I’ve talked before about Houmas House on this blog. It is one of my absolute favorite places to go. When I need to relax, I think of its gardens and immediately I smile. Regardless of the time of year, they are lush and beautiful. And when I want an excellent meal at a reasonable price in a beautiful environment, I steal away to Cafe Burnside at Houmas House when I get the chance (which isn’t nearly often enough).
It’s been a little while since the last time I visited, and I’ve been holding on to these pictures waiting to tell you about it once again. As I sit here on a chilly, damp, rainy week in Louisiana, I think about this meal and how much I want to share it’s deliciousness with you. If you live in the Greater Baton Rouge area and have yet to try Cafe Burnside, plan a day trip. You won’t regret it.
The first thing to come to the table is also a small basket of housemade biscuits or bread. This time, the butter served was a compound butter with toasted pecans and cane syrup in the butter. I am not a fan of cane syrup, always passing it by on the dinner table as a kid. However, Cafe Burnside uses it in two applications that I find mouthwateringly good: their vinaigrette and this butter.
I’ve tried many of the items on their menu. The lump crab and mango cakes are something I dream about. The red beans & rice are creamy and just what I expect from such a classic southern dish. The turkey and brie sandwich with fig spread has that touch of sweet wonderfulness that makes your knees buckle. And the Catfish Wade Hampton, pictured above, is the sort of deep, satisfying meal you want when you’re really hungry and want to leave a place feeling very full and extremely content. Crisp fried catfish, cleaned well with no fishy taste, rest atop a bed of andouille sausage rice pilaf and crawfish etoufee. People, this is why you come to Louisiana. For the food. This is why you stay in Louisiana. When you have the food, you just can’t leave.
Though full, I couldn’t resist a special dessert they had that day: a puff pastry topped with various berries (mainly blackberry and strawberry it seemed) that were steeped in champagne. I can’t even describe the delight while eating this. Each bite was savored, spaced with sips of their house coffee and great conversation with friends. The only thing that could make the experience better is if one day I can finally figure out their vinaigrette.
It’s my pleasure to share with you one of the special places in my life. If you can, visit Cafe Burnside. However if you do go, plan to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. At times, service takes on that slow, Southern way (it’s not quick people). Enjoy the gardens that surround the glass walls of the cafe and remember that your problems can wait a day, or at least a few hours.