You don’t have to go to [easyazon_link identifier=”1628872748″ locale=”US” tag=”theyum-20″]New Orleans[/easyazon_link] to get a Creole breakfast. Lucile’s in Fort Collins, Colorado has been serving up authentic Louisiana vittles since 1996. This is the second outpost of the restaurant; the original Lucile’s opened in Boulder, CO in 1980. Tony Hanks, the owner of the Fort Collins branch, hails from Kaplan, Louisiana, west of NOLA; some of the recipes even come from his mother so you know it’s the real deal. When asked if the restaurant is Creole or Cajun, Hanks replied, “it’s a bit of both.”
Location: 400 S. Meldrum Street, Fort Collins, Colorado (Besides Fort Collins and Boulder, there are locations in Longmont and [easyazon_link identifier=”1681060302″ locale=”US” tag=”theyum-20″]Denver[/easyazon_link]. This review applies to Fort Collins as each Lucile’s is very different.
Menu: The breakfast menu (served all day) is loaded with a wide-range of delicious dishes including Eggs Pontchartrain (pan-fried trout topped with poached eggs and béarnaise sauce), Eggs Sardou (creamed spinach, Gulf shrimp, poached eggs topped with hollandaise), Creole Omelet (eggs with spicy sausage and diced ham in their red Creole sauce), Pain Perdu (New Orleans-style French toast served with fresh fruit, and an egg, hot Louisiana sausage and buttery syrup), and my favorite: Eggs New Orleans. This dish is a take on Eggs Benedict. Two rounds of breaded, fried eggplant are topped with tangy red Creole sauce, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Since I discovered it I have never ordered anything else. All breakfasts come with a fluffy buttermilk biscuit and either home fries seasoned with Lucile’s special spice blend or grits.
The lunch menu includes Louisiana favorites like Crawfish Étouffée, Shrimp Creole, red beans and rice, several different kinds of po’ boy sandwiches as well as salads including Popcorn Shrimp Salad and Zydeco Salad.
Thoughts: Lucile’s arrived in Fort Collins in 1996, the same year we did, but it took us a few years to discover it. Once it was on our radar it became our hands-down favorite breakfast place. The restaurant, set in a small craftsman-style bungalow. is a few blocks north of Colorado State University. Between students and locals the place is often packed, especially on weekends. Arrive early or be prepared to wait. In summer, waiting isn’t bad, you grab a cup of coffee (they even serve chicory) and a newspaper, pull up a space on the sidewalk and wait for your name to be called. In warmer weather it’s easier to get a seat in one of the small rooms inside or the enclosed front porch because the outdoor side porch is prime territory; almost everyone wants to eat out there.
Start your breakfast with freshly-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice (and they mean fresh, the servers squeeze it every morning) and an order of beignets. These deep-fried pastries, covered in confectioner’s sugar, just about melt in your mouth. I cut mine in half and fill the resulting pocket with the homemade strawberry rhubarb preserves that are on every table. Shortly after that, a large, fluffy biscuit arrives. I usually save mine for later; I want to save room for the mouth-watering Eggs New Orleans. There’s something about the fried eggplant combined with the egg, the heat of the Creole and the cool, creaminess of the hollandaise that has me hooked.
Steve, a big trout fan, usually orders the Eggs Pontchartrain; fresh trout fried to crisp deliciousness then topped with poached eggs and hollandaise. He likes to order a side of Lucile’s tasty southern greens with this. Although it’s not on the menu if you’re a gumbo fan ask if they have the shrimp and egg gumbo as a special. It appears about once a week. The recipe came from Hank’s mother. We live in [easyazon_link identifier=”0756685478″ locale=”US” tag=”theyum-20″]Santa Fe[/easyazon_link] now but we visit Fort Collins to catch up with friends when we can. At the top of our list of things to do while there: breakfast at Lucile’s. We can’t tell you how lunch is; we’ve never tried it. We got hooked on breakfast. But, if it’s anything like breakfast, it has to be good.
Price range: Breakfast: beignets are $5.35 for and order of four; breakfast entrees range from $8.20 to $14.65; breakfast sides are $2 to $9.60 (blackened salmon). Lunch: sandwiches $11.55 to $12.70; soups and salads from $4 to $13.50; lunch entrees $8.70 to $14.95; sides run from $2.30 to $9.60 and desserts are priced from $3.75 to $5.95. Beverages run from $1.95 for bottled water to $5.75 for Mocha au Lait.
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