1. Special Occasions - Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse at Cypress Bayou Casino. When the glass doors swing open on this swanky room, I swear I’m on the Miracle Mile in downtown Chicago (and that’s what my friends from Chicago say, too). And when the steaming hot basket of bread (with 3 flavors of house-made butter) hits the table, you know the rest of the dinner will be equally as impressive. Everything on the menu (steaks, lobster and Gulf seafood) oozes “special occasion” and the service is a step above spectacular.
2. Eating on the Cheap - Judice Inn. Order up! A double-beef with American cheese, all wrapped up in grease-stained tissue paper with a thick slice of white onion and an ice-cold coke in the little glass bottle — life just doesn’t get any better (or cheaper). Oh, and don’t even think of asking for fries.
3. Hole in the Wall - Mae Sone Noodle House. Make a turn at Baskin Robbins, drive to the end of the parking lot and step smack dab into the heart of Asia. Mae’s long been gone, but a steaming bowl of fragrant Vietnamese Pho Tai Cheiw with shrimp, barbecue pork, fried won ton and rice noodles immersed in a rich lemongrass-infused stock has my name on it.
4. Introducing Lafayette to Out of Towners - Randol’s. When the Cajun band strikes up the fiddle, the cornmeal-covered dance floor fills up for a two-step and my buddy Frank cranks up the burners on his crawfish pot, it’s a Looziana Saturday Night (7 days a week) at this honkytonk eatery in the middle of Lafayette.
5. Date Night - Ruffino’s on the River. Call Morgan for a booth in the bar, ask Katie to bring out her chef’s choice and let sommelier Andrew pair the perfect bottle — it’s a guaranteed over-the-top good time. And save room for one of pastry chef Nancy’s famous house desserts.