J: Ed would make Jim Davis proud because when I gave him his wake up call, one could tell he hated Mondays, or mornings or even Monday mornings. Whatever the reason it was time to get his arse out of bed because our plans involved travelling outside our comfort zone via Victoria Regional Transit System (that’s stretch limos for blue collar workers). I admit I’ve grown a little tired of seeking out restaurants in downtown Victoria or the areas nearby (i.e. Oak Bay). Sure there are many interesting places to dine but seeing as how I’ve been doing this gig for quite some time it was only fair to seek out food establishments in the further reaches of Vancouver Island. And on this particular morning that place was Blue’s Bayou Cafe in Brentwood Bay.
This “Bayou” is a small place at the end of a road filled with uniquely designed homes one could only afford if one owns a successful business. Blue’s looks like a fishing shack on the outside but Inside there are pictures that proudly displays many facets of the city of New Orleans. But none of what is displayed could compare with Blue’s patio over the bay. One could tell with the inclusion of the heat lamps that it is used by patrons almost year round. I must make a second trip in the fall for some decent dining under the stars. For now it’s sunshine until almost closing.
E: I had known about this diner for some time, but to bus it out there required a certain craving to hit me harder than a gator taking a bite out of some sad, sorry victim. Fortunately, that was not me. Instead, the situation was vice versa and I got me some gumbo! While the topping of this lil’ fella was not very liberal, any amount was enough to sate me and my desire to eat some good ol’ deep south cookin’! Oh, and the fried green tomatoes, gator/pork sausages and oysters were a delight too.
J: The Street Car Oysters ($13.95) gave us four plump Fanny Bay oysters broiled and covered in cornmeal. The spinach, bacon and hollandaise sauce really put this great little sea animal’s flavour over the top. The texture was soft and I almost let them melt in my mouth one by one.
E: And I’d certainly be back to get a complete order for myself of those oysters. Yes, I jumped ahead to rave about the gumbo because all through the 90’s, I was teased by a buddy in Calgary about how I loved my first exposure to southern comfort food. While I ate three skewers worth of ‘gator at the time and tried my first bowl of gumbo, I knew that this was a style of food I could eat every day.
But back then, there was nothing in Victoria to return home to. It took a trip to West Edmonton Mall for me to discover some ragin’ Cajun! At least with the Blue’s Bayou (they opened in 1999), the trip simply requires heading out to Brentwood Bay and perhaps a visit to Butchart Gardens to walk off the meal. I must admit, we were stuffed after eating all the delicious house-made cornbread. They really went well with the alligator-pork sausages. I did wish three pieces were offered than the two.
J: And let you have 2 sausages over my one, no way! It’s easier to divide up the bill when the appies are an even number. But to give us an odd number would cause tables to topple and umbrellas to fly as Ed and I roll around on the cafe’s patio fighting over the final sausage. One can tell the sausages are made fresh in-house. The parsley added to the meat gave the sausage that extra pizazz it might otherwise would’ve have lacked. Now tell me you wouldn’t tussle with a guy wearing glasses for one of their sausages.
E: Um, there’s simply cutting the third sausage simply in half. And what about the issue of having three diners instead of two, or five diners instead of eight? We just order another plate. Yes, James’ math is limited. We’d just order twice the amount so we have a plate each. But what friend wouldn’t share? Fortunately, James didn’t seem interested in the fried green tomatoes. He wasn’t sure if I was sharing. I offered him two since I knew the big dish would be coming and that would fill me up! I needed room for that.
J: The French Quarter Fried Green Tomatoes (#11.95) needed a little more chipotle remoulade to tame the tartness in the dish. The prawns were a nice touch but it still wasn’t my favourite meal. The Big Easy Shrimp Melt ($11.95) was however. Melted mozza with cream cheese was quite the combination. And it was a good decision to use smaller shrimp to top this dish than their larger kin. The flavour would not have been as dominating on the taste buds. And Ed, there is no friends when it comes to certain foods. especially bacon. En garde peasant!
E: Then I won’t tell you what I heard from “my” grapevine about where some really good smoked bacon can be found. Well, if bacon was part of Cajun cuisine, I’d be sold and coming to the Blue’s Bayou Cafe every day. It can be used to garnish either the jambalaya or gumbo. I can see that happening. And for the most part, there’s very little that I could pick apart from this place other than the portion size. Out of all of the three appies that James and I shared, I loved the oysters the most. I would’ve chucked him into the bay if we fought over that.
I will have to note, that more ‘gator in the gumbo would’ve made the meal complete. While it basically tastes like chicken, there was something else in the texture that I liked. I do understand the cost of bringing this meat in from New Orleans is very high (be warned, the two pieces of sausage is $12.95), and I was willing to shell out this time. Perhaps a proper trip to New Orleans is in order!
I can enjoy Mardi Gras whilst James gets lost in the bayou.
4 Blokes out of 5