If it runs, hops, swims, or scuttles, it can be "improved" at Poche's. And it will be devoured.">
The dinner menu at Poche's, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana — something for everybody
Photo: Julie Ardery
It doesn’t matter if you’re hungry (You will be) or if you’re dieting (Faggetaboutitt!).
At Poche’s, in the fog and pines of greater Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, the Christmas tree lights are glowing. “Mary Poppins” is on TV, turning the heads of about two dozen stuffed deer. People are stopping by for take-outs of fried shrimp and fig pies, and we’re the only sit down diners.
Jim Wandersee, a biology and education professor at LSU (and scholar of all things Louisianan), had tipped us off about Poche’s. Breaux Bridge, says Jim, has always been the center of crawfish culture even though bigger Lafayette, just west, would like you to think it’s the capital. Lug Poche established the place in 1962 and passed the business on to his son Floyd, who still has a hand, as well as descendants’ hands, in its operation. What they've created is a culinary trifecta — market, restaurant, and smokehouse, serving St. Martin Parish.
Amber Richard gave us a peek at boudin, the local specialty sausage, (typically boudin is made from pork liver and heart meat). Sorry, Amber, but it just looks too much like a brat! We had to order the crawfish etouffee, bien sur. Cook Lois Lavergne, a jolly elf in an apron, brought out two heaping plates, rich and red peppery, with more crawfish than we had ever seen gathered in one place.
Crawfish etouffee over rice, served daily at Poche's, Beaux Bridge
Photo: Bill Bishop
We could have sung along with Glynis Johns, “Well done, Sister Suffragette!”
How could this place not be packed on a Tuesday night? “Our busiest time is Saturday and Sunday lunch,” explains Natalie Goulas. “There’s a line right here till 2:30,” when catfish and backbone stew and rabbit and just about anything else that swims, pecks, scuttles, or runs on hooves can be found cooked and served up in the big case. (Okay, reindeer is not on the menu.)
Spices for sale at Poche's Market (If you don't find something you like, your middle name must be "bland")
Photo: Julie Ardery
Lois’s sister makes the pies, little ones and slightly bigger than little ones but not so big you will cause a scene eating a whole pie by yourself: pecan, lemon, blackberry, apple, coconut as well as fig, and sweet potato. The market in front also has a towering rack of spices for sale, familiar fare like Tabasco, plus about a zillion regional concoctions, including “Slap Yo Mama,” another spice recipe developed with less fanfare by “a pharmacist.” and of course about twenty of Poche’s own seasoning mixes, sauces and condiments.
Poche’s is located at 3015 Main Highway (a.k.a. Louisiana State Highway 31), running north of Interstate 10 at Breaux Bridge and the market now ships foods “around the world.” What would your angel do if there were tasso or cracklins underneath the tree this year? Get on the horn and find out.
Hark! “All orders must be placed BEFORE NOON on Monday December 22nd in order to receive it before Christmas!”