When you are preparing for a road trip, are you the kind of person who leaves the packing until the morning of, instead spending a week in advance weighing the strategic options for finding the quintessential food experience along your chosen route? The place only the locals know about, the one at the epicenter of “IT,” “IT” being whatever type of regional cooking is the specialty of the area through which you will be driving?
Then you and I share the love of road food conquest! In my pursuit of the most authentic local eateries, I have dragged my husband and kids off the beaten interstate path to uncharted territory more times than they’d like to remember, sometimes adding 2-3 hours to our total drive time.
Whether I am Google-mapping the directions to a gas station grocery store where I hope to sample the holy grail of Cajun boudin or searching the backroads of the hill country for the best little brisket smokehouse in Texas, my kids know that any out-of-town car trip means Mom is going to try to pull a fast one and take a detour to parts unknown. Usually, we are several miles off the interstate before they think to look up from their electronic devices and wonder where we are:
“Mom, you’re doing it again!!”
Interstate 10 is the fourth longest highway in America, stretching from coast to coast, with plenty of potential “foodie stops” in between. A lot of people where I live like to take the I-10 to New Orleans or the Gulf coast beaches of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle. If you are driving this route around lunchtime, take a detour near Lafayette, Louisiana to Glenda’s Creole Kitchen, just south of nearby Breaux Bridge.
This humble little eatery sits by itself on a winding, empty stretch of the highway. My daughter and I arrived 5 minutes after the inside dining area was closed for the day, but we were able to walk around to the drive through, which stays open for an extra hour, or until Glenda’s runs out of everything on their daily menu.
If you were a fan of the old Travel Channel series No Reservations, you may remember that Anthony Bourdain visited Glenda’s for his “Cajun Country” episode, which originally aired August 11, 2011. A sign advertising this fact is posted near the drive through window. I don’t think the sign is what keeps the crowds coming, do you?
Glenda’s offers creole style plate lunches–cooked down and smothered in rich, roux-based gravies and sauces. The afternoon we were there, they had already run out of the stuffed brisket I was hoping for, so we ordered a barbecued chicken plate and a stuffed pork roast plate. Each came with rice dressing, baked beans, a roll and a cream style potato salad, all in a styrofoam to-go box. The sides are very much what I would have eaten back in the day in my south Louisiana high school cafeteria, which is not a bad thing. The real star at Glenda’s is the deep, slow-cooked richness of their meat and seafood dishes. We sat in the car and devoured both plates.
As with many good restaurants in food-centric cities and towns, Glenda’s has a devoted local following, and customers adhere to the restaurant’s idea of when it should be open, not the other way around. Check the website before you go.
Glenda’s Creole Kitchen
3232 Main Highway
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana 70517