So, growing up in the midwest, I’d been accustomed to school and work lunches consisting of not much more than a cold cut or a PB&J. On my own, I’d grown to like taking left overs from the previous night’s supper for lunch at work. It was, at least, a step above a cold cut.
Louisiana, however, had me one-upped. There, along with the south more generally, seem to be the last remaining hold-out of the sit-down hot lunch. In the south, food and rest often take precedent to work. To say things are laid back, would be an under statement.
My wife and I soon learned of the plate lunch phenomena. Leave work with your colleagues around lunchtime and come back an hour later. Or leave and come back with stacks of styrofoam to-go containers for yourself and everyone else. Though we forwent the ritual during the week to save money and heath by packing our own lunches, one weekend, outside of Beaux Bridge, we managed to enjoy the best plate lunch place I can imagine. Period. We spotted the above white sign, and knew we had to stop. We found Glenda’s Creole Kitchen definitely tops the who’s who of southern creole cooking.
So the hot lunch is alive and well in the south. It remains largely the last holdout in the nation practicing the tradition of the hot lunch. The southern hot lunch phenomenon was recently chronicled in an episode of the NPR radio program The Splendid Table. Feel free to click on the above link for their take on it.
We pulled in five minutes after two. Coming up to the door a kind middle aged lady opened the door and greeted us as if she’d been expecting us and was glad to see us. “Are you Tony?” she said. After the initial confusion, we learned Tony’s loss was our gain. Where we otherwise would have been there after close, we were able to buy the phone-in order Tony hadn’t picked up.
Every day has a set menu. They make large batches of two or three dishes, sides, and desserts. The hours are from 10:30 am to 2 pm but when the food is gone, Glenda’s done. Amazing business model. Amazing food. We were there on a Sunday and Sunday means BBQ. I had the BBQ stuffed brisket, my wife the BBQ half chicken, and we both got another chicken for the road.
The dirty rice was so rich and tasty. The creole flavor’s so foreign to my tongue. It was reminiscent of the bahamian rice we’d had on vacation the year before. Whatever mashed animal parts and seasons make there way into that rice are heavenly. The cornbread stuffing was good, too.
The brisket and the chicken were delicious. The brisket and the rice went well together. Juicy, tender, and tasty. I’m now scheming how I can make it back every day of the week to get to enjoy the whole menu. Only problem is, it’s a thousand miles further.