Skip the gumbo, go for dessert (Cajun Xpress)

Aromas can be deceiving on calm, overcast and humid Gulf Coast days. The elevator in the medical building smelled of burning candles like the elevator smelled on ritual days in the college sorority dorm.  When we arrived at the deli to celebrate my graduation from hand therapy with a gumbo lunch, the parking lot smelled of robust coffee like my Mawmaw used to brew in a sock and kettle over a gas stove.  That kitchen odor memory heightened my expectations for a great cup of celebratory gumbo. This Pensacola business, Cajun Specialty Meats, packages frozen Cajun cuisine and operates a small deli, Cajun Xpress, on site. Since Cajun Xpress earned second place gumbo honors for Best of the Bay in the local newspaper competition, I hoped for tasty gumbo. The waitress assured us all the food was made there, but when she tried to recall the seafood gumbo ingredients, she could only confirm “no oysters.” I broke all my own rules and ordered a bowl, not a taste or a cup. The menu promised a dark roux with no chunks of tomato or okra. They kept that promise. The roux was dark and the gumbo was filled with seafood, that is, if you consider crawfish seafood. I always considered them “mud bugs” since they live primarily in brackish ditches. The shrimp were wee popcorn shrimp and the crab was questionable. I’m not sure it was real crab because the gumbo had a fishy flavor. Could it be crab with a “k?” A good dash of file and some bay leaves would have helped the flavor immensely. Though the gumbo was only okay, my celebratory lunch ended on a high note – Cajun Xpress makes a sweet potato bread pudding with a pecan praline sauce that will make your mama cry, as they say in Mississippi. I’ll be back for the bread pudding, but I’ll bring my own cup of coffee. Cajun Xpress doesn’t serve coffee – which would have been delicious with hot bread pudding. I wish I knew where that aroma of robust coffee in the parking lot came from – maybe my Mawmaw was just sending a “hello” from the big bayou in the sky.


About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
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1 Response to Skip the gumbo, go for dessert (Cajun Xpress)

  1. Jeannie says:

    Sounds delicious Diane! You’ve made me want to try that sweet potato bread pudding. And congratulations on finishing up the hand therapy! Soon you’ll have two hands again 🙂


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