Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Couple Of Places You Might Not Have Been

Several weekends ago the wife and I visited a couple of restaurants which we'd never heard of before, both of which turned out to be worthy of some positive press.

Creole Cafe

Our first stop was the Creole Cafe; if anybody needs some positive press it's these guys. While we were dining we overheard the (presumed) proprietress talking with some other customers about how slow business had been and I really wanted to tell her that she'd get more traffic if she'd put a little time into her web page. I found the place via Urban Spoon solely because I was looking for cajun/creole in the area. So yeah, these guys need to work on their PR.

The food was pretty good; it's certainly comparable to creole fare I've had elsewhere. And it's definitely the best I've found in the Tacoma area. The red beans and rice are well executed: good seasoning, the right amount of spice, good sausage. My wife got some sort of chicken (the exact name of the dish eludes me) which was OK but not great; though the topping was flavorful the chicken was a little on the tough side.

However, neither the chicken nor the beans and rice were what made our visit memorable. What really captured my attention were the hushpuppies and the crawfish boil. The hushpuppies were tiny little bits of fried delight possessed of a crispy, but not too oily, shell which breaks away to reveal a core of perfectly cooked dough. They've clearly taken some time to get their batter recipe right; it's not overly mealy or heavy and you can actually taste the onion and herbs.

The real highlight of the evening, however, was the crawfish boil. I do believe that, in all the traveling I've done hither and yon, this is the only place I've ever encountered a crawfish boil outside of Louisiana. This by itself merits a trip if you're the adventurous type.

Jake's Bar and Bistro

After the Creole Cafe we met some friends at Jake's Bar and Bistro for drinks and trivia. It has a bunch of beers on tap, which isn't the least bit unusual given that this is the Pacific Northwest and all. What makes Jake's stand out from the crowd is that it has beers I've never seen on any other menu. I had a glass of Lost Abbey Angel's Share and it was like drinking a tiny little slice of heaven. The only downside was that, at 12.5%, I had to limit myself to one glass 'cause I was the one driving home.

The food was fine, the ambiance on trivia night (every Monday!) was entertain, but go there for the beer.

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