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Cajun Kate's


philadining
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I think that soon they'll need to set-aside a couple of permanent eGullet seats - we can just tag-team throughout the weekend. Maybe we need a sign-up sheet.

When Holly showed up on saturday, we actually had an eGullet majority at the counter. Now that I think of it, we might have been able to pass some legislation or something...

That brisket gumbo was INTENSE! I really liked it. And it seems to get better and better as the days go by... It was especially good followed by a Hubig's pie that a friend smuggled back from New Orleans. I was thinking it would be cool if Cajun Kate's brought those in, but then again, they already have good desserts that I can never save room for, so maybe it would just be a torture!

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The slow roasted pork Po Boy might be my new favorite, at least of the meaty ones. (The oyster Po Boy is hard to beat when they have them.) We saw someone order an Alligator Sausage Po Boy, which looked pretty incredible, so I think we need to put that on the list of things to try next time.

We finally managed to try the crawfish pie. They had just come out of the oven and were therefore impossible to resist! They're cheesier than I had expected: there's creamcheese, and swiss, and maybe another one, along with the crawfish tails, encased in a flaky puff-pastry.

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I had a crawfish pie that looked a lot like this at Cochon in New Orleans, and it was more saucy, the filling more like an etouffée, and I slightly prefer that style, but I must say that both versions are pretty good.

The guy sitting next to us was nice enough to donate half of his Bananas Foster Bread pudding to us - actually he might have done it out of a sense of self-preservation, the portion is huge! And delicious...

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Between two of us we didn't even manage to finish that remaining half. I'd love to order that someday that I'm not stuffed already, but I' having a hard time imagining when that would be!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I have evolved in my approach to Cajun Kates.

No longer do I consume all the specials in one sitting. Nor do I risk them being out of gumbo. I call ahead, order my gumbos and make sure there will be enough poor boy fixin's on hand.

This time I limited my at-counter eating to a pork poor boy as shown by philadining. The rest I took home - one quart each of brisket gumbo, pork gumbo and red beans and rice. Pretty much filling up my dining-in week, but cheaper than a trip to NOLA.

Gotta agree with philadining on that pork poor boy. It was the perfect sandwich.

Also brought home six cashew topped sticky buns from the donut stand down the aisle. Noticed an interesting polish bakery along the way. There seems to be some interesting supplemental eating opportunities at the market.

Oysters are back on the menu this coming weekend.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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  • 1 month later...
thinking about heading to Kate's this afternoon to pick up dinner.  Can anyone comment on how crowded they are and will they be sold out of things?

The crowd depends on the time of day, at least it has when I've been there. I went once at 3 PM and there were only 2 other people there. Closer to noon, all the seats are full and there are people waiting.

You can call ahead and order what you want for pickup and they'll set it aside for you, their weekly menu is on their website. They may already be out of things though, on my most recent visit Don said that someone had come in before noon that day and bought every single bread pudding they had on hand.

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If you're going for the heart of the menu (gumbo, jambalaya, poboys) then they'll almost certainly still have what you want on a Friday night. It's Saturday after lunch time when the pickins start to get slim. But you might as well call ahead anyway for ease of pickup and to be safe.

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I'll be working Saturday and Sunday nights, so if anyone wants to deliver gumbo to me, I will gladly repay them... :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Dropped by again this weekend and had their smoked brisket gumbo, and the pork po-boy, both of which were just delicious.

And I got a few things to go, in an attempt to spread the addiction to some friends. It worked pretty effectively...

And I'm happy to report that, much to my surprise, the deep-fried Mac and Cheese reheated very well. Sure, it's a little better if you eat it there, fresh out of the frier, but if you get it to go, they take it out a little early, and instruct you to microwave it for about a minute, then bake it for 5-10 minutes until crisp. It actually got back to pretty close to its original consistency.

In a helpful move, they put heating directions for everything on their website, under the menus:

http://www.cajunkates.com/menu2.htm

I also got a muffuletta to go, and despite their suggestion of a minute or two in a microwave to soften up the bread, I popped a slice of it in a conventional oven for about 5 minutes. Letting the sesame seeds in the roll toast up a bit, and the cheese melt a little, made it really incredible. I had been lukewarm about this sandwich at first, but that might have been because I was eating it lukewarm. When toasty, it's awesome.

Fried oyster po-boys this coming weekend!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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...

In a helpful move, they put heating directions for everything on their website, under the menus:

http://www.cajunkates.com/menu2.htm

...

Egads. Everything is reheat in a microwave or a toaster oven. Maybe last week's episode of Top Chef was spot on. Geez Don!!!

I've found that a sauce pan, gas burner and frequent stirring works quite nicely and gives me a hands on delusion of having prepared the gumbo and red beans and rice from scratch. I've also been known to reheat the gumbo and rice together.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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I agree that stirring the gumbo in a pot on the stove is much more satisfying, and you can even convince yourself that you're making something, but perversely, I think the microwave might work better... On the stovetop, you risk breaking-up the chunks of meat, and you could even scorch it if you're not careful with the heat, or attentive with the stirring.

And the mike is pretty crucial for the mac and cheese, the center would never get hot enough in the oven before the outside got dried-out.

And hey, I think the Foo Foghters would have been pretty happy with what Don could whip-up with a stack of microwaves and toaster ovens!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Stopped by yesterday for a 'Po Boy, and I must say that their Brisket Po 'Boy is a work of art... IMHO that sandwich can stand up to the signature cheesesteak or pork sandwich that any establishment puts forward.

I belch, therefore, I ate...

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  • 2 months later...

Finally got there and it's a but of a funny small world story.

Before Katrina, we used to go down to New Orleans about every 2 years. Our good friend would always tell me to go visit his cousin who works at NOLA, Emeril's restaurant. From time to time they would mention him.

Fast forward to last month when my wife made plans with them to visit his place in the area. This week I find out 'it's this place in a farmers market near Deleware'. Needless to say I was thrilled since I have been pining to try Cajun Kates.

Turns out it was the way to eat there as a rookie. Both our families descended on the place and met up with Don's sister. Don, the chef owner, is such a nice guy and he just started sending out plate after plate after plate until we called off the dogs. It was very crowded but they really try their darnedest to move things along. I am pretty sure that we ultimately sampled everything they offer - and survived the drive home without falling asleep.

The food was really terrific. This week was cochon lait, slow roasted pork gumbo which is as authentic as it gets. My favorite of the day. The oyster po boys and jambalaya were also highlights for me. The kids got a kick out of 'gator on a stick'. I had to take home a quart of the gumbo and plan on eating it as judiciously as I can since the drive is not 1-2-3 to get there. Having said that - since the gumbo and po boy proteins change weekly - it's a fitting lure to making the trip back sooner.

Needless to say, I will be back. He mentioned that Philadining and Holly are regular seat warmers there and while we were there regular customers came by one after another. Don would greet them by name, know their 'usual' and just generally be a great host - not the easiest task given the crowded frenzied atmosphere in a cramped location. He is aided by his father in law, Mel, an equally nice guy.

They are exceedlingly successful there - and deservedly so.

Laissez les bons temps rouler dans Philadelphia! :biggrin:

Dough can sense fear.

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They are exceedlingly successful there - and deservedly so.

Quite right. I finally made it there myself last month and it was delicious. And they seriously couldn't have been nicer. So hospitable and so much fun to chat with about the food. They're obviously passionate about what they do and it shows on every single plate. They knew the names of at least 80% of the folks that meandered up to order or pick up their take-out. Lucky me - I was fortunate enough to be there at the tail end of the day. Some poor fool forgot to pick up his duck gumbo. It came home with me and was hoarded and meted out in tiny portions for days. Soooooo good.

Laissez les bons temps rouler dans Philadelphia!  :biggrin:

Hell yes!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Some poor fool forgot to pick up his duck gumbo.  It came home with me and was hoarded and meted out in tiny portions for days.

I admire your willpower. If it were me, that probably would not have made it out of the parking lot.

I seriously have to get my butt over there.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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It's only because the rice and the gumbo were both cold that they made it home untouched. You better believe a bowlful went right into the nuker the second I arrived home. In fact, it was reheating while I put all the groceries away!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had lunch there today, it was great as always. The fried mac and cheese this week is crab and yellow corn. I got to talking with someone there who said they are thinking about expanding into the stall next to theirs (one of the other tenants is leaving). From what she said, they would turn some or all of the counter seats they have now into a cold display case for their takeout business (which is huge, 6 or 8 people picked up orders just while I was eating lunch, and that was at 3 PM), and the stall they will expand into will provide seating. So it may soon be much easier to go there. I know I only go if I can go late in the afternoon, it's too crowded around noon to sit down.

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  • 1 month later...

So I went to Cajun Kate's for the first time today. (For trip-planning reference, it's just a hop away from Longwood Gardens. Go there for lunch when the grandparents visit and want to go look at flowers or whatever.) And it's as great as everybody says.

I had my doubts about the smoked brisket po-boy-- that's an odd combination. But it works! At least if you don't think about it too much... The beef is actually terrific on its own- smoky and juicy- but slopping a whole bunch of other stuff on it is the New Orleans way, and who am I to argue? I was underwhelmed by the muffaletta- as Philadining mentioned way upthread, it doesn't have as much meat on it as you might ask for- but it was still tasty. Red beans and rice made a perfect toddler lunch (except for the bites I stole. From my own child's plate.) And we got a quart of sausage and shrimp gumbo to take home for dinner.

So all in all, a big success. And it's totally worthwhile to go, just to see the weird "farmers' market" that houses it. Next time I'll come a little hungrier, and get some onion rings as a hors d'oeuvre.

Oh, and be sure to mention that Phil A. sent you: they'll give you lots of free samples! Actually, they'll probably give you free samples anyway. I believe they call that a "lagniappe". Or "jambalaya". One or the other.

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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  • 2 months later...

It seems like the crowds have died down a little bit at Cajun Kate's, I went there today right at noon and there were open seats at the counter. They have yet to expand into the adjacent stall, I wasn't there long enough to talk to them about it so I don't know if that's still in the works or not. The food was as good as ever, I finally got to try the smoked pork po-boy, that was excellent. My smoked brisket gumbo was a little unpleasantly fatty, but still very tasty. Fried mac and cheese this week is sweet corn and applewood-smoked bacon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We were WAY too late this past weekend for the softshell crab po boys, but it's not like we can't find plenty of other things to eat there! The brisket gumbo was good as ever, and the gator sausage po boy was just fantastic. The best part is: that sandwich is on the menu all the time.

They mentioned that the Philly Mag photographer had been in, so it appears they've won a Best of Philly for something, they're not sure what! I can think of plenty of categories that I'd give them awards in, I'll be curious to see if it something broad, like best Cajun, or more specific, for some individual dish. (Or strangest location for an awesome restaurant...) Either way, advance congrats to Don and Kate and the crew!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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We were WAY too late this past weekend for the softshell crab po boys, but it's not like we can't find plenty of other things to eat there!  The brisket gumbo was good as ever, and the gator sausage po boy was just fantastic.  The best part is: that sandwich is on the menu all the time.

They mentioned that the Philly Mag photographer had been in, so it appears they've won a Best of Philly for something, they're not sure what!  I can think of plenty of categories that I'd give them awards in, I'll be curious to see if it something broad, like best Cajun, or more specific, for some individual dish. (Or strangest location for an awesome restaurant...)  Either way, advance congrats to Don and Kate and the crew!

It was 'Best Cajun', the photo is making me hungry..

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My Cajun Kate's story:

Back in 2000, my husband and I made a pilgrimage to New Orleans with a group of Emeril fans. There was a group reservation to eat at his flagship restaurant, but hubby and I wanted to try NOLA too. Although we were told it wasn't as good, we went anyway, for lunch.

At lunch, we had the best seafood gumbo I have ever eaten. It was dark and rich and flavorful and I practically licked the bowl clean (ok, I did). I thought about that gumbo a lot over the next several years, tried to reproduce it, and failed.

Fast forward to 2008. My best friend had moved to Wilmington and while there stumbled upon Cajun Kate's, just over the border in PA. She suggested that the next time I came up to see her we pay a visit to sample the gumbo and po boys. She had become friends with Don, the owner, and said he had worked for Emeril some years back.

You guessed it - he had made that stupendous bowl of seafood gumbo we ate at NOLA.

Now my freezer is full of quarts of gumbo - I pick one or two up every time I head north. My favorites are the duck and wild mushroom and the pork, but they're all fantastic. I'm also a fan of the brisket po boy, the regular crabmeat/tasso mac and cheese, and the crawfish pies.

Don is a great guy, and a hard working chef. I'm so happy to read the praise he's getting in this thread, and I'm happy to now call him a friend.

Kathy

Minxeats
http://www.foodloversguidetobaltimore.com/'>Food Lovers' Guide to Baltimore

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We were there last weekend too. I was sick but had been wanting to go since we finally got a car not too long ago. Don hasn't been back for quite a while and it sounds like he'd really love to go visit. He gave us plenty of recommendations.

We got the brisket po'boy and it was devoured while seated. We also got some gumbo and some jambalaya as well as a side of "crispy" (read: deep-fried) mac and cheese. There's something deep and smoky, almost burnt like a roux, that they put into the sauce that goes into that deep-fried wedge of tasso ham and crab mac and cheese...

And also a quart of gumbo for the week. I think they've gotten used to people coming down to take away!

--

matt o'hara

finding philly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bumping this thread up because I was on the Cajun Kate's website and noticed that today and tomorrow is/are their 3rd anniversary! We love the food and make the detour to eat here (or in the car) whenever we're vaguely in the neighborhood on a Fri or Sat.

We'll be there today as a matter of fact- around 6:30 or so, as we're meeting there to play Pass The Dog (he's coming up from Reho with the dog and going to the shore for a gig, I'll meet him there and bring the pup back home with me)

Any EGulleteers in the hizzouse seeing a couple both with short hair and black rimmed glasses- it's probably Cliff and me. Please say hello! I know I spied Holly there the first time we were there, but was too shy to introduce myself :-)

mmmm, shoefly pie and now excellent Cajun- today was not a diet day for sure!

<a href='http://retroroadmap.com' target='_blank'>Retro Roadmap - All the Retro, Vintage and Cool Old places worth visiting!</a>

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