Nawlins in Tampa
- andy huse
Just had a great find over the weekend. A friend has been telling me to check out this great little cajun/creole place off South Mac Dill, and i was not the least bit disappointed. My only regret is that i didn't have 3 stomachs to fill.
The place is called Lola Jane's Crawfish Inn, a tiny place run by a hubbie and wife team. They live in a built-in house in the back.
The locals really flock to this place, mostly for take out, though there is a screened in porch with picnic tabled for dining in.
My assistant and i tried out the sampler platter, a heaping styrofoam container of great, hearty red beans and rice (with plenty of hot sauce added) with lots of sausage, wonderful jambalaya (my fave) with ham, sausage and some great smoked chicken that fell off the bone, and crawfish etoufee, packed with the little buggers, mild, with lots of diced celery, tomato, onion, etc. All this served over a mild cajun rice. And a simple cole slaw. This sampler only costs $5.95!!!
Their special for the day, which the chef brought out in the sizzling skillet, was a delicious chicken breast simmered in a luxurious brown gravy with mushrooms served over the best dirty rice i've ever tasted. Served with a tasty salad of various baby greens. A great dish, especially at a mere $7.
The best thing about all of this is it all tastes like home cooking. No extra salt, no extra fat, no pretense to be anything but good food. We tore into the food there on the porch, comfy at foirst and then sweating with glee at the spicy, steaming food. We drove home in bliss. One thing: no cold beer, which is just as werll, because i may have died from happiness right then and there!
give em a call and try it out--- the best take out in florida--- period!
Tried Lola Jane's again, and i must say it has lost none of its luster for me. What it comes down to is great food. Who needs that Zazzarac's Outback spinoff when you can have the real deal for $6-8???
do yourselves a favor---- even if you're just driving thru Tampa--- try this food.
re: andy again
Lola Jane's sounds good. Ill give it a try. Have you been to Cajun Bayou on Park Blvd. in St. Petersburg? GREAT place! GREAT atmosphere-right on the bayou. Make sure to order Cajun cornbread for a starter and bread pudding w/whiskey sauce at the end. This place is also, like yours, THE REAL THING! And they DO have cold beer! Lemme know what you think!
Yes, Cajun Bayou has good food--- the cornbread IS very good, with crawfish. I've always found the service to be pretty lame and negligent, but the food more than makes up for that. If i'm in the area, they usually cross my mind at least once.
Cajun Bayou usually seems to be jumping with music and packed with people, but Lola Jane's is much smaller scale, with about 4 tables on the porch. Most of their orders are for take out.
Cafe Creole in Ybor City is overly-expensive and their food isn't worth it. The husband and wife team met while working at Cafe Creole, married, and then opened their own place. Their food is a lot better--- homestyle.