Anyone having read our blog for the past year may have noticed that I’m a fan of Cajun food. Eating it, cooking it, smelling it, absorbing the culture that goes with this cuisine born of hard-scrabble living, French roots, and a love of community. I feel fortunate that I have access to some really good food in this area, from simple casual places that serve up bowls of richly flavored gumbos (see my post about Mother’s in New Orleans), to a fancier fare specializing in delicate broiled fish.
Although not by design, the last few weeks I’ve been steered towards several Cajun places. This week, a business meeting in downtown Houston gave us the opportunity to revisit Zydeco Louisiana Diner. Zydeco’s is a true hole-in-the-water, located a few blocks away from the metal and glass highrises that dominate downtown, adjacent to a dirt parking lot where you can park for $2 per day instead of the $30 required to visit the banks, oil companies, and law firms. It’s not much to look at on the outside, and you might even pass it by if you didn’t know what waits inside.
Several of the suit-clad gentlemen in front of me were picking up bowls of dark gumbo or shrimp etouffee, but I opted for the fried catfish and traditional Monday red beans and rice, with a side of stewed green beans and jalapeno cornbread. Big mistake, but not because the food wasn’t great. It was. But the plate was overflowing – 7 or 8 pieces of catfish, a large chunk of cornbread, maybe 1-1/2 cups of red beans. I ate a couple of pieces of the catfish, a few bites of the beans, tried to give away parts of my meal to my coworkers, and ended up bringing part of it home, where I suspect I’ll make several meals from it. The cost? $9.95. Other specials today were stuffed pork roast and fried oyster po’boys. Mmmm.
- Exploring Cajun and Zydeco Music, South Louisiana 2012 (billives.typepad.com)
- Cajun Red Beans (tasteoftheweekend.com)
- Fat Tuesday Feasting: Traditional Mardi Gras Party Foods (entertaining.answers.com)