Working 9 to 5 in Raceland isn’t conducive to frequent incredible lunches. That’s not to say there aren’t good places to eat for lunch in the Central Lafourche area (hello, JB’s Grill!), but when you only have one hour to eat each weekday, lunch becomes a matter of convenience rather than seeking new and exciting food. No more! I now have a great new job that will allow me to explore every corner of this area I’ve dedicated my free time to document.
Naturally, I began with lunch at my favorite restaurant around, Cristiano. I’ve long been jealous of those who work in proximity of that laid back courtyard, relaxing in the shade by the restaurant’s green house while waiting for one of their decadent sandwiches to arrive at the table.
When the Belly of the Beast appeared, I knew this was a meal worth daydreaming about all those days at my old job. With an incredible name like that, you know it’ll be a sandwich worth remembering: Jim Beam braised pork belly with a house smoked habanero aioli, smothered greens, bacon and onion on a fresh baked bun. It was tangy, smoky, savory and incredibly delicious. I struggled for a moment when ordering the side, salad or fries, but figured a sandwich with such a name shouldn’t be accompanied by a bowl of lettuce. I chose right.
Cristiano’s frites are tiny and lightly battered. They remind me of those potato strings I would eat out of the can when I was little but better in every single way. There was something extra tasty about them; a drizzle of truffle oil according to my server.
I look forward to eating like this for lunch more often.
Cristiano Ristorante | 724 High St, Houma, LA 70360 | (985) 223-1130
Where to eat: Weeping Willow Cafe & Bakery (704 W 3rd St, Thibodaux)
What to order: The Willow Sandwich, Tomato & Basil Soup (when it’s available)
The city of Thibodaux never feels much like a city, but for the half hour or so Lindsay and I spend having lunch downtown at the Weeping Willow every odd Saturday, we get a little taste of what our ideal city life would be like.
You walk up to the counter to order, then sit down and watch the surprising number of people that come in to eat lunch, grab a snack, or have a coffee in the small cafe. I like sitting by the window and watching the street while waiting for our food, imagining how great it would be to live within walking distance of such a nice little spot.
The menu is small, like every good eatery’s should be, and consists of sandwiches and salads. There’s usually a soup du jour, and we’re quickly making a habit of using our sandwiches rather than our spoons to eat it. The Willow sandwich is the standout featuring ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce tossed in Caesar, and pesto on fresh baked bread. Wash it down with a flavored tea in a mason jar.
Save room for dessert! I imagine the appeal for a lot of the Weeping Willow’s customers is the dessert case filled with fresh brownies, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and other sweet creations. Get whatever looks good and order a coffee “for here” so they’ll give you a real coffee cup and saucer (unless you want one of the many specialty coffees on the menu). It’s the same coffee they put in the plastic to-go cups, but it’s so much more enjoyable to sit and take your time on a Saturday morning. What’s your favorite place to enjoy your coffee on a lazy weekend?