“Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filé gumbo…”

Sally Roth
sroth@northfortynews.com

Eat your fill of Creole and Cajun specialties at local restaurants that specialize in downhome Bayou cuisine—and which get rave reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Google. Try gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets—the famous New Orleans-style light-as-air fried pastries topped with powdered sugar—at these restaurants, all of which serve mouthwatering Bayou-style food year-round.

Lucile’s
400 South Meldrum Street, Fort Collins
https://luciles.com/

What’s the #1 Fort Collins restaurant on Trip Advisor? Lucile’s! Ranked at the top of 423 Fort Collins restaurants (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g33423-d383347-Reviews-Lucile_s_Restaurant-Fort_Collins_Colorado.html), with more than 25% of the reviews exclaiming over the beignets and almost as many extolling the biscuits. Lucille’s is a little gem, tucked into a former home, and serving Creole/Cajun dishes, traditional New Orleans chicory coffee and creative cocktails. Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Other locations along the Front Range, including Longmont, Boulder and Denver.

Mo’ Betta Gumbo
141 East 4th Street, Loveland
http://mobettagumbo.com/

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The fun, festive ambience of New Orleans in a Front Range restaurant, and food to match! Spicy chicken/Andouille sausage gumbo and jambalaya are favorites here, along with shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, hush puppies (try them smothered in gumbo!) and more, all served amidst cheerful, colorful décor that’s a great pick-me-up in late winter. Cocktails, too, for those who are inclined.

Mo Jeaux’s Bar and Grill
820 City Park Avenue, Fort Collins
http://mojeauxsfortcollins.com/

Say it “Mojo’s,” and plan a visit to this home of slow-smoked Southern style barbecue, Cajun food (perfect fried okra, plus satisfying gumbos, étouffée, jambalaya, and of course red beans and rice), burgers and wings, and beer or cocktails. Neighborhood-bar atmosphere, along with dining tables, make for a lively Mardi Gras celebration any time of the year.

 

PHOTO BY PAUL M, REVIEWER ON YELP.COM
BeIgnets at The Lost Cajun, Fort Collins

The Lost Cajun
331 South Meldrum Street, Suite 100, Fort Collins
http://thelostcajun.com/locations/fort-collins-colorado

“Rocky Mountain Bayou food”? Why not! Crawfish étouffée, chicken gumbo, Cajun catfish, and other such specialties. Try the complimentary “flavors and sauces” sampler tray before you order, to see what you like best, then dive in. Bottomless mimosas and good Bloody Marys on Sundays. Beignets to top off the meal…if you still have room in your belly. Other locations in Colorado, as well as Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee and other places.

Need more inspiration for Bayou-style dining? Just give a listen to Hank Williams’ toe-tapping classic, “Jambalaya (On the Bayou),” at https://youtube.com/watch?v=0WBcqIBkhvA

What the heck is filé gumbo?

The dried, powdered leaves of the sassafras tree, and a signature spice of Creole cooking. A natural thickener for sauces, it imparts a subtle minty/fruity flavor that’s been described as “Vicks VapoRub crossed with Juicy Fruit gum.” See if you can detect it in the fine Bayou-style cooking of these favorite local restaurants.

 

 

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