Where Y’Eat: Finding Louisiana Flavor at the Drive Thru in Acadiana
When I say drive-thru maybe you think of one of those fast food outposts. But it’s a very different kind of drive thru that’s been on my mind, one I found on a country highway outside of Breaux Bridge out in Acadiana, where the food is served up fast but prepared in precisely the opposite fashion.
This is Glenda’s Creole Kitchen. It’s a small, blink-and-you-missed-it box of a building set in green country landscape, a bit ramshackle inside, and, yes, with that drive-thru window.
All the magic goes into the cooking here long before you order, so meals can be ladled together swiftly. You’re getting seven steak with onions and peppers cooked down so long that they’re transfigured from identifiable pieces of themselves to a brown embrace of flavor.
You’re getting turkey wings crammed with garlic and smothered with sausage and you’re getting meatball stew with craggily orbs drenched in more brown gravy.
The menu changes by day of the week, but not by much. The blackboard listing only switch with the type of meat or seafood, because so much of the preparation is the same — stewed, stuffed or smothered, always with white rice and a ladle of gravy.
It was a hot summer day the first time I visited Glenda’s, but even then, in the middle of a Louisiana swelter, I had the holiday season on my mind. In particular, it was the way Louisiana families cook this time of year, and how closely Glenda’s menu mirrors that throughout the year, making this taste of Acadiana home available anytime.
And I’m thinking about Glenda’s now as the holidays put many of us on the road traversing the state. This place is right off I-10, a few miles from the chains always clusters by highway exits.
It’s also interlocked with family and place and flavor, delicious proof that you can feel connected to all of it simply by partaking in a meal.
That is one of the gifts of Louisiana food culture. Here, you can even get it from the drive-thru.