Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ragin' Cajun: Papa Mojo's Roadhouse

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.


Marsosudiro said...

Funny you should mention this place. I'd never heard of it until this week when I saw it on the Full Frame list of recommended restaurants ("where is this place? huhn? out THERE? and on the full frame recommended list? must be good.") and on your blog.

Will hope to remember it for whenever my next (rare) lunch in the RTP area comes. I'm hoping to try the tofu soup place soon, too.

Barry said...

Mrs D & i had lunch there a couple of weeks ago after dropping off some bicycles at the Bikes for the World collection. It opened in early February, i think.

Food was good, service was interesting. We'll go back again sometime.

Matthew said...

I've heard only average to sub par reviews about the food but may give it a try if in the area.

Laura said...

Would not recommend this place. The food is okay, service was terrible, they offered martinis on the menu but gave us some interesting story (lie) about not having a license for vermouth..???
We ordered after dinner coffee which was cold. And, to top it off, I was charged for that damn meal 3 times! After about two weeks it was resolved by Papa himself by sending me a check as my refund. Seems to me if he wanted my business he would have thrown in a freebie or some incentive to return to this place. The location leaves a lot to be desired. I couldn't find it again if I actually did want to go back. I don't see them staying in business.