Cajun’s Snack Bar bringing Louisianna to the Green Mountains

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Cajun’s Snack Bar bringing Louisianna to the Green Mountains

Cajun’s frog leg dinner

Cajun’s frog leg dinner

Cajun’s frog leg dinner

Cajun’s frog leg dinner

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As a child, creemee stands and snack bars were a favorite summer destination, and though I have fallen in love with a few during my lifetime including Seb’s Snack Bar in South Hero, Joe’s Snack Bar in Jericho, and The Pine Cone Snack Bar in Richford, nothing beats Cajun’s.

With my grandparents’ camp situated only about a mile from there, it has always been a great place to enjoy a meal with family. Nestled in the middle of nowhere, Cajun’s brings Louisiana cuisine to the Green Mountains. On the way, you pass vast tracts of empty land, and it feels like you may have gone too far, but don’t turn back; it’s worth it. Once you reach the small town of Lowell, Cajun’s is only a few miles farther, situated on the outskirts.

The snack bar offers indoor or outdoor accommodations, with outhouses complete with running water, and picnic tables, but if you eat outside, at least set foot inside to see the interesting decor. A mounted black bear and coyote sit atop the drink cooler, and a moose head surrounded by snowshoes hangs over the ordering window. An old sleigh, which seems very out of place, sits in the rafters, with a sign stating: “Sleigh rides for 50 cents,” and many old lanterns and wooden lighthouses dangle below the rafters. The walls play host to old Aunt Jemima Pancake signs and signs for Royal Hot Dog among other things.

Just like outside, you grab a menu, find a table, and then go up to the window to order and pay. The cashier will hand you a number for your table and will deliver your food promptly.

Cajun’s Snack Bar, run by Amanda and Jason Boutin, has always been family owned and operated. The Boutins offer up such delicacies as Swamp Dogs (similar to a Michigan dog with a hamburger-based sauce on top for $2.99), Bronco Burgers (topped with onion petals, bbq sauce, bacon and cheddar for $4.99), Reuben Sandwich ($6.99), Fajita’s ($4.99), clam strips ($7.49-$8.99 depending on the size ordered), chicken tenders ($3.99), fried dough pizza ($6.49), alligator bites (market price), and frog legs ($10.99), plus much more, at very reasonable prices. The alligator can be expensive as it is priced at market value, and thus depends on how the season went, but everything else isn’t bad. There’s something for everyone.

Though nothing can beat a hot summer day spent standing in a pond catching bullfrogs with my bare hands and making my own fried frog legs, Cajun’s frog leg dinner provides a delicious meal without the effort, and unfortunately without the fun. Bull-frogging is generally a family affair with my sisters and me catching them, my older sister beating them over the head with a stick as I refuse to kill the poor creatures, and my step-dad shearing off the legs, but without the time to do such things, Cajun’s is the place to be.

The meal consists of six large, plump, juicy, hand-breaded frog legs that are deep-fried to the perfect consistency of crispy breading and tender meat. The meat, which almost has the consistency of chicken and the taste of a mild fish, falls right off the bone.

Because of the amount of moisture in frog legs, the breading often slides off the meat as well, but it can easily be rescued from the dipping sauce with a fork.

It may sound like a contradiction, but one must dip frog legs in the spicy sweet n’ sour sauce provided, to add just the right kick of peppery flavor.

It’s not a burn-your-mouth hot, but it’s definitely hot enough, and after the initial spice, the sauce tastes almost sweet. Its gel texture perfectly complements the chicken-like texture of the frog.

The frog legs are also complemented by a side of thick-cut french fries, crisp coleslaw, and two biscuits with Cabot butter. The coleslaw had a lot of delicious celery seed and just enough mayonnaise to coat the crunchy cabbage, but it could use apples, raisins, and pineapple chunks to make it just that much better. The french fries were just the right consistency of crunch on the outside, and soft, hot potato on the inside, with just a hint of salt to add more flavor. They weren’t greasy like the fries I have found at other snack bars.

Like the frog legs, the clam strips dinner provides tender meat, lightly seasoned and breaded. Their flavor is sweet, and definitely more mild than some that I have eaten in Old Orchard, Maine, which tend to have the consistency of a rubber-band. I enjoy eating clam strips at Cajun’s, because it doesn’t take 10 minutes to chew one. The tarter-sauce, though, I could do without, but only because I’d rather it be made with Miracle Whip than mayonnaise. The clam strips can easily be eaten without a dipping sauce, anyway.

Every table offers vinegar, ketchup, mustard, and Tabasco sauce as well, if any of your food requires a little more flavor, but usually they are unnecessary.

And to conclude the meal, a creemee is a must, if you’re not too full for dessert. Their Flavor Burst creemees, which I’ve only ever found at Mountain View snack bars and Cajun’s, includes flavors such as Blue Goo (cotton candy), Green Goo (green apple), and bubble gum, as well as more traditional flavors like chocolate swirl and French vanilla. These are interesting concoctions of vanilla soft-serve, swirled with a gel-like flavor additive on each smooth ripple.

Alongside the creemees, Cajun’s also offers a list of hard-serve ice cream, including but not limited to maple walnut, black rasberry, and moose tracks.

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