I need help finding really good alligator in Louisiana! Memphis/NoLa/Western Louisiana Trip

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by gonefishin, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       First off, I hope the people in Louisiana are recovering from Hurricane Isaac, my thoughts and prayers are with them during these tough times.

      I do have a trip already planned to Memphis, then New Orleans.  During this time we also plan to go out to Avery Island, on the way is Pierre Part, Louisiana.  Alligator season will be open and I would LOVE to get some properly cooked/fresh alligator.  Does anyone have some recommendations on a place that serves good alligator (in season)?  It would even be great if we could see a few hunters bring their catch in, but where do they bring it in to?  something like a weigh station, etc?

       I hope you can appreciate the fact that we may be looking for something a bit different, something a bit more real...fresh and in season! 

       Any help is greatly appreciated!

       Dan
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  2. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    410
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    If you are lucky enough to score a gator permit and find a good guide all your wishes may come true.

    Hurricane Issac will play into the availability and locations they can be found and harvested.

    Most if not all gator being served in restaurants have been farmed (like catfish).

    However, it never hurts to ask.

    Cafes, convenience stores, check bulletin boards for guides then just start asking.

    All they can say is no.
     
  3. mikelm

    mikelm

    Messages:
    1,691
    Likes Received:
    36
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Dan-

    I presume you will be out in the Cajun countryside; you can probably trust any decent-looking roadhouse restaurant. We found one just outside Houma.  We asked for crawfish.  Seeing that we were obviously outlanders, the owner gave us a tour of the place, including the two huge crawfish boilers with about twenty-five burlap bags of 'bugs piled beside them. He also gave samples of alligator meat, which was good but didn't match the steamed 'bugs, which he taught us how to eat. Including sucking the heads. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif

    When we finished the mound of 'bugs -including the heads-  piled on the newspapers spread out on our table, we got a round of applause from the native diners. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    The Cajun Country is a magical place to visit, and especially to eat in. We never did find a bad meal.

    After our first couple of visits, we didn't go to NO again.  The Cajun Country is far cheaper and the food is just as good.

    Have fun.

    Mike
     
  4. mikelm

    mikelm

    Messages:
    1,691
    Likes Received:
    36
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Dan-

    I presume you will be out in the Cajun countryside; you can probably trust any decent-looking roadhouse restaurant. We found one just outside Houma.  We asked for crawfish.  Seeing that we were obviously outlanders, the owner gave us a tour of the place, including the two huge crawfish boilers with about twenty-five burlap bags of 'bugs piled beside them. He also gave samples of alligator meat, which was good but didn't match the steamed 'bugs, which he taught us how to eat. Including sucking the heads. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif

    When we finished the mound of 'bugs -including the heads-  piled on the newspapers spread out on our table, we got a round of applause from the native diners. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    The Cajun Country is a magical place to visit, and especially to eat in. We never did find a bad meal.

    After our first couple of visits, we didn't go to NO again.  The Cajun Country is far cheaper and the food is just as good.

    Have fun.

    Mike
     
  5. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
        That was just the type of advice I was looking for, thanks Mike and FlipFlopGirl.  Mike, so it sounds like you've done exactly what we're looking to do...I can't wait! 

      Thanks again!

    Dan
     
  6. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    410
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    MikeLM...you hit the nail on the head about not finding a bad meal in that region!

    (someday I will learn how to attach a quote, lolol!)

    Love to stop at the little mom and pop gas stations/grocery stores as pretty much every one will have a "deli or plate lunch" area.

    If I had to choose it would be a roast beef "trash" po-boy with extra gravy on the side (not jus, real brown gravy).

    Jeeze, it must be time to eat as my salivary glands just started up.
     
  7. thatchairlady

    thatchairlady

    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Have only tried alligator once... on a school field trip (with middle school kids) to a Native American Festival.  Got it to see what it was like and... to gross out 7-8th graders!!  It was hard as a rock and I literally could NOT chew it enough to swallow.  SOOO I took it back.  Was told it was probably cooked too much.  DOn;t thiink vendor expected a return... how many people in NJ would know what they got wasn't "good"!?!
     
  8. mikelm

    mikelm

    Messages:
    1,691
    Likes Received:
    36
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Dan-

    Our experiences were spread out over the ten-year period our younger son lived in Houston - now some years ago. (In fact, we got to Houston during that time more often than we got to downtown Chicago.) /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    We'd go down through Memphis, pausing only for some BBQ, then to Vicksburg. Going through the battlefield at Vicksburg always made me a little weepy.  My ancestors - both sides - were longtime Missourians, and my mother's grandfather was in the Union Army.  The regimental monuments at Vicksburg memorialize many Missouri regiments... some Union, and some Confederate. They talk about "Bloody Kansas" in the Civil War era, but Missouri was just as bitterly divided, if not more so.

    Anyhow, if you're at all close to Vicksburg, go through the battlefield - a lovely drive - and visit the museums.

    We went farther down along the river and crossed over into Louisiana and wandered through the Cajun country, working westward.  We usually wound up in Breaux Bridge, had lunch at Mulate's and then got on I-10 and headed to Houston. What I'm describing is about a three-day excursion total from Chicago, and of course longer if you're touristing and not actually headed someplace specific like we were.

    Mulate's is touristy, but still a really good Cajun restaurant, and they have terrific Zydeco!

    If you don't have a really great time, It's your fault! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Have fun,

    Mike
     
  9. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       Hi Mike!  Sounds like you've had some nice trips, thanks for sharing.  I'll definitely have to try and work in Vicksburg to the trip.  Thanks for all the tips.
        Lol, I like that /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

         Dan
     
  10. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       Well, we found some really fresh alligator In Louisiana.  Only thing is all of the alligator we came across is already sold to a wide variety of places around the world.  We were just into alligator season in Louisiana, and we couldn't get fresh alligator to eat.  They explained that it may be easier to get it local later in the season.  But we did have a great time!


    Here I am with one of Troy's alligators.  We were talking quite a bit with Troy and some of his family having genuine conversation...they're just good people.


       He really was such a genuinely nice guy.  He wouldn't  stop until this big fan got plenty of smiles and memories with him, (I believe she was 90 years young and had seen every episode of Swap People)


       ...and here she is sitting on his lap with his .22 rifle.


       We did end up getting some tasty, and oh so tender, fried alligator in town...plus a little more...but I'll update the NoLa thread with the other stuff /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  11. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
      Our trip started in Memphis


    The first place we ate at was The Cozy Corner.  Wonderful bbq...ribs were fantastic.  Pulled pork was good and the fried baloney sandwich was exactly how you would like it, one thick cut of baloney (smoked then fried in pan)...covered with sauce.  Did I mention the ribs? lol.  The owner, Desiree, is an absolute sweetheart...as is the rest of her staff, many of who are family.   We also stopped at Rendezvous, also good ribs.  Good rub (could do without the msg's), good sauce...kind of thin ribs, with little meat...but nicely cooked with some pull left.



    We also had some peach cobbler at Alcenia's - Southern Style Cuisine.  Great flavor, little bit of spice...it hit the spot.  I was almost going to pass up Sun Records recording Studio's, but I'm glad we stopped...it was a real treat as well.

    We hit all the clubs on Beale Street and we were hoping to find some good blues.  We did find a couple of good clubs with some blues.  But most of the clubs were playing loud, rather talentless dance club music.  While this was disappointing, we did see some good blues...it was just very limited and the bars playing blues closed early.  As usual the street musicians and street artist were a joy to see. 






      We seen a door with a Howard and the White Boys sticker on it, which is kind of cool...my brother knows the guitarist pretty good.

    Fun times in Memphis!  Although next time I'll see if there are any specific blues places to hit that may be outside of town...or during the blues festival perhaps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  12. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       We were on our way to NoLa!

       But we made a few stops on the way. 


    One stop was for some fried Catfish!  We ended up driving to The Cock on the Walk, in Ridgeland Mississippi (just north of Jackson).  I am not sure if this is how the food normally is or not.  But it was as if there was a fry master working in the back.  The catfish was the best I had tasted so far, including growing up eating the stuff all the time.  The cornmeal crust was perfectly seasoned and perfectly fried.  All of their side were also excellent, the fried pickles, hush puppies, greens, cornbread.  The only thing that was stellar were the french fries...but really...with this food who was eating fries?  Oh yeah, the sweet tea (sugar/honey) was served in a tin cup...you gotta love an ice cold sweet tea on a hot summer day!




    Next was Abita Springs, to visit the Abita Brewery.  While the brewery was closed, we did get a sneak peek while they were closing down.  We found out the Abita Pub was just down the street.  The Abita pub is in one of the nicest little small towns I've come across.  It's as cute as a pail full of kittens and lots of friendly people all around.

     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  13. mikelm

    mikelm

    Messages:
    1,691
    Likes Received:
    36
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Wow! Dan...

    sounds like a fun  and highly entertaining trip!  I really appreciate your taking the trouble to share.

    By the way, are you home already or posting from the road?

    Neat you got to meet Troy.  I watched the alligator hunters for a while but, frankly, it got to be a little too much of a sameness. (Same with the icy truckers.)

    Anyhow, I'm looking forward to more reports and more pictures.

    Best,  

    Mike
     
  14. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
      Hi Mike! 

       I'm home now...all I had on my vacation was my phone.  Which could have allowed me to post, but it would be a bit more difficult.  We were actually trying to find a guide to go alligator hunting, but we were only in Pierre Part for two days, and the timing just didn't work out.  We did however end up getting a real nice cabin in the Bayou.  We were surrounded by cypress trees covered in Spanish moss and had a nice dock to fish off of. 

    Dan
     
  15. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       Into the quarter we go>>>

       Having been to New Orleans several times before, our first night in we simply walked right by Bourbon Street.  We stopped for a few bowls of Gumbo at the Gumbo Shop.  While the Gumbo Shop doesn't have the best bowl of gumbo, it's the only place I know of that serves Gumbo Z'herbs year round...plus the have a nice alligator sausage. 

       Then we headed out for music.  Bourbon Street is getting horrid if you're looking for jazz and blues.  You're pretty much limited to Legends Park, for SteamBoat Willy, Fritzels European Jazz Club, Preservation Hall and one Blues Bar.  These are actually nice places...but to my ears they do not hold a candle to the musicians playing on Frenchmen Street.  The entire scene on Frenchmen is more to my liking.  The musicians are playing music their way.  On any given night you can hear anything from Jazz, Blues, Latin, Reggae to a full brass band with a Rap edge. 

       Another nice thing about frenchmen is the people listening to the music.  People describe Frenchmen as a place where "locals" go, I suppose that true.  But it's much more than that.  You got a group of people ranging from young kids (21+) to mid thirties, forties and up.  Everyone seems to be there for the music and having a good time.  The younger crowd, on Frenchmen, actually get dressed up in their  "Sundays Best" clothes when they go out for the night....some of the dress is reminiscent of the forties.  Here's a few pictures...





      Next was Magazine Street, but before that we stopped for a late breakfast (yeah, Frenchmen Street will do that to you) at Elizabeth's.  If you aren't familar with Elizabeth's restaurant, let me simply urge you to go there for breakfast.  The combination of flavors along the entire platter are well thought out and nicely executed.  This is considered another "local" spot, but one tourists shouldn't miss.  We ate at so many other place I won't keep going on and on...a few of the notables are Besh's Dominica, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, K-Pauls, Nola, on and on.  One spot we didn't have time for was The Joint, it's a great bbq place in NoLa that's worth the drive outside of the quarter.

       Oh, back to Magazine Street.  It's a nice walk through local bars and antique shops down Magazine Street.  If you have time check out Audobon Park.  Once on Magazine Street be sure to check out Sucre', a wonderful sweet shop with all kinds of desserts.










     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  16. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
    more in the quarter>>>







    then it was off to the Bayou...

    but first we needed to stop at Jacob's Sausage!


    I never realized how much sugar cane was in this area.


    then it was arrival at Duffy's with the gators



    Our cabin...






    We caught a few fish and had many a'beers sitting in awe at the beauty of nature.  We also had a gentlemen kind enough to make us some backwoods jambalaya!  The night, and company was great...and so was the jambalaya!  Thanks so much for their hospitality.


     
  17. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

    Messages:
    3,207
    Likes Received:
    156
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    Dan, welcome back !

    Thank you so much for sharing those incredible pictures with us. It sounds like you had a truly memorable time.
    Isn't the hospitality just so heartwarming ?

    I have not been there in awhile, . The French quarter, has it changed a lot since the last time you were there ?
    There is just something so serene about that cabin picture.

    Petals
     
  18. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    410
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  19. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    410
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    My BIL and his family harvest gators from a state park when they are in danger of overpopulation. ( For some reason didn't have room to post with the pix!)

    Needs to be done periodically to insure they don't start fighting over the available food.

    In other words, no campers want hungry gators crashing the party and making off with their German Shepherds and small children, lolol!
     
  20. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       Very cool FlipFlop girl!  Thanks for sharing the pics /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

      Thanks for the welcome back, Petals!

       The quarter is pretty much how it was.  With exception of a few new openings/closings on Bourbon...everything is the same.  The new places are pretty much just like the old anyway.  My favorite street in the quarter is probably Royal.  It's got tons of cool shops from antique, oddities to local art.  My favorite antique store, on Royal, is more like a museum...M.S.Rau Antiques.  One of the sales associates noticed I was admiring a pair of Rembrandt etchings, she kindly took the time to explain the process gone into each etching and then stood back as I continued to gaze into the scene.  From there she continued to give me a personal tour of all the pieces in the store.  I then met up with my brother and friend, whom I went on this trip with...we were then shown into several private areas with plenty of sculptures and paintings from Monet, Renoir, dal Ponte...on and on.  Taking pictures wouldn't have been appropriate, but it sure was enjoyable. 

        The hospitality all over that state is as breathtaking and diverse as the land.