Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Road Trip Dining - The Search for the Perfect Gumbo, Part 5 (the last)

Prejeans - Lafayette

We have finally reached the Grande Finale on our search for the perfect Gumbo.  Who would have thought that our exhaustive search through New Orleans to find this elusive prey would lead us to Lafayette, Louisiana?  Lafayette?  The big secret to finding the best in cajun and creole dining is knowing that New Orleans is on the periphery of cajun country and that Lafayette is the heart of all things Zydeco...who knew?  Even more ironic is that fact that when we road trip to NOLA we skip right through without even considering stopping, and thus we have driven right by Prejeans several times without blinking.  Dumbasses is us.

And why would you give Prejeans a second glance?  It is on I-49 as you come into Lafeyette and looks like a huge tourist trap, you know the ones that end up giving you the Thibodeaux Two-Step.  As you walk in to the restaurant the first thing that you notice is the plethora of crap for sale to unsuspecting tourists.  "Hmmm, looks like a tourist trap to me".  Then you notice the giant plastic alligator overlooking the dining room.  "Wow, make that an uber tourist trap".  Fishing nets, murals of the swamps and bric-a-brac make you feel as if you should run for the hills, but don't run, just sit for a bit and notice all the really round people in the room... they didn't get that way from eating salad. 

We started with the Gumbo, magnificent, greasy Gumbo.  The grease is the key to knowing that the Gumbo is home made because sausage you see, has quite a lot of fat in it, and when cooked in the mix the fat is going to be released, permeating the mixture with it's magnificence.  Hunks and chunks and roux.... perfection... the best Gumbo that I have ever had.  Holy poop on a stick, I have found the Holy Grail of Gumbo!  I could have stopped there and been absolutely satisfied with my discovery, but no, a real explorer must see what is on the other side of the mountain, right? 

Catfish Grand Chenier is on the other side of the mountain my friends, and it is ohhhh so good.  Southern catfish rolled around Prejean’s seafood stuffing, fried golden brown & smothered with crawfish Etouffee.  I cannot even begin to describe the multitude of flavors battling for dominance and all of them wonderful.  It was served with rice dressing, which was kind of like a dirty rich, but not like dirty rice at the same time and corn macque choux, a mini corn pie where the pie shell holds in the butter and spices instead of having them run all over your plate.

Cochon Du Lait Pie, the other entree, is slow roasted pork “debris” topped with chive mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese and baked in a cast iron skillet.  Rich, delicious and decidedly unhealthy, but we were beyond caring, we were in the zone.   "Dessert"? Asked our evil little server, a certain Miss Lancaster.  *Sigh*  "Why the hell not?"  Banana nut bread with warm praline sauce and yes, it is every bit as wonderful as it sounds.  "You know that Lafayette has the Festival International de Louisiane where there are dozens of vendors selling hundreds of dishes much like what you just had here."  Do what now?  No wonder these people are so round and yes, we have already made our reservations... damned minx.

As I sat contemplating what had just transpired Mrs. Vivant, interrupted my solitude with "Are you crying?"  "*sniff, sniff*...... maybe".  "You pig!  You didn't even cry at our wedding!"  She had a point, but this was a spiritual matter that had moved me like no other, this was about Gumbo.  It was  long, quiet drive back to Dallas, but that did not bother me as much as it should, because I had just attained nirvana.

Do yourself a favor if you happen to be road tripping through Lafayette, ignore the tacky billboards, ignore the harsh blacktop parking lot, ignore the voice in your head telling you that you are only a couple of hours from New Orleans.  Stop, eat and cry.
Prejeans Restaurant
3480 N.E. Evangeline Trwy. (I-49)
Lafayette, LA 70507

1 comment:

  1. The alligator is actually real. Some coonass killed it and gave it to us. If only you had come about 15 years ago when we still had the boat out front.