Pralines are Alive and Well in Louisiana

I think of pralines as something that used to be served for dessert at Tex-Mex restaurants, but now they are so scarce I doubt if there is anybody who has them anymore. To me the sopapillas they serve in many Mexican restaurants are a poor substitute, and is the trigger that usually reminds me that I would really like a praline.

Pralines also seem to be very hard to find anywhere, except in a few places such as Louisiana. Listed below are three places where I found them, but I passed by many more with signs advertising them for sale. With the prices they charge, I think this is a lucrative business for many people. For me, though, they are really worth the price.

Louisiana pralines

Pralines from three of the best places in Louisiana

The top two boxes are from Aunt Sally’s, probably the most famous place in the French Quarter for this candy treat. They offered free samples in the store, and all this did was make me spend more money on ones to take home. The original is the kind of praline I remember from the Mexican restaurants, so naturally I had to have this. I really think, though, that the creamy praline is probably better. It is smooth and gives you more flavor than the almost pure sugar you get from the original variety (both, of course, have pecans inside the candy).

Aunt Sally’s
810 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA
(504) 524-3373

Still being happy to stick with tradition, though, I also bought a box of original style pralines from Cafe Beignet (lower right), also in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I thought these were equally as good as Aunt Sally’s, and perhaps a bit less expensive (but I do not remember the exact price). This was my first indication, though, that you could buy pralines almost anywhere and expect good quality from them.

Cafe Beignet
600 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA

The praline on the lower left was from Poché’s in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, just outside Lafayette. Poché’s is a meat market and grocery store that has tables for those who want to eat on site, and among the grocery items are their own home made pralines. I noticed that no two of them had the same shape, and that some appeared to be larger than others (but actually they were just more flattened out). These were also the traditional variety, and I enjoyed them tremendously. I think perhaps they had more pecans than the others, but I could not swear to this. Unlike the others, these are sold individually.

3015 Main Highway
Breaux Bridge, LA
(337) 332-2108

Poché’s is not as big of a tourist mecca as the ones in the French Quarter, but it showed me that pralines are popular throughout the state, and that they are fairly easy to find. I did not try to find pralines in Shreveport, which I also visited, but at least in South Louisiana I think the quest for good pralines is not a difficult one at all.

Young Vin Express–El Paso, TX

Young Vin Express
11335 Montwood Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 525-2100
Young Vin Express

Young Vin Express on Montwood

Young Vin was one of the oldest (if not the oldest) Korean restaurants in the city, but the original restaurant on Dyer Street no longer exists. In its place, though, is the recently opened Young Vin Express in far eastern El Paso. I only know of it through information on the Internet, but I believe this is an important development in El Paso’s restaurant scene. Rather than saying that one of the the city’s most well known restaurants is gone, I can instead say that it has merely adapted and moved to a location that is more convenient for a large segment of the city.

My review of Young Vin on the web site is available for viewing, and reflects my years of dining experience there. For most of these years I had no thought about reviewing the restaurant or trying to analyze the food–I simply went because I enjoyed it. My first experience with Korean food was at Young Vin, and I kept going back for more, as well as visiting the other Korean restaurants in the city.

As the review indicates, the Korean barbecue has always been the main draw of the restaurant. Over time I came to enjoy the side dishes as much or more, but in any case there was plenty to bring me to the restaurant.

I do not know how Young Vin Express is set up, but I am sure that much of the food remains the same. It sounds as if it is now a fast food restaurant, and would not provide the same experience of having an overabundance meat and side dishes to the point that they did not expect anyone to eat all of it. Still, with food this good, it would be difficult not to have a good experience with it even if the portions are smaller.

At Young Vin I always enjoyed the food, but my main issues were with questions such as what you got for your money. The Express restaurant seems to be informal and low priced, so I think this is a good way for people to try Korean food that may not be very familiar with it. In my opinion the barbecue beef is usually a good place to start in experiencing Korean cuisine, and the one here was never disappointing.

Cuisine: Korean
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun

Filipino Fusion–Oklahoma City, OK

Filipino Fusion
Food Truck
Oklahoma City, OK

Status: Open as of Aug. 26, 2016

I am happy to report that the Filipino Fusion food truck is now open for business and receiving excellent reviews. It joins Chibugan Restaurant as places in the Oklahoma City metro where Filipino cuisine is available.

The Filipino Fusion Facebook Page lists the locations where the truck can be found. These include the following:

  • OU Children’s Hospital
  • Anthem Brewing–908 S.W. 4th St.
  • Mustang Brewing Company–520 N. Meridian Ave.
  • Cactus Jack’s (at the Family Fun Center)–1211 N. Council Rd.
  • The Patriarch–9 E. Edwards St. in Edmond

Some popular dishes include adobo, rice balls, lumpia, pancit, and desserts.

My previous Filipino Food Revisited blog post discusses the Filipino fusion food movement, and I will also list the various places in Oklahoma City that serve Filipino food.