Photo Friday | Eat Lafayette 2016

Kicking off its 12th year, the annual Eat Lafayette campaign heralds a summer season of celebrating locally owned restaurants and some of the area's best chefs.

Running from June 20 through September 18, more than 100 participating restaurants are offering Eat Lafayette specials to patrons. You can view all specials on the campaign's website.

As I say every year, there is NO shortage of restaurants to choose from in Lafayette and Acadiana, and luckily, so many of them are locally owned. Additionally, a lot of restaurants use local and regional produce, meat and seafood, further contributing to the area's economy. Supporting our local restaurants is so important to preserving and expanding our culinary culture.

It's much more than small shops serving fried seafood. Although that remains a staple in the area (and deliciously so), the crop of restaurants who participate run the entire gamut of cuisine. There's southern regional, Mexican, Italian, fusion, Indian, traditional burgers, barbecue, breakfast, desserts and pastries, and vegan options.


At last night's Eat Lafayette kickoff party, I definitely spent more time sampling amazing food than getting really any photos of said food. As my fiance and I walked around, ducking between the crowds and balancing plates while splitting our samples, we enjoyed trying new dishes and restaurants we don't get to visit often.

There were so many good offerings this year, and I think Dark Roux had the most creative one, with a pickled shrimp accompanied by cantaloupe and topped with caviar. Dark Roux often uses local and regional food in their menu items, and have a delicious brunch each weekend.

What I can remember us trying are shrimp and grits, seafood stuffed mushrooms, gumbo, chicken biscuits, quinoa tabouli, fried green tomatoes, chicken salad sliders, baked pasta, bacon-wrapped chicken, shrimp salad, crawfish enchiladas, crab cakes, cheesecake, macarons...and that's about where I lost track!

These macarons from Poupart's Bakery are officially the best I've ever tried. The one above is a green tea and lemon flavor that was absolutely light and indulgent. I tried another apple-flavored combination that was just as amazing.

This year, the kickoff party was held at the new UL Lafayette Student Union, a building that is LEED-certified (a standard that ranks how green and sustainable the building is, from materials to efficiency to waste).

Because of the location, it was easier to provide recycling bins like the one above, throughout the lobby. I wish the ballroom could have held some in addition to the trashcans, however, the majority of the disposable plates and cups were styrofoam. The forks, spoons, and plastic cups and plates at least could have been recycled more easily.

And you can never argue with a perfect sunset through the moss-covered trees in the UL Swamp.

Follow the Eat Lafayette campaign for the next three months through any of their social media channels:
Facebook | TwitterYoutube | Pinterest
| Vine | Foursquare | Snapchat: eatlafayette15

Now, it's time for your homework...pick which restaurant you'll dine at first! And if you don't want to get out of the house, use Waitr to have your local meal delivered.

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