Theres a vibrant farm-to-table movement happening in Lafayette these days and much of it can be credited to Chef Manny Augello and Abi Broussard Falgout of Bread & Circus Provisions. Augello hails from Sicily and Falgout a traditional Cajun family where food is an art, a religion and mostly derived from local farmers and producers.
Because Manny is from Sicily and I grew up in a traditional Cajun family, we actually find non-farm-to-table food bizarre, Falgout said. Both of our heritages are known for their culinary ingenuity and thriving with limited resources.
The two first established Bread & Circus as a booth at the local farmers market, selling cured meats, pickles and condiments in addition to specialty items such as sandwiches. Their goal was to deliver food grown and raised locally that lacks the preservatives and additives routinely found in packaged foods.
In a way, having access to mass-produced ingredients from around the world sucks the soul out of food, Falgout explained. Plus, we are surrounded by some of the most passionate and talented food producers in the country. It's an honor to showcase Acadiana through food.
When their products sold at the farmers market were well received and the community began pleading for more, the duo opened a restaurant six months later at 258 Bendel Road, near the corner of Bendel and Pinhook roads. Bread & Circus bases its menu on whats available from local farmers and producers, serving it up in a variety of delicious ways.
We use old-school techniques from around the world, Falgout explained. The result is a mash up of iconic Cajun and international foods that highlight the richness of Acadiana."
Bread & Circus is more like four restaurants in one. A menu of hearty and inventive sandwiches, soups, salads and plate lunches are served daily at the counter and the lunchtime atmosphere owns a Brooklyn deli vibe. Come dinner, Bread & Circus turns into a candlelit full-service restaurant with a hip ambiance, an unexpected menu and incredible cocktails. For Saturday brunch, the environment morphs into a sunny, Motown version of dinner, and by Saturday night from 10 p.m. to midnight Bread & Circus transitions once again, serving one-of-a-kind snacks and cocktails as their late night service.
It's where we let our kitchen (culinary circus freaks) run wild, Falgout said of the late Saturday night offerings. They produce a new menu each Saturday. All the cool kids come. It's a lot of fun.
Popular lunch items include the smoke-rubbed house-made chips, the fried chicken on Wednesdays that arrives with a smoked gouda mac and cayenne buttermilk slaw with a honey hot dipping sauce and the Juicy Lucy Thursdays which features their trademark burger. The latter was described thus in Thrillist.coms Where to Get the 10 Best Burgers in Louisiana article: The hand-ground beef burger is perfectly seasoned and flavored, stuffed full of cheese, served on a brioche bun thats so tender that it should fall apart, but never does, with tomato, lettuce, and a caramelized onion mayo." Hungry yet?
Dinner favorites are harder to choose, Falgout said.
Thats like making me choose my favorite child, she said. Its different depending on which mood Im in. But Im always in the mood for ramen. I can honestly feel my soul bathing in that rich, delicious broth when I eat it.
The Bread & Circus ramen, featured on The Cooking Channels TV show, Chuck Eats the Street, marries handmade udon noodles with ginger-braised boneless pork ribs, miso broth, a house pickled egg, Louisiana shiitake mushrooms, sprouts and raw vegetables. Another dinner favorite of Falgouts is the house-cured charcuterie board.
For brunch, a must-have besides the house Bloody Marys are the bounuts, boudin-stuffed donuts served with Poiriers cane syrup.
Like the ever-changing menu, Bread & Circus offers daily specials. For lunch, they offer a daily plate lunch, sandwich, soup and vegetarian special.
If you can resist the other menu items, the vegetarian special is almost always a kitchen favorite, Falgout said.
Beer is half price during Fridays lunch service and late night includes $1 Miller High Life and $2 shots of Jameson. Every week, the dinner specials feature new charcuterie and cheeses from Wanda Barras Belle Ecorce Farms.
Remember those cured meats, pickles and condiments? Visitors to Bread & Circus may purchase those to take home as well.
If you can't make into Bread & Circus for dinner try your hand at their Smoked Ponce Ramen recipe below.
Smoked Ponce Ramen
1 lb. slab bacon, cubed, rind on
1 sheet kombu
6 qt. water
16 oz. miso
2 oz. dried shrimp
Rind from ponce
On medium heat, simmer bacon and ponce rind in 3 qt. water for 30 minutes. Meanwhie, soak kombu in remaining 3 qt. water. Combine the liquids into the same pot as the bacon. Using a fine mesh cone strainer, steep the dried shrimp and miso into the merged liquids. Simmer very slowly for 1 hour. Strain liquid, keep warm.
Ginger Garlic Glaze:
3 tbsp. toasted sesame seed oil
2 oz. ginger, rinsed well and sliced
2 oz. garlic, crushed
2 leeks, sliced thinly
8 oz. soy sauce
16 oz. rice wine vinegar, seasoned
6 oz. granulated sugar
In a medium sized pot, heat the sesame oil to smoke point. Add the leek, garlic and ginger in that order, lower heat. Stir in sugar and deglaze with liquid. Turn heat down to low and simmer until liquid reduces by 1/3.
2 qt. miso broth
1 ponce, smoked, rind removed and sliced
1 cup ginger garlic glaze
2 lb. cooked udon noodles
6 pickled yard eggs
Pickled mushrooms from Breaux Bridge
Mary Mary sprouts
Place udon noodles into serving bowls, fill with miso broth until noodles are just covered. Layer in the sliced ponce, drizzle with ginger garlic. Dress with pickled yard egg sliced in half, mushrooms and sprouts.
Bread & Circus Provisions
258 Bendel Road
Lafayette, Louisiana 70503