My journey began the moment I stepped foot off the plane in Louisiana. Greeted by my girlfriend Joni, who was bursting with enthusiasm and could not wait to share Houma with me! We got in the car, and headed to Houma, with a short drive of from the New Orleans airport.
You all know I don’t eat meat and this can pose a serious challenge when I travel. I do consume seafood in mass quantities, and I was craving the best shrimp and seafood. Culinary savviness providing tantalizing vegetarian options is not an easy thing to find. Of course I wanted savory, swamp chic and downright delicious lunch destinations.
It’s Bayou Country (Houma), and I have an empty plate! Let’s fill it with fresh, ingredient-driven eats to uncover 3 savory, swamp chic and downright delicious lunch destinations in Bayou Country!
I kind of took or granted that finding the freshest seafood at a savory, swamp chic eatery would be easy because I am down in the Gulf Coast, where fresh seafood prevails right? Join me in this epic food journey over 3 days to those hidden eateries you want to enjoy but don’t know where to find!
3 Savory, Swamp Chic and Downright Delicious Lunch Destinations In Bayou Country
You are currently wondering what ‘Swamp Chic’ is, I am sure. I probably could not define it, if I had not experienced it. I will tell you this, it’s the girlfriend getaway you craved, now tied up in a package here, so you can plan the same!
In Bayou Country, Swamp Chic is an effortless blend of day to night activities that keep you moving, and learning about the Houma area even when you don’t realize it. From basic eats in cute mom & pop stops to upscale dining, you’ll experience it all.
Along the way, you will learn what it means to feed your soul, because it’s not just a feast for your tummy but for your mind too! Ready? Let’s Swamp Chic it up!
Famished from flying since the wee hours of the morning, Joni said, “I think we need to eat first!” Me, “I’m in!” It was over a bridge and then into a little residential area close to the hospital. Any good travel begins with good food, would Bayou Country (Houma) have that good food?
RULES Of HOUMA
There are unwritten rules of travel, those that you learn while you are there and they help to define an area. Let me share with you a few that I learned before we EVEN start into this foodie find of a story. It will help you to understand more about the area. Shucks, the rules make me bust at the seams to get back on the plane and return to the Houma area.
First things first, you will see me interplay the words, ‘Bayou Country’ and ‘Houma’ because Houma is also affectionately known as Bayou Country, so consider them on in the same.
Second, if you see the word shrimp, crab, made ‘in-house’ know that everything is genuine and authentic. The claim to fame in any AUTHENTIC restaurant in Houma is that the ingredients are not ‘trucked’ in by food purveyors like USA Foods, rather all sourced locally.
What you won’t expect to find for food offerings are the ones that will deceive you and thrill you! I know, because we ate at a few of them, and they were just, ‘WOW!’
LOCAL OR BUST
The locals won’t support the restaurants if anything is really not made from scratch. What makes the restaurants, eateries, snack stops authentic in and ‘famous’ in Bayou Country is that local supports local or your ass might as well get back in that shrimping boat and sail away. No fraud accepted.
In fact, I heard a story about a local exposing another local restaurant for using non-locally sourced food and they are no longer a restaurant. There’s pride and support for one another in Bayou Country and we, the traveling tourists benefit from truth in local sourcing!
Additionally, business supporting business is so important and a way of life, I love it! Louisiana strong!
Big Bowls & Dipping Treats & Fabulous Sweets!
Expect the unexpected should be Bayou Countries tagline. We used street parking, and then walked about 50 steps to the address of 531 Liberty Street in Houma. The smell of made-fresh eats was wafting right out the door and harnessing our olfactory with each step!
We sat wherever we wanted, which of course was RIGHT in the middle of of it all. There’s a service counter with a few chairs, which opens up into the kitchen. While you can’t really see the kitchen you do see everyone hustling!
There are big blackboards in the dining area, and they offer insight as to specials on drinks as well as when there is live music, so open your eyes and look. The locals eat here as do those that work at the hospital which is very close in proximity.
Tip: Go before Noon to get seating because it does GET BUSY! Knowing this also translates to “it’s delicious!”
The hangry of flying and travel had set in. Joni (my girlfriend whom I met up with in Louisiana) knew I was in starved mode.
The menus came, we ordered sweet tea’s and water and then began to tame hangry. Scouring the menu as a vegetarian was easy on the eyes! Options were endless.
Now what exactly did we order? I would say one of everything but there are limits to the size of our bellies. Lol!
We picked Edamame Hummus with Hot Pita pieces as well as Sweet Potato Rangoon. Which would be followed by a Shrimp BLT Salad (no bacon) and a Bacon Jam burger.
Honest: it’s hard to make a decision when there are so many things that are on a menu that I can actually eat. I have hit the jackpot in this destination. but it’s not just for vegetarians, because Joni eats meat and they have endless options as well!
Sweet Potato Rangoon served with a sweet chili sauce were the first item delivered to our table. Presentation= Looks Good To Me! Taste is, ‘Off The Charts’ insane! I have never had a mashed up sweet potato with cream cheese.
The ingredients were well preserved inside of the won ton wrapper, that was fried but not fried tasting (that means they keep their fryer oil nice and fresh!)
Sweet chili sauce was just the pairing to make this spectacular. In fact, I could have eaten 2 plates of these and called it a day! But there’s more coming to the table a feast for our eyes and bellies! Savory, scrumptious, and authentic.
Edamame Hummus with Pita Bites. Could this get any better? Vegetarian delight, with foods I eat at home, but NEVER see on menus when I go out. Edamame. One of my favorite proteins! It’s a peck at platter, if you get me. I mean, you peck at a piece, go back for more, and keep doing it till it’s demolished. Yum!
Oh My God I’m Full!
Seriously, we just chowed down on some menu offerings that I loved and imagine this, there’s more food on the menu I can indulge in? I am starting to get full, but then it happens. The Big Bowl of Salad arrives to the table.
Now, I am not kidding when I say this thing is mixing bowl size. Inside the bowl armory is the freshest in seafood, and big. By no means are these small shrimp, and it’s possible my belly may not be able to finish this all!
Just when I thought I had a lot to tackle, Joni’s arrived. Holy burger heaven! Check out the Bacon Jam Burger with nuesky bacon jam, roasted garlic mayo and cheddar cheese! This BURGER is mammoth!
Needless to say, come hungry and you want leave any other way than filled up! First dining experience in Houma gets an A+++++ and yes I can use that many pluses it’s my website, who cares what the dictionary says, lol!
Lunch 2 – After A Morning of Gators…
An adrenaline pumping morning had already taken place. I spent time with Mr. Tim at Greenwood Gator Farm, so you already might have an idea of the excitement that I experienced. Holding a gator, seeing them face to face and watching Mr. Tim interact with the gators, just made my belly stir with ….Hunger!
We arrived to this lovely looking eatery, complete with a front patio for seating and a drive through? Parking? Well, what you want to know is if you can’t hang with the big boys, don’t go to Houma. Joni nestled our car right on the grass hill, like she was driving an F250 and meant business, then we headed in.
What to know? Park wherever you can y’all you are in Bayou Country and these local places are well-supported! Park and be happy as your stomach will thank you later.
You’ve arrived at Castalano’s Deli & Catering. They have 2 locations and an event hall. We were at the West Park Avenue location, just in case you want to go where I was (yeah you do!).
What To Eat?
There’s no shortage of options for vegetarians, or meat-eaters so just look at the menu and figure it out! Do know that the potato chips are made in-house are should be your side, if I might be so bold as to suggest.
I ordered a Caesar Shrimp Wrap with Chips and Joni ordered the Chicken Caesar Wrap with Chips. Then we got 2 Sweet Tea’s and refilled them before we left.
The Inside & The Outside
I don’t know how y’all do it with the heat, I mean function. It was warm, at least warmer than this East Coast girl is used to. We get humidity during the summer, but it leaves. Temperatures of 80-90° are reserved for the summer months, but it seems the calendar does not move in Louisiana nor does it predict the weather. WOWZA to heat, thus the reason we ate inside. Loved it, but in small doses!
Everyone is always curious if there is enough seating, a bathroom, and is there outside dining. Yes to all. Have a look at my mini video sharing all this so you know to go! The outside seating is pretty and had we not been out in the heat already, I would have been ok sitting out there, but y’all, it does get ‘warm’ to say the least!
An extensive menu, plenty of seating, and good eats, I’ll be back to see them again when I return!
Wine, Authentic, Artisan Prepared Eats
Feed your soul, fill your tummy and relax, because Bayou Country has endless options for dining. My pick of the week, is this restaurant. Authentic, on the water, and excellent food are just a tad of the story. Come on, keep reading, and look at these pictures. Really, I had to stave off hunger to take them, so at least look!
Not being partial or bias, but this luncheon date won my heart. Remember, I am a wine gal, and from the name to the ambiance to the General Manager who let us sneak in even though we ran late, it’s an ‘All In’ foodie destination. Dominque’s Wine Boutique & Bistro. They close at 2, we were going to really be pushing it, but the General Manager was so nice, he was welcoming as was his staff. Thank you all!
We had been miles beyond the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, watching shrimping vessels and visiting other places I will share in other travel posts, thus, we were not close to Dominique’s.
Our travels today were the historical and culture part of the adventure. More riding, viewing and learning than outdoor adventure. Dressed a bit more, we were set to dine at Dominique’s.
As soon as we pulled into the parking area, I knew we had found a ‘Dana Haven’. The historic, yet classic look of the exterior and the name of the restaurant already had me! We were literally right on the water, and when I opened the doors…
Yes, wines were displayed, brick walls so earthy looking and yet balanced by an open concept kitchen and a huge bar. Now, let’s be serious here, had I been there on time, you might have seen me sipping at more than a glass of wine.
After all the bar setting just captivates you and invites you to sit, sip and repeat. But… as with all good things, I am always running to catch up, so we settled at a table (this is not a bad thing!)
But, it’s not just that, look at how quaint, fashionable, boutique and ‘cool’ this interior is. Kind of like the interior we all want in our homes, but just can never get it there, they got IT! It’s soft and welcoming with an upscale vibe. Perfect for a luncheon date, a meeting or a place to just savor the moment.
Cheers To Vino
Properly addressing the timing of the day, I snugged up to the wine choices and selected a Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand wine. Light, dry and perfect for what I was about to order. Before I share my plate choices, let’s pay proper respect to this lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc, shall we?
You might see that the brick walls, combined with a lovely shade of light green are tastefully done. Rustic and contemporary, with an old Italian feel, and the look is just as stunning as the food, trust me, go here or you are missing the experience of Houma!
Beyond The Wine
The vegetarian in me got so excited to see one of my favorite combinations and truly decadent offerings: The Caprese Stack. Again, I create this at home, it never looks as elegant but it is how I eat and here I am miles away from Pittsburgh and I have struck gold!
Tomato, fresh mozzarella, avocado, balsamic and pesto, accompanied by a few pieces of french bread to dip, and cleanup the plate (after all who would leave any of this behind? ) It’s striking in appearance, and meticulously plated. My bet, even if you did not like this combination you would be tempted to go ‘fork-in’, it’s that pretty right? Now let me take a sip of wine and then a bite and before you know it, it’s death to the Caprese Stack.
Cast Iron Makes It Better
Joni ordered Cast Iron Baked Rolls. She told me, these are to ‘die for’ and she was not kidding. While the presentation adds to the lovely inhabitants of the iron skillet, the taste is seriously, for lack of a better word, ‘Yum!’ The rolls are baked in cast iron with a mix of Parmesan and sun-dried tomato butter. Eating one is heaven and eating 2 is like committing a sin without feeling bad!
Really, look at this bread up close, it’s just crazy to taste and see, and really a taste of the South! IMO!
Encore To Fabulous
How do you round out a Swamp Chic Girlfriend luncheon date? For me it was a Five Cheese Tortellini with, gulf shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, truffle cream sauce. The tortellini was the perfect cradle for the sauce and the shrimp just popped with juiciness. All fresh, and the sauce clung to each tortellini and shrimp. It’s an ‘All-In’ kind of entree.
It’s those large pieces of shaved Parmesan that I really like and the shrimp, oh the shrimp. Right off the boat, onto the grill, that’s the best way to say it!
Joni’s choice of a Smoked Gouda burger with a side of bacon balsamic brussel sprouts stole the show. Smoked Gouda, caramelized onions and bacon with a sesame seed bun, came to the table on a vintage paper lined stainless steel tray.
They are not messing around with portions and it was a ‘fun side’ of this atmosphere. It’s not stuffy and pretentious, but fun, and different. I loved how this came out and it was totally unexpected.
Feed Your Soul
Savory & tempting and some of the finest dining in Houma, is how to describe the essence of Houma. Our Swamp Chic travels, were all over the area, and met with a different style of eatery each day. Diverse in chooses and dress, as well as affordable, these eateries all are culinary savvy and chic. When in Houma in search of fresh and ingredient driven places to dine, use this as a map to fill your belly! Indulge. Make Houma Happen. Feed Your Soul and enjoy Bayou Country with a stop at each. ~ DANA XO
*Meals were provided, opinions are my own based on my dining experiences.