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A Cajun 3-way in Hermosa: Cafe Boogaloo

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Cafe Boogaloo arrived on the scene in Hermosa Beach in 1995, around the same time I moved back to my hometown. It was the perfect place to meet up with old friends or to have a drink with first dates. The decor is upscale down-home and filled with one-of-a-kind folk art, somewhat similar to the House of Blues. Dim lighting, large westerly facing windows and lazily rotating ceiling fans keep the interior cool on warm days and crowded nights. The ambiant music is a good mix, with the likes of Muddy Waters and Professor Longhair. Cafe Boogaloo also has live music at night and a full bar.

Every time I went there in the mid-90s I always ordered the same thing - the very nouvelle Crawfish and Andouille Eggrolls. Fusion cuisine has brought forth some unholy Frankenstein creations, but every once in awhile one worked. I have always respected Cafe Boogaloo for making such a strange creation so cravable.

When I returned to my old haunt last weekend, I was saddened to discover that those egg rolls are no longer on the menu. But the experienced and affable server offered me the best alternative she could - a deep-fried shrimp appetizer which came with a similar dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was loosely based on a jezebel, made with chutney and quite a bit of cayenne. The tender shrimp were deep-fried in a hushpuppy batter that made them kind of like corndog-shrimp. It made me curious about trying them with a creole mustard-based sauce.