Tag Archives: Cajun

Cajun Cuisine at The Cabin Restaurant

The Cabin
5405 Louisiana 44
Burnside, LA

We spent our last day in Baton Rouge visiting Houmas House, a plantation about an hour outside the city, and naturally, we had some food plans to go along with our outing. When we put out an open call for restaurant recommendations near Baton Rouge and one of our readers, Justin Newhart, suggested we try the The Cabin, a spot for Cajun food not too far from Houmas House. Like many of the places we visited on our trip, The Cabin seemed to pop out of nowhere, and true to its name, was indeed a cabin. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a giant log alligator sculpture out front – welcome to Louisiana! 

The Cabin Restaurant

It is worth noting the restaurant’s architecture, which was definitely eclectic and impressive. From the road, the restaurant itself doesn’t seem very big, however, once you are inside, the space is expansive, and contains many connected buildings. There is even an impressive open-beamed high ceiling, as you can see below. Out back there is a courtyard and a complex of other small, restored buildings including slave cabins, a general store and a schoolhouse, many of which were relocated from nearby towns. Far from being a replica of old Southern buildings, The Cabin is the real deal. 

The Cabin Restaurant

We arrived at about noon Sunday, and the Cabin was doing a pretty brisk brunch business. The menu at the Cabin is large and decidedly Cajun, and especially featured seafood. There are many preparations of shrimp, crawfish and catfish, and you can even get a Po’Boy. For the indecisive, there are also a number of samplers such as the “Cabin Seafood platter” ($28.95) which comes with catfish, shrimp, oysters, crab fingers, stuffed crab, crawfish tails, crawfish Étouffée, and a cup of gumbo. L ordered the Crawfish Étouffée ($14.95) with a side of red beans and rice while M and his father went with the Cabin Special ($10.95) which included a cup of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, jambalaya, and black-eyed peas. We got a plate of cornbread while we were waiting, which was a great match for our sweet tea in mason jars, our go-to drink order in the South.

Crawfish Etouffee and fixins at The Cabin Restaurant

Crawfish Etouffee and fixins at The Cabin Restaurant

The portions were gigantic (as you can see above), and everything was hearty and delicious. We probably could have brought some of our food home, but sadly we were off to a catch a flight home right after. The biggest hit of the day was our dessert: the buttermilk pie, which was superlative ($3.50 a slice). You can even buy the pie recipe for a dollar upon checkout. We probably should have bought the recipe, but I think we’d rather come back someday for a return trip!

The famous Buttermilk Pie

The famous Buttermilk Pie

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Crawfish festival in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

When we were in Louisiana in the fall, crawfish (aka crayfish, crawdad or mudbug) season was well over. However, if you have the good fortune to be in Cajun country in Spring, crawfish are everywhere. The epicenter for crawfish culture and consumption is the town of Breaux Bridge, “Crawfish Capital of the World,” which is just over the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge (a pretty gigantic bridge) from Baton Rouge. The names of the some of the restaurant in town seem to bear out that distinction: Crawfish Town USA, Crazy Bout Crawfish, etc. The annual Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge occurs in May and includes nearly every crawfish-related event you could dream of. The New Yorker has an interesting old piece about a trip to Breaux Bridge for the Festival. Hopefully we’ll be able to visit Cajun country in Spring one year to get our fill of super-fresh crawfish.

Breaux Bridge

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Roberto’s River Road Restaurant, a hidden gem

Roberto’s River Road Restaurant
1985 Louisiana 75
Sunshine, LA

Usually when someone says that a restaurant is in the middle of nowhere, it is usually hyperbole. However, if they are not exaggerating, this is the restaurant they mean. If you are driving to Roberto’s at night, it seems like you are driving into the darkness for just a mile too far, and when you are about to give up because you are truly in the middle of nowhere, Roberto’s seems to pop up just over the horizon. From the outside, Roberto’s looks like little more than a small white shack, but the inside is cozy, comfortable and a lot bigger than it looks. R4 is one of M’s dad’s favorite haunts in the vicinity of Baton Rouge, so we were very excited to try it.

Roberto's River Road Restaurant

Closing time at Roberto’s River Road Restaurant

We arrived at about 8:30, to a nearly full house, though we managed to snag one of the last tables. Roberto’s menu focuses on upscale casual Cajun food, especially seafood. The dish that came most highly recommended to us was River Road Shrimp (available as either an appetizer or an entree over pasta), which consisted of shrimp in a bell pepper and spicy brandy butter sauce, so we knew we had to try it. There were also several dishes that featured crawfish: our favorite Cajun staple, Etouffe; a crawfish and Portobella mushroom pasta; and the quizzically named Catfish Dot – a grilled catfish filet topped with herbed crawfish (this was the option we went for). Fish of the Day in Papillote also came highly recommended – the catch of the day wrapped in parchment paper and baked with lemon and herbs.

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We started out with a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo (there is also seafood gumbo) – which was delicious  – extremely rich and flavorful. The seafood dishes were similarly tasty, and surprisingly light. For once we did not feel guilty about indulging in Cajun flavors (though of course there are fried options, too). For dessert we tried a special: cookies and cream bread pudding, which was excellent, but definitely did not need the extra sweetness of the marshmallow sauce. We managed to stick around until closing time, though the restaurant was still buzzing from a squad car full of Baton Rouge’s finest and a crowd that came in on an LSU stretch limo. Roberto’s may be off the beaten path, but it is definitely worth a little drive.

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Cajun Street Food in Baton Rouge: Boudin

The pronunciation of some words is enough to separate locals from tourists, and connoisseurs from newbies. One of those such words is “Boudin.” Boudin, a rice-stuffed pork sausage from Louisiana, is pronounced “boo-dan” not “boo-deen,” as one might expect. Boudin is found all over Cajun country (you can even take “Boudin Trail” tour), and is descended from sausages found in French Acadian cuisine. Boudin is available in any good Louisiana Cajun restaurant or grocery store, but we think we have found our favorite way to enjoy Boudin – as a late-night Po’Boy topped with pulled pork.

Southern Dawgz Stand -ready for night owls

Southern Dawgz Stand -ready for night owls

We found this particular incarnation of Boudin sold in a stand called Southern Dawgz on the corner of Florida and 3rd in downtown Baton Rouge. The truck is there most Thursday-Saturday nights (until 2 AM!), and there is a small selection of items, though most everyone is there for the Boudin. You can get a basic Boudin dog, or a “Bleu” topped with blue cheese or a “Heart Attack” topped with bacon. The cookmaster of this particular Boudin stand is Jerry, who is actually from Southern Ohio, and sous chef is from Indiana. Boudin is often sold in fried “Boudin Balls” much like meatballs, but at Southern Dawgz you get them in a form similar to brats. We ordered a smoked Boudin Po’Boy, which was great. The filling was perfectly seasoned, and the Boudin link had a charred snap. However, Jerry upped the ante by suggesting we try the stand’s “Red Dawg,” a Boudin dog topped with pulled pork and a tomato-based BBQ sauce. The pulled pork was a great addition, and contributed even more to the ultimate late night pig out!

Southern Dawg

Southern Dawg photo by digbatonrouge.com

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