photo by Robb Walsh
"The Tex-Cajun Virgin" at BB's Cajun Cafe is a plate of hot, crispy, shoestring French fries topped with thin roast beef slices, chile con queso and brown gravy. In this amazing triumph of Gulf Coast folk cuisine. BB's owner Brooks Bassler has concocted a Tex-Mex Cajun version of poutine. When I congratulated Bassler, he told me he had never heard of poutine, the famous Québécois snack of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
"I got the idea from a restaurant in New Orleans called Domilise's," Bassler said. Domilise's is famous for their roast beef poor boy and for shoestring fries with gravy. "While I was sitting there, I saw a lot of people ordered a side of roast beef on top of the fries and gravy." As a long-time Texas resident, Bassler had the bright idea of adding that quintessential liquid cheese, chile con queso.
Poutine has been the subject of lots of food blogs lately. The much-beloved dish, which is available at every pub, school cafeteria, and McDonald's in Quebec, is enjoying a renaissance lately. At au Pied de Cochon in Montreal the chef made headlines a few years ago by adding foie gras to his poutine. And of course, sweet potato fries started showing up in poutine during the great sweet potato fry fad last year.
I'll put Bassler's Tex-Cajun Poutine up against any of them.