Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie and-a file gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou.
When most Americans think Mardi Gras, they think New Orleans. When I think New Orleans, I think great food.
Cajun or Creole? Paul Prudhomme or Emeril Lagasse? Jambalaya or gumbo? Crawfish or Shrimp? A dark red-brown roux or a lighter blonde one? The holy trinity of celery, onions and bell pepper or….wait, there is no “or” to the holy trinity. The West Chester area has a wealth or offerings when it comes to NOLA style cooking.
Pick one. Pick them all. Start with Mardi Gras and keep going.
Crawdaddy’s Bayou Bar & Grill
Touting the region’s “most authentic Cajun cuisine,” I don’t hide my love for Crawdaddy’s seeing that I name their Mustard Fried Catfish in my WCDish biography. Accompany that with a crawfish etouffee (think jambalaya, but better) and you have a meal to end all meals. When eating my leftovers from my last trip to Crawdaddy’s, I came to my last bite, and said aloud “I’m sad.” Now, that’s a good meal.
High Street Caffe
As their own website says, each dish is made to order with love. Featuring cajun, creole and exotic cuisine, they are featuring a prix fixe menu with a variety of selections, Sunday through Thursday. The Voodoo Crawfish are to die for, and you almost do because they are so hot. You’ll say a big thank you to the chef for wisely adding a side of sour cream to kill the heat.
Grab a book at the Chester County Book & Music Company and head over to the Magnolia Grill for a po’boy of your choice–fried oysters, fried shrimp, chicken pecan and more–served on a hunk of fresh french bread. Save room for dessert. The pecan pie is my personal favorite.
The Big Easy Saloon
Give me a frothy beer and an order of blackened alligator with a side of dirty rice, and a group of friends and I am set for the night. This spot in Paoli is popular with the happy hour crowd, but the food doesn’t take a back seat to the spirits.