If you’re considering hitting the road for an exciting summer vacation with a unique southern culinary vibe, hometown culture and a hint of Vegas magic; add Lake Charles, LA to the top of your road trip list. Just a few minutes from the Texas state line, you’ll find many delicious reasons to Lake Charles. Check out a few of our favorite spots.



Seafood Palace

I know it sounds like a chinese restaurant, but it’s far from it. This local favorite offers boiled, grilled or fried seafood and is known to have the best crab and shrimp gumbo in town. When in Louisiana, you have to have the crawfish! An order comes with 3 lbs of hot, steamy bliss plus sides. Start with the shrimp pistolette, frog legs or fried crab claws.



Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen

This is one of over 25 stops on the Boudin Trail and features nine kinds of boudin – including alligator.  Made of varying amounts of pork meat, livers, rice, onions and parsley, boudin is Southwest Louisiana’s favorite finger food. Try the new cracklins at Hackett’s too. Take time to visit with the owner and her stories about how her husband started this restaurant.

Martinis at Heist

Heist Oyster Bar & Cocktails

Enjoy craft cocktails in a lounge setting. Formally only a wine bar, Heist will also be adding an Oyster House featuring world renown chargrilled oysters. Currently it’s offering small bites like crawfish mac & cheese, gator tacos and salmon & bacon stuffed deviled eggs. Cocktails include specialty martinis, seasonal specialties and cocktails made with moonshine and absinthe spirits. Photo credit: Heist Facebook Page

Private dining area at Blue Dog Cafe

Blue Dog Cafe

View the private collection of artworks by artist George Rodrique while enjoying an array of delectables. Highly recommend starting with the smoked duck quesadillas, Treasures of the Bayou bisque (shrimp, crab and oysters with artichokes in a herbed white cream topped with a seafood wonton), followed by Chicken Bayou Teche (Seafood stuffed chicken breast topped with bacon rotel cream sauce, served with dirty-dog rice, corn maque choux and vegetable du jour). This cafe has only been open a few months and is already fast becoming a destination favorite.

Bayou Rum

Bayou Rum

While this distillery isn’t technically a place to eat, it is mighty delicious! Take a tour and then sample rums in the Tasting Bar area. My favorite was the spiced rum. If you’d like food items, you can purchase their rum cakes or chocolates to enjoy later.


Darrell’s PoBoys

The only way to describe this famous sandwich made with fresh baked buns is dripping with goodness. We had the Darryl’s Special (signature sandwich made with ham, turkey, roast beef, and roast beef gravy) and the Surf & Turf (Sliced roast beef and sauteed shrimp cooked in roast beef gravy and homemade butter sauce). Messy but totally worth it. You’ll want to lick your fingers.


With amazing amenities, high end shopping, a tranquil spa, live entertainment, and fabulous dining options, there’s no question that L’Auberge has it all!  Indulge in everything from sweets and Asian flair to a vast buffet and southern Favorites. You’re sure to find something to please your palette in one of the seven eating venues on site at this Casino Resort.

Macfarlane's Celtic Pub

Macfarlane’s Celtic Pub 

With over 140 beers in stock, a large selection of Irish whiskey and scotch and the Voodoo Bloody Mary voted best Bloody Mary in Lake Charles in 2012, you’re sure to have plenty to wash down your choice of eats. Favorites include Scotch Eggs, Mussels Vermillo and Blarney Stones appetizers. Sandwiches and burgers are also available. Recommend the Stuffed Grilled Cheese (cheddar, pepper jack and smoked gouda stuffed with crab au gratin). Entrees include Shepherds Pie, Chicken & Dumplings, seafoods, pastas and chicken dishes. Save room for the mixed berry cobbler. Photo credit: Macfarlane’s Celtic Pub Facebook Page

Restaurant Calla

Restaurant Calla 

Enjoy cocktails and appetizers at this modern tapas restaurant featuring specialty cocktails and exceptional wines. With bites like Veal sweetbread nuggets and Blue Crab Beignets you can bet the entrees are just as fabulous. Photo credit: Restaurant Calla Facebook Page

Ice Bar at The Golden Nugget 

If you prefer cocktails, you’ll find a variety of specialty cocktails in this ultra-chic lobby bar. I felt right at home with the Texas vodkas they carried. A great place to unwind before or after dinner with drinks like the Blue Martini, Chocolate Martini and Cosmos.

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Acadian Coffee

This 100% organic and fair trade coffee company was created by two women who decided they wanted to make coffee social again. With flavors like Amaretto, Chocolate Pecan Pie and Cinnamon Roll, you can’t help but want to take home each flavor. Other roasts include Columbian, Mexican Chiapas and Guatemalan to name a few. Photo credit: Acadian Coffee Roasters Facebook Page


Like the Louisiana Winter Beer Festival. Known as the The Festival Capital of Louisiana, you can always find something going on when visiting. We attended Louisiana Brewers Dinner and dined with brewers and beer industry professionals on the open patio area at L’Auberge featured unique menu items from award winning Chef Lyle Broussard of Jack Daniel’s Bar and Grill. Beer Brined Pork Belly Lollipops, Sweet & Spicy Frog Legs and Coffee Rubbed Bistro Tender were a scrumptious lead up to the Alligator carving station featuring a Fried, Bacon-Wrapped 5-foot Alligator. Checkout the website for a list of events and festivals.

Contraband Days is Lake Charles’s oldest festival and is celebrating its 59th year in 2016. Contraband Days is a themed “pirate” festival with close to 100 events. Contraband Days always falls on the first two weekends in May and it’s a twelve day festival. The Festival is based on the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds with some events occurring throughout the City.


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Contributing Spirits Writer

Sharing cocktail news, recipes, reviews and events with you. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat & Instagram: @VodkaGirlATX Tune in to #VodkaScopes at https://www.periscope.tv/vodkagirlatx Cheers!

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