Lookin’ for some cookin’ – maybe southern style,
Want some food, I’m hungry dude, it’s been a while,
Well in your face, you’re in the place, so quit your bitchin’
Welcome Pete, now have a seat, in Bayou Kitchen
This weekend brought me back to a place I discovered last summer on a warm Sunday morning. I’m pretty sure I was on a different planet at the time as I don’t ever remember having warm weather here in Maine. But I digress…On the way to pick up some groceries, my wife suggested this place on Deering Ave. about which she had seen some strong reviews online. I had never even heard of it. “Bayou Kitchen”, I thought. “That’s a cool name. How bad could it be?”
Upon my first arrival at Bayou Kitchen, I was somewhat surprised to see a pretty significant wait for a table. Apparently I was the only one who had never heard of this place. Considering they don’t have a lot of space inside other than for those who are already seated, we found ourselves waiting outside with several other parties. I suspected this was a good sign that this establishment was no joke in the breakfast department.
According to their website, Bayou Kitchen has been open for 23 years. They specialize in “Cajun classics”, but they also have plenty of non-Cajun food. Bayou Kitchen’s menu consists of eggs, omelets (I didn’t know how to spell omelet before writing this…sad really…), pancakes and French toast, various Cajun staples, burgers, and a variety of other choices. Burgers are only available during the week, but don’t worry, if you’re there on the weekend, there are still plenty of options. Available Cajun foods include jambalaya, gumbo, beans and rice, crawfish, and a few types of sausage.
I was hoping that for this visit on a well-below-freezing day we’d be there early enough that there wouldn’t be a wait. We were, and I believe we snatched the last available table. It was a four-top for only two of us, but that would just mean I’d have to order extra food since we had the space. Plus, I was thinking of my readership, and as such, had to order more than just one meal so I could give you my thoughts on a more robust sampling of the food.
Once drinks were served – just water for me, coffee for my wife – I ordered my tasty treats. I started with The Smokin’ Caterpillar; an omelet with house-made hash, grilled onions, and Swiss cheese. With the omelet, you can choose from grits, “homies”, or beans and rice. Plus you get a choice of bread which includes various types of cornbread. I chose the homies and blueberry cornbread. Then, for my dear readers only, I also ordered a single of one of the specials – a peach cobbler pancake with peaches and granola and topped with whipped cream. My wife ordered Gator Eggs; a 2 egg scramble with up to 3 “fixins”.
In my experience, Bayou Kitchen always has three specials and one of them seems to be more of a dessert than a breakfast. Today it was the peach cobbler pancakes. I love peaches so much that, if I had my way, I’d eat peaches every day. I had to try it. The other specials were interesting omelets, but I had already chosen the omelet I wanted.
After ordering, I went to peruse what I like to call the “wall of hot sauce”. It’s not really a whole wall, but they have a little shelf of hot sauces on the wall. There are probably 30 or so and I like to try a new one every time I am there. They have a wide selection ranging in heat from mild to full nuclear meltdown and everywhere in between. I tried the Freaken Hot Sauce which is made in Maine. They also have Lost Woods hot sauce, which is also made in Maine, on every table.
The food always comes out fast and this weekend was no exception. The Smokin’ Caterpillar was delicious and was extra awesome when I perked it up with the hot sauce, which was medium hot – more than enough for most people, I’m sure. The homemade hash inside tasted very fresh and was clearly made very recently. Their homies and cornbread are always perfect. The home fries had just a slight spice and are cooked until crispy. The pancake turned out to be amazing with lots of peaches and granola inside. They have real maple syrup available, but I prefer the cheaper stuff. My wife loved her scramble. All-in-all, the Bayou Kitchen lived up to their consistently high standards and provided excellent food.
We finished our meals and were stuffed. The prices are reasonable and the servings are quite large. When all was said and done, the meal cost us 26 bucks and that included a pretty good tip because the service is always excellent. They do serve both breakfast and lunch seven days per week, but so far, I’ve only been there for breakfast. I’ll have to make it a point to show up for lunch one of these days. These guys are good at what they do and I can’t imagine they don’t serve a solid lunch.
My wife and I, the great Peterpeterportlandeater, agree – this is the top breakfast place in Portland. If we find a better one, we’ll let you know. But until then, you can be sure as Savannah that this is the place you should go for your first meal of the day. Every time you don’t, an alligator will eat an angel after it drowns in a swamp. Just remember that.
Enjoy your day. I’m off to listen to Free Bird.
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