One of the best ways to get to know a region is through its food.
So with that in mind, a big part of my exploration of Lafayette, La. so far has been focused on some of what it has to offer in the culinary department. And it has a lot to offer.
One of my early food adventures here started with a history lesson. Remember Elsie the Cow? She was the iconic image for Borden Dairy for years. Turns out Elsie is alive and well right here in Lafayette. Sort of.
The last remaining Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe is at the corner of Johnston and Jefferson, not far from downtown. The shop has a new owner but she’s carrying on the Borden’s tradition. In fact, she learned all she needed to know about ice cream from Miss Ella, who has been at Borden’s since 1961.
Once I discovered this bit of history I had to check out the shop. Just let me say, their milkshakes bring all the boys (and girls) to the yard. In a wholesome, down home way, of course.
In the span of a few days, I went from enjoying old-fashioned milkshakes to sampling dishes from the region’s best chefs. The Acadiana Culinary Classic allows chefs to showcase their skills while competing for awards.
The biggest winners are guests who get to try dozens of innovative and delicious dishes from soups to desserts. Some guests went straight to the seafood. Others binged on sinful desserts like sweet potato beignets. I tried to be good. I started with the salads.
Trust me, these were no iceberg lettuce and store-bought tomato offerings. For instance, the third-place winner in this category was baby mixed greens with sweet chili basil and Asian BBQ duck breast. It was prepared by the chef from the Isle of Capri Casino in Lake Charles. I think I feel a road trip coming soon.
I realize I can’t keep up this pace. Heck, crawfish season hasn’t gotten into full swing yet.
So this weekend, my explorations will focus more on music and art and less on food.
Wish me luck as I head to ArtWalk tonight. I have to pass at least dozen great places to eat in order get to the art galleries.