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Monday, May 7, 2012

Cajun Cafe On The Bayou

It was one of those lazy Sunday afternoons when you want nothing more than to sit out on the screen porch overlooking an idyllic bayou setting with some kids frolicking in the water across the way.

A kind gentleman saunters over and inquires if we would fancy an adult beverage. As the two beers we requested arrived, so did our delightful dining companions Sweet Polly of Epicurean Perils fame and her macho hero Underdog.

The last time we had a food bloggers "convergence" was at the Carmel Cafe. This time around we decided to try something totally different, and that suggested a trip to the Cajun Cafe on the Bayou at 8101 Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park. The Cajun Cafe offers "indoor, outdoor, and waterside dining in our charming old shack on Cross Bayou. At Cajun Café on the Bayou, we are proud to serve freshly cooked, authentic Cajun and Louisiana Cuisine, and offer a fine selection of Craft Ales on draught and in bottles".

The beers and ales on draught change periodically, so what we consumed may not be available when you pirogue over to the Bayou. We four tried several different varieties and were impressed with the selection.

We started our gastronomic adventure with an order of Boudin Balls (I never knew that Boudins even had balls) but these balls were made with "the traditional boudin filling of pork, pork liver, onions, special seasonings and rice, then rolled in a cracker meal coating."

The Cafe then dunks them in craft ale and gives them a light dusting of their seasoned-flour blend before deep-frying. The six Boudin Balls are then served with Rémoulade Sauce.

The sauce was a tad on the spicy side, but if you can stand the heat, they are delicious.

Sweet Polly had her taste buds geared up for the Crawfish Cornbread, loaded with crawfish tails, cheddar cheese, corn, onions and jalapeños. I do not believe she was disappointed. I know I wasn't. This was a tasty delight and big enough to share.

For me, the main event was something I have been longing for ever since a trip to Billy Goat Hill, Louisiana some years ago - boiled crawfish with taters and corn.

For the novice, here is the proper way to enjoy these crustaceous delights:

Just rip off their heads and suck the spicy juice, then pinch near the tail of the crawfish on the underside and mash firmly to break the meat loose. With the shell still partially intact, bring the tail meat to your mouth and sink your teeth into the exposed meat. Chomp down, and it should pop into your mouth as you leave the tail behind.

Notice I said "should pop into your mouth". These didn't, which tells me that they were overcooked. They tasted great, though. They were just hard to get out of the shell, and that is my only negative for the day.

The dainty damsels amongst us manly men eschewed the crawfish and instead Sweet Polly chose the Big Tail-on Fried Shrimp. I tried one and while fried shrimp are not a favorite, these were excellent. There was a picture, I swear! Somebody musta ate it 'cause it looked so good.

My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, chose the Creole Roasted Pulled Pork.


Even later that evening, as a snack, the pulled pork was superb.

As full as some of us were at this point, the ladies had already set their sights on dessert - not just any dessert.

What elicited all the smiles were the two orders of Whiskey Bread Pudding. Said the Cajun Cafe, "We hate to brag, but people tell us this is the best they’ve ever had! Our secret ingredient? Real French bread from our local French bakery, Café Croissant. Once baked, the pudding is soaked in our own whiskey-butter sauce, then topped with French vanilla cream just before serving. Rich and big enough to share!"

Holy moly, that was a wad of bread pudding, and it was out of this world good!

And, what a fantastic day - good food, ice cold beer, and our friends, Sweet Polly and her Underdog. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Food and beverages for the four of us with gratuity came in a bit under $200.

Cajun Cafe on the Bayou on Urbanspoon

Editor's disclaimer: Neither Sweet Polly nor myself announced to the staff and management that we are world class food bloggers (well, she is anyway) before or after. If we were recognized as such, it wasn't apparent.

A couple of last thoughts: Even if the crawfish are out of season, there are so many other menu items that just scream TRY ME! I know I am going to have to go back to the Cajun Cafe and do just that.

Periodically, the Cajun Cafe has some "name" live talent. Take a look at EVENTS on their web site to see what is in store. Here is a little treat from several years ago, and it's awesome!

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