AL-T's Cajun restaurant in Winnie is one of those places that I have heard great things about, but never got around to trying. Then fate intervened. Week before last, I took a wrong turn on the way back to Houston from Smith Point and accidently ended up in Winnie, smack dab in front of the restaurant—just in time for a late lunch. The place was packed, and most of the patrons were taking advantage of the lunch buffet specials.
244 Texas 124, Winnie
While I drank some iced tea and looked over the menu, I read this short history of the place on AL-T's website:
AL-T's story started in 1978, when brothers Herbert and Harold Thibodeaux, along with the cousin, Alan Leger, combined their Cajun names to open a drive-in grocery in Hamshire (an unincorporated rice-growing area 20 miles south of Beaumont). It was there they created and sold their signature family boudain recipe, until the store was sold in 1982. The Thibodeauxs kept the recipe and name and continued to make and distribute AL-T's boudain, until Herbert decided to open this restaurant in 1984. Those same family recipes of boudain and dirty rice are served here today, and can still be purchased by the pound.
There was an item on AL-T's menu called "dirty beans." It was a bowl of beans, studded with sausage, served over the famous dirty rice with the optional addition of a link of Al-T's boudin. Since it included the restaurant's two signature items, I gave it a try. You also get some cornbread muffins with the meal. The sausage was excellent, the boudain was pleasant enough, but nothing out of the ordinary. The rice stuffing wasn't very spicy. (My favorite boudin is the green onion-heavy style served at Best Stop in Scott.) I am guessing AL-T's dirty rice is more or less the same mixture that goes into the boudain.
I was intrigued to see the Texas boudain spelling, which I have adopted for this blog post for the sake of consistency. Let the great boudin/boudain debate continue!
Meanwhile, Houston food blogger and Beaumont native J.C. Reid suggests that I try the menu item called a "dirty Herbie" next time I visit AL-T's. It's dirty rice topped with etouffee and a juicy steak.