If you are looking for lots of “food, booze and blues”, Nola is your place.
Cajun restaurants are rare, but we have one in Palo Alto, CA:
Some time ago, I made a trip to Nola near Stanford University. Located right outside the Stanford campus, Nola is a Cajun bar/restaurant, and a popular student hangout. I arrived on a Friday night and found myself at the end of a one-hour waiting line. Even though the host managed to seat us within 15 minutes, do plan to come early or you may need to wait a bit.
What’s it like on the inside:
Once inside, I was captivated by the two-story dining hall that resembled a Kung-fu film set with floors going up around a courtyard open to the sky. Alternatively, you may be seated in cozy corners surrounded by wall art that transports you to the bayou.
How their food tastes:
My order arrived quickly. Despite some mix-up on the food that drove the kitchen to re-make some of it, part of the meal was quite superb.
My feast began with the Chicken N’ Biscuit Basket. Unfortunately, I was only mildly impressed. Except for the fried pickle chips, the basket tasted like it was reluctantly prepared by the chef. It lacked character, as though this appetizer were an afterthought. Nevertheless, the pickle chips were astonishingly refreshing. I wished I could just return the rest of the basket in exchange for the pickle chips.
From here, the food got better. The jambalaya arrived. I am not an expert at making jambalaya, yet as I took one spoonful, I found my taste buds lavished in layers of flavor. Contrary to my belief, the heat from the jambalaya was so subtle and gradual that it fell to the background like crimson in a sunset painting.
I continued consuming the rice and tomato sauce with true satisfaction. I treasured the prawns and crawfish like little gold nuggets, interspersing them between spoonsful of rice as if they were tiny delectable rewards for my good table manners.
I ended my dinner with a plate of beignets. My server told me that they were worth it.
They looked like miniature pillows for a young girl’s doll, every bit as delicate and soft. They were served with three kinds of dips: the salted caramel, raspberry, and chocolate-caramel fudge.
I was most fond of the raspberry sauce as I fully enjoyed the interplay between the sweetness and tartness. Sadly, they were somewhat light on the powdered sugar compared to the ones in New Orleans. I was disappointed that they left no notorious sugar mustache on my face.
My dining tip
Nola is located at 535 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA. Some people go there only for drinks and parties. If you wish for a more quiet meal, my dining tip is making sure that you have a reservation and ask for the balcony table upstairs. The bar located downstairs near the entrance was a bit rowdy for me on a Friday night.Pin It