within reason.” Their custom-built cabinets containing specialty bourbons are



t’s easy to spot a great restaurant — just look for the lines. At Cajun Claws in Abbeville it’s what you’ll find almost every night the restaurant is open during crawfish season. “The wait can be three to four hours sometimes,” said Tanner Choate, part of the Choate family who own and operate Cajun Claws with partner Steven LeBeouf. “We tell people to reserve their evening for this. We have upwards of 200 people waiting sometimes.” Cajun Claws began when paterfamilias Donni Choate needed to bring in extra income to the family. He bought and graded crawfish to sell to the public from a small location on Abbeville’s State Street. The business turned a nice profit so the family bought the current building in 1996 and began serving crawfish as well. Word got out and people began flocking to enjoy the Choate’s steaming boiled crawfish, even though the wait sometimes meant standing outside in the elements. “It would be so cold and the people would just wait it out,” Tanner Choate explained. “Sometimes people would bring an ice chest and wait hours.” In 2007, the family created a bar to allow customers to enjoy drinks while waiting for a space at the 14 tables. Customers may also tailgate in the neighboring field or parking lot. “That’s our favorite customer,” Choate said. “The customer who comes out for the whole experience.”

overflowing, they routinely offer special whiskey events and serve “Social Outcask,” a fun whiskey marriage they perform at the restaurant. Social is also one of the few restaurants in Louisiana to serve the rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, which helped Social snag the distinction of one of the top bourbon bars in the nation.

“Our bourbon selection is what we feel is the best in Acadiana,” Thom said. In addition, the restaurant offers a wide selection of “non-mainstream” wines and craft beers. And if that’s not enough incentive to visit, they offer happy hour Tuesdays through Fridays with beer specials on Saturdays and $5 Old Fashioneds all day on Wednesdays.

3901 Johnston St. • Lafayette • (337) 456-3274 • 41

Cajun Claws typically opens in mid-December but for only a handful of days. By the time crawfish season kicks into gear, the restaurant will be open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. — or until the crawfish runs out — Tuesdays through Saturdays. In May, the family closes shop. “People say how nice to be able to vacation six months a year, but it’s a hard six months,” Choate said. “It really takes it out of my father, that’s for sure.” During crawfish season, Donni Choate rises every morning but Sundays to buy crawfish from 80 to 100 fishermen out of his Forked Island business, Donni’s Bait. He hand-picks the mudbugs and cleans them with fresh water. “And then we boil them at the restaurant,” Tanner Choate explained, adding, “My father’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met.”


Café Sydnie Mae Sun. - Mon. 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tues. - Thurs. 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., 4:30 – 9 p.m. Fri. - Sat. 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. 140 E. Bridge St., Breaux Bridge Cajun Claws owner and boil master Donnie Choate over sees the bubbling pots in a small room in the back of the restaurant with the air full of steam and spice and rock n’ roll blaring on an old stereo.



(337) 909-2377 •


hef Bonnie Breaux, the current Louisiana Seafood Queen who helms the kitchen at St. John Restaurant in St. Martinville, took one look at the space once occupied by the popular Café des Amis and wanted to leave. The former Breaux Bridge restaurant was vacant for nine months and a wreck so, though her boss Chip Durand visualized a new restaurant in the space, Breaux wasn’t buying. “I looked at Chip and stared,” she recalled. “I didn’t say anything. He said, ‘Do you see it?’ I said, ‘Can we leave now?’” Eventually, the exposed brick walls, the pressed tin ceiling and other elements of the former coffin factory — yes, coffins — won Breaux over. “It eventually came to me,” she said. “I could feel it come alive.” Durand and Breaux transformed it, keeping the base of the bar, some of the original lighting and the massive elevator that carried coffins to the second floor. The signatures that once graced the walls of Café des Amis are painted over, except Ali Landry’s, Miss USA 1996 who hails from Breaux Bridge, and actor Dan Aykroyd. If locals despair over the loss of those autographs, they may view photos of the signatures on a back wall. “It still looks like Café des Amis,” Breaux said. “It’s not totally transformed. It has such great character to it. We thought of it as an opportunity to jump in here and do something fun and bring life back into this place.” Café Sydnie Mae is named for Chip Durand’s mother, the first woman elected state representative for District 46, which includes Breaux Bridge. The restaurant serves seafood dishes such as stuffed flounder, certified Angus beef steaks, double-boned pork chops, Breaux’s award-winning shrimp and grits and a new dish she calls Teche Wellington, a puff pastry stuffed with crawfish, crab and shrimp that’s topped with a sherry seafood cream sauce. Desserts include white chocolate bread pudding, pecan cobbler a la mode, crème brûlée, pot de crème and gateau de sirop made with Louisiana Steen’s syrup served in a mini cast iron skillet. Lunch involves more traditional Cajun dishes and hamburgers, sandwiches and plate lunch specials while dinner leans toward more upscale servings. The restaurant also includes a full bar serving specialty cocktails and a wine rack of 168 bottles — including selections from Landry’s Vineyards outside Monroe.

[ B est Donuts ]

Jak’s 3200 Verot School Road, Lafayette 337-856-8867 •


acadiana profile june/july 2018

Best Place for Music and Food

Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant

Chef Bonnie Breaux stands by the bar in the dining room of downtown Breaux Bridge’s newly renovated restaurant space Café Sydnie Mae where she is executive chef. Breaux is serving her unique take on Louisiana cuisine and beautiful cuts of meat like this double-bone, centercut pork chop.

Someone once asked why Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t available in Acadiana. The answer? Too many local shops serving up fabulous sweets. One great example is Karen and Savann Mok, entrepreneurs who have owned a car lot and trucking company.

“They’ve done it all,” said their daughter Julie Mikolajcyk. When family in Houston who owned a donut shop taught them their recipes, the Moks decided to try their hand at donuts too. They opened Jak’s on Verot School Road in Lafayette, serving up a wide variety of delectable

goodies, from breakfast tacos to apple fritters. This year the family will open their second location in Broussard, operated by Mikolajcyk. “We’re a string of entrepreneurs,” she said. “Our donuts are the products of my parents’ hard work.”

Pat Huval started Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant in 1948, and the restaurant has served seafood dishes fresh from the bayou ever since. Since its humble inception next to the Atchafalaya Basin levee, the restaurant has grown to include the Atchafalaya Club, where live bands perform Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop and popular music on a regular basis. The club remains a popular place for both the great acts that perform there and the enormous dance floor. “I absolutely loved playing there,” said Wayne LeBlanc, drummer with Stop the Clock cowboy jazz band that routinely plays Pat’s. “Mr. Pat, his family, and all the staff were always great people to work with. They created a wonderful venue for dancing and dining. “I will never forget the first time I walked in with my drums to set up,” LeBlanc continued. “Wow, could not get over how big of a place they had built and how well it was laid out. We were always able to get a great sound in that room, and fortunate to play for appreciative crowds throughout the years. “Bottom line, a great place for all to enjoy an evening of dining, socializing and dancing,” he said. 1008 Henderson Levee Road Henderson (337) 228-7512 43


acadiana profile june/july 2018

Best Ethnic

Patacon Mon. - Thurs. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. • Fri. - Sat. 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. • Closed Sun. 308 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette


337-265-2509 •


ose Lugo moved his family from Venezuela to Cajun Country for an oil industry job, but that didn’t stop his wife, Wanda Lugo, from reminiscing about her home country’s food, particularly arepas, a cooked corn flour patty. Wanting to introduce Acadiana toVenezuelan food, she opened Patacon in Lafayette, serving up a variety of arepas, empanadas and patacones, the latter flattened plantains twice fried and served with ingredients such as cheese, avocados and sauces. “The arepa is pretty much a Venezuelan national dish,” said the Lugos’ son, Daniel Lugo, who helped translate for the purpose of this story. “It’s a breakfast food for me. The Venezuelan alarm clock. That’s something I enjoyed thoroughly growing up.” Patacon serves up their arepas for lunch and dinner and includes wonderful accompaniments such as shredded beef, pork, chicken and black beans. The Reina Pepiada tops an arepa with a chicken and avocado salad and the Pabellón marries sweet plantains, mozzarella cheese, black beans and shredded beef on the corn patty. The patacones range from crawfish and shrimp to shredded beef, chicken and pork.


Like the arepa counterpart, there’s a Reina Pepiada patacone consisting of green plantains, cheese and chicken avocado salad. Because the dishes revolve around corn and plantains, the menu’s gluten free. “That’s why I take pride in our menu,” Daniel Lugo said. “It’s very diverse. They [those who need gluten-free options] come here as opposed to a place with only two options.” And then there’s chicha, a blended rice drink consisting of vanilla, cinnamon and condensed milk. “You drink it like a beverage,” Lugo explained, “but it’s not a beverage. It’s basically a dessert.” At first, locals were hesitant to try Latin food unfamiliar to them, but word quickly spread and business picked up. The restaurant is in its third year, receiving great reviews online, and the Venezuelan specialities are now available for delivery through Waitr. “I’m still super surprised at how many people come here,” Lugo said. “All by word of mouth.”

[ B est Plate Lunc h ]

Mama Reta’s Patacon takes its name from the signature dish of fried plantains stuffed with your choice of meat, shrimp or cheese. Also on the menu are traditional Venezuelan items like arepas and pastelitos. Top to bottom: Patacones (crispy fried green plantains) filled with chicken and shredded pork, pastelitos (puff pastry), empanada, tajadas (fried plantain slices), and an arepa from the Venezuelan restaurant Patacon.

Best Barbecue

Blanchard’s Barbeque Matt Blanchard hails from a family of great cooks so he seemed destined to enter a culinary career.

2023 W. Pinhook Lafayette 337-322-1674

After working in catering in Memphis, Blanchard bought a food truck in 2014, smoking meats at night outside his home and serving up barbecue lunches Tuesdays through Saturdays on Lafayette and New Iberia streets. “I love to play at all types of barbecue,” Blanchard said. This year, Blanchard moved his business into a brick and mortar spot, parking the truck for special

events such as weddings. The new restaurant includes his wide variety of Central Texas-style barbecue dishes but also other menu items and a full bar. Because he’s now housed in a restaurant, Blanchard built a pit room behind the establishment to smoke his meats. “Luckily, there’s a massive cemetery behind us and I don’t think they will complain,” he said.

345 Broad St. Lake Charles (337) 656-2798 mamaretaskitchen

Plate lunches reign supreme in Acadiana and Mama Reta’s in downtown Lake Charles knows how to serve them up right. The familyowned business closes on Saturdays but weekday lunch specials include smothered pork steak, baked and smothered chicken, meatball stew and fried and grilled catfish on Fridays. Sundays mean barbecue and the special lunch served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. consists of baked or fried chicken, barbecue pork steak or barbecue ribs. And you know there’s a long list of sides. The menu also includes burgers and sandwiches, baskets of chicken wings or catfish and gumbo, not to mention sweet potato pie for dessert. Mama Reta’s recently launched its second location at 1115 Sampson Road in Westlake, open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 45

Best Steak

Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse Sun. - Tues. Closed Wed. - Thurs. 5:30 – 9 p.m. Fri. - Sat. 5:30 – 11 p.m. Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel Charenton 337-923-7408 mr-lesters-steakhouse



hen Acadiana thinks of steaks, Lester Darden comes to mind. Darden was a World War II veteran, an elder member of the Chitimacha Tribe who helped draft the tribal constitution and served in tribal government. When Cypress Bayou Casino opened it seemed a natural to name its fine dining establishment after him. Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse, helmed by Chef Scott McCue, serves fresh seafood dishes and a wide variety of steaks, including filet mignon, ribeye, New York strip, porterhouse and Chateaubriand. McCue also offers prime rib on weekends that’s carved to order and nightly specials that combine an appetizer and entrée. “It’s a way for us to do something special and to be creative,” McCue said. The restaurant features an extensive wine collection housed in a private room that seats up to 14 people and premium cigars are available in a separate cigar lounge. McCue arrived in Louisiana to open the restaurant in 1995, moving up to casino executive chef in 2011. He’s a member of the American Culinary Federation, a founding member of the Atchafalaya Basin Chapter of The American Culinary Federation and has been awarded numerous medals in culinary competitions. Mr. Lester’s routinely nabs awards, including being named Best Steakhouse in the Best of Acadiana awards.

Best Out of the Way

Alzina’s Restaurant Alzina’s is not your ordinary restaurant. It’s housed in a former welding shop in Galliano not far from Bayou Lafourche, only one party is entertained at a time and owner/chef Alzina Toups accepts no walk-ins. 117 E. 132 St. • Galliano • 985-632-7200 •


acadiana profile june/july 2018

But the food’s so incredible, talk has moved past going up the bayou to Toups winning the prestigious Southern Foodways Keeper of the Flame Award in 2013 and landing the restaurant on “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” last summer on The Travel Channel.

Roasted carrots and kale salad are a few of the sides that accompany the wood fire cooked pizzas at Central Pizza & Bar. From left to right are The Curly Sue, Cherry Pie and the Muffuletta.

Best New Pizza

Central Pizza & Bar Mon. - Thurs. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. • Fri. - Sat. 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. 423 Jefferson St., Lafayette



337-534-0887 •

On the table is Mr. Lester’s pepper crusted ribeye cooked to order and topped with melted butter, the crab salad with artichoke hearts, plus housemade herb butters for the bread basket with freshly baked bread.

When Zimmern was asked of hidden gems he discovered with his TV show, he named Toups. “Alzina cooks at her café — hidden away in a garage a block off the canal in Galliano —with a few family members, who’ve been working by her side, helping her in the kitchen and absorbing all of her

knowledge,” Zimmern said. “I’ve tried to cook with her for the last 10 years and it just hasn’t worked out, but I finally got her in a show. I’ve cooked for presidents, I’ve cooked for kings, I’ve cooked for famous chefs with umpteen Michelin stars and I didn’t get nervous — but Alzina was different.”


any times, restaurants are born from conversations among friends or culinary professionals. Such was the case with Central Pizza & Bar when five friends with varied restaurant experience started talking about the absence of pizza in downtown Lafayette. Move ahead a year and the restaurant becomes a reality, opening March 16 on Jefferson Street in the heart of the Hub City. “We’re all extremely invested in the neighborhood,” co-owner John Petersen said, adding that all owners live downtown as well. “With all that experience between us, we wanted to take a whack at the pizza scene. That’s one thing that’s missing downtown.” Petersen owns Swamp Pop Sodas with cousin Chef Collin Cormier, who developed the menu at Central Pizza, which consists of red and white pizza pies, salads, small plates and desserts. “We knew we wanted to do a woodfire, brick-oven style,” Petersen said, adding that the ovens allows more delicacy with toppings and the resulting pizza won’t force people to take naps when they return to work.

“The dough will be a bubbly, slightly charred crust that you typically get from a wood-fire oven,” he added. Cormier owns Pop’s Poboys in downtown Lafayette, a restaurant known for elevating the traditional poboy to new flavors and heights. He plans to do the same with Central Pizza, Petersen explained, creating the traditional backbone of dough, sauce and mozzarella and then adding new flavors and styles, such as pistachio pesto and roasted garlic ricotta. Central Pizza contains a 25-foot-long bar and will serve wine by the carafe, local beers and original and traditional cocktails. There’s a seating area in front, two-tops along the side wall and booths, all arranged to give the restaurant a communal feeling, Petersen said. “We really wanted to give the place a cozy, metropolitan feeling,” he said. In the future Central Pizza may open their front window facing Jefferson Street to offer late-night slices to go and to accommodate outside seating. “Those are ideas we want to develop over time,” Petersen said. 47

An end-ofseason backyard crawfish boil to wrap it up with style and flavor by Denny Culbert


acadiana profile june/july 2018 49


acadiana profile june/july 2018


BBQ PORK TENDERLOIN TOAST Toast: Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice 2 10-inch French bread loaves into ½-inch thick slices and brush both sides of each slice with ½ cup butter (melted). Lay toast flat on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown, flipping the toast halfway through. Remove from the oven to cool. Once cooled store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Jalapeno Garlic Spread: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove tops and seeds from 2 jalapenos and toss in a teaspoon of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 7 minutes until soft and slight char starts to form on the skin. Remove from the oven. Place 1½ pound of cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic, ¼ cup of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt into the base of a food processor and process until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Finished product should be smooth and spreadable.

veryone in Acadiana knows that feeling of crawfish anticipation in the air. Right around Thanksgiving, it starts as whispers about price per pound, how the weather is affecting the harvest and, most importantly, when your favorite joint will open for business. As the season grows, so do the crawfish. Tiny tails beget giant clawed monsters, so big you can almost count the number in a fivepound order on two hands. Megan Arceneaux’s entire life has been intertwined with this annual tidal wave of Cajun hunger. She is the daughter of Anthony Arceneaux who founded Hawk’s, a crawfish restaurant in Rayne, with his own father in 1983. In 2007, Megan found the inspiration to throw her own boils and began a tradition of parties at her house and bike shop (Hub City Cycles) that eventually turned into a full-on catering business. In 2015, she founded an offshoot of the family business called Hawk’s Boil Up, a mobile version of the same flavors and massive, purged, beautiful crawfish crop that her family serves. It didn’t take long for the people

BBQ Pork Tenderloin: Light the grill. Rinse 1½-to 2-pound pork tenderloin under cold water and pat completely dry. Rub ¼ cup Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Barbecue Seasoning over the tenderloin to coat. Allow to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes. Grill tenderloin to 145 F, flipping halfway through. Only flip once to ensure that the seasoning has ample time to blacken on the outside and a nice crust forms. Remove the tenderloin from the grill, coat in 1 cup pepper jelly (make your own or purchase your favorite). Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Slice the tenderloin thinly, and coat with the juices and jelly drippings from the resting pan. Jalapeno Slaw: Combine juice and zest of 3 limes, ¼ cup of olive oil, ½ cup of shredded green cabbage, ½ cup shredded purple cabbage, ½ cup of shredded carrot, ¼ cup of seeded & julienned jalapenos, ¼ cup of julienned green onion, ¼ cup cilantro (picked from stems), ¼ cup parsley, salt and black pepper to taste into a mixing bowl. Mix slaw thoroughly and marinate for 20 minutes before serving. Assembly: To assemble spread 1 tablespoon of jalapeno garlic spread onto each toast point. Place one slice of pork loin and a spoon full of slaw on top. Repeat until all toast points are dressed. Arrange onto a serving platter and serve immediately. 51


BOUDIN PECAN STICKY BUNS Bun Dough: Heat 1⅓ whole cup milk to 100 F on stovetop. Place 1½ tablespoon yeast and 1 cup sugar in bowl of stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Pour the warm milk into the bowl. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. On low speed, beat in ½ cup softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add 2 large eggs one at a time until incorporated. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine 4 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon salt until well mixed. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture to mixing stand bowl. Beat on medium

minutes. Remove from heat and pour on top of 3 cups roasted pecan pieces. Set aside to rest until ready to use.

speed until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and smooth, about 8-10 minutes longer. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. After the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and even. (this will ensure uniform baking and presentation Pecan Topping: Combine all ½ cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup heavy cream, ½ cup cane syrup (Porier’s) and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until butter melts. Bring to a boil 3

of South Louisiana to catch on. Now she is boiling all over the state for her growing roster of fans and celebrity clients. During the season, she has a regular gig boiling at the Wurst Beer Garden two days a week in downtown Lafayette. Always up for a good party, Megan agreed to help design an end of season backyard boil bash with crawfish so delicious they would be fondly remembered all the way into next season. Honestly, the stunning red creatures alone would have probably been enough, but we decided to up the ante by enlisting the talents of Ryan Trahan, the newly appointed head chef at Blue Dog Café. Trahan is another rice and crawfish country kid brought up around the restaurant business. His family owns the legendary Frosto Drive-In located in downtown Crowley. Currently, in his roll as chef at Blue Dog, he is helping to restructure the longtime Lafayette concept by writing a new menu and bringing some of his fine

Filling: Heat ⅔ cup cane syrup until simmering. Mount in ¼ cup butter by cutting the cold butter into cubes and adding to hot cane syrup a little at a time while whisking until all butter is incorporated and emulsified. (You only need to syrup hot enough to melt and emulsify the butter. If it is too hot the mixture will become greasy). Spread cane butter over dough. Top and spread evenly with 2½ cups boudin (loose or uncased). Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. Cut into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in a buttered baking dish. Assembly: Cover the rolls very tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment for about 45-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake rolls for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Invert the pan onto a large serving platter and cover with warm topping.

Wine Pairing Note: Showing up to any gathering but especially a backyard boil with a magnum (equivalent of two standard 750ml bottles) will make you instantly popular. Les Terrasses Rosé: From Rhône, France this wine is a hot weather sipper featuring wonderful aromatics and funk with a sweet-tart, red fruit flavor and savory edge. Chateau Montus Madiran 2012: This dry white wine made in Southwest France from Petit Courbu and Petit Manseng grapes has soft floral and mineral notes and a freshness that pairs well with spicy foods.


acadiana profile june/july 2018


Celery Spring Tonic Add 1 large sprig of celery leaves, 6 slices of cucumber, and 2 slices of lime to the shaker. Muddle the ingredients until fragrant and thoroughly crushed. Add 3 ounces of Cathead Vodka and ¾ ounce of lime juice to the shaker. Add ice to above the level of liquid - shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into Collins Glass or rocks glass over ice cubes and top with Swamp Pop Jean Lafitte Ginger Ale. Add 2 small sprigs of celery leaves, 2 slices of cucumber, and two slices of lime for garnish. makes two cocktails (adapted from cocktail recipe book “Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails” available at Genterie Supply Co. along with the Mason Shaker and muddler) 53


acadiana profile june/july 2018


Boiled Crawfish Fill an 80-quart stainless steel pot with basket half full of water and light the propane burner. Add ½ cup Zatarain’s liquid shrimp and crab boil concentrate. Add 5 pounds of small skin on new or red potatoes and bring to a boil slowly for 40 minutes. Add 2 pounds of corn on the cob (halved) or frozen cut pieces and boil for another 15 minutes. Drain vegetables - keep warm in a clean ice chest. Bring water back to a boil and add 35 pounds live crawfish (rinsed clean or purged*). Add ¼ pound of Zatarain’s crawfish, shrimp and crab boil powder seasoning. Bring the water back to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the white tail meat or “knuckle” shows between where the head and tail connect. Drain crawfish using the basket and add to an empty ice chest. Dust with your favorite finishing seasoning with little to no salt added. Mix crawfish to coat - either using heat resistant gloves or by rocking the ice chest back and forth.

dining chops and creativity from his previous project Dark Roux. Trahan was hired by the Rodrigue family to help them honor the legacy of their father George Rodrigue and his famous Blue Dog paintings. Guests get thirsty with the heat in the air and spice in the food, so we called on Ross Fontenot, the proprietor of Genterie Supply Co., for a little help. Fontenot brought his sense of style and some handy bar tools to mix the cocktail for the evening. For wines to pair with the crustaceans, we turned to Lafayette’s favorite Frenchman and oenophile Philippe Simon, the owner of Philippe’s Wine Cellars. Simon suggested two dry, crisp, French whites and a magnum of rosé that all work with highly seasoned seafood or a hot summer day. Of course, we had a few local brews on hand too, because when I asked Arceneaux for tips on how throw a backyard boil, she told me to “start by opening an ice cold beer.”

Serve immediately. Serves 6-7 Cajun friends or 8-12 non-Cajuns *buy purged crawfish at Hawk’s in Rayne by calling the restaurant 337-788-3266

Build Your Own Crawfish Dip Portion 1-2 ounces of mayo into small bowls (1 bowl per guest). Guests can mix in condiments to their individual taste. Suggested condiments for flavoring: ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, Cajun Power Garlic Sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. 55


acadiana profile june/july 2018


acadiana profile june/july 2018


acadiana profile june/july 2018

culture joie de vivre

les artistes

Pottery: A Love Story Emily and David Wortman create a tourist destination of their out-of-the-way pottery store in Duson by Will Kalec portrait by Romero & Romero

SYMBOLS OF HOME: Catering to both locals and out-of-towners who visit their pottery shop looking for either mementos of home or keepsakes from a trip to Cajun Country, many of Emily and David Wortman’s pieces feature classic South Louisiana icons like crawfish or, like on the pot above, fleur de lis.

WORTH THE TRIP: The Wortman Pottery showroom in Duson is definitely off-the-beaten path, nestled amongst rice fields, but offers visitors an authentic tourism experience in Acadiana.

culture les artistes q&a

Emily and David Wortman 1 Was opening a pottery shop always the dream when you two started seeing each other? David: The plan was for me to get a university teaching job. That would have been the easy path. And so the first big push was to do that, although that was nearly impossible for all the newly-minted MFAs, let alone the older-minted MFAs. So it was two choices, and when it looked that May that I wasn’t getting a teaching job, we started making pots full-time.

2 If teaching was the easy path, does that make pottery the hard path? David: Well, working for a university you got a salary, a retirement, health benefits. Emily: But we did do some art shows while we were at Tulane, so we had an idea of what this world would be. We did Jazz Fest while we were at Tulane (in 1976). So this life wasn’t a complete shock to us.

3 Has there been an evolution in your pots? Emily: Oh yes. People will show us pictures of pots we made and they’ll tell us that it’s their favorite piece and so on, and we’ll just say to ourselves, ‘Oh no.’ Because you know you’re doing so much better work now. Our glazes have changed, David’s pot shapes have changed. It’s different, in a good way.



uthenticity begins where the pavement ends, down a bumpy gravel road that’s hell on rental cars but easy on adventurous souls. It seems silly looking back now, what with countless visitors who’ve stepped foot in the Wortman Pottery showroom over the years, but owners and creators Emily and David Wortman actually worried about tourism logistics like that 10 years ago when they wrestled with the notion of ditching their nomadic art show life for something stable and permanent. Turns out, those concerns were unwarranted. A little dust on the tires or dings to the undercarriage of your $39-a-day Chevy Cruze isn’t much of a deterrent for those seeking something real, a place that isn’t cookiecutter Cajun.

acadiana profile june/july 2018

Rice fields and crawfish farms are nature’s guardrails on both sides of the road, as indigenous Louisiana birds fly overhead like they were lifted from the John James Audubon book on your grandmother’s coffee table. The wood-frame pottery studio sits on a slab of land that’s been in David Wortman’s family for more than a century. Shelves of nationally-renowned handcrafted pottery, much of which is accented with ceramic regional ornaments and decorations like crawfish or oyster shells, cover every wall of the showroom — the physical manifestation of a relationship both personal and professional. As if this whole scene couldn’t get any more Rockwellian, out back, there’s an old plumber who’s fishing in the pond. But, don’t count on him being here when you 65

Emily and David Wortman of Duson take great pride in producing pottery pieces that are not only pretty to look at, but also functional in design — making sure bowls are deep enough to eat out of and spouts pour correctly, for instance.


come around. He’s not a featured attraction of this rural tourism destination. He’s just waiting to get paid. “It’s very country,” Emily says through laughter. For the entirety of their relationship, David and Emily have made pottery together, dating all the way back to when they met as students at Tulane in the mid-1970s. Once regulars at weekend art shows and craft fairs throughout the Southeast, the artistic power couple now lets patrons come to them, offering the type of hospitality and tokens of Cajun country that can make the trip worthwhile. “You know, we are 3.3 miles from I-10, from the exit,” David says. “But having the shop is still relatively new to us. Why we didn’t adopt this style — selling out of a showroom — early on, I don’t know, but everyone was doing art shows and making money doing it.” Emily interjects.

acadiana profile june/july 2018

“We really broadened our horizons and in addition to art shows we did wholesale to craft galleries, so we stayed at home making a lot of pots and shipping those out,” Emily says. “And when we got into that, we thought, ‘Well, do we really need to be on the road this much? Maybe it’d be better if people came to us?’ “Then, you get into the rural tourism mindset: Do people really want to drive down a little gravel road? Well, turns out they do!” The Wortman’s Pottery is art for everyday use. The bowls, pots and pitchers that come from Duson and are shipped throughout the country are inspired by work of famous Mississippi master potter Peter Anderson of Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs — pieces that David says he’s been eating out of and drinking from since he was six years old. “With pots, handles have to work, knobs have to work,” David says. “Handles on pitchers and mugs have to feel good in your hand. Spouts need to pour properly and not drip too much. So [there are] a lot of considerations when you’re making pottery.Yet there are potters out there who follow all those rules, and make things functional, who create pots that are vastly different from the other guys’ pots. There’s room to make a pot have a style and a feel.” Wortman Pottery is crafted using multiple techniques, including wheel-thrown, slab and hand-built pieces. Many of the molds used are the same molds Emily designed in the 1970s. “Within the first week of us making pots, we realize we had to divide up things or else we were going to get divorced,” David says in a humorous tone but with more than a sprinkle of sincerity. “We really divided it up so that David is the pure potter and I’m the hand-builder,” Emily says. “I’ll make things and attach them to his pots. And then, I load kilns and do other things that he can’t stand to do. We both glaze pieces. But all of our work, we both touch at some point. So it’s always hands-on. It’s all collaboration, from beginning to end.” n 67

The heat of Louisiana summers drive some musicians into hibernation. But, there’s still plenty to all season long in Acadiana with beaucoup festivals and other concerts.

culture le musique

music calendar

Catch These Shows 1 Downtown

Give and Take Lafayette musician Tiffany Lamson of Givers works on solo material and tries on several new genres by Michael Patrick Welch portrait by Romero & Romero

at Sundown Concer t Series June 1 and June 8

1001 Ryan St., Lake Charles

2 Jazz night with The Red Barons June 1

Antler’s Seafood and Steakhouse 200 Heritage, Broussard

3 Creole Culture Day June 4

Vermilionville Performance Center 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette

4 Blues guitarist Keith Blair July 30

Murphys Sports Bar 1303 West Pinhook Road, Lafayette

5 Lebeau Zydeco Festival July 30

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church 103 Lebeau Church Road, Lebeau



he multi-talented Tiffany Lamson of Givers recently experienced a sort of accidental musical birth. When the tour-horse that is Givers finally stopped to duck into the studio and record its next full-length album, Lamson had planned to finally focus on her solo material. “Before Givers, I played alone,” Lamson says. “My music was at first like super songwritery, then folky. Then I got really into looping drums and percussion and guitar, and now I am taking that and going back and creating this loopy, psychedelic folk stuff.” But right when Lamson began sketching out her first solo record, her exceedingly upbeat Givers band (featuring co-singer and guitarist Taylor Guarisco) sent a few new songs to Glassnote Records, and the label just couldn’t wait to put out a new small EP. “The first single is called ‘Collide’ and the EP is called ‘Movin On’,” says Lamson. “We put it out pretty fast, and now we’re gearing up for a tour that will keep me busy until the winter.” Lamson is one of many Louisiana musicians whose musical education began right around the time she was born. “My family was actually the church band, essentially, like the Von Trapp family,” she says. “My mom played bass, my dad played lead and sang. My brother played drums and the sisters sang harmony. We had family band practices and learned songs together. I’d wake up early some days with my dad and music was our father-daughter bonding time.” Lamson attests that church was a good, non-judgmental place to learn her craft. “If we mess up, you know, we’re there just trying to praise God,” she says. “Give the kid another chance!” Quickly, Lamson got bored standing and singing with empty hands. “I’m an extreme multi-tasker,” she says. “I was like, give me a tambourine or something. Then I started playing percussion, and I got really into filling the spaces in between the rhythms.” In the fifth grade, Lamson began official kit lessons from a pro hard rock drummer. “Then eventually one of my brothers left Lafayette, and I got to fill in on drums, and slowly that became my main instrument,” she says.

acadiana profile june/july 2018

Following her brief stints in bands Arbor Vitae and Rotary Downs, her time with Givers began as an accident, at the musically adventurous Lafayette café and bar, Artmosphere. Lamson had happily played many slow weeknight solo gigs there, but when the club finally called and asked her to fill a Friday night slot, she could only think to say no. After mulling it over a bit more, she decided to put together an improvisational band for the night with Guarisco and some other musicians who would help start Givers. “That night, everyone was sweating and jumping around and that was great,” says Lamson. “And that set the tone for the type of music we’d go on to make together, especially the conversational singing between the two voices.” Lamson and Guarisco really dove in when they were asked to open for Dirty Projectors, a band that proceeded to take Givers on the band’s first real tour. The Dirty Projectors’ light Afrobeat rhythms and melodies permeate Givers songs like, “Up, Up, Up,” but the band heartily veers into many interesting psychedelic terrains, like the dark electro of “Bermuda.” Lamson recently relocated with Guarisco and bassist Josh LeBlanc from Lafayette to New Orleans, where she is somehow finding time to fill her plate ever higher. “I just wanted to play in other outfits and other genres in town and widen my scope,” she says. “So, I am playing in Mike Dillon’s Punk Rock Percussion Orchestra. Then I lead a band called Neva Right and the My Bads, where I basically wear a muumuu on stage and play drums and scream Chuck Berry songs, with guitarist Russell Welch, who usually plays gyspy jazz with Meschiya Lake.” The material closest to Lamson’s own solo music would be her Jelly Toast duo, with songstress Julie Odell: the act she currently plays out with the most. “Julie and I have a magnetic bond. Jelly Toast is very harmony based,” explains Lamson. “I’m playing guitar, and I have a broken down trap kit that I play with my feet, and I do a little looping thing. We’re going to be recording as well.” Lamson recently scored a musical film-short, and recorded a solo Daytrotter session that she hopes will come out within a couple months. It’s fair to say that, in terms of Louisiana music, Lamson is a gift that keeps on giving. n 69

culture les personnes

NAPKINS Required: The Darrell’s Special — an legendary poorboy served at a Lake Charles landmark restaurant — is equal parts mouthwatering and messy, as it’s covered in debris gravy and jalapeño mayo.


Special In Their Own Right 1 DARRELL’S SURF AND TURF

This sandwich couples Darrell’s signature roast beef slathered in gravy with shrimp. What sets it apart from other sandwiches on the menu though is the homemade butter sauce applied to the bread instead of jalapeño mayo. “You’d be surprised, because there’s not a big gap between the Special and the Surf and Turf in the number of sandwiches we sell,” Benoit says.


This is Tyler’s favorite sandwich. Twice a week, Darrell’s smokes hunks of beef brisket on site for 8 to 12 hours depending on size. While that’s slowcooking, the staff also prepares a made-from-scratch BBQ sauce that’s applied generously to the sandwich.


Shrimp po’boys are nothing new in South Louisiana, but Darrell’s version is a bit of a break from the norm. Instead of frying its shrimp, Darrell’s sautés them in a spicy Cajun sauce. The end result is a sandwich that’s full on flavor, yet not as heavy as its battered brethren.


Special Delivery Tyler Benoit of Darrell’s in Lake Charles is third-generation gatekeeper of iconic sandwich by Will Kalec portrait by Romero & Romero


he Darrell’s Special piles high the holy trinity of sandwich meats — turkey, ham and roast beef — and blankets the base with a trifecta of provolone, Swiss and American cheeses. As those slices turn to goo and become one with the meat, copious amounts of debris gravy join the party, as does a healthy sheen of jalapeño mayo. Top it all with some lettuce. Oh, and don’t forget to add legend to that. Lots of legend. The Darrell’s Special is a folk hero in Southwest Louisiana. General Manager Tyler Benoit knows better than anyone that calling it a sandwich is the equivalent of calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground, like calling Jeff Bezos of a merchant — technically accurate but lacking in scope. Over its three-decade existence, the Darrell’s Special has transformed from meal to myth, a regional rite of passage on a poor boy roll for those in town, and a must-stop for foodies from far-away places. Go on any online food review app, and there’s a flock of Darrell’s Special disciples paying homage via photograph. Multiple angles. Multiple photo filters. A gluttonous Glamour Shots session for a sandwich, coupled with plenty of pictures of gravy and mayo-covered happy fingertips after that first memorable bite. “It’s hard to explain the attachment people have to it,” Benoit says. “It might be that it’s what they remember. So it brings back memories of when they ate it before. And the place does the same thing.Yeah, we’ve remodeled, but you know, we still have the deer heads on the walls, so the feel is the same. And, the sandwich feels the same, looks the same, and it tastes the same. “Maybe that’s what makes it so popular? It’s probably a lot of reasons.” When it comes to fully examining the phenomenon of the Darrell’s Special, retelling the story of “then” helps to explain the sandwich’s exalted status “now.” In 1985, Tyler’s grandparents Darrell and Susie DeRouen opened a modest bar on High Street to little fanfare. They didn’t advertise. Didn’t settle on a theme or gimmick. To be honest, the original place felt, looked and even smelled more like a VFW than an operational bar. “They pretty much bought it so they and their friends had a place to drink and play cards,” Benoit says. Notice Benoit didn’t say “eat.” That’s because in its infancy, Darrell’s didn’t serve food. But that all changed when Susie’s hospitality lead to innovation.

acadiana profile june/july 2018

“On busier days, like Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, my grandma started making sandwiches — just to be nice, really — and people were like, ‘Oh, you got to sell these!’” Benoit says. “But if my grandma was going to sell sandwiches, they had to be good. So she’d make a bunch and say, ‘Taste this. Taste this. Taste this one.’ She was perfecting the recipes. It was a process. “Eventually, she got it just right. And now, we have the Darrell’s Special.” By “we” Benoit means not only his family, but also hundreds of hungry patrons daily and occasionally more than 1,000 during busy periods like when the travel baseball season is in full swing during the late spring and early summer. Recently, Benoit waited on a businessman from Michigan whose boss told him he had to stop here while in town. Benoit asked the guy where his boss was from. Michigan, the businessman said. A bit puzzled, Benoit just brought the order to the kitchen staff instead of inquiring further on how a guy from a different time zone and different climate heard about Darrell’s. The Special’s popularity has caused the staff to more than double from the time Benoit started working in the kitchen at age 16. Other than that, though, Darrell’s is a bit of a culinary time capsule. The walls are wood-paneled like your grandfather’s den. Sandwiches are served in baskets for those staying or paper for those leaving. The tabletops are cluttered with advertisements for eaters in the market for lumber and building supplies. Heck, Susie is still the owner, and from time to time will stop in and help in the kitchen. More than once, when the tickets for Specials are piling up, she’s turned to her grandson and commented that she can’t believe that her sandwich — an afterthought, really — has a cult following. “It’s an original,” Benoit says. “I have them — not every day — but there are people that come in and have one every day. The same thing. The same sandwich. Over and over. I think it’s awesome. “You can go to places and get other sandwiches, but once you get a taste for this sandwich, another just isn’t the same.” n 71

culture en français, s’il vous plaît

For an English translation, visit


Dr. William Arceneaux l’Héritier légitime par David Cheramie portrait par Philip Gould

De gauche à droite: James Fontenot, Sénateur d’état; Dr William Arceneaux, Commissaire d’Éducation supérieure; Dr Cecil G. Taylor, Chancelier de LSU; et James Domengeaux, Président du CODOFIL sur le plateau de l’émission “En français” de LPB

ur la photo du fondateur du CODOFIL, on lit la dédicace suivante : « Le 11 avril 1984: À mon cher et estimé ami Wm « Bill » Arceneaux, le vrai chef de file dans l’éducation de l’état et qui a aussi la responsabilité de sauver la langue française pour la Louisiane et les États-Unis. James Domengeaux, CODOFIL » Avec une telle marque de confiance, on discerne sa désignation comme l’héritier légitime. Il a toutefois fallu attendre presque 27 ans pour qu’il devienne son quatrième président. Entretemps, il a bâti une carrière impressionnante dans le monde de l’éducation avant d’enfin se tourner pleinement vers la sauvegarde du français en Louisiane. Originaire du village de Scott, Arceneaux est devenu historien avec des diplômes de USL et de LSU. De cette dernière université, il a obtenu en 1969 un doctorat dans le domaine de l’histoire et de la politique de l’Amérique latine. Trois ans après, il fut nommé directeur exécutif du Conseil de coordination de l’éducation supérieure. Dans trois ans encore, il fut nommé Commissaire de l’éducation supérieure auprès de la Commission des régents de la Louisiane, un poste qu’il a tenu jusqu’en 1987. Puis, pendant vingt ans, il a servi comme président de l’Association louisianaise des universités indépendantes. C’est la seule personne à avoir représenté à la fois les intérêts des universités publiques et privées en Louisiane et aux États-Unis. Pendant ces années, il a travaillé avec de nombreuses organisations professionnelles directement ou indirectement impliquées dans la promotion de la langue française dans l’éducation. Si ce n’était pas assez, il a aussi veillé aux intérêts des étudiants empruntant de l’argent en servant sur la commission Sallie Mae. Le Président Clinton l’en a même nommé président de 1993 à 1997. Quand le Gouverneur Jindal a choisi Arceneaux comme président du CODOFIL en janvier 2011, il avait déjà dressé, tout comme Domengeaux avant lui, un palmarès professionnel admirable. Il lui restait néanmoins encore beaucoup de projets à réaliser. Comme nos partenaires internationaux l’ont fait comprendre dès son arrivée au poste, l’heure était venue pour que la Louisiane commence à se sevrer des enseignants étrangers que ces gouvernements nous avaient si généreusement fourni depuis le début. Ses talents d’historien et de chef de file en éducation étaient en pleine évidence quand il a créé « L’Escadrille Louisiane », un programme pour former en plus grand nombre des profs louisianais de français. Nommé en souvenir de « L’Escadrille Lafayette », un groupe de 200 pilotes américains qui se sont portés volontaires en France pendant la Grande guerre, la France accueille chaque année, grâce à cet échange, des Louisianais qui enseignent l’anglais et, en même temps, qui travaillent vers une certification louisianaise en français. On compte déjà des anciens boursiers dans nos classes d’immersion française. Depuis l’arrivée d’Arceneaux, les programmes d’immersion sont de nouveau en pleine expansion avec l’addition récente des paroisses de la Pointe-Coupée et d’Évangéline. Il a fallu du temps, mais la prophétie de Domengeaux semble se réaliser, mettant le CODOFIL sur le bon chemin pour ses prochains cinquante ans. n