Eating Baton Rouge
Our New Book
C'est Si Bon Food TourStarted not quite a year ago C'est Si Bon is a guided walking tour of some of the best and fun places to eat in Downtown Baton Rouge. The tour comes complete with city gossip, history, lore, and places to visit.
All the restaurants were delicious, but there are two places I'd go back to ... over and over.
StroubesAs part of the tour we sampled an unusual gumbo but one I'm convinced has to be one of the best in the city. Stroubes is an elegant Downtown restaurant with a unique duck and andouille gumbo that melded both flavors in a rich broth. The duck part was in the form of a flavorful reduction. Also fabulous was the rich corn, crab, and brie bisque that made me want to lick the bowl (although I did find the strength to avoid that public embarrassment). Both were so good it was hard to pull myself away.
Restaurant IPOFor a more casual chic atmosphere (and the best popcorn you'll ever have) Restaurant IPO (Initial Public Offering) also has innovative cocktails and tapas. Their Southern Gnocchi is phenomenal -- made with Louisiana corn, and Gulf of Mexico jumbo lump crabmeat in a sherry parmesan cream sauce. And the popcorn? That comes when you sit down at a table. Chef Scott Varnedoe created a bacon Cajun caramel popcorn which may not sound addictive, but the combination of sweet, salty and smokey flavors makes it one fabulous snack.
Strands CafeThis welcoming wood and brick spot offers breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Friday and early on Saturday. After that, you'll have missed the opportunity for some of the finest croissants, scones, and pastries in the city. On a recent visit to Strands we sampled sweet and savory in the form of a strawberry and dark chocolate scone, and a triple cheese croissant. It was impossible to settle on a favorite.
Tony's Seafood Market & DeliThe name really does say it all. This is not a place you sit down and eat. This is a place to get fresh seafood to go. Baton Rouge has a number of beautiful spaces, including Capital Lake, making Tony's Seafood Market the perfect place for take-out seafood. Their fried catfish is so fresh the fish were swimming around just before you got there. In fact, you can visit the tanks and even have your catfish cut to order if you're planning on taking it home to cook. In season, get fresh blue crab and crawfish. Favorite southern dishes are all here as well.
Red Stick SpicesRed Stick Spice Company takes its name from the English translation of the French name of the city -- Baton Rouge. What sets Red Stick apart is their unique spice blends. Yes, the ingredients are fresh, but how many people can blend spices to create powerful and diverse flavors? Red Stick creates its own blends, or represents the unique artisan blends not available elsewhere, with suggested uses printed directly on the label. Need more inspiration? Their website has a tasty buffet of recipes.
LodgingThere's no shortage of places to stay in and around Baton Rouge. We were graciously hosted by L'Auberge Casino Resort. The rooms are pure comfort and so are the amenities. It even comes with a rooftop pool to enjoy a dip and a view simultaneously. The casino is in a separate but connected building where guests can also find the restaurant and bar known as 18 Steak -- named in honor of Louisiana being the 18th state into the USA. PJ's Cafe is open 24/7 since you never know when the munchies will strike.
For more information on Baton Rouge go to Visit Baton Rouge
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Neala Schwartzberg McCarten
Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author