Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe at American Gourmand

From Homemade Rendered Lard

I’ve just launched a new blog called American Gourmand that I am super excited about!

American Gourmand is going to be a sister site to Nola Cuisine but exploring other realms of the American culinary landscape like Barbecue, Sushi, Charcuterie, and whatever else may be simmering away here in our great melting pot!

From American Gourmand

The format will be identical to that of Nola Cuisine, recipes as well as sharing my visits to restaurants, both of which with food photos that I hope will make your stomach rumble.

I’ve also streamlined the themes and lay outs of both sites to be almost indentical, to make it easier for me to post more often, rather than spend time messing around with technical issues.

I kicked off American Gourmand with a recipe that readers of Nola Cuisine know is near and dear to my heart, Fried Chicken. Here is the recipe:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

I’m going to Nashville next week and hope to bring a bevy of Southern goodies back to share! See you soon!!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine as well as my sister site American Gourmand!

The Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

I’m proud to say that my photo made it on the cover of the new book The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oysters
! I’m thrilled to be associated with such an informative book, the kind of cookbook I like, not just recipes, but loads of information as well.

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

The photo is from my post Drago’s Style Charbroiled Oysters Recipe. The art director of Pelican Publishing in Gretna saw my photo online and contacted me about possibly using it on the cover of an upcoming cookbook about Oysters. Being a Bona Fide Louisiana cookbook Junkie, I knew immediately that it was for the upcoming Oyster volume of The Louisiana Seafood Bible series by Jerald & Glenda Horst, because I already own the other three volumes. :)

The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Shrimp
The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crabs
The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crawfish

This is a great book, packed with information about the Louisiana Oyster, starting with the long history of the Louisiana Oyster industry, then continuing with every step of oyster production, from harvesting, to processing, to how to recognize quality.

The second half of the book is loaded with recipes from Louisiana home cooks as well from Chefs and restaurateurs, including the recipe for Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters. I haven’t had a chance to try out any of the recipes as of yet, but the ones that I’m looking forward to trying are Baked Oysters Bay Batiste which contains Mexican Chorizo and mushrooms, P&J’s Oyster Rockefeller Soup, Oyster Fricassee, Smoked Pork and Oyster Jambalaya, and Oyster Tasso Pasta. I will keep you posted on how they turn out!

This book is not just another addition to my extensive collection of Louisiana cookbooks, but the one that I’m the most proud of! Maybe one day I will have my own cookbook that will share the shelf with this one.

Here are some of my Oyster Recipes featured on this site:

Angels on Horseback Recipe
Chargrilled Oysters with Artichoke Garlic Cream Sauce
Drago’s Style Charbroiled Oysters recipe
Oysters Bienville
Oyster Dressing
Oyster Omelette
Oysters Roffignac

By the way check out this Bibliography of Louisiana Cookbooks that I put together! Let me know if any of your favorites are missing!

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

Stanley Restaurant

From

After visiting the second annual New Orleans Oyster Festival and a long afternoon of driving around New Orleans searching for an open sign in a restaurant, Seth McMillan and I became gradually less picky about where we were going to eat. Boucherie…closed, Dante’s…closed, the list went on and on. We ended up at the most unlikely place of all, the area we never dreamed we would kick back to dine… in Jackson Square. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Quarter. I love a lot of restaurants in the Quarter, but we left the Quarter in a car and ended up back with our tails between our legs…in Jackson Square.

We had walked past Stanley Restaurant earlier in the morning and Seth had mentioned that some of the staff at Bourbon House where he works told him he had to check out the Corned Beef at Stanley, so we said what the hell. The restaurant has a great reputation, owned and operated by Chef Scott Boswell of Stella! fame. Stanley being the more casual of the two, comfort food with a twist, all day breakfast & brunch, Po Boys, Burgers, sandwiches, and a hell of a good corner for people watching! We sat down, ordered a couple of Abita Ambers (following through with the theme of the day) and watched and laughed at the human statue, breaking character more often than not for smoke breaks.

In character:

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

Smoke break:

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

We decided to order a variety and split the whole works. Sampler platters like the Po Boy sliders at Stanley are a good way to get an idea of what a restaurant is all about.

Seth McMillan at Stanley:

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

Stanley has a lot of great sounding egg dishes on the menu, I chose the Breux Bridge Benedict, as I have a hard time not ordering anything on a menu that contains Boudin. The Breux Bridge Benedict did not disappoint! Toasted Leidenheimer French Bread, Charlie T’s Boudin, American cheese, a perfectly poached egg, finished with a well made hollandaise. A picture is worth a thousand words right.

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

This photo for me, is the stuff dreams are made of. It makes me hungry for this dish every time I look at it.

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

The Reuben was very good as well. A mix of Boar’s Head Brand Corned Beef and Pastrami with Swiss and Provolone Cheeses, Sauerkraut, and Russian Dressing on Toasted Rye. Very, very good!

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

The Po Boy Sliders was a sampling of the Oyster, Korean Beef, and the Club Stanley. The Oyster was very good served dressed with coleslaw and remoulade. The Club Stanley while good doesn’t really stand out in my memory. The standout and most inventive was easily the Korean Beef. A Korean Barbeque take on the classic Roast Beef Po Boy. Tenderloin, Korean Barbecue Sauce, topped with Kimchee. So delicious, I will definitely go back, if for this alone.

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

Our server tempted us with the all housemade ice creams, Bananas Foster flavor definitely caught both of our ears. It was the whole dish rolled into an ice cream, absolutely excellent.

From Stanley Restaurant – New Orleans

I will definitely stop back into Stanley on my next trip down to New Orleans, maybe for that Korean Beef Po Boy, maybe for a late night breakfast, hell maybe for an ice cream, or maybe, just maybe, because I can appreciate the references to A Streetcar Named Desire!

Stanley has a lot to offer, and like I said the people watching and view can’t be beat!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

New Orleans Oyster Festival 2011

From New Oyster Festival 2011

I meet many wonderful people through this blog, most of which I never get to meet in person. I met Seth McMillan, this way and later through Facebook, so when I knew I was coming down to New Orleans for a visit I sent him a message saying we should try to get together, he suggested we go check out the Second Annual New Orleans Oyster Festival that was happening on the same dates of my trip, great call!

We met up at about 8:30 a.m. on the Sunday morning, both a little rough around the edges from the night before. I followed Seth’s lead by grabbing a Gatorade from the Walgreens across from Jax Brewery where the festival was being held. Another great call…electrolytes. I like this guy already!

Seth is a Sous Chef at Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant and an all around great guy. He does the seafood ordering for the restaurant, so he shared a lot of interesting information about ordering Seafood in New Orleans, and about all of the vendors and purveyors that he deals with in the day to day. We shared restaurant stories, talked food and eventually ended up at the Bourbon House bar for eye openers until the festival opened up (by the way, the frozen Bourbon Milk Punch at Bourbon House is a hell of a way to start the morning, loved it!)

After some good conversation at the bar with the bartender, who colorfully relayed a story of his early morning run in with a very hungover guest of the hotel, which had my sides splitting, we headed over to the festival with a nice lady that was at the bar when we arrived, who needed someone to walk over with. After making sure the bartender got our descriptions she said:

“I should be crazy walking away with two strange guys in the city, but at least there are like a million people around!”

To which I jokingly replied:

“That’s what alleys are for.”

But alas, we arrived safe and sound after a few hundred abduction jokes and said goodbye to the nice lady whose husband was working at the festival. We then did a flyby of all of the tents to see what they were offering.

From July 21, 2011

Here is a listing of the restaurants that were there and what they were serving.

After the flyby we stopped at the Drago’s tent. It was a windy day, with a little bit of welcomed rain that kept the temperature, still hot, but almost livable. The wind carried huge gusts of aroma from Drago’s famous Charbroiled Oysters deep into the Quarter. Later in the day we were on Chartres and were caught in a smell storm of charcoal, oysters and cheese sauce flare up, that made my mouth water. Here are some of the grill men working the Oysters.

From July 23, 2011

Drago’s Restaurant owner Tommy Cvitanovich was on hand and let me get a few pictures of Drago’s Char-Broiling Fire Engine, complete with flat screen TV’s, tappers of Abita Amber, and a Jagermeister dispenser.

From July 21, 2011

Tommy dispensing the Jager!

From July 21, 2011

Drago’s Char-Broiled Oysters are in my humble opinion, one of the best damned ways to eat a Louisiana Oyster! I even created my own recipe to try to duplicate them at home. In fact, I proudly announce that my photo from the same shoot from that post is being used on the cover of The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oysters!

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

Here is the recipe:

Drago’s Style Char-Broiled Oysters Recipe

From November 21, 2011

Here is the real deal from the festival!

From July 21, 2011

After visiting the Drago’s tent we decided it was time for an ice cold Abita Amber:

From July 21, 2011

While hanging around the beer tent Seth ran into, and introduced me to Sal Sunseri of P&J Oyster Company, which is absolutely legendary in New Orleans, and unfortunately, is still reeling from the effects of the BP Oil spill damage to the Louisiana Oyster beds. In fact, the Oyster Festival was started last year to educate the country about the benefits and importance of the Louisiana Gulf Oyster, as well as to showcase the restaurants and the dishes that they create from them. P&J also has a wonderful cookbook:

The P&J Oyster Cookbook

Sal Sunseri and Seth McMillan:

From July 21, 2011

While hanging near the Abita Beer tent we stopped and checked out James Andrews Band, I absolutely love this photo that I caught of the incredible trumpeter James Andrews at work!

From July 21, 2011

I also have to say, as incredible of a food experience that I always have in New Orleans, I also always have an equally incredible music experience! Hopping clubs on Frenchman Street at all hours, the Monday night Super Jam at Maison! Street Musicians galore! Rebirth Brass Band at Maple Leaf Bar on Tuesdays. More on the music in a later post, on to more food!

Fried Oyster Po Boy with Smoked Tomato Relish from John Besh’s restaurant Luke:

From July 21, 2011

i

These are Oysters from the largest Oyster Contest, they are easily bigger than my opened hand.

From July 21, 2011

Oyster Rockefeller Bouhe from Royal House, Seth said that this was his “guilty pleasure” of the day!

From July 21, 2011

The last stop was Bourbon House‘s tent, because Seth works there I got a behind the scenes view of the cooks making what was one of my favorite things to eat at the festival, Barbecue Shrimp, for the Barbecue Shrimp Po Boy. The second photo being one of my favorites from my whole trip! I love food photography, maybe because it’s hard to go wrong! If the food looks appetizing it is an amazing photo opp!

From July 21, 2011
From July 21, 2011

The finished product Barbecue Shrimp Po Boy from Bourbon House!

From July 21, 2011

The other offering from Bourbon House, Seth’s choice, and a good choice, Mcilhenny Oysters! He gave me a sample of an Oyster before he dug in, absolutely delicious, perfectly fried and the sauce was a perfect compliment! This is also one of my favorite pics from my visit!

From July 21, 2011

These festivals are such an incredible way for visitors and locals alike to sample the wares of a lot of different great restaurants in one spot, not to mention listen to some great live music!

After we were done with the Festival, Seth and I continued to hang out and decided to jump in my rental car and go find an awesome restaurant to check out, the city was our Oyster, pun intended, but as we found out, Sunday afternoon is no time to dine in New Orleans.

Boucherie…closed, Dante’s…closed, this little place right there I heard about has great…DAMN…closed! Look at this a Tapas bar off of St. Charles, the door’s open! Finally! Let’s go check it out! How ya doin?

“Good, but we don’t open until 5 o’clock. Sorry.”

DAMN IT!!!! Ahh, excuse me…Do you have a bathroom? Great, thanks.

The afternoon was a relentless barrage of closed signs and shuttered doors, we had nothing to do but laugh by the end of it. It was either laugh or cry.

We ended up at the mostly unlikely place for two educated diners to be eating in New Orleans. Jackson Square??? How the hell did we end up back here? Next stop:

Stanley!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

Homemade Rendered Lard

From Homemade Rendered Lard

Lard…the four letter word. Like one of my other favorite four letter words, if used in moderation, it can add emphasis and an added oomph…and let’s face it, sometimes, just sometimes, there is no other word that can be used that will properly express your feelings as well as that four letter word.

Lard makes things taste good. I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating. Lard makes things taste good! That is all I’m really concerned about here on Nola Cuisine, making things taste good, and making people happy with food, and by people, I mostly mean me and my family. I share my thoughts and hope you enjoy them too.

Lard makes things taste good, when things taste good, they make me feel good, when I feel good, it lowers my stress level, and believe me, the stress is going to kill me far before the lard does.

I use lard in moderation mind you, I’m not condoning cooking every meal in lard, but when you’re making that Sunday supper of Fried Chicken…nothing is going to make that crust crispier or more flavorful than lard (unless maybe you add some bacon fat as well.) If you only make Pies once or twice a year and you KNOW that Leaf lard makes THE BEST pie crust, why not use it? How much is each guest going to have? One Piece? Two? If this were a pie eating contest you should be concerned. It’s not. Use what yields the best results.

When talking about lard, I’m talking about homemade rendered lard. I don’t like the stuff they sell in the grocery store, which is a mixture of lard and hydrogenated lard. It tastes funny in my humble opinion, it has a chemical like aftertaste. I’m not a chemist or a scientist, I don’t know what the hell they do to hydrogenate fats or oils (by the way I don’t want to know, for the comments section…kinda kidding). I do believe however that the processed foods are the foods that are killing us, or better said that we’re killing ourselves with. I’m not a crazy organic guy, but lets be honest, we’re killing ourselves with all of this mass produced crap. We really are, I’m no exception.

Make your own lard. Use it for special occasions, or for your favorite dishes where it applies. Use it in moderation and ENJOY it! Don’t stress about it! Enjoy life! Our culture has us stressed about everything under the sun, we’re afraid of our own shadows for God’s sake…it’s ridiculous. The dinner table is really our only place to relax (when we can even make it there), so when you sit down at the dinner table, relax! Free your mind and indulge in GOOD cooking and good company!

Here’s how to make homemade lard, the same application applies for duck fat…another post. (Stepping off of my soapbox)

How to make homemade Rendered Lard

2 lbs. Clean Fresh Pork Fat cut into 1/2″ cubes (I usually use back fat because I can find it locally. Leaf Fat is the best and is preferred for baking purposes)
1/2 Cup water

Some important notes:

*Use only CLEAN, FRESH fat. If the fat has an off flavor, your lard will have an off flavor. The fresher the better! I get my pork fat from a polish butcher here in Michigan where I live, who, by the way, also has a ton of house made rendered lard for sale! The polish word is “Smalec.”

*Cut the fat into equal sized pieces, this helps to prevent some pieces from geting too brown before others, which will give the lard an off flavor.

*Remove all lean meat from the fat before rendering.

*1/4 cup of water is added to the pot for each pound of pork fat. This keeps the fat from burning or browning in the pot, before the fat starts rendering. The water will evaporate away.

The Process:

Add the fat and water to a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven:

From July 18, 2011

Cook the fat and water at medium-high heat until you start to see the fat really start to liquify in the pot, turn the heat to low. Cook slowly for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Your lard is ready when the remnants in the pot, now called cracklings are golden brown.

From July 18, 2011

Strain the cracklings in a fine mesh strainer, obviously reserving your beautiful golden homemade lard.

From July 18, 2011

Drain the cracklings on paper towels season them with salt and snack on them, or use them to make Crackling Corn Bread!

From July 18, 2011

Place into a clean, dry container, I use a French Market Coffee can, and store in the refrigerator for at least six months. Use to make Fried Chicken that looks like this and tastes even better!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

From July 18, 2011

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

Radosta’s Famous Po-Boys

After my visit to the Abita Brewery, and my 23.83 mile jaunt across Lake Pontchartrain from Abita Springs, I decided to keep with my ritual on every trip to New Orleans and go straight for a Roast Beef Po-Boy! I’ve heard good things about Radosta’s in old Metarie, so that is where I headed.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

Radosta’s Restaurant & Deli
249 Aris Avenue Metairie, LA 70005-3424
1 (504) 831-1537

Tucked away on a neighborhood street, it took a little looking to find. Although it was slow when I came in, I got the feeling right away that this is the kind of joint that locals in the neighborhood pay a strong allegiance to. The folks that own and run it, are just as nice as can be.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys


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I ordered at the deli counter, the gentleman behind the counter took my order, and when I asked about a drink he said, “Just help yourself to anything you like from the coolers, just like you’re at home. You can pay on the way out.” I liked that.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

I grabbed an ice cold Abita Jockamo IPA, because hell, why break the theme of the day. I had a seat to wait for my order and snap a few shots of the interior.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

I love neighborhood places like this, and it always makes me jealous that I don’t have one like it. A father and son grabbing a Po boy and a soda, presumably after school, another family relaxing and talking after a late lunch. The counterman casually checking the score on the TV as he prepares my sandwich. No stress, no mess. Business as usual.

My food arrived a few minutes later, a dressed Roast Beef Po-Boy, and a cup of Gumbo. I started with the Gumbo, and I have to tell you, I was floored, just delicious. Nothing crazy, or new, just a well made, well seasoned File Gumbo. I loved it. Honestly, I don’t usually order a Gumbo at restaurants, because quite frankly, I like my own. But I was glad I did on this occasion, it really hit the spot.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys
From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

On to the main attraction, the Roast Beef Po-Boy. Very good, wonderful beef, tender with good flavor! Good buttered and toasted French Bread. Dressed. Generally I like my Roast Beef Po Boys a little more sloppy, lots of gravy and mayo. This one was more about the beef itself which was very good and a very generous portion!

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

After stuffing myself I went to the counter to pay, had some nice conversation with the delightful gal tending the register, I presume one of the owners, and went on my way, fat and happy!

Related Posts:

Parasol’s Style Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe
Parasol’s Bar & Restaurant
Domilise’s Po Boy & Bar
Roast Beef Po Boy with Debris Gravy Recipe
Mother’s Restaurant

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

Cajun Grain Rice

From

I’ve been following the Donald Link’s (Chef and author of Real Cajun) video series called Taste of Place on his website, if you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. He tours farms, goes out with fisherman, and visits with purveyors of superior products, not just in Louisiana, but primarily in the south. He then usually does a cooking video with whatever product was featured.

Long story short, I recently caught the episode where Link visits the farm of Kurt & Karen Unkel who own and operate a rice farm in Kinder, Louisiana (the video is embedded below.) Kurt’s words and philosophies really make sense to me. He’s organic, not because it’s trendy, but because it makes the most sense, for nutrition, flavor, and I’m sure profitability. The rice goes into a slow feed and a husker and into the bag that it’s shipped in. It still contains the germ and all of the other elements that a nutritious rice should.

Cajun Grain
11574 Hwy. 190
Kinder, LA 70648
1-337-207-0966


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I visited the Cajun Grain website after viewing this video and was elated to see that they sell their Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice on Amazon! I immediately ordered two 4 lb bags which arrived a few days ago.

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

I opened the bag and took a deep whiff and you can immediately smell the field. I can’t wait to experiment with this incredible, minimally processed product. I’m thinking Boudin! Here is the video:

<a href="http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/taste-of-place/?vid=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;videoId=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;src=v5:embed::&#038;from=sharepermalink" onclick="__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'outbound-article', 'http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/taste-of-place/?vid=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;videoId=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;src=v5:embed::&#038;from=sharepermalink', 'Video: The beauty of brown rice');" target='_new' title='The beauty of brown rice'>Video: The beauty of brown rice</a>

Kurt has also been featured in the documentary film Harmony, which is narrated by Prince Charles, as well as the New York Times article, Rice Dreams in Louisiana.

You can find and purchase Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice from their website which is below, or on Amazon here:

Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice, Two 4lb. bags.

Cajun Grain
P.O. Box 370
Kinder, LA 70648
337-207-0966

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

Stay tuned as I can’t wait to share some recipes using this wonderful Louisiana product! I am also in full swing in sharing all of the details of my most recent trip to Louisiana! Most recently, my visits to Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant and the Abita Brewery. It feels good to be back!!

Related Posts:

Review of Donald Link’s Real Cajun

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

Abita Brewing Company Tour

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After my first stop at Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, and a brief stop in Pontchatoula, I jumped back into my car and made my way east, above the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain to Abita Springs, LA to visit and hopefully take the Abita Brewery tour.

Abita Brewing Company Tasting Room & Tour
166 Barbee Rd.
Abita Springs, LA
1-985-893-3143

The Abita Brewing Company Visitor’s center was opened in 2008, the old brewery now houses the Abita Brew Pub. They even have their own cookbook called Abita Beer: Cooking Louisiana True

Upon arriving at the brewery I quickly pulled into a parking spot, and hustled up to the front of the visitor’s center:


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From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

I bellied up to the end of a group which was just entering and noticed that everyone was wearing wrist bands, so I stepped back and approached the guy at the door clutching a $20 bill in my hand.

“How much is the tour?” I asked.

“$20 bucks” he replied “You’ve got just enough!” then put his hand out. As I reached to hand him my dough he broke out into a wild cackle that would have made a Hyena blush, then slapped me on the back. Crack!

“This is free man!! You’re just in time! Here’s a wristband and a cup, have a good time!” Another friendly slap on the back and off I went, entering the Abita Brewery visitors center tasting room which wins the 2011 NOLA CUISINE award for Best Place to get Drunk for Free! Not a really a real award, mind you, but if I had one, Abita would win it, hands down!

By the way, don’t be a stooge like me and go here alone, I could only sample as I had to drive into New Orleans. Best to find some other stooge to drive you so that you can truly partake in this excellent, rare, FREE beer drinking opportunity!

Also, please forgive me for the less than crisp photography on this post, but please note: All photos were taken while holding an ice cold cup of Abita beer…I know my priorities. :)

The visitors center is wonderfully decorated with art work on the walls representing many of your favorite or soon to be favorite Abita beers, Purple Haze:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

My old standby Abita Amber:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

One of my new favorites Jockamo IPA:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

Now, I’m not going to lie, the artwork wasn’t the first thing that I noticed upon entering the tasting room, it was the line of fellow guests lining up behind the Mahogany bar to fill up their cups from one of 15 tappers of different Abita Beers. As much as they wanted, as many different kinds as they would like to try…all for free. In essence, a beer drinker’s bliss.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

The atmosphere is ultra relaxed, everyone just hanging out meeting some new people, drinking some great beer, playing a game of ring toss:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After about 15-20 minutes of hanging out sampling the wares, the tour begins with a video. The crowd mostly ignores the video, then the tappers are cut off to focus attention onto the tour into the brewery which is about 10 minutes long.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

It is quite loud in the cellar, and folks tended to keep talking while our tour guide was talking, which made it very hard to hear. Understandable I guess, free beer tends to make people chatter. I only caught snippets of the dialogue as I was standing in the back, fortunately for those of us that were interested, the information is available online here.

Here are some pics from inside the Cellar:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

Booties must be worn if wearing open toed shoes:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After the tour, the group returned to the tasting room for you guessed it, more free beer. More hanging out, relaxing, enjoying.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

My visit finished early as I had to drive, and was looking forward to a long afternoon, and even longer evening in New Orleans. I jumped in my rental and made my way for the Ponchartrain causeway, which is 23.83 miles directly across Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans!

Next up Radosta’s for an excellent cup of Gumbo and a Roast Beef Po Boy.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on Nola Cuisine!

Related Posts:

Baby Back Ribs with Turbo dog Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

Well I’m back. I know, I know…it’s been a long stretch between posts, but a recent visit to New Orleans and some out lying areas of Louisiana, has me re-inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the daunting task of posting all of the terrific content I have compiled on that four day journey, I also have some new recipes to share as well. So here we go…it sincerely feels great to be back at this! I hope you enjoy!

Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant
30160 Highway 51
Akers, LA 70421
1-985-386-6666

Long on my Louisiana bucket list of places to dine has been Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, about 45 miles away from New Orleans, Akers, Louisiana to be exact, on Highway 51, between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s a scenic drive from the airport, I-10 provides great views of Bayou Piquant and Lake Pontchartrain, and elevated Highway 51 snakes through the Maurepas Swamp, providing visitors with excellent views of the Cypress swamps, complete with spanish moss. I’m a sap and I love Louisiana, so every time I see those picturesque views after I’ve been away for a spell, it gives me a nice warm glow.


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Josie and Louis Middendorf opened Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant on July 4, 1934 during the great depression. The restaurant was passed down through two generations of the family. The Lamonte family who owned the restaurant for 40 years, sold it and passed the torch to Horst & Karen Pfeifer in 2006 after the couple lost their New Orleans restaurant Bella Luna during Hurricane Katrina.

The original Middendorf’s restaurant is still standing across the parking lot from the new restaurant and deck where I enjoyed my meal.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

I only made it into the main restaurant to say hello to the hostess with the beautiful smile, and to tell her that I would like to go eat on the deck, she directed me and off I went!

It was dog hot on the day I visited, but the deck provided a shaded atmosphere with misters running along the openings to keep it cool…an awesome view to boot:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

It was totally comfortable out there, perfect. In fact, I wish I was on that deck right now, ordering up some of the best fried seafood known to man and a cold beer. I would be on that deck all the time if I were a local. The deck is complete with boat parking:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the good stuff…

Middendorf’s is the Mecca of fried Catfish, specifically, thin fried catfish. Understand, I’ve been reading about this place for years and years, well before the current owners took the reins, so there is cause for concern about building a pyramid up in one’s mind.

At the deck at Middendorf’s you order at the bar and pickup at the bar (although everything was delivered to me, along with smiles and nice conversation.) The beers available are generic, miller lite, bud, corona, etc.., no Abita, no fancyfied beers, which tells me this place is all local, love it!

I ordered the thin fried catfish, which is the legendary house specialty, and I also read great things about Middendorf’s Barbecued Oysters, so I ordered them as an appetizer with a cup of Turtle Soup.

I expected the Barbecue Oysters to be along the lines of Barbecue Shrimp, but they were totally different, in a good way, more along the lines of an Oysters Roffignac. Cleanly shucked with a wonderful red topping, a great first taste for my first meal in Louisiana! To be quite honest, I didn’t take notes, I don’t remember what flavors were going on there, just that they were wonderful and like no other Oyster dish I’ve had previous! Delicious!

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The Turtle Soup left me a little flat, not terrible by any means, just didn’t blow me away.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the star of the show, Thin Fried Catfish, probably the most perfectly fried fish I’ve had. Crispy, clean flavor, not a bit greasy. The stuff dreams are made of.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The hush puppies are very good, as well as the coleslaw.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

After making my taste buds happy at Middendorf’s I was back on the road to my next destination, with a brief stop off in Ponchatoula, the berry capital. Did a little exploring then moved on to Abita Springs for my next stop (as well as my next post), the Abita Brewery Tour!

Check out my friend Tim’s post on Middendorf’s at his blog RouxBDoo’s Cajun and Creole Food Blog!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!