Friday, November 15, 2013

For eating out, visit Cajun

         We enjoy eating Cajun food, and have for years, and we have a special reason for encouraging people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to visit the Cajun Tailgators food truck.
         Our kids -- daughter-in-law Ann Keady and her husband, our son Jason Key -- own and operate the truck.
Ann Keady (daughter-in-law):
 Cajun Tailgators owner/operator.
          You might already know this, if you've seen my frequent posts on Facebook and occasional e-mails the past two years. If those fall into the "shameless promotion" or marketing category, so be it.
         Ann originated the business idea; she and Jason built on the plan; and because Jay is an avid and, we think, creative cook, he  formulated many of the recipes. They found and financed the truck, equipped and decorated it, and it's been rolling since early 2012.
         We think Cajun Tailgators -- the first Cajun food truck in the D-FW area --  is the best you can do on the very active and still expanding food-truck circuit in this area.
        And now there is more: Cajun Tailgators is about to add a permanent location, a restaurant/cafe in "old" downtown Plano. It is just off North Central Expressway (U.S. 75), a couple of blocks from the Avenue-N and 15th Street exit. The address: 1112 E. 15th Street, Plano.
        Jason and many others have spent many hours the past few weeks renovating the space into a workable, comfortable place to eat Cajun food. It's shaping up nicely, and a late November grand opening is in the works.
An inside look at the new Cajun Tailgators restaurant
         But nothing will change with the food truck; it will continue to appear almost daily in various locations and, as it has since February 2012, is available, too, for catering and private outings.  
          In addition, Jason can put together a crew to do crawfish boils in season (and he can invite Dad to sample the product any time he wants).
         The restaurant, which is 1,500 square feet and will seat 34 (plus an outdoor patio area), will feature all the items the food truck offers, plus an expanded array of PoBoys and other features (see the photo with much of the menu).
          It will give them a permanent commissary to prepare the items that will go on the food truck, plus a nightly parking spot for the truck -- both expenses for which they previously had to pay for separately.
          Plus, they love the idea of the permanent location to host their friends and the public. We love it, too.
          Personally, I wasted  half my life not eating Cajun food. How stupid.
          But not being a Louisiana native -- or a U.S. native -- and then growing up in North Louisiana before the Cajun food craze began to spread, it really wasn't part of the agenda.
          If only I had met gumbo, etouffee, boudin, jambalaya and boiled crawfish years earlier, I might've gotten hooked before I was almost 40. Beatrice also is from North Louisiana, but her advantage was that she married -- in a previous life -- and wound up living in Southwest Louisiana in her early 20s.
          So not only did she learn to eat Cajun, better yet she learned to cook some of the cuisine. Her son has expanded the family's knowledge.
          I can remember in the early 1970s, on trips to cover sports events in South Louisiana, watching people eat boiled crawfish. It looked unappealing, too much work to get that little piece of crawfish meat out of that miniature lobster.
            How wrong was I? Very wrong.
            It was another decade, at the Louisiana Sports Writers' Association convention in Lafayette (the heart of Cajun country), when I gave it a try at a crawfish boil. I was hooked. Bea loves them, too.
            So that's been 25 years and, other than fried catfish and (thanks to my Dutch genes) smoked eel, boiled crawfish is my favorite meal -- with the corn, small potatoes, onions and mushrooms mixed in. (And, yes, I've learned to suck the juice out of the crawfish.)
             Plus, I've learned to boil the ingredients, a few pounds at a time, right here in our kitchen, thank you. Got my own formula and what I've learned as my stomach has gotten older, I can't really handle the spicy stuff anymore.
the crawfish pistolette
              We don't do it as often -- we've cut back on potatoes and corn, among many other things -- but it's nice to know that when it's in season and the trucks deliver the goods from Louisiana, we can go to the nearby Fiesta and buy live crawfish (if the price per pound is right).
              Meanwhile, we know that if we want Cajun food, there is a food truck and now a restaurant we can visit and get whatever we want -- and at Cajun Tailgators, we know it's going to be good.
                I would recommend the crawfish pistolette, probably the most popular item on the menu, and the roast beef PoBoy. But the fried boudin balls are great, and the Natchitoches meat pies, and the shrimp creole, and the gumbo, and ... Ann and Jason's oldest son, Jacob, prefers the "doughnuts" (the beignets).
                Believe me, any of the items will work.
                If you want to take a look online, check; see Twitter @cajuntailgators; on Facebook, go to; or phone 214-783-2385.            
                So if you're near Plano, you know where to visit. We recommend it.



  1. From Ronny Walker: Sure sounds good. I forwarded the connection to some friends in Plano.

  2. From Joel Bierig: Very cool, thanks for sharing. I've also forwarded to [someone] who has many friends in the area. Hopefully, it will be good for business.

  3. From Cynthia Aillet Murry: This sounds so nice. Wish I were closer to that restaurant. I was raised on that sort of food, so
    would love to have a good place to go out and enjoy it.

  4. From Earl and Lana Hebert: Nico, can't wait until they open the restaurant. We will definitely give it a try. Always looking for a good Cajun place. Maybe we can meet there one day whenever you are over this way.

  5. From Ike Futch: You're making me hungry for Cajun food, Nico. Going to share this with my daughter, grandkids, nephews and friends that live in the Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth area.

  6. From Dr. Bob Haley: Just what Dallas needs -- an authentic Cajun restaurant. Can't wait to try it.