Virtual Revisit to Louie & The Redhead Lady

A few minutes of food TV stirred up a Louisiana breakfast memory

We were just channel surfing when The Food Channel’s “Diners Drive-Ins & Dives” hit the crest of a wave that I rode straight into the realm of reminiscence. We happened to catch the beginning of one of Guy Fieri’s visits — just as he announced he was in Mandeville, Louisiana, on Lake Pontchartrain’s North Shore across the causeway from New Orleans.

“I’ll bet he’s going to Louie and the Redhead Lady,” I said to my husband, just before televised Fieri pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot. You can see a photo of Louie and the redhead lady herself, his wife Ginger, and also click on a video of Fieri’s tele-visit on the home page of the restaurant’s website.

Guy Fieri and Louie Finnan. (Food Network photo)

In late 2009 — before the Gulf Oil Spill — I made a foodie trip to Louisiana. We had three great meals each day, but I fell behind on blogging. I’m finally catching up with a few photos and a few words from a breakfast visit to this popular restaurant.  Nearly two-and-half-years have fogged my memory, but I know I sampled a lot of tasty morning and mid-day food that I didn’t think I had room for but still happily managed to eat.

The restaurant’s slogan is “We’re not fancy, we’re family,” underscored for real by a lively, informal, fun atmopshere and all sorts of extroverted Southern friendless that we experienced. Judging by online diners’ reviews since Fieri’s visit, the crowds appear to have increased and the service and food quality taken a downturn, but once the attention has died down and the euphoria has worn off, it might be back as it was. I hope so.

For DD&D, Louie interacted chattily with Guy, but when we were there, he barely raised his head from the burners, because he was very busy in his semi-open kitchen. The eatery has been a long-time local favorite for its down-home cooking with Cajun flair. There’s something endearing about a place that has “Biscuits & Debris” listed on the menu as a side dish. And did I mention that Ginger is an ebullient hostess?

Bananas Foster pancakes that companions and I shared.
A dessert -- bread pudding with vanilla sauce and whipped cream, perhaps -- that came out for us to taste. It's been a long time, my memory is hazy and my notes are not as complete as I would like.
Ditto on recall and notes, but this looks like a flaky croissant-like base with seafood, vegetables and maybe an egg in there someplace.

Since earrings are among my favorite travel souvenires, I also picked up a couple of pairs from The Redhead Lady Collection that Ginger sells from a little alcove off the dining room. I bought one fleur de lispair and one with beaded hoops with food charms hanging down — though I don’t believe that you actually care.

Blackboard encouragement to shoppers at The Red Head Lady Collection -- not that I needed much encouragement.
If I ever find myself in the area again, I’m stopping at Louie’s to judge for myself whether it has regained its footing after all that national attention. If so, I’m sure to stuff myself (again) and even if not food-wise, to buy (more) earrings.

Price check: Breakfast items (now, not 2009), $5.99-$12.99; sides, 85¢-$3.50.
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