With the winter weather making itself known here in the Capital Region, this Average Joe was recently in the mood for a taste of warm weather.
Unfortunately, tickets to Acapulco are a bit outside my budget. So instead, I decided to try a bit of Cajun flavor at Cafe NOLA.
NOLA is located on a little strip of eateries on lower Union Street in Schenectady. The decor fits the name: there are lots of beads, bright colors and alligator heads adorning the tables and small bar.
Speaking of the bar, it serves an array of beer and wine you aren't likely to find many other places (no liquor back there, so don't expect to order a Hurricane). That includes a huge range of Abita beer varieties and homemade sangria.
Maybe it's because we tried a few of the alcohol options, but we decided to order a handful of dishes to sample. Chicken wings "Cajun style" were impressively flavorful, and satisfyingly crispy. Alligator bites came with a remoulade sauce that was quite good, but the deep fry job left them a bit greasy for our liking.
An order of crawfish nachos, however, was a delight. In a twist from your barroom stack of Tostitos, the nachos are served with crawfish etouffee. Delicious. And given the howling arctic wind outside, orders of gumbo were as good as you're going to get short of booking a trip south.
Cafe NOLA also has Po Boys, blackened sandwiches and full-on dinner favorites like Jambalaya on the menu. If you're looking for a ray of warmth this winter, keep NOLA in mind next time you're in the Electric City.