Cajun

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hawkeyejohn
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2003/07/10 11:10:47 (permalink)

Cajun

Guess this goes here. Just ate at my favorite Cajun place last night and caused me to wonder what some of your favorite's are.

Mine, hands down, Heaven On Seven in Chicago.
#1

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    kangolpimp
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 11:39:05 (permalink)
    You saying Louisiana is not part of the USA or were you referring to the Arcadians who migrated from Canada and settled in Louisiana?

    My favorite restaurant in all of Louisiana is Uglesich's. I suppose the food there is more Creole than Cajun, but sometimes folks use the two terms interchangeably. My understanding is that Cajun usually refers to Louisiana country cooking, while Creole refers to New Orleans cooking. Another interpretation is that all of Louisiana cooking is Creole, and Cajun food is a recent phenomenon invented by Paul Prudhomme when he started blackening things. People who subscribe to this theory hold that there is no such thing as Cajun food, and that the people who eat Creole food are called Cajuns.
    #2
    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 11:54:02 (permalink)
    wow, didn't mean to start such a complicated question. I was referring to "cajun" as the generic term used by many people for "Louisiana-style" cooking. Yes, Louisiana is part of the US, would hate to think that the Neville Brothers weren't American.

    Just meant to ask people about this style of eateries.

    PS, haven't spent much time in NO, but have been there some. HOS is still my favorite.
    #3
    kangolpimp
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 12:00:29 (permalink)
    No problem, hawkeyejohn. The beauty of the relaxed atmosphere on this board is that topics may develop unforseen tangents, yet still get the answers you were looking for. I made a point of listing my fave NOLA retaurant while also delving into the origins of cajun/creole.
    #4
    Lone Star
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 12:14:43 (permalink)
    Culture lesson of the day -
    http://www.landrystuff.com/creole.htm

    Some of our coon*** freinds may take a notion plum being put in the same category as creole!

    We like Floyds Cajun shack in Houston, and I wish I could remember the name of this little dive we ate at in Lake Charles, LA....it was the best!

    Maybe it will come to me.
    #5
    kland01s
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 12:17:26 (permalink)
    I agree with you hawkeyejohn, Heaven on Seven is great! I've been to the one in Wrigleyville. I've posted this before, but if you want to travel out of the city a little, I discovered Ron's Cajun Connection in Utica, Il, on the way to Starved Rock State park. If you exit I-80 at exit 80, go south about a mile and then turn left onto US Rte 6, its in an old farmhouse about 2 miles and on the left. Ron is a real character who enjoys working the room as well as cooking. In our party, one had gumbo, one had blackened catfish, one had shrimp creole and I had crawfish etouffe. We all shared a generous NO style bbq shrimp appetizer and a peice of keylime pie and pecan pie afterward. Ron came out and apologized to the catfish eater and we all looked at each other as to what was there to apologize for Seems Ron felt the catfish looked like it fell apart so he brought an additional serving out. Now there was one happy camper...2 catfishes Ron also brought samples of the pie before we had them. A really delightful experience!

    http://www.ronscajunconnection.com

    #6
    kangolpimp
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 12:23:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star


    Some of our coon*** freinds may take a notion plum being put in the same category as creole!


    Lone Star - sorry for the confusion. I have read that link you supplied and it is most interesting. I meant only to imply that some people say there are no distinctions to be made between Cajun and Creole cuisine, but there are most assuredly differences between Cajun and Creole people. I am happy you misunderstood me, though, because I really enjoyed the link. Thank you for it.
    #7
    vinelady
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 12:31:11 (permalink)
    OK, since I have never been to LA or anywhere in the South for that matter, I will have to comment based on the few places that I have been that serve "Cajan" or "Creole" style foods.

    That said, my favorite place is the Montage in Portland OR. I have not have a dish there that I didn't like, and the rabbit sausages that they make are very good. The style of dining is interesting, since there are no private tables, so be prepared to get to know your neighbors.
    #8
    Lone Star
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/10 12:35:41 (permalink)
    Kanglopimp - I am just confused all the way around today!
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    EliseT
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/22 16:09:49 (permalink)
    It's my understanding that Creole is French-influenced, and was normally served in the fancier homes of the area, so (times being what they were) it was also also heavily influenced by African-American cooks. Cajun is a distinct cultural group with a distinct cooking style (by the way, my family is French Canadian and you can absolutely hear the similarities in the music and see the same facial features. Unfortunately the food is not nearly as good, except maybe for tortierre)
    #10
    berndog
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/22 19:43:04 (permalink)
    I have enjoyed cajun style food for many years. I finally visited Louisiana several months ago on business. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see NO, just fly in and out. But I was in the heart of cajun country and had one meal at Mulates in Breaux Bridge. Spent most of my time further north in Alexandria.

    I greatly enjoyed gumbo, fried oysters, crawfish etouffe, jambalaya, po boys. Ended up eating the delicious fresh fried oysters daily. Now I can't wait to go back and do it again as well as spend a few days in NO.
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/22 19:48:21 (permalink)
    I first visited Mulates in Breaux Bridge about 20 years ago It was excellent then, but since they have tried to duplicate it in NO and it ain't nothing but fried food. Not even close. The music tends to be good though.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

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    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 09:20:20 (permalink)
    Elise T,
    You described the Cajun Creole thing almost perfectly. There is geographic component that comes into play as well. Creole tends to involve New Orleans and Cajun things west of New Orleans and generally south of Alexandria. The Creole influence involves primarily two things... New Orleans was populated by white french peaking people and black people who hailed (generally) from Africa by way of Haiti and Martinique. The food tends to be 'slow food", soups, stews, etc. that are cooked in pots and have ingredients added along the way. There is an antique cookbook that is the premier example of this type of cooking. "Madame Begues Cookbook" which is still available from online sources is not only a great history book, but also aa really interesting historical document. Many of the recipes prove that the 18th and 19th century fine food diner wa s able to enjoy a wide (if not wider) variety of food than just the usual pork and seafood products we see today. There are lots of freshwater fish recipes in this book and tons of game (that is now protected from commercial use) that can no longer be served in restaurants.
    The cajun thing has more to do with what poor immigrants ate after they got kicked out of Canada. Native foods (both veg and seafood) amde up the majority of the cajun diet, along with grain staples (primarily rice) which were served with virtually everymeal. Rice goes along with everything, and into anything (even sausage, boudin, yummmm).
    Then, to make everything really complicated, we throw in the Medditerranean (mainly italian sicilian) influence on New Orleans in the late 19th century. Creole/italian is a real and vital part of food in Louisiana. There was a huge population of immigrants from those areas (the classic ninth ward N.O. accent is exactly like a classic Brooklyn accent), and their food blended in nicely with the creole "pot" dishes. Moscas, in beautiful Boutte, LA., is the prime exmple of this type of cooking, although there are a hundred others. While tourists and other foriegners think of Boudin and Andouille and the Louisiana sausage, most grocery store stock as much or more italian (freshmade) sausage than they do the other types. When you come down for your wedding I will give you a list and you can eat your way to a decision about the differences.
    #13
    Lone Star
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 09:52:40 (permalink)
    Thanks Mayhaw man, very interesting! The senior partner at my firm was born and raised in Jennings, and he can slip in and out of his Cajun accent. He usually does it when least expected and just tears me up.
    #14
    pennypincher
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 12:09:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    I first visited Mulates in Breaux Bridge about 20 years ago It was excellent then, but since they have tried to duplicate it in NO and it ain't nothing but fried food. Not even close. The music tends to be good though.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN




    On a car trip to visit relatives on the east coast(FL & NY) in 2001,
    we were looking for someplace to eat off I-10 at about 12 noon on a Sunday, we saw a billboard advertising a cajun restaurant, got off the exit at Breaux Bridge, LA but the restaurant was closed.

    Then we saw a small sign on a street corner showing the way to Mulate's, made a left turn and a couple of blocks later we entered
    the restaurant. In the foyer of the restaurant there on the wall
    was a list of personalities that have been at Mulate's (Bob Dylan etc.).

    Upon entering we were pleasantly surprised that there was a Cajun Band playing and folks having a good time dancing along with the music.

    Ordered some food, boy was that food good. The next time we pass that way, we'll be sure to stop again.


    http://pw1.netcom.com/~rkiser/Directions/Mulates.htm
    #15
    kland01s
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 12:28:59 (permalink)
    I was hoping to see something about the food, like a menu or description of what you ate?
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    jmckee
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 13:10:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    It's my understanding that Creole is French-influenced, and was normally served in the fancier homes of the area, so (times being what they were) it was also also heavily influenced by African-American cooks. Cajun is a distinct cultural group with a distinct cooking style (by the way, my family is French Canadian and you can absolutely hear the similarities in the music and see the same facial features. Unfortunately the food is not nearly as good, except maybe for tortierre)


    Paul Prudhomme has always held that Creole is indeed fancier "restaurant-style" cooking. "It's city cooking," he says, with tons of influences, from French, to Spanish, to African-American. Cajun is a "purer" culinary culture, growing out of a distinct people's available foods, methods, and talents.

    OK, Elise. I'll bite: qu'est que c'est tortierre?
    #17
    Hillbilly
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 13:13:14 (permalink)
    I don't even stop at "Cajun" restaurants east of Baton Rouge, north of Bunkie or anywhere outside Louisiana. Even those in New Orleans are pretenders. Cajun food is "living off the land" and throwing in some of New Iberia's product (Tabasco) or other spices to perk up good, plain food. The "fancied up" dishes are mainly Creole. Don't get me wrong, Ueglich's is probably my favorite restaurant in the world (and Mosca's is outstanding most of the time), but that is not Cajun food.
    #18
    EliseT
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 13:59:09 (permalink)
    Mayhaw Man: I swore that sometimes the New Orleanians sounded like New Yorkers and I thought I was crazy! Thanks for at least clearing that up (though it doesn't prove that I'm NOT crazy). We have considered honeymooning in Cajun country, we'll see what happens. I'd like to at least check out the bird sanctuary and Tabasco factory.

    jmckee: Tortierre is a French-Canadian savory pie usually served on Christmas eve. It had ground pork and "pie spices" like cinnamon and cloves in it. I can post the recipe when I get home if anyone is interested in trying it.
    #19
    Hillbilly
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 16:12:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Mayhaw Man: I swore that sometimes the New Orleanians sounded like New Yorkers and I thought I was crazy! Thanks for at least clearing that up (though it doesn't prove that I'm NOT crazy). We have considered honeymooning in Cajun country, we'll see what happens. I'd like to at least check out the bird sanctuary and Tabasco factory.

    If you do spend some time in Cajun Country, don't miss the Saturday morning dance at Fred's in Mammou, be in the audience at the theater in Eunice for the Saturday evening NPR (all French) broadcast of Cajun music and Louisiana's version of Garrison Keelor. For great music and fun, catch Cajun musicians "Steve Riley and the Mammou Playboys" or "Geno Delafose" if you possibly can, go to Richard's in Lawtell or Slim's in Opelousus for Zydeco on Friday or Saturday night partying, and be with people who REALLY know how to get a kick ouit of life. The Cajun and Zydeco dance halls are like no other place I have ever been, and it is great to see the floor of the Cajun halls filled with dancers from 5 to 90 years old with nary a sad face in the house! I promise you that it is an experience you will never forget.
    #20
    EliseT
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/24 19:15:18 (permalink)
    Thanks for the tips! Sounds like a full schedule!
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    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/25 00:15:17 (permalink)
    ELise, There is a book called "Cajun Country Guide" that is one of the best, most detailed guidebooks of any region of the US that I have ever read. Written by Macon Frye (New Orleans school teacher and displaced Virginian) and Julie Posner (photographer and publisher of The Festivals of Louisiana Calender), it is an invaluable resource for those that not only want to travel here, but to those that are just trying to figure out what the damn deal is with this Cajun Creole argument. It contains the best description of Cajun that I have ever read and is set up around road food (believe me I know Macon and he is stunningly tightfisted. If he reccomends you do it or eat it, whatever it is, it is going to be cheap and good and fun.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1565543378/104-5253941-1172752?vi=glance
    #22
    Rick F.
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/25 00:51:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star

    Culture lesson of the day -
    http://www.landrystuff.com/creole.htm

    Some of our coon*** friends may take a notion plum being put in the same category as creole!
    For the inevitable Yankees--i.e., anyone living north of I-10, including me--"coon-ass" is not derogatory or racist. It refers to Cajuns, and is used by them as well as those who love them. Not a bad term, though I admit to mystification at its etymology.

    Landry's is good, but uneven. Try Poche's (across I-10 from Mulate's) for real goodies. They don't ship cracklin's, those delightful chunks of spicy cholesterol; but they have a web site ([url]www.poches.com[/url]) from which you can get a lot of their foods.
    #23
    Rick F.
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/25 01:01:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kangolpimp

    People who subscribe to this theory hold that there is no such thing as Cajun food, and that the people who eat Creole food are called Cajuns.
    In 1960 I ate Creole Cream Cheese in New Orleans. In 1964 (?) I dated one of the most beautiful girls I have seen, also in NO, and she was Creole--but French.

    There's another level of class distinctions here also: There's Cajun French and French French, and the "French French" make very sure you know which ones they are. (They're the ones who came directly from France, bypassing Nova Scotia. It's analogous to my father's insistence that we were 1640 Irish, run out of the auld sod by Crummle, rather than "those potato-famine shanty Irish like the Kennedys.")
    #24
    Rick F.
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/25 01:12:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jmckee

    Paul Prudhomme has always held that Creole is indeed fancier "restaurant-style" cooking. "It's city cooking," he says, with tons of influences, from French, to Spanish, to African-American. Cajun is a "purer" culinary culture, growing out of a distinct people's available foods, methods, and talents.

    OK, Elise. I'll bite: qu'est que c'est tortierre?
    I agree completely with Prudhomme! A perfect example is Prejean's just north of Lafayette, LA: the food is good, but every now and then they get too urban, with bad results.

    And a tortierre sounds pretty much like a Natchitoches meat pie to me--or (stretching it a little, maybe) a Cornish Pasty.
    #25
    EliseT
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/25 04:50:52 (permalink)
    I always thought Crawfish pie might come from things like tortierre...it is not a hand pie, like a pastie or Natchitoches meat pie, but a big round pie-pie.
    #26
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/25 05:22:42 (permalink)
    RickF: Prejean's is one of the better restaurants I have visited in Louisiana and Uglesich's is by far the best.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Howard Baratz
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/26 08:31:48 (permalink)
    Mayhaw Man's mention of Mosca's in Boutte, LA reminds me of the incredible meals I've had there. It's a bit of a shlep from New Orleans but well worth the effort for its delicious amalgam of Italian/Cajun/Creole cooking. After eating there you might actually believe that Mosca's, and not Gilroy, CA, is the Garlic Capital of the US.
    #28
    Hillbilly
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/30 13:34:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Howard Baratz

    Mayhaw Man's mention of Mosca's in Boutte, LA reminds me of the incredible meals I've had there. It's a bit of a shlep from New Orleans but well worth the effort for its delicious amalgam of Italian/Cajun/Creole cooking. After eating there you might actually believe that Mosca's, and not Gilroy, CA, is the Garlic Capital of the US.

    Their "Shrimp Mosca's" is always fantastic, but I was by one night during Christmas week and got a REAL treat! They were having some sort of dinner for the restaurant "family", and this time our "Shrimp Mosca's" came to the table in a 15 inch or so diameter pan about an inch deep filled with oil covering shrimp and small garlic cloves (a ratio of 2 shrimp to each garlic clove). The garlic tasted as sweet as sugar cubes and the shrimp were truly out of this world. The dish usually has bits of garlic mixed in with the pasta accompanying the shrimp served in a bowl, but this night was special.
    Incidentally, rumor (totally unsubstantiated) has it that the elder Mosca who moved to the west bank and started the restaurant honed his skills as Al Capone's personal chef before coming to New Orleans.
    #29
    mek
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    RE: Cajun 2003/07/30 15:10:15 (permalink)
    Rick F.-

    "potato-famine shanty Irish"- man, that's rough.
    #30
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