The Bayou & Nola

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January 31st 2011
Published: January 31st 2011
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We spent almost three days in the Bayou, staying about 15 minutes outside of the tiny town of Breaux Bridge.

Breaux bridge is like something straight out of the 50's or 60's. Tiny. Humble. Quiet. One stop light- and only a blinking red light at that. There are a few restaurants right in town: a pizza joint, the "famous" Cafe Des Amis serving Southern specialties, a coffee shop, a french restaurant that was closed on a tuesday afternoon, and a burger place that looked like a diner. We, of course, chose Cafe Des Amis.

Cafe Des Amis was empty- it was 3 pm on tuesday- although I could see it getting busy. It was a historical restaurant, with writing on the walls and an old brick bar. The food was amazing, traditional southern louisiana fare. However, it wasn't a run down greasy cafe like I enjoy.
We ordered the crawfish cornbread with etoufee, and fried pecan shrimp. We got a bread pudding to go.
Everything was very very good.

Another restaurant outside of downtown is Mulatte's- which was FANTASTIC! They had live Zydeco music playing on a monday night, it was close to closing time, so quite empty.
We got a bowl of Gumbo- of course. And the sampler platter to split. It had fried catfish, shrimp, frog legs, crawfish, and some jambalaya. Everything was fantastic. It came with fries and cole slaw.

We stayed at Cajun Country Cottages- a B&B with private cabins and cottages right on a lake. Our cabin had a large deck with two BBQ's for our use, a patio table, and some chairs. We had a private dock that led right down to the lake. Everyone staying has use of a row boat. Also, breakfast is delivered to your room in the morning, at either 8 am or 10 am. The breakfast was very good- nothing fancy, but good home cooking & fresh OJ.
Coffee pot and a full kitchen are in the cabins. We had a loft upstairs with a king bed. A fire place in the living room, cable tv, and a nice comfy couch with hand made afghan blankets. Plenty of magazines and books to read.
The B&B was perfect!
The couple running it are extremely humble, and they leave you alone- but also are attentive. I adored them!

They recommended a swamp tour, that was not at all a tourist trap. The man who ran it was super informative, and quite easy to understand given his strong cajun accent.
The swamp tour lasted 3 hours and was super fun. We saw only one baby gator, it had been quite cold to see gators : (
But we saw tons of birds, I mean like 50 species, including a ton of heron. Also, we learned a lot about the Cypress trees.

The only thing I regret not getting was some chitlins and bodine at any of the many local shops or gas stations serving them. Honestly, we ate too much as it was. There was a store near our hotel serving chitlins and bodine, as well as another place right off the highway.

We took the freeway from Nola to Breaux Bridge, and the "back way" back to Nola. The back way was alright, better than the freeway. But nothing particularly special. A few weird little shops and towns to see. Some plantations if you have time. We were hurrying back so we only stopped in and looked at one plantation- the Cotton something or other. Beautiful. We were hoping to see some weird little towns and find some chitlins and bodine since we missed it before- however, we didn't find anywhere. There were a few drive threw drink spots- but we didn't stop.
We stopped for lunch in a town about 45 minutes from Nola. But I cannot remember the name. It was delicious. We got a Oyster and Shrimp Po Boy and a Muffalata sandwhich. Both amazing. Weird spot. FILLED WITH COPS. Haha. And we were slightly intoxicated Oregonians covered in tattoos, so this made for a slightly paranoid lunch where I felt more out of place than I have in foreign countries. I suppose- THAT was our mission in driving through the bayou back woods.

Mulattes: 5/5 stars
Cafe Des Amis: 4/5 stars, maybe 4.5
Cajun Country Cottages: 5/5 stars, would give more!
Swamp Tour: 5/5 stars
Back woods drive: 4/5 stars, maybe 3.5
Lunch spot with cops: 4/5 stars

Prior to our Breaux Bridge trip we spent 4 days in Nola.
We packed our days, and had a BLAST!!!
We ate at some amazing and some mediocre places. Nothing horrible...

Praline Connection. We ate there on our Sunday night, and wanted a fun music filled night out, but were nervous that would be hard on a Sunday. We hopped in a cab and asked the driver to recommend a place, he was a local (i.e. not foreign or middle easterner) and he was so obviously stoned he couldn't decide. He finally settle on his "favorite" place near the French Quarter, and took us there.
MAN! Am I glad he picked this place.
It was almost empty, way different than places right in the Quarter. And the menu was reasonably priced (again, a change from the quarter). It wasn't far from the quarter, on frenchman street, but felt like it.
We ordered the "taste of soul sampler" and a bowl of File Gumbo. We split it. It had 2 pieces of Southern Fried Chicken, 3 BBQ ribs, 1 large piece of fried catfish, jambalaya, corn bread, red beans and rice, collard greens and bread pudding for desert with Praline Sauce. THIS WAS BY FAR THE BEST MEAL WE HAD!!! We talked the entire time about how good the food was, I think people were staring at my husbands good food dance. I can't break it down- because everything was the best!
We went outside after eating, and heard music from all directions- on a Sunday night!!! This street was awesome! We hit about 3 bars, only one with a cover, and all had awesome live music- and all different kinds. It was a 7 dollar cab ride from the heart of the quarter.

We ate at Po Boy Shop- Freret Street Po Boys. We got a oyster boy, fried chicken, and red beans and rice. They also have in house made donuts, that were amazing. AND< on the house because the owner felt bad that a hoodlum he must have known (they were talking like they knew each other) threatened to shoot him and caused a scene while we were eating. No harm no foul, it was colorful and interesting. We washed down this lunch with a drive through daquiri from down the street on St Charles, and drove around looking at the houses and neighborhoods. I wish we would have spent more town in this up town area and magazine street... Next time!

We went to the cemetary area, which we took a trolley to get to. We hit about 3 cemetaries, I wish we had seen more- again, but not enough time. We were looking for a po Boy shop my husband knew about, but couldn't find it. We walked quite awhile, and found a burger joint- Buds Broiler. It was actually really really good. They had "creole" sauce bbq burgers, po boys, and chili cheese fries, etc. We got a cat fish boy, a bbq burger, and chili cheese fries. They had wi fi, so we hung out for awhile.

We ate at a "Bistreaux" in the quarter, tired and starving from a long day. It was good, but a bit over priced and fancy. the Gumbo was good, but the worst we had the whole time (we had some amazing gumbo's and made it a point to try one everywhere!) We had steak with blue cheese and some other things not worth remembering. Good Hot Toddy.

The oldest bar- the Absinthe Bar- was neat. Smokey and old. Stinky. With a large fire place. Yummy hot toddy and yummy yummy absinthe served the right way!

Numerous other bars not worth mentioning- not bad, just bars.

We walked the market, and got beignets at the cafe at the french market. It was super cold December, so it wasn't as bustling as I could imagine. We sat on the waterfront.
We walked The French Quarter a lot, the architecture and buildings are super neat. Hanging over balconies. Old buildings. We did find a VooDoo Shop which was not as touristy as the "voodoo" shops on Canal with beads (avoid these). We walked around a lot, and window shopped a lot. We did get a hurricane- which tastes horrid. We got a few frozen daquiries in the quarter, during the day, and walked down Bourbon (once over).

Canal St is so ugly, I would avoid at all costs.

The "other" side of Canal, on the way to St Charles from the Quarter is equally ugly and filled with office buildings. Ugly. Boring. Bleh.

Things worth seeing:
Cemetery- could spend an entire day! : 5/5 stars.

Buds Broiler burgers and po boys: 4/5 stars

Praline Connection & French man St Nightly Music : 5/5 stars

Canal St Tourist shops: 2/5 stars

Absinthe Bar: 5/5 stars

Frozen daquiries on bourbon: 4/5 stars

French Quarter- it is worth seeing, but you can get caught spending all your time here, and there is WAY more to see, the voodoo shops or other random shops are cool. Tons of Art. If you're lucky a walking band with play music walking around the quarter, we saw some young kids do this: 5/5 stars

Bourbon St- I would personally avoid TOO much time here, especially at night. It is CRAZY. But worth seeing once. The frozen daquiri shops are everywhere, and kind of fun: over all 3/5 stars, BUT, it is worth seeing while your in the quarter: 4/5 stars

Stayed: The Omni: 3.5/5 stars. A cute big fancy boutique. It can't decide. I liked it. Nothing special. Nothing bad.

Rental Car: Budget: annoying! But... that is rental cars for ya: 4/5 stars

The Trolley: so worth it, to get around and see things you wouldn't normally: 5/5 stars

Beignets at the Market. WOW! Cafe Au Lait and Beignets AMAZING: 5/5 stars.


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