The Best Weekend Road Trip: Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse in LaPlace and Sweet Treats at the Ace Hotel
Consider taking a drive to LaPlace for lunch tomorrow or brunch on Sunday.
Throughout the month of April, Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse (WJS) in LaPlace is celebrating 71 years in the business of turning out what is, in my humble opinion and that of numerous esteemed chefs, the finest andouille to be found in the region where pork-based, smoked andouille originated and fine andouille is commonplace. This year is also the 300th anniversary of the sausage-making Germans settling the LaPlace area. In celebration, through the end of the month the smokehouse will toss in one complimentary link (about 1.25 pounds) of their outstanding andouille with every online order over $100.
One could also do far worse than to carve out some time to pay a visit to the smokehouse, which features an amazing on-site restaurant.
In 2015, Chef Jarred Zeringue and Matthew Moreland, a New Orleans attorney, purchased the heritage business. The smokehouse had been passed down through generations of the Jacob family, producing artisan-smoked meats and fresh sausage they ultimately shipped worldwide.
Zeringue’s family owned a farm on River Road in nearby Vacherie and had shopped at the smokehouse for generations.
Upon assuming ownership of the business, the partners took a minimally invasive approach. They closed for only two days so as not to disrupt the habits of the community it served, instead sneaking in after hours to paint and make physical improvements to the restaurant.
The smokehouse’s on-site restaurant is open only for weekday lunch and a Sunday brunch that showcases Bloody Marys made with in-house smoked tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Deviled eggs are topped with tiny slivers of house-smoked bacon. Rounds of roasted andouille sausage “chips” are served with Creole mustard. Smoked tasso enhances creamy macaroni and cheese, and the dessert list is comprised entirely of Zeringue’s Grandmother Winnie’s recipes for scratch-made treats like a glazed lemon pound cake, banana cream cheese pie, chocolate chip buttermilk pie, and blonde fudge cake. Ordinarily, I am not one for dessert, but things are different here, and decisions are hard to make.
Filling the restaurant’s shelves are products from a line of house-made vinegars, condiments, pepper jelly, smoked salts, salsas, and roasted fruit butters, all presented in elegant, minimalist packaging. There are cartons of fresh yard eggs for sale from the variety of chickens, both common and exotic, that now live in the backyard, merrily feeding off peppers and leftover donuts from a shop down the street. The result is ultra-rich deep golden yolks with a slight peppery kick. Moreland and Zeringe have planted numerous fruit and nut-bearing trees and vines including muscadine, Moreland paper-shell pecan (Moreland’s grandfather patented the variety, a result of grafting a paper shell and a candy pecan root stock together), avocado, fig, and olive. Lines of numerous varieties of citrus trees—including a pink lemonade variety with vibrant flesh—are forming a lovely allée in the yard. The wealth from the garden is used in the restaurant and in the line of packaged products.
On Sunday, Lovage café in the Ace Hotel will host a pop-up with local ice cream maker Hood Cream from 1-6 p.m. Hood Cream is a Black and female-owned business known for natural ingredients and innovative flavors. A make-your-own-dreams-come-true sundae bar and special affogato will be on the menu. Ice cream will also be available by the scoop. Also on the menu at Lovage for the month of April, Pastry Chef Breanne Kostyk’s monthly specialty beignet is flavored with natural strawberry then topped with a Meyer lemon glaze and finished with a strawberry milk crumb. Kostyk is super talented and everything she does is amazing.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Use it to celebrate the city and the community you love.