Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunday Afternoon

A hundred people can tell you a hundred different ways to make a Bloody Mary. Or at least that’s the case in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The famous watering holes hereabout swear by their somehow secret recipe while others gladly call out the ingredient that makes their Bloody Mary superior. Most of us line up some vodka, store-bought mix, a lime, some celery, maybe some spicy seasoning and call it done deal. Still there are those who like a touch more and bring out the beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, pickled okra or string beans, olives, and a dash of lemon. Whatever the secret or special ingredient, most times the Bloody Mary served in south Louisiana is a mouthful of good.

Sunday in Baton Rouge was an afternoon of sublime weather with the freedom to squander hours on a breezy, sun-dappled patio, a setting almost incomplete without a Bloody Mary or two. No fancy cocktail recipe around here, but instead an uncomplicated mix of vodka, Tabasco Bloody Mary mix, a squeeze of lime, another of lemon, a dash of Cajun seasoning and a stalk of celery in a tall glass brimming with ice. Our back porch patio Bloody Mary wouldn’t make the grade at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in the French Quarter, maybe not at the Palace Café, but for the locals on R’s patio the mix is Triple AAA.

Someone started whispering about oysters on the half shell and our designated driver-chauffeur piled us in the car for a drive to The Chimes, a popular eatery with two locations in town, one of them not far from Goodwood. Before long we sat crowded around a table piled with raw oysters, seafood gumbo, crab stuffed shrimp and a platter of red beans and rice. Here in Louisiana the table always ends up overflowing with food, all of it a heavenly blend of flavors that have made the state famous.

The Chimes has found its niche in Baton Rouge, taking over a drugstore and clothing store just off the campus of Louisiana State University in 1983, soon expanding into the old Varsity movie theater. Live music is offered two or three nights a week, a big draw for the crowd of LSU students, but the food is no less an attraction for many locals. Since opening the original restaurant the owners have expanded with another Chimes in east Baton Rouge and one more in Covington, an hour and a half away.

For many in Louisiana football is a big part of life between late August and January, and The Chimes has become one of the places where LSU fans like to gather for games on TV. Popularity of the game is embodied in a handsome painting of old-style football on one wall of the restaurant.


  1. If not a perfect Sunday on the patio then one very close: what passes for Spring in Louisiana before the blazing days of summer; lip-smacking Bloody Marys and delicious store-made chicken salad from Calvin's grocery for snacks; and books being read or those purchased the day before. Oh, yes. I will drink to all of that.

  2. Love all of your posts Raymond! It was so good to see y'all yesterday. It gives me such pleasure to read about the Chimes and what a classic South Louisiana watering hole and fooderie it continues to be. I will be forwarding this to Dad. I'm glad you had a well deserved, relaxing Sunday afternoon. ;-)

  3. I began my day in EDLT zone at 5:30 a.m. and have just gotten home without having had the joy of lunch and very little breakfast. Your post absolutely threw me for a loop and the drool was all over my MacBook Air. I now they won't be as good, but I may do some persuading for going out for raw oysters tonight. All of your afternoon sounded inviting and the food especially made me almost want to drive to Baton Rouge for some of it. Great pictures, too.


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America