Lunch meets Creole spirit at Glenda’s Restaurant in Breaux Bridge| Entertainment/Life
Seven steak is not very tender, but it can inspire love.
This was the dish Glenda Broussard prepared for a man named Horace on their first date. It was a blind date, set up by her friends at one of their houses.
“I wanted to go out to dinner. It was supposed to be a date. But my friends said, ‘No, just cook for him,'” Broussard recalls. “And when he came back for seconds, they said, ‘Oh, I’ve got him, honey,'” Broussard recalls.
They’ve got each other, that’s for sure, and Glenda and Horace Broussard have been married for 25 years.
These seven steaks are on Thursday’s menu at Glenda Broussard’s nearly longtime restaurant, Glenda’s Creole Kitchen, outside her hometown of Breaux Bridge.
It’s a cut of beef that can generously be described as economical. But it’s perfect for the kind of cooking you find at Glenda’s, a homestyle that uses ingredients crucial to time and purpose.
Onions and peppers are cooked for a long time until they turn from recognizable pieces to a browned flavor. It all sticks to the bowl, then dissolves to mix more. Repeat, simmer, and let time pass.
“That’s the way we do it here,” Broussard told me. “When you come to visit someone, we all say ‘Let’s cook something.’
Lunch plate template
Small, low-slung, a bit ramshackle with a mix of decor, clutter and most of all completely welcoming, Glenda’s belongs to the classic school of Acadiana plate lunch spot.
The menu changes depending on the day of the week, keeping the same structure week after week. Only certain parts of the blackboard listing the day’s dishes need to be cleared as those days change, because many of the preparations are the same – stewed, stuffed or smothered, always with white rice and a ladle of broth.
Stuffed turkey wings are on the board every day of the week. They’re sliced, stuffed with onions and garlic, smothered with sausage, and studded with more garlic.
The smothered sausages use links from the nearby Russell Food Center in Arnoville, and are dense, dark, and have a texture that maintains the meaty flavor not degrading during chewing.
Meatball stew gives balls that are crisp and soft on the inside, filled with brown broth but still somehow holding their shape until you take a fork to them.
At the time of the fateful seven-steak dinner, Broussard was working at the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he was working the dispatch line on the night shift.
She had three young children. She didn’t have enough money to eat at restaurants often, and she always brought her cooking home to work. She called it lunch, even though her food break on the night shift came in the early hours of the morning.
Whenever she heated up a meal at the station house, her co-workers would have to inquire about it.
“They were smelling it, asking where I got it, where they could get some,” she said.
I started making more and bringing in cardboard boxes to sell at work. Orders doubled; Her car was filling up.
“I think it was a sign that I should use my talent,” Broussard says today.
This encouragement led to the launch of Glenda’s Creole Kitchen, and it became an institution.
Off the highway, onto the highway
It was a hot summer day the first time I visited Glenda’s, but even then, amidst the sweltering Louisiana heat, I had the holiday season on my mind. In particular, the way Louisiana families cook this time of year, and how Glenda’s menu reflects that year-round, makes a taste of home-style Acadiana available at any time.
The slow cooking in this process belies the fast pace of service. All the magic goes into these dishes long before you order them, so meals can be thrown together quickly.
There’s also drive-thru service, with a small window cut into the side of the wall and a hand-painted menu board listing the daily specials.
Glenda’s is a tempting stop anytime I’m near Interstate 10, but I’m also thinking about it now that the holidays put many of us on the road that crosses the state.
Glenda’s address is in Breaux Bridge, but it’s actually on the outskirts of a rural stretch of La. 31 (called the main highway here), parallel to the turns of Bayou Teche. People drive fast on these country roads, and Glenda appears as a low-slung white slate in a green rural landscape.
There aren’t many people who stop on a whim; It’s the kind of place you know.
Many people found out about Glenda’s after the restaurant was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations.” It was 2012, an eternity in the life cycles of digital media, and the photos on the restaurant wall from the making of that episode show their age.
But you should know about places like Glenda’s, which is intimately intertwined with family, place, and flavor, and is delicious proof that you can feel connected to it all just by sharing a meal.
This is one of the gifts of Louisiana food culture. Here, you can even get it from the car.
Glenda’s Creole Kitchen
3232 Main Highway, Bro Bridge, (337) 332-0294
Sunday-Friday. 10am to 2pm (closed on Saturday)
(Tags for translation) Solid wall