Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Scenes from the Gathering: The Truck from Louisiana
Jack takes the catfish from Rebecca and chomps into it.
He’s 10 months old (Jack, not the catfish).
Rebecca’s his mom. The catfish is Pearson’s. That’s Clinton Pearson, the guy with the food truck that’s selling everything Louisiana and Cajun. Like, chicken, jambalaya, gator, tilapia, hush puppies, you name it.
This is at the 57 Degrees’ monthly get together (third Fridays, 5:00 p.m. till ??, 1735 Hancock Street, Middletown, 619-234-5757).
All this week I’ve got truck stories from the night that filled me to bursting.
So when I head up to the line outside the window of Clinton’s white truck (Pearson’s Louisiana Cajun Food)...
...I’m kinda wary. Gotta hold things down. The bill, the belly, the basic need for a feeding frenzy that’s rising in my gills right now. Options: Cajun fries for $4.99, gator bites, batter-dipped and deep fried chunks of actual alligator ($5.99), Cajun gumbo ($7.99), and the Cajun fried catfish that Jack’s gumming ($5.99). “And we’re brewing up some jambalaya,” says Clinton through the window, when I get there.
Ten minutes later I’m handing over a Lincoln and taking my bowl of steaming Andouille sausage slices and rice and chicken chunks.
They say “jamabalaya,” the word, comes from the French, with a bit of African: “Jamb à la ya,” meaning jambon (“ham,” in French) with “ya,” (the word enslaved Africans in the New World used for “rice”). Or it comes from jamon (Spanish for ham) plus paella. Or maybe it comes from the local Atakapa people’s phrase, “Sham, pal ha! Ya!” (“Be full, not skinny! Eat up!”).
That’s what Wikipedia says anyway.
Whatever, it is salty-delicious. Like they spent time to let it all soak together. Clinton, who’s from Louisiana, says folks back there are more interested as to whether it's Creole (“red”) jambalaya, or Cajun (no tomatoes).
Honestly, downing this, I could go straight home full, if it wasn’t for that cupcake truck with the come-on look at the Mission Brewery end of the lot.
More truck stuff tomorrow.
More like this:
- Felix's BBQ: Eat your tomatoes - green — July 16, 2013
- Lincoln Park: Red Rooster’s got catfish, if you can find it — Feb. 1, 2013
- Truck Week: The Diva of Operacaffe — May 23, 2012
- El Sol: Jewel of University Avenue — May 11, 2012
- $5 Breakfast: Bud's Louisiana Cafe — April 13, 2012