Admittedly, Lake Charles isn't always the first place that comes to mind when I dream up day trips or weekend excursions, but after a recent stay in the Boudin Capital of Louisiana, it's safe to say I've converted.
Below, you'll find a list of a few of my favorite things to do while in Lake Charles. You'll see how easy it is to fall in love with Southwest Louisiana food, culture, and fun!
Brunch at Jack Daniel's Bar & Grill at L'Auberge
|Fried grit cake topped with steak topped with an egg at Jack Daniel's Bar & Grill|
You'd be doing yourself a disservice by staying anywhere other than L'Auberge Lake Charles. The resort is not only the epitome of luxury, but it's also home to some great restaurants. Noted Chef Lyle Broussard heads the kitchen at the Jack Daniel's Bar & Grill on the property, and their brunch items alone are worth the trip to Lake Charles. This is one of the great examples of the great food coming out of the younger culinary scene in Lake Charles. Pro-tip: Order the Whiskey Milk Punch. You won't regret it.
Try Acadian Coffee Roasters
|Not-yet-roasted coffee beans at Acadian Coffee Roasters|
Your post-brunch plans should definitely include coffee, especially if you brunched properly with the Milk Punch! Acadian Coffee Roasters in Lake Charles is a relatively new operation. The proprietors, both named Nancy, pride themselves on their single origin, organic coffee beans and delicious flavored coffees. It's all about supporting locals! P.S. I highly recommend their Amaretto flavored coffee. It's amazing!
Explore the Creole Nature Trail
|Perfect day for exploring the Creole Nature Trail|
The Creole Nature Trail is the best way to walk off that ridiculously delicious brunch. It's the picture perfect place to explore the beaches, wildlife, marshes, and fishing of Southwest Louisiana. A guided tour is also an option. Watch out for alligators (seriously)!
Snack Along the Boudin Trail
|Smoked boudin from Rabideaux's Sausage Kitchen|
Southwest Louisiana is the boudin capital of the world, so even if you've had boudin before, you'd be remiss to skip out on exploring the boudin trail! I'd recommend stopping by Rabideaux's Sausage Kitchen or anywhere on this list. Smoked by the link or fried up in a ball, boudin is a must-try in Lake Charles.
Tour Bayou Rum Distillery
|Bayou Rum's Satsuma Rum Liqueur at their distillery in Lake Charles|
In 2013, Bayou Rum sought to continue the long-lost tradition of Louisiana rum. It makes sense, right? Sugar plantations in South Louisiana before the Civil War often built distilleries adjacent to the main house. Learn more about the history and process of rum making on one of their distillery tours (and don't pass up the rum tasting bar). Bayou Rum has one of the coolest distillery tours around, and you can grab their rum and some branded swag in their immense gift shop afterward.
Cocktails & Small Plates at Restaurant Calla
|Blue crab beignets at Restaurant Calla|
One of the newer restaurants on the Lake Charles food scene, Restaurant Calla offers "creative, seasonal, and sustainable" dishes in the budding Southwest Louisiana culinary scene. Chef David Sorrells has a unique vision for modern Louisiana cuisine, and he carries it out well at Calla. The restaurant is gorgeous, but don't let that fool you: the menu is straight-forward and lacks pretension. Grab a drink off of their list of fun cocktails and split a couple of small plates with the table. But save room for dinner!
Dine at La Truffe Sauvage
|Life-altering saffron risotto topped with fish at La Truffe Sauvage|
Since 1998, Chefs Mohamed Chettouh and Arthur Durham's La Truffe Sauvage has been putting Lake Charles on the culinary map. Their take on fine French dining is something special that shouldn't be missed. Here you can read my detailed write-up of the meal I had there. I'll just say that their selection of wines is noteworthy, and the saffron risotto I had there was life-altering.
Where are your go-to spots in Lake Charles?