Friday, April 19, 2013

Arizona Cajun

Lately our book club has been tending to meet in restaurants that fit in with the themes of the books we're reading.  The book selection for April was A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly, which is set in New Orleans, so we met to discuss it last night at Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen.

It was my turn to pick both the book and the venue.  I selected A Free Man of Color because it's one of my favorite historical novels (although several of the other members were seriously confused by the profusion of French names and the author's narrative style); I picked Baby Kay's because I saw it reviewed on an episode of Check, Please! Arizona, a PBS show where local foodies talk up their favorite restaurants.  In this case all three of the guests who ate there gave it a pretty enthusiastic thumbs up, so I assumed it would be a safe choice.

The Cajun-themed ambiance in the restaurant was casual and friendly, and Wednesday is one of their live music nights, so a seemingly tireless guitar player entertained us with a variety of bluesy numbers.  If the evening temperature had been 5 degrees warmer we would have sat out on the attractive covered terrace.  Each of us ordered a different entree and everyone raved about the food; I had the half po' boy (oyster) and cup of soup (duck and andouille sausage), both of which tasted like the versions I had in New Orleans itself.  For dessert my sister and I split a gigantic hunk of bread pudding with bourbon sauce, which was without a doubt the best bread pudding I've ever eaten.  The portion was so large that the two of us together couldn't finish it.

Baby Kay's also serves an interesting variety of beers, including Blackened Voodoo, a favorite I hadn't previously seen in any Valley bar or restaurant.  I'll definitely go back to Baby Kay's; I can already see myself out on the terrace a month from now washing down the appetizer sampler with a bottle of that Blackened Voodoo beer.

“Somewhere lives a bad Cajun cook, just as somewhere must live one last ivory-billed woodpecker. For me, I don't expect ever to encounter either one.” ~William Least Heat Moon, ‘Blue Highways’

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