So, over time I have developed an interest in Southern cuisine. In particular with the much loved Jambalaya dish. I do believe my first experience of trying ‘Jambalaya‘ was at a Boston Pizza’s restaurant. If you’re not familiar with Boston Pizza’s style of cuisine, let’s just say it is not Southern cuisine! So, although it tasted quite delicious, it was missing the authentic Southern taste. As I have grown in my love of Jazz and its surrounding backdrop such as the New Orleans culture; the people, music, the history, the styles and most importantly the food!!!
This past January, myself and a friend decided to go on a ‘Girl Night Out’ to treat ourselves because #whynot? Well, we ended up going to a New Orleans inspired diner and bar, where we enjoyed some ‘authentic’ Cajun cuisine.
So, straightaway my initial impression as I walked into the diner was it gave an ‘American movie’ type vibe. If you’re familiar with the show Riverdale, picture the diner in the show. Generally the ambiance was welcoming and the artwork contributed to the New Orleans style of the restaurant.
In terms of the reception, the servers were dressed in casual clothing which at first made it difficult to distinguish who to talk to. However, I think it contributed to projecting a kind of intimate setting which makes sense since it also promotes a family friendly vibe.
In terms of the food quality itself, I enjoyed the presentation of the food. Contrary to the usual recipe, the Jambalaya rice was swapped with quinoa instead and there wasn’t much of a change from the expected ‘jambalaya’ taste. Although, I would have liked for bigger portion sizes. I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken seasoning which had a bit of spice to it (coincidentally, reminded me of suya spice seasoning). Moreover, the quinoa had slices of caramelized onion sprinkled throughout which added another extra layer of spice and flavour to the meal. It also reminded me slightly of Nigerian jollof rice.
Therefore, I decided to try making my own version of the ‘Jambalaya’.
Do It Yourself
I bought a Jambalaya rice pack from my local store and cooked it with sausage, Cajun-spice seasoned shrimp and chicken. Here are the results…
For dessert at the restaurant, I tried bread pudding for the first time in a restaurant setting. The quality of bread pudding I was familiar with was usually quite dry (#storebought, #studentlife) so I had quite low expectation. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the restaurant style pudding wasn’t too dry mostly because it was drenched in a sweet caramel sauce with a side of ice cream. But, it still tasted pretty good.
Have you ever tasted Southern cuisine before? What’s your favourite dish?