Bayou on the Bay, Bellingham, WA

Tucked away in the historical district of Bellingham is a Cajun/Creole creation known as Bayou on the Bay.  The outdoor seating catches the cascading sunset, all the while allowing you to bask in the warmth of the sought after Washington sun.  The interior of the restaurant feels hauntingly historic, with an abundance of dark wood work; it makes you crave a hush puppy or two and a local Pacific Northwest brewed ale.

Fried Okra

As it happened, my husband and I found ourselves in Bellingham on a beautiful afternoon.  We were able to sit outside, enjoying a light summer breeze. Bayou on the Bay boasts an affordable happy hour: Tuesday through Saturday 4-7 PM, all day Sunday 10AM-10PM.  We ordered two appetizers, the fried okra and hush puppies.  I ordered a Two Beers Pale Ale and my husband ordered the seasonal Sierra Nevada Summerfest.

Hush Puppies

I don’t claim to be a Cajun expert, but I do cook a variety of spicy Cajun/Creole style food at home and am familiar with this unique cuisine.  My husband and I both agreed that the hush puppies were a little dry, a moist doughy consistency in the center would have more desirable.  It was served with a side of remoulade.  The fried okra was a bit slimy, though I enjoy the seed-like pods inside.  It was served with a buttermilk based Cajun ranch, which I actually preferred to the remoulade.  I felt where the Cajun ranch gave me a bit of spice, the remoulade was lacking.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My husband ordered the pulled pork sandwich with collard slaw and sweet potato fries.  The pulled pork sandwich was one of the best I’ve ever had.  The pork was moist, tender, not overly sauced so a nice pork flavor was abundant.  Usually pulled pork sandwiches are overshadowed by a crusty bun that makes it difficult to eat.  This sandwich was quite the opposite and should be the norm among pulled pork sandwiches.  The bun was soft, delicious, and almost slightly steamed.  A slice of melted sharp cheddar hugged one side of the bun, while the shredded pork and cajun-style barbecue sauce adorned the other, both melding into perfect harmony.  The collard slaw was tangy and unusual, in a delicious way.  The sweet potato fries were perfectly cooked.  Unfortunately most local restaurants have a tendency to overcook sweet potato fries, but these were perfectly golden with the creamy interior that one expects from a sweet potato.

I ordered the jambalaya.  I prefer Cajun-style spicy food so I was slightly disappointed the jambalaya wasn’t brimming with Louisiana hot sauce spice.  However, I do understand how jambalaya is prepared and it’s far easier to appeal to Washingtonian’s sensitive taste buds and have hot sauce be a standard staple on the table.  The jambalaya was smoky, with a limited amount of bell peppers (which

Jambalaya

I preferred as I’m not exceptionally fond of bell peppers in particular).  The crawfish weren’t overcooked and their heartiness lent a nice meaty texture to the dish.  I prefer a deeply sautéed onion in jambalaya, instead of a crunchiness, but I suppose that could be a matter of personal preference.  The cornbread was drier and had a deep course corn richness, which I personally prefer as opposed to a cake-type consistency.

Overall, our Bayou on the Bay experience was pleasant.  I would definitely return, only I would have the pulled pork sandwich.  It is definitely a signature dish worth re-visiting time and again.

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