Foodie Itinerary: Bayou Bounty Trail
Spend a food lover's three-day weekend in Cajun Country and explore our Bayou Bounty Culinary Trail.
Friday: Houma and Morgan City
Work up an appetite: If the hit History Channel show “Swamp People” has you digging bayou life, take this opportunity to become swamp wise with a swamp tour in Houma. Learn more about Louisiana’s wetlands and encounter the diverse wildlife—including mighty gators.
Lunch: Now that you’re familiar with the local landscape, get to know the local cuisine of Houma at Abears Café. This Cajun restaurant has been around for nearly 50 years, has great plate lunch specials, and is known for their catfish Abear. Save room for one of their homemade desserts. (If you really enjoy your lunch, hang around for dinner. They are only open for dinner on Fridays, but the menu also includes a side of live Cajun music.)
Work up an appetite: In Chauvin, south of Houma, find the Chauvin Sculpture Garden and Nicholls State University Art Studio. The studio and garden are home to works by folk artist Kenny Hill, a reclusive bricklayer who lived there in the late 1980s. He created more than 100 concrete sculptures, many with religious references, on the property before he abandoned his art. After touring the garden, drive to Morgan City and spend some time shopping and sightseeing along Main Street.
Dinner: Sample the Cajun Coast cuisine of Café JoJo’s, on the river in downtown Morgan City. The crab cakes come highly recommended!
Saturday: St. Martin Parish, Iberia Parish, and Lafayette
Breakfast: You might not expect to find a raging dance party at 8:30 in the morning, but that’s what you’ll get at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge. On the busiest weekends, a line of hungry patrons forms on the street around 7 a.m.; doors open at 7:30 a.m. The café’s zydeco breakfast is a true must-do. Don’t be afraid to hit the dance floor, even if it’s your first time. There’s sure to be a local who’ll show you the ropes. But don’t get so carried away by the tunes that you forget to try their Orielle de Cochon, essentially a beignet-like pastry stuffed with boudin.
Work up an appetite: After breakfast, spend a little time perusing the shops of Breaux Bridge, including Lucullus, a shop with a focus on culinary antiques.
Lunch: Make your way to New Iberia to Rip Van Winkle Gardens. There, tour the Joseph Jefferson Mansion, built in 1870, and then walk along the garden paths under the many live oaks. When it’s time again to dine, try the property’s Café Jefferson. Pick up a few sandwiches and have a picnic on the grounds.
Work up an appetite: You’d be hard-pressed to find a kitchen in Louisiana without a bottle of hot sauce, and in many cases, that bottle is Tabasco. The McIlhenny family planted their first commercial pepper crop on Avery Island back in 1868. Visitors to the island can tour the visitor center and pepper sauce factory as well as the 250-acre Jungle Gardens. The Country Store is also a great spot to pick up a few souvenirs for the hot sauce fans in your life.
Dinner: You started your day with dancing; why not end it that way too? It’s really only fitting along our Bayou Bounty Trail, where food and music so often go hand in hand. The area is home to several Cajun restaurants and dance halls, including Prejean’s and Randol’s in Lafayette.
Brunch: For a yummy Sunday brunch, make reservations at Blue Dog Café. They offer live music—everything from Cajun to Celtic to swamp pop—from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tempting menu includes crab cakes Benedict, made-to-order omelets, cheese grits and grillades, and more. Though not owned by artist George Rodrigue, his famous Blue Dog paintings adorn the restaurant’s walls.
Work up an appetite: Immerse yourself in the Cajun way of life at Lafayette’s Vermilionville Living History Museum & Folklife Park. Explore original structures depicting life on an early Acadian settlement, circa 1765 to 1890, and enjoy on-site demonstrations of period professions and crafts.
Dinner: Lafayette is home to several family-owned restaurants that have stood the test of time; among them is The Original Don’s Seafood & Steakhouse, whose culinary tradition began in 1934. Yes, the menu includes steak, but you’d be smart to order one of their seafood specials.