What it means to EatLafayette and life beyond a summer of carbs. story and photos By kari Walker

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013

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For the past 11 weeks I’ve been a locovore — I’ve been on the EatLafayette diet. And for a girl who watches her carbs on a regular basis, it’s safe to say that went out the window a long time ago on week one when I met a slice of pizza. I’ve enjoyed eating at more than 35 of the participating restaurants and added extra miles on my running shoes to battle the extra pounds. I’m not complaining though — this town is filled with talented chefs, foodies and welcoming business owners who are more than happy to share their craft on a plate and allow me to tell their story through Dish of the Day and Dish of the Month. Some of the best food I ever ate has been right around the corner.

This month marks 10 years since I moved to Lafayette, and even though I had eaten many times before at several of this year’s EatLafayette participants, it was a different dining experience from the past. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with many restaurant owners and chefs and now look at food in a different way — I see the passion for the plate and the diner and also the hope of leaving their mark on the local culinary community. It’s more than another lunch; it’s tasting something someone worked years to perfect, or it’s a dish passed down from great grandmothers, or it’s something that happened late one night in a kitchen after all the diners were gone and the chef could unwind and create something new.

People often ask me, “What’s the best thing you ate?”

“The best” is subjective; you have to experience it for yourself. Of course, I’m glad to make suggestions as I often do when others tell me they are looking for somewhere for a first date or a place to eat after a lazy Sunday on the river. I have answers for both, and if you see me around town, strike up a conversation as I’m sure we can learn something from each other. That’s the thing about food — it’s social and promotes unlikely friendships.

While my kitchen has enjoyed the summer vacation, it’s time to get back on track and back to cooking with less indulging. And even though the EatLafayette campaign has come to an end, there will come a time when I take a night off from cooking or dine out to celebrate with friends, and I will continue to eat local. But now I’m much more likely to sit a little longer, savor the flavor, pay my compliments to the chefs and thank them for what they contribute to Lafayette.

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