By Deborah Burst
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Dine in or take out delicious pies from Strawn's!

With access to fresh seafood and abundant seasonal produce, mixed over the years into a diverse cultural stew, Louisiana has a flavor profile all its own. Louisiana is where the sandwiches are called po’boys and muffulettas, and where “peel and eat” and learning to walk come one after the other. From mom-and-pops to five-star restaurants, character- and flavor-rich Louisiana restaurants pop up along eight culinary trails throughout the state.

Head out along any one of Louisiana’s Culinary Trails to savor a magical blend of Cajun, creole and southern cooking. Start your day with shrimp and grits for breakfast, or  make new friends eating southern fried chicken at a popular lunch counter or a Sunday “soul brunch.” Along the culinary trails, encounter friendly locals, tour iconic food purveyors such as Avery Island’s Tabasco factory, take part in seasonal food events or take your pick of the many roadside joints promising the best boudin and cracklins in the land.

Sample Louisiana culinary regions in eight courses

Buckle up for a savory sampling of dishes along the Louisiana Culinary Trails.  Don't forget to pack stretchy pants.

Seafood Sensation Appetizer: Lake Charles serves up out-of-this-world seafood. For starters, you can't go wrong the Galactic Crab Dip at Luna Bar and Grill—dip warm, homemade tortillas into fresh crabmeat au gratin.

Creole Crescent  Starter: Turtle Soup from Brennan’s in New Orleans is touted as the best in the state. The velvety tomato gravy has generous portions of turtle meat, chopped boiled eggs and the perfect hint of spices.

Prairie Home Cooking Bread: John Laborde’s Crawfish Bread is crispy on the outside with a stringy center packed with cheesy crawfish. Get the popular delight at PanAroma in Marksville.

Capital Cravings Salad: Roberto’s River Road Restaurant is a real Louisiana hideaway. People come from far and wide to Sunshine for the Shrimp Remoulade made with a cold, mayonnaise-based sauce ladled over boiled shrimp served on a bed of lettuce.

Bayou Bounty Entree: Pecan Crusted Catfish at Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge tops pan-fried farm-raised catfish dusted in pecan flour with creole meuniere. Try it with dirty rice and corn maque choux on the side.

Delta Delights Entree: In West Monroe, the name Scott’s Catfish and Seafood says it all. This local favorite serves plate-spilling fried catfish, never-ending hushpuppies and sides of green beans and coleslaw.

Northshore Sampler Dessert: Hummingbird Cake is a Southern favorite prepared by chef Nealy Frentz at Lola in Covington. Using her grandmother’s recipe, Frentz made the cake famous on Food Network’s Chopped.

Red River Riches Take home dessert: Strawn’s Eat Shop’s famous Ice Box Pies in Shreveport have reached stardom multiple times in the press. Choose from strawberry, chocolate, coconut, butterscotch, banana and peach (in season), all piled high with homemade whipped cream.