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After our long drive from Memphis to Lafayette en route to Houston, we went straight to sleep and got off to a late start the next morning. Of course what we started was a search for breakfast. The morning’s destination was the Tabasco factory and company store on Avery Island, but we were sure we would find something good to eat along the way.
We hadn’t gone too far down Highway 90 when we spotted Tiny Prudhomme’s House of Meat. It might not be the best place to eat in Louisiana, but you could certainly make a case for it having the best name. Sadly, our late start meant that breakfast was over. The fryers had already gone cold. (Fryers all heated up for breakfast. What joy had we missed out on?) We took a little time to look in their coolers at the selection of boudin, andouille, tasso, and stuffed chicken, pork and steaks, but it was making us too sad, so we set off again.
Stepping out of Tiny’s neat brick building (With the big smoker out back! Oh the sorrow!) we looked across a grassy lot to a nondescript building with a big front porch and an eye-catching sign reading, “DONUTS”. While the sign at the road was less polished than Tiny’s, it did promise kolaches. For the life of me I couldn’t remember what a kolache was, but I knew it was something good.
I was right. A kolache is a pastry that is stuffed and deep-fried. Once inside, a more elegant stained glass sign let us know that we had arrived at Poopsie’s. It was the whiteboard that got us though. Six varieties of kolaches, with different combinations of sausage, ham, cheese, jalapeño, and boudin. We picked a mixed dozen with two of each and sat in the cool, clean dining area, burning our fingers while checking to see if our kolaches were cool enough to eat. When they were finally cool enough, they were good. Then they were gone.
With our bellies all full and happy, we set out for Avery Island, the wellspring of Tabasco sauces. The island and the factory have both recovered nicely from hurricane Rita. Work is still ongoing, building levees to protect the island from the next storm, but access is an easy and scenic drive.
The Tabasco factory tour is fun. There’s air conditioning, there’s a gung ho marketing video, there’s quite a collection of artifacts, and the air is spicy enough to tickle your nose. My favorite part was a look at the production lines that fill bottles of Tabasco destined for tables all around the world. The factory runs full speed Monday through Thursday, so if you want to see all the lines going, don’t go on Friday like we did.
Of course no free tour is complete without a trip to the gift shop, and the Tabasco Company Store doesn’t disappoint. Of course there are shirts, ties, and boxer shorts. There are umbrellas, refrigerator magnets, and beach balls(?).
We were there for the food though. Samples abound of every variety of sauce, pickle, and jelly that the Tabasco company provides. And then there was soft serve ice cream. The creamy white jalepeno had a spicy kick at the back of the throat. Our favorite was the deceptively pink sweet and spicy. The heat was more readily apparent than the jalepeno and was nicely offset by a tangy sweetness. Of course, there is one other product that is only available at the Company Store, Tabasco mash. We’re still looking for ways to use the large bag of the crushed peppers filtered from the first stage of the sauce making process. Maybe we’ll try our own version of sweet and spicy ice cream.
Tiny Prudhomme’s House of Meat
416 N Morgan Ave
Broussard, LA 70518
414 N Morgan Ave
Broussard, LA 70518
Avery Island, LA 70513