Lafourche Parish is the buckle of the pork routee belt in south Louisiana. When we were studying up on the big French Food Fest that Larose has thrown for the past 43 years our ears perked up over the presence on the menu of this rare (to New Orleanians) dish.
If they call the dish anything at all some have been known to refer to routee as Cajun carnitas but our research efforts were met with very little reward when we went to gain knowledge on this regional specialty.
At one point in time, French Food Fest was called Bouillabaisse Festival but the transition to the new name has been lost to the sands of time. We find no mention of the demarcation on any website.
Indeed when we inquired about bouillabaisse at the ticket booth we were met with a blank stare by a lady in her 60s who may have trod the grounds of Larose during the early iteration of the food party.
While we were praying for bouillabaise and hoping for a fat plate of fried gaspergou, our lusts were met with naught. We’d have to make do with shrimp boulettes, crawfish etouffée, seafood gumbo, alligator sauce piquante, shrimp poboys, shrimp etouffée, jambalaya, pork routee, gratons, hogshead cheese, crawfish fettuccine, fried fish and white beans, oyster poboys, seafood pistolettes, crawfish meat pies, shrimp kebobs, fried crab claws, boudin, and red beans and rice.
Such are the travails of eaters in south Louisiana.
The legendary gumbo of the Uzee family is no longer on offer due to an illness in their family. We bought a goodly portion of the new man’s offering and it was fine but after years of hearing of the legend we were left distraught.
Time for a pork routee po boy.
The young man working the boucherie booth is nearly frantic with excitement. He sharply flanks off to a big hot pot and begins building what will be one of the best sandwiches of our 500 po boys series. The portion borders on the absurd as nearly a pound of stewed pork and blackened onions is ladled on a fluffy white bolillo style loaf.
We quickly abandon the bread and begin attacking the po boy with forks. The onions have that wonderful quality that only comes from hours of low heat cooking, they’re a walnut brown with little crispy black bits that show the hand of a supremely patient cook.
The pork is a luxury, fatty and robust with flavor. We’d be willing to bet this hog was tended to by an area farmer and had plenty room to roam about prior to his denouement.
After polishing off our po boy we make the rounds to a few more booths. a crawfish patty is well cooked but is primarily breadcrumbs with precious little seafood in it, a seafood pistolette is uncommonly good with a light brushing of garlic butter across the yeasty surface providing a grace note, iced lemon cookies and a mini pecan pie serve as dessert.
The two charming old gals running the sweet shop have never heard of ooey gooey cake one of the best treats from nearby St Charles Parish.
A jiu jitsu tournament is taking place inside a nearby gymnasium. Plenty young stout boys are rolling about wearing karate outfits.
As we take our leave we stop by the gratons booth so we can purchase a fat sack of cracklins. As local expert Kerwin Cortez would note these are the Lafourche Parish-style.
We attended the Festival of Old Times in Raceland last month and wrote Raceland Louisiana Is The Sauce Piquante Capital Of The World.
at that same party we authored another part of our 500 po boy series: 500 Po Boys: La Fete Des Vieux Temps In Raceland
and back in the Spring we visited Gheens Louisiana for their big Bon Mange Festival
In short, if you’re looking to do some good Cajun eating Lafourche Parish is as good as it gets. We break out of the humdrum of our New Orleans lives and head down there as often as possible.