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Friday, May 17, 2013
After overhearing rave reviews from a couple coworkers (Dan & Porter), this week I made Jemil's Big Easy my food truck of the week, and circumstances allowed me to go three times and try four menu items. And I'm glad I did.
I started off with the Blackened Chicken Po' Boy sandwich for $7.99 - one of several po' boys they sell. On any given day, they have three standard ones (chicken, shrimp and catfish), plus one or more specials (I've seen oyster and crawfish). The portion is good and the flavor was great. The chicken was seasoned and cooked well, and the accompaniments (lettuce, tomato, pickle, special sauce) made for a moist, flavorful bite. Coincidentally, Dan (who recommended the place) showed up just after me, and when our orders were up, we realized we ordered the same thing. It turns out it's Porter's favorite sandwich, so I guess I chose correctly.
Next up, I returned with the intent of trying one of their rice dishes. With three to choose from I was torn. I ended up doing a little research to better understand the difference between Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Etouffee. As blogger YumSugar explains, Gumbo is a soup served with a side of rice, Jambalaya is a similar to Paella - rice cooked together with stock, veggies and meat, while Etouffee is meat/seafood served smothered in roux (gravy), often over rice. Armed with that, I opted for the Jambalaya (medium size for $6.99). It was indeed very similar to paella, though darker in color. Mixed into the rice were chunks of chicken and sausage, and the dish had a satisfying heat to it - not overwhelmingly spicy, but noticeable.
For my final visit for this post, I decided to go all out and ordered the $9.99 Muffaletta sandwich (nicknamed the 'Big Ass Sandwich' at Jemil's), plus the dessert of the day - a Bread Pudding served with Whiskey Sauce ($3.99). The sandwich was indeed huge - nearly the size of a dinner plate. It contains cured meats and an olive 'salad' that reminds me of tapenade. They have the sandwiches pre-built, but then cook each one to order on the flat-top. The result is a warm, somewhat greasy sandwich with TONS of flavor. And it's way more than any sane person would eat in one sitting. This is easily a 2 person sandwich, at least. I ended up getting through about half of it, then stashing the rest for tomorrow.
Of course, I ate dessert first, knowing the sandwich would fill me up. The bread pudding wasn't warm, but was still delicious. It's incredibly dense and moist, swimming in a sweet whiskey sauce. It's also a non-ridiculous portion... or maybe it just seemed small compared to the sandwich.
After months of not being inspired to try Jemil's, I'm really glad Dan & Porter were talking it up. Everything I tried was full of flavor, and the service was quick and incredibly friendly. I'll definitely be back to try more of the menu.