Tag: Natchitoches

Louisiana Eats: Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant

A Taste of the South: Notes from a Trip to Louisiana

Natchitoches’ version of empanadas could use a better shell

Natchitoches (pronounced “Knock-a-dish”) is famous for two things: its myriad of B&B’s and its meat pies. These oversized empanadas were likely introduced by the Spaniards and were cooked in family kitchens exclusively until 1967 when James Lasyone, a former butcher, opened Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant and slowly gained regional fame. Today, many restaurants in Natchitoches and southern Louisiana serve Natchitoches meat pies, and there is an annual festival celebrating them. Though we weren’t hungry after breakfast, we had to stop by Lasyone’s on our way out of Natchitoches to give them a try.

As mentioned, Natchitoches meat pies are just oversized empanadas – perhaps 50% larger than Argentine ones -, fried on peanut oil, rather than baked. I usually prefer fried empanadas, though I bake them at home to avoid deep frying. Lasyone’s offers only two kinds of empanadas: a meat pie made with 4 parts beef to 1 part pork and a crawfish one.

We liked both. The meat pie ($7) had a very flavorful, tasty filling. The meat had the texture of knife chopped beef rather than ground, and it didn’t have noticeable chunks of fat. Mike particularly liked the crawfish pie ($9), which he found rich and flavorful.

The shell, however, while somewhat flaky, was not chewy enough. It lacked he flexibility of a good fried empanada dough. Though obviously, as an Argentine, I’m really nitpicking here. The point is that both were very good empanadas.

I felt, however, that they were too expensive for what they were. I’m glad we tried them, but I wouldn’t rush to get them again at those prices.

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant also serves a full menu of Southern breakfast and lunch dishes. Service was fine, though the waitress expressed surprise we were only ordering the meat pies. You order at the table and pay on your way out. The restaurant is very casual, very much like what you’d expect of a little, no-frills breakfast place anywhere in the country.

Lasyone's Meat Pie Restaurant
622 Second St.
Natchitoches, LA
(318) 352.3353
M - W: 7am-2pm
Th - Sa: 7am-3pm

Louisiana Eats: Judge Porter House B&B

A Taste of the South: Notes from a Trip to Louisiana

Great breakfast at a darling B&B in Natchitoches

On our way back from Texas, we stopped in Natchitoches (pronounced like “knock a dish”) for the night. Established in 1714, Natchitoches is Louisiana’s oldest settlement. Located by the Red River, it was a prosperous city in the early 19th century, was almost burnt during the Civil War and saw significant decline during the 20th century. But in the 1970’s, a visionary mayor saw its potential as a tourist destination, both as a base for water related activities and for touring nearby plantations. This led to a massive renovation of old buildings which were turned into bed and breakfasts. Today, Natchitoches has about 18,000 citizens and 50 B&Bs!

Natchitoches appeals to local tourism, so its buzzing from Thursdays to Sundays and sleepy from Mondays to Wednesdays. We got there on a Monday night, and thus we had our choice of B&Bs. I chose the Judge Porter House because I liked the looks of the building with its second floor veranda.

The house and the room were beautiful, and I hope to write a review of them, but this is a review of the breakfast we had there – a two course affair served at the dining room.

Breakfast was at individual tables for two. That day we were one of two parties staying in the house. It’s at 8:00 AM sharp. The housekeeper/cook brings the food to you.

The tables were beautifully laid out, and the juice was some non-alcoholic cocktail which I found pleasant, but not compelling. The coffee was quite good.

The first course was a delicious raspberry croissant bread pudding. I love the idea of making bread pudding with croissants, and I might try it myself once I go back to cooking. It was served warm and was a great start to breakfast.

The second course consisted of eggs benedict with cheesy grits. Mike enjoyed the eggs very much, both his and mine and I don’t eat eggs. I thought the grits were fine, but while I like grits more than Mike does, I am not that big a fan of them.

The housekeeper/cook/waitress, whose name I can’t remember, a Boston transplant, was delightful. She was very personable, friendly and just amenable, in addition to a great cook. She made our brief stay and breakfast even better.

Judge Porter House
321 2nd St
Natchitoches, LA
(318) 352-9206

Chain Restaurant Reviews:: Whataburger

A Taste of the South: Notes from a Trip to Louisiana

Some of the best fast food burgers we’ve had.

Before our trip to Louisiana, I’d never heard of Whataburger. That just shows my ignorance. Founded in Texas in 1950, Whataburger is a regional chain with over 1,000-restaurants, mostly located in Texas but slowly expanding into surrounding states. It doesn’t have any restaurants in California, however. They have twenty five locations in Louisiana, including two in Natchitoches.

We had arrived rather late at Natchitoches, after driving back from Dallas after the eclipse and encountering some foul weather in the way, and our choices of places to dine were limited. That was a blessing in disguise, as it gave us the opportunity to try this burger chain, which we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. And I’m glad we did. As far as fast food burgers go, these are as good as they come.

The fast food set up is similar to most fast food restaurants, and the ambiance – which I didn’t photograph – looked like a fast food joint. It was very clean and, at least at that late hour, seemed well staffed – they brought our food to the table.

They ask you if you want spicy ketchup with your meal – it’s not that much spicier and not that remarkable. I was happy to see that you can substitute fries with onions rings.

Their menu actually had a lot of yummy-sounding choices, but I went with the Avocado Bacon Burger meal ($13.4). It consists of a beef patty served in Texas toast with American cheese, bacon, avocado, diced onions and creamy pepper. It was very good for a fast food burger and the sandwich was huge. It came with onion rings and a large drink. The avocado was actual avocado, and not guacamole. It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for. I’d definitely have it again. The onion rings were fine, pretty generic.

Mike had the Sweet & Spicy Bacon Burger meal ($12.7), which consisted of a patty in a burger bun with American and Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sweet & spicy sauce and mustard. He also liked his burger. The fries were fine, but frankly, the burgers were so large that we couldn’t really bother with the fries.

I did get an apple pie ($1.75) for dessert just to try them. It was very similar to the old McDonalds’ apple pies when they were fried. I’d say that the pastry was thicker than McDonald’s, and overall it was less yummy, but it’s definitely better than their current baked apple pies.

5123 University Pkwy
Natchitoches, LA
(318) 581-4591
Open 24 hours

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