More from the Road
Our first round of boudin at The Best Stop hit the spot, but there's no way I was going to pass up a crawfish link at Poche's in Breaux Bridge. It's somewhat of a local institution—the current joint has been around since the 1960s, but the family business started with Antoine Poché four generations back.
Along with the boudin, they've also got incredible plate lunches and a store full of other Cajun must-haves. Here's 10 reasons Poche's will rock your socks off, in no particular order:
1. Crawfish Boudin
Breaux Bridge is known as the "Crawfish Capitol of the World," and Poche's crawfish boudin alone gives the title merit. It's spiced differently than Best Stop's, with less green onion, lots of red pepper and an overall orange tint from the crawfish tails. It's good and spicy, and the rice soaks up that distinct crawdad flavor.
2. Steam Table Lunch
Poche's starts serving lunch in the early morning so that oil field workers can stop buy and pick up their food to go. You choose an entree—pork chops, baked chicken, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and lots more—then you pick some sides. "Get rice with the beef neck bone gravy as a side—it's like getting another entree," local expert Pableaux Johnson advises.
3. Poche Bridge Cajun Seasoning
The Poche's brand seasoning you can buy off the shelf is the same stuff the cooks use in the kitchen, so you pretty much get to try before you buy. Lots of red pepper and not too much salt in the blend. There are also bottled pepper sauces and hot sauces available as spicy souvenirs.
4. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Potato Salad
The steam tables closes around 2 p.m., but you can get gumbo all day. Rich and smoky, piled high with thick slices of sausage and tender chunks of chicken, it comes with rice and a scoop of potato salad on the side (which you can plop right into the bowl if you want the full-on oil field worker's style gumbo).
5. Fig Sweet Dough Pie
The housemade fig sweet dough pie at Poche's was just plain awesome. Whole figs were cooked down with tons of ginger and baked in a crumbly cookie crust in a cute little individual size. Buy an extra one for later.
Poche's cracklins are nicely seasoned. Before Don's Specialty Meats opened in Scott, we bought our cracklins at Poche's. The volume of business at Don's assures that theirs are always hot out of the fryer, but Poche's' are still mighty tasty.
7. Jalapeño Chicken Sausage
Sure, they have andouille and classic Cajun smoked sausage, but you can also get interesting nontraditional varieties, like jalapeño chicken.
8. Chow Chow
Chow chow is a pickled relish made of a mix of veggies, usually peppers, onion, cabbage, even cauliflower. It's sweet, spicy and vinegary and can be eaten as a condiment or on its own.
9. Cajun Haggis
Someday I will muster the courage to buy a chaudin. It's a whole pig stomach stuffed with Cajun pork sausage. But until then, the Cajun stuffed pork chops will do. Don't forget to bring a cooler—both come pre-packed and ready to cook.
10. Boudin Burgers
That's right. On Fridays, Poche's pounds boudin filling into patties and cooks them like burgers, served atop self-rising buns. Sounds amazing—wish we could have camped out until Friday rolled around.
But N'awlins was calling.
About the author: Katie Walsh is a native Austin writer passionate about food and all things cultural. She holds a degree in sociology and Spanish from UT Austin and is both a columnist and senior editor for multicultural publication TODO Austin.