Main Location: St. Paul
Another winter day, another Food Truck, another visit to a local Tap Room; all of which have seemed to combine in a new Symbiotic relationship to our benefit. This snowy night’s pairing du jour came up with Cajun 2 Geaux outside of the Harriet Brewery.
Looking like a big, lime green, truck-shaped alligator, Cajun 2 Geaux serves up traditional Creole and Cajun Food… TO GO!! (Oh my god a pun!! It’s just so funny!!) From Po Boys to Gumbo, Hush Puppies to Jambalaya, one can find almost any New Orleans staple on their visit. They even served up Crawfish Etouffee to celebrate the Superbowl; though by the time we got there they had run out.
This wasn’t the only item that disappeared. I really wanted to try their Beignets, but a certain somebody in our group took an extra hour to meet up with us. It just so happens that they ran out of the beignets… HALF an hour before we arrived (I am so holding this over this person’s head for a long time… nobody messes with me and fried dough, especially when it’s covered in a pile of sugar).
Either way, we grabbed our available items, headed inside and enjoyed alongside a few of Harriet’s fantastic pulls. Warm light, bright orange walls covered in various local artist paintings and photographs, and a lively man sitting on a corner stage with a harmonica and blues guitar. Slowly sucking down my Elevator Doppelbock, my foot tapping to the beat as I enjoyed the night, basking in that wondrous blend of food, drink, music, and company. Cajun Truck or no, I certainly suggest one keep their eyes out for Harriet’s various Truck rendezvous.
When one takes it upon themselves to review and study traditional New Orleans cuisine, there is a certain additional extra quality that must be taken into account: Soul. Though one can say the same of all regional cuisines, the particular Love and Soul within Cajun cooking stands apart in its unique qualities. Whether this is due to the spices, obsession with roux, or just the depth of their unique ingredients cooked over long time. Cajun and Creole Cuisine has stood noticeably apart from the rest of its Southern neighbors ever since its conception. It is probably THE most pivotal point in question that makes the food of New Orleans so good and special.
And it’s this exact thing that Cajun 2 Geaux lacks, to my utter disappointment. The Red Beans and Rice, as pictured, has little to no of the actual “gravy/sauce” which it typically sits in, and way too much rice. Once mixed, it basically ends up a dry mix of rice, beans, and sausage; of which, though good, is quite unimpressive as far as Andouille is concerned. Jambalaya tastes completely different than it should, using a bland tomato-based stock with no trace of the flavor derived from the fantastic Fond at the bottom of the cooking pan. The only connection to the New Orleans base is the slightly complex Cajun spice in the flavor, which could easily be just from the Andouille. There’s no “richness,” no “depth” of the true Cajun Soul that these rice and stew dishes require.
Luckily, there is one section of the menu guaranteed to make them worth a visit: the Po’Boys. Bread is nice and soft, sauce and vegetables are tangy, textures crisp, all of it working well with whatever meat they decide to shove inside. We tried the Fried Shrimp, which was nice, good-sized pieces, but lost some of the crispiness among the toppings. All of it mixed into that great, simple sandwich sensation of contrasting parts one looks in a Po’Boy.
I haven’t had the chance to try them yet, but the beignets do look like they were made well, keeping the traditional fried lightness, and completely covered in powdered sugar as is tradition.
Somewhat opposite in expectations, the stews and rice dishes are easy to carry while the sandwiches… not so much. Placing in small, plastic deli containers, one can travel and eat with little to no actually effort. On the down side, the one menu item that SHOULD be transportable, and is actually worth buying, requires sitting down. Large, messy, and sliced in two, the Po’Boys have a tendency to spill their numerous contents if not held tightly.
Beignets come in a bag, and only offer issue if ordering with something else; which is probably what you’ll end up doing anyways.
Main price ranges from $6-$9, with a special $12 Oyster Po’Boy called “The Peacemaker.” Certain items are offered in smaller “side” sizes as well, making for some pretty good deals in price. I would score higher, but I certainly don’t feel the quality of many of their dishes match some of the higher prices. Not to mention the fact they are the ONLY Truck out that actually adds tax to the list price after ordering. Sort of disappointing, considering none of the other Trucks need to do it (at least not seemingly, adding it before listing prices and adjusting so one pays a simple flat rate).
Average and reasonable wait.
The TOE: 5
Going to the site and looking at their menu, one can tell that they aren’t really catering for the concept of “Street Food.” Though they make it portable, stews and rice dishes are still stews and rice dishes. The sandwiches simply lack portability, completely taking down any real feeling of a Food Truck. They stand out on the uniqueness of their cuisine style, but then again many of the actual foods dependant on it doesn’t deliver.
Beignets offer a scrumptious saving grace, acting as an almost perfect Toe Ring, standing out as a main focus upon every visit.
Certainly a great truck to hit when parked outside a brewery, or in any other event where one can sit down. Avoid any stews and rice dishes, they simply aren’t worth the time or money. Beignets are a must on every visit, and at only $2 it’s a deal.
Po’Boys should be your main focus, all of them being particularly tasty. If I were to suggest one to try, it would be The Peacemaker: a fried oyster with cheese and bacon. It costs a couple bucks more than the others, but I would be shocked if it wasn’t worth it.