Hungry on I-10 in Louisiana? Head for Iowa

Posted Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The state of Louisiana is shaped like an L, and the bottom of that L is about 300 miles long. Drive it, and you’re going to get hungry. Hence, I’m always on the lookout for little towns that harbor good food.

I just found a new one: Iowa. Pronounced eye-oh-way, it contains not one, but two lunchworthy stops. The first is Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen (105 Louisiana 165, rabideauxssausagekitchen.com), where I fell in love with the boudin balls, little golf ball-sized servings of pork and rice.

The place also is justly proud of its boudin links and deep-fried corn on the cob, as well as pork cracklins. On Wednesdays, I’m told, barbecue is served and the locals pour in to get some.

Rabideaux’s is among 31 — yes, 31 — stops on Louisiana’s Boudin Trail, launched in 2009 to lure people to southwestern Louisiana. It’s a good lure. Find a map of all the stops at cajunboudintrail.com.

The second lunch find: Fausto’s, a small restaurant at 105 E. Miller St. This place knows what to do with a catfish. The blue plate special on the day I visited included it two ways: fried catfish — a longtime favorite of mine — and catfish couvillion, smothered in onions, bell pepper, garlic and onions in a tomato broth.

In both cases, the catfish was tender and flavorful. Sides were rolls, butter beans and cantaloupe, all of which made for a very brown/beige plate of food. I managed not to be put off by the beigeness — or the fact that the food arrived in a plastic, compartmentalized tray — because everything was yummy, except for the underripe cantaloupe. I’ll definitely stop back in.

This little town sits at Exit 43 off Interstate 10, just east of Lake Charles. In the words of Meredith Willson in The Music Man, you really ought to give Iowa a try.

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