Well, we're packing up the car and leaving for Louisiana tomorrow, ready to spend Christmas with the in-laws. We're going to end up looking pretty much straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies, but instead of the truck piled high with furniture we've got a Saturn piled high with meats.
I believe I've mentioned on here the half a pig we're bringing - add to that a goose (none of us have ever actually eaten a Christmas goose), and two cats. No, we aren't eating the cats, though the thought did cross my mind when Fatty leapt up on our entertainment console the other day and knocked the oolong teapot we bought in Hong Kong off the side, breaking the top.
Luckily Husbear fixed it, or Fatty would be in kitty traction. (I assume there is such a thing.)
The best thing about road travel to southern Louisiana is that the state has possibly the best roadfood in the entire country. We've found several gems, mostly through Jeffery Steingarten's article on turducken from It Must've Been Something I Ate, but our favorite so far has to be Poche's in Breaux Bridge.
Poche's is, of course, where the andouille for the Turducken was purchased, and I have to say it's the best andouille I've ever eaten. It's so good that we went an hour out of our way last trip to get their andouille - a gas explosion may have closed down I-10, but that wasn't going to keep us from our sausage!
Inside, there's a huge freezer case boasting such delights as boned chicken stuffed with crawfish dressing, pistolettes (stuffed rolls) with five or six different kinds of stuffing, tubs of jambalaya and etouffee, and multiple Cajun sausages.
Then, there's a not-frozen area with fresh sausages and stuffed pig's stomach (seriously - it's called chaudin), and a steam table with fried chicken and potatoes and corn and more jambalaya and etouffee.
We've tried their andouille and bought a bag of pistolettes, which are delicious, but the thing that always makes us get off the road is their boudin. They've always had the two types when we've been to visit - crawfish and pork. Both sit poaching in a pot of water just behind the counter, and when you order, the girl behind the counter whips one out, slaps it on the scale, and charges you like a dollar.
Both of their boudins are very good - nice and wet and spicy. They have a good organ-meat flavor without being overpoweringly livery. The casings are a little tough - this is definitely the type of boudin that you squeeze out into your mouth.
The first time we went, we had to try the Cajun roadfood staple - cracklins. It's what's left when you render a pig's fat and skin; you get a barrel of lard and a barrel of cracklins. One time we were in Poche's and a man walked out with a 5-gallon bucket of the treats.
These artery-cloggers were delicious. Though they soaked through the inner of the two bags holding them, they somehow didn't taste all that greasy. Could have used more salt, though, but that's just us - the seasoning was otherwise good, with a nice spicyness that makes you just keep eating.
So, you know where we'll be midday on Saturday - somewhere in the vicinity of Poche's. Let us know if we can pick up a chaudin for y'all.
Poche's: 3015 A Main Highway (seriously, that's the address), Breaux Bridge, LA. 800.3.POCHES.