If the cynical old newsroom adage that three examples make a trend is correct, then I'm two-thirds of the way to identifying a new trend with an old favorite dish.
Twice now at different New Orleans cafes I've encountered red beans and rice served with boudin sitting in for the conventional smoked or hot sausage.
One example, pictured above, was found at Dan's Place (515 Harrison Ave., 482-2838), the breakfast and lunch joint in Lakeview that took over the space long-known before Katrina as Charlie's Deli (and more recently as Touche Café). These were excellent red beans, and the cornbread was as good as it looks above.
The second example turned up at Daniel's on the Bayou (3443 Esplanade Ave., 940-5939) as a lunch special, and on a Thursday no less.
I am a bit of a freak for boudin, and I have been heartened to see it make more appearances on this side of the Atchafalaya basin. But pairing it with red beans and rice seems a bit odd. Louisiana-style boudin is, after all, a sausage casing crammed with pork bits and rice. So what we have here is a rice-based dish with a rice-based sausage. But it did make me curious enough to order it, so something's working.
If you see that third, official trend-setting example of this pairing elsewhere, please let us know.
-- Ian McNulty