There are plenty of us expat New Orleanians here in the DC-Metro area, and plenty of opportunities to celebrate Mardi Gras with our Louisiana peeps, but they generally involve expensive tickets sold by lottery, formalwear, and lining up a babysitter. Since I rarely want to deal with all that, I’ll do something like meet my friend Ryan in Dupont Circle for a taste of home. First stop, The Cajun Experience. The owners are from Lafayette (like Ryan and I). The chef and bartender are from New Orleans. Our waiter was from San Francisco, but we’ll forgive him for that.
Seems like other expats have been pounding the Abitas at the restaurant lately. They were out of a couple of Abita drafts, as well as out of Andy Gator, so we went for Abbey Ale a Belgian style dubbel ale.
Ryan had been to the restaurant before (they’ve only been open about 5 weeks), and he said the hush puppies (often a freebie afterthought in many Louisiana restaurants) were the lightest he’d ever had. He was not exaggerating. These little buggers just about melted on the tongue, and the chipotle sauce was a nice surprise.
We ordered an appetizer portion of crawfish mac-n-cheese. Hardly a traditional dish, but a pairing I was up for after loving crab mac-n-cheese here in Chesapeake country.
Pot roast poboy. I would have liked some debris, the gravy from the bottom of the pot that Mother’s slathers their roast beef poboys with. But, nice tender beef on Leidenheimer French bread shipped in from New Orleans.
We also ordered crawfish etoufee, which we were so busy enjoying I forgot to get a pic. I make a great etoufee at home, but right now even Chinese crawfish tail meat is $16 a pound, and Chinese crawfish is just — wrong.
Anyhoo, I was having such a good time, I let the waiter talk us into beignets, despite our plans to get them in Northern Virginia. Sorry Ry! They were good, but a little doughy.
After a ridiculous drive through Georgetown (reminding me how glad I am I don’t have to commute into DC everyday anymore), we popped into Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. I picked up som Porkorn (spicy caramel corn with bacon — fantastic) to bring home to hubby.
Somehow we had room for a second dessert, buttermilk chocolate for him, red velvet for me. And an iced coffee to fuel the drive home, also fitting since Ryan introduced me to iced coffee many years ago at PJ’s Coffee in New Orleans.
Decorator’s tip: tear up your old cookbooks and decoupage them all over your bathroom for funky wall paper!
Tomorrow morning as the Krewe of Zulu rides down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans handing out those legendary coconuts, I’ll be in my boot camp class at the gym, sweating off the calories from the weekend. N’awlins, I miss ya, dahlin. Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.