Daisy’s is one of those places whose location in an office park is not the best for drive or walk-by traffic, yet it deserves to be known to lovers of high-quality, homemade Cajun and Creole cuisine.
I was turned on to Daisy’s by a client with a storage facility next door who frequents them for lunch and has been raving about the food for the past three months. We paid them a visit on a Tuesday evening and sure enough, the office park was deserted, but the atmosphere at Daisy’s was warm and inviting and made even more so by Tanya Marks, a partner in the venture with her husband L.J.
L.J., or Lloyd, who hails from Lafayette, La., started cooking young under the guidance of his grandmother Mama Daisy. “When it comes to cooking, Mama taught me everything I know,” Lloyd says. It was in the kitchen that Mama taught Lloyd about good soul food cooking. Mama Daisy found joy in the kitchen and passed on her recipes, stories and love for cooking to Lloyd.
Over the years, Lloyd continued to cook for friends and family. Lloyd received continuous praise from others of how much they loved his gumbo, smothered cabbage and his famous Cajun rice to name a few.
Three years ago, Lloyd really started to take his cooking more seriously realizing the joy that preparing good food for others brought to him. The result was Lloyd and Tonya starting Daisy’s Cajun Catering and Restaurant. When Lloyd was asked what makes his Creole dishes different from anyone else’s, he said, “It’s all in the seasoning my friend. It’s all in the seasoning.”
Amen Lloyd, you nailed the seasoning. Cajun cuisine is a style of cooking that originated in Louisiana, and consists of a mix of French, Native American, Canadian and African influences. Many people who are unfamiliar with authentic Cajun cuisines have the misconception that the food is overwhelmingly spicy; however that is not the case. The spices in Cajun cuisines carry a kick, but are used to create a delicate balance of flavor. Cajun food was created out of a necessity, and has not steered far from its original form.
We started with a cold Dixie beer and some of the best cornbread I’ve ever had. Dixie is a New Orleans brand going way back to 1907. It proved to be a perfect pairing to the feast we were about to embark on. As a fan of Cajun food, it was very difficult for two of us to pick dishes to split as there are so many that look amazing. My suggestion would be to go with a group and share. The seafood gumbo, jambalaya and Christina’s smothered cabbage were our picks to start and they did not disappoint. I’d never had smothered cabbage before and it was a cabbage and collard green mix with bacon that was out of this world. I could imagine it as a topping to any type of meat sandwich also. The seafood gumbo is a spicy New Orleans classic soup kicked up another level filled with shrimp, crab, lobster, clams and Louisiana spicy sausage served over rice in a dark roux that is a meal in itself with big chunks of seafood.
Both of us were fans of Po’ Boy Sandwiches so we went with the sausage Po’ Boy and fish Po’ Boy which was a red snapper. The fish was fried in cornmeal batter, which gave it a crispy outer layer. Both were served on a soft French baguette dressed with Creole mayonnaise spread, with choice of cheese and topped with lettuce and tomatoes. We cut them in half for our own surf and turf Po’ Boy extravaganza with a side of Tonya’s baked beans slow cooked with beef and bacon.
After this feast, there was no room for dessert but the selection looks fabulous and again, everything is made on-premise. They also have barbecued ribs, chicken and weekday specials called Fat Tuesday, Crab Friday and a Saturday cookout.
They are located in the La Costa Meadows Business center at Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Meadows drive. It’s worth seeking them out for sure.
Menu and more about Daisy’s can be found at daisyscajun.com.
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