Portland, OR – The Swamp Shack

Continuing in my belief that meat between a bun, casing, or dough is a “burger”, today I checked out a place I had heard about and been meaning to get to, more of a personal curiousity than strictly a food one. I had read an article about the “Swamp Shack” one of the newest trailers at the 5th and Stark compound, which offers a limited, revolving menu of Cajun and Creole offerings.

If you look on various websites, you’ll find a negative review or two, but I say that only because the naysayers don’t seem to fathom or have any kind of depth of understanding of these cuisines. One that particularly amused me was a guy who said “I’ve eaten in New Orleans, and I know Cajun food.” He went on to say that his meal at the Swamp Shack included the “holy trinity of Cajun cooking”, “celery, onions, and tomatoes.” Well, pal, maybe you ate in New Orleans, Wisconsin, or some other New Orleans (Epcot?), but the holy trinity never includes tomatoes. The trinity is celery, onion, and bell pepper. End of story.

The owner, Trey, is from as close to Cajun country as you can get, without going West of I-10, and worked for a bit at Galatoire’s, one of the oldest and most influential New Orleans restaurants. P.S. Galatoire’s does not include tomatoes in their trinity, either.

Trey’s offerings, in my opinion (and I value my opinion VERY highly), are well thought out, carefully executed, and are as good as any you’ll find in this genre anywhere in Portland. We had the crawfish pies, and the etoufee, and both were spot on for ingredients, flavor, and execution.

By the by, the center of seafood and meat pie production in Louisiana is Natchitoches, which is farther from Cajun country than New Orleans is.

Anyway, I say bravo! to Trey, and welcome to Portland. The Swamp Shack will be one of my regular stops, and I hope they stick around a long time.

P.S. You know Trey is a Louisianan. He was closing up early to go fishin’.


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