I believe one should celebrate his or her birthday for a week, at least, especially for milestones like the 9th year of being 29! So to prolong the merriment my dive buddy took me to dinner. We decided to try Papa Mojo's Roadhouse on highway 55 near RTP (It is in the same strip mall as Sarah's Empanadas, if you know where that is. I recommend Sarah's corn and raisin empanadas for lunch if you work in the Park).
Papa Mojo's Roadhouse, conceived by Mel Melton the "Papa" of the Wicked Mojos band, features down home Cajun cuisine. Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos play there from time to time. Every Thursday night features a band, and there seems to be a schedule of blues and zydeco music on certain nights of the weekend throughout the month.
Besides his musical talents, Mel knows how to cook. Every year around Mardi Gras he teaches a cooking class at A Southern Season. A friend invited me to the class in 2007, and we learned some great recipes like shrimp and tasso beignets with Jezebel sauce, red bean bisque with cornbread croutons, redfish Rockefeller with Creole mustard cream sauce, and bananas foster bread pudding with caramel sauce.
The menu at Papa Mojo's Roadhouse is a lot simpler. It features Cajun staples like gumbo, crawfish etouffee, and jambalaya. I had the Cajun sampler: etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans with rice. My friend had a big bowl of the jambalaya. I have to say that, of the three on my sample plate, I liked the jambalaya best. It is made with "yard bird" (chicken to you and me), andouille, and "cochon" (pork to the rest of us). I usually like some shrimp in my jambalaya but this was so tasty that I didn't miss it. It needed a little salt and to be doctored up with some of the Louisiana hot sauce sitting on the table, but that's why it's there, right?
The best part of the meal was dessert, of course. My friend was too full on jambalaya to eat dessert so I had to eat a whole piece of buttermilk pie with chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream w/ a dash of vanilla) and blackberry sauce. I'd not ever had buttermilk pie. I'm not even sure I've seen it on a menu until Papa Mojo's menu. What have I been missing? It's delicious! The textures is kind of like a custard pie but not as eggy tasting thanks to the tartness of the buttermilk. The sweet berry sauce and whipped cream accompanied it very well. Here is the recipe from the restaurant's Web site (I've not yet tried it myself so if you attempt it, let me know how it goes):
Buttermilk Pie with Blackberries
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick melted butter
1 10-inch pie crust
1 cup blackberries
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
1 tsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl combine sugar flour and zest. Whisk eggs in one at a time. Stir in buttermilk and melted butter. Cook ingredients over low heat until syrupy. Add cornstarch to thicken. Pour into pie shell and bake for approx. thirty minutes.