Louie Finnan and his wife Ginger run this great restaurant in Mandeville, Louisiana, just off the Causeway Bridge over Lake Ponchartrain north of New Orleans. This place is a must stop if you're in the area. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday. Don't do like my brother Joe and I did and try to go on a Monday. Louie's is set back from the road as you can see and is located on the south side of the East Causeway approach.
This place is much easier to get to if you're coming from the Greater New Orleans Area. When you veer off of Causeway, keep in your right lane and drive at a moderate speed because you will have to turn off onto the service road as soon as you see the place.
If coming from the north, go to the far right of toll booths at the foot of the Causeway Bridge and turn to the right; there is a service road there which circles back. (Don't go through the toll booth or breakfast will cost $3 more). Take the first right that goes under Causeway Blvd. and that will get you to the East Causeway approach.
I'm not sure how well your GPS will work in getting to Louie's, but it's worth taking several passes to get there. The food is not only great, but Louie and Ginger make you feel like family.
Grits & Grillades:
This is their signature dish: sautéed veal served with Chef Louie's special gravy. My guess is that the gravy comes from what sticks to the bottom of the pan when the veal is sautéed. See the caramelized onions on top. This is one of the BEST breakfasts that has ever passed my taste buds. Grits were meant to be topped with Chef Louie's gravy.
Great Cup of Thick Coffee:
This restaurant is across the lake from New Orleans. They're supposed to have great coffee and it's supposed to be thick. No matter how thick the coffee is, it's always smooth, never bitter. And please don't pour water in your coffee like my Aunt Mildred does.
Eggs Nouvelle Orleans:
Eggs Benedict like many of you may have never had them before. Two crab cakes are topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Look at all the crabmeat in those paddies.
You can hardly see the egg for all the stuff Louie has in it: shrimp, smoked sausage, onions, tomatoes, green pepper. Two of his other omelet specials include: Shrimp Vera Cruz Omelet and the Chorizo Monterrey Omelet.
This is traditional Eggs Benedict with a side of flash-fried oysters. The oysters make a succulent complement to the flavor of Eggs Benedict.
Have you ever seen such a perfectly cooked mess of hash browns in your life. This stuff is crisp all of the way through. This is the way hash browns should be cooked.
In the New Orleans area, you get French toast on French Bread. In the olden days when I was a kid, you did one of two things with day-old French Bread. You either made bread pudding or you made French toast. My granddaughter Makayla almost always orders French toast for breakfast and to her this was the best. She let me have a taste and I agree.
Biscuits and Debris:
Day-ole is a great word in Louisiana. The French really know what to do with yesterday's food. Debris is what's left from the day before after cooking down roast beef for po-boys. What you see is the debris from bottom of the pot spooned on a couple of open biscuits. This is good stuff.
Grilled Biscuits with homemade preserves:
My Mom introduced me to grilled biscuits. That is what she did with day-ole biscuits, but Louie does it with fresh ones. My brothers and I never pigged out on fresh biscuits hoping there would be enough left for grilled ones the next day. Louie makes his own jellies. The one on the biscuit above is a combination of pear, strawberry, apricot, and something that both my brother and I forgot. Great stuff for biscuits.
Eggs New Orleans:
Two fried green tomatoes (like in the movie) topped with poached eggs and Louie's special hollandaise sauce. How does he get the sauce so orange. I can't do that.
I promised myself that I wouldn't try this dish, but it came with the Eggs Buras. And if you put it in front of me, I'll taste it. This turned out to be great stuff, flavored with garlic and other tasty spices. To me, there must have been a hint of crab boil in the spinach, but the waitress checked with the cook and said no.
Yes, Louie and the Redhead Lady serve a traditional egg breakfast as well. What you can't see are the grits. Me, I'll never get this because they have too many other special dishes to order ... I mean they have poached eggs with creamed spinach and with hot sausage, and omelets with shrimp or crabmeat. And that's not all, there's bananas foster pancakes and oysters la lousianne. I'd have to live in Mandeville to surf everything on their menu.
Suggested Lunch at L&R
These are tasty little morsels of seasoned biscuits. And you can keep ordering more! Note: the plate came with four, but I quickly ate one before I realized I needed to take a photo.
Chicken & Anduie-Sausage Gumbo:
Excuse the mess. Same problem here: I ate some gumbo before I realized the need for a photo. This is a roux based gumbo and tastes great.
Oyster New Orleans and Shrimp New Orleans:
Lite pasta in a butter sauce circled with either fried oysters or fried shrimp. I asked for half and half, and they did it! The breading tastes as if it is a lite mixture of white four and corn flour. Just enough corn flour in the mix to stick to the seafood, but not overwhelm the taste. Good stuff.
Louie and the Breakfast Bro:
Louie has a great kitchen and wait staff that takes care of business freeing him to mingle with the customers. And that he does. He want's you to feel like you're visiting family when eating here.
For more information about Louie and the Redhead Lady and a full menu go to http://www.louieandtheredheadlady.com.