Chef Ivan Pugh is throwing a Cajun/Creole party every day of the week except Monday. Usually the joint is jumping with an eclectic crowd by 6:30, and it really rocks on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, when Alligator Cafe has live blues bands. Pugh’s extensive menu includes crawfish etouffée, chicken jambalaya, pork and sausage Boudin balls, New Orleans-style gumbo, and, of course, alligator. I urge you to live a little and eat a lot of alligator. Once it’s mixed in a tomato-based Creole sauce with andouille sausage, tomato, bell pepper, onion, celery, and white rice, it’s hard to distinguish the alligator from the chicken in the chicken and alligator jambalaya. There are three versions of gumbo: alligator, crawfish, and andouille; shrimp, crab, and oyster; and chicken and andouille. Each are slow cooked in a dark roux filled with celery, bell pepper, onion, okra, bay leaves, and a few secret herbs and spices. The muffaletta is a classic version made with layers of ham, salami, mortadella, Provolone cheese, and chopped olive dressing spiked with garlic and oregano, and served on round, sesame-seed-encrusted bread. Add a side of fried pickles and a cold Jockamo IPA, and you’ll find the real taste of Bourbon Street in Casa Linda Shopping Center.

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