If someone were to ask me before I came to the U.S., “What type of cuisine would you choose to eat for the rest of your life?” and if I can only choose one, I would have to say that it would be the Asian cuisine (I had to combine all types of Asian cuisine into one, because it’s too hard for me to choose one among them). I have what I like to call an Asian stomach, which means that my stomach can usually just handle Asian food. I grew up with Chinese and Filipino dishes. I would not only eat them, but also I would always watch my parents cook them, until I would volunteer to help out and cook with them. When my family and I go out to eat, we always go to a same Chinese and/or Filipino restaurants. But sometimes, we would explore, but again it would be an Asian cuisine: Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese. I like to eat spaghetti, and even though this is an Italian dish, the tomato sauce we use is the Filipino style sauce, so it’s a lot sweeter than the original Italian sauce.
However as I got older, I explored more American dishes, such as fried chicken, burgers, french fries, and salads, and Italian dishes, such as spaghetti in the original sauce, Alfredo pasta, and pizza. I’d say I got obsessed with those for a while. Before I came to the U.S., I made it a point to learn how to cook these dishes, but of course I would always cook an Asian dish, because that’s what I am more familiar with. When I came here to Cal, became an independent student, and started living in an apartment off-campus, I started cooking the Asian dishes I grew up with, but also I experiment with new dishes (as you have seen in the pictures of my previous posts). During my time here, I got to try out the many different restaurants nearby campus, such as those in Durant Food Court in Durant Avenue, and those along Telegraph Avenue. But it’s funny how even though I’ve explored a lot of restaurants at Berkeley, they are mostly Asian restaurants; I haven’t been exploring other cuisines. That’s why it is great to have friends who suggest new places with different cuisines for us to try out. One of them was Louisiana cuisine, which is known for its Creole (seafood) and Cajun (spicy, meat) dishes.
Since my friend and I are staying in Berkeley over the break, we’ve decided to go on food trips together. She suggested that we try out a restaurant called Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, which is located on Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street. It’s one of the popular and well-rated restaurants that serve the Louisiana cuisine. Although I’ve only been familiar with the spicy side of the cuisine, I was up to try anything, especially since it would be a new experience for me. So, we took the AC Transit 49 bus and got off at the stop across the restaurant. When we approached the restaurant, there were a lot of people waiting in line, so we had to wait a couple of minutes before we got our seats. When we did, we were brought the menu, and all I could was stare at the variety. Although it was a short menu, I would say that I took a longer time than my friend did because of my ongoing debate on whether to get seafood or meat, but also whether I was up for something spicy. In the end, my friend chose the Jambalaya, which is a rice dish with piquant sauce, grilled chicken, tasso ham, and andouille sausage, and I chose the “Cajun Mixed Grill”, which according to the menu has the following: andouille sausage, baby back ribs with house made bourbon BBQ sauce, grilled shrimp over remoulade salad, and potato salad. I would say I made the best choice, especially for my first time.
It was a big serving that had four baby back ribs, one huge sausage, a couple of prawns, and a good amount of potato salad. The ribs and the sausage were really chunky, so there was like a lot of meat and juicy-goodness. I love the BBQ sauce: it was sweet and savory, it just enhances the meat more. The prawns were big too (I don’t think the size is justified in the picture), and the creamy sauce that accompanied it was really good and refreshing too.
I was expecting the spiciness to kick in among the meat and shrimp because of the “cajun” in the title, but surprisingly it was the potato salad that was spicy. I believe it’s got lots of pepper on it, or the sauce has some kind of spicy twist. But I still love it. Overall, despite the dish being a pricey, it was really worth it. I really enjoyed this dish and it was a definite finger-licking good experience.
Next time when I go back to Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, I’ll definitely try out their crawfish meal, because that’s one of the things Louisiana is known for. Also, I might try what my friend had, because it looked pretty awesome too. I’d say I would be exploring Louisiana one dish at a time. But one thing’s for sure, I’ll have to go out more and try out different cuisines around Berkeley. There’s definitely more to the restaurants than just Asian food. Apart from the diversity in the people and classes, there’s definitely a great variety of cuisines here. So, I definitely need to take advantage of it.
More food trips to come and more “happy stomach” stories to share soon!