It is a rare occasion that I get to dine with celebrities. OK, you’re right. I never get to dine with celebrities. This week my luck changed and the stars aligned as I had the chance to take a few well-known individuals out for lunch.
It was a very cold day. The sun above was obscured by a thick layer of wool and there were traces of ice on the ground. Secret Agent 549 and I pulled into the parking lot of Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill in Daphne right behind a fancy Mercedes SUV unbecoming of a minstrel without a cause. The passengers in this ride were a little special. I watched the door open as professional wrestler Wallace “Mayhem” Milham steps out with his wife Molly Thomas Milham, along with his kid brother and drummer extraordinaire John Milham.
You already know Molly from seeing her with alt-country phenomenon Todd Snider on the “Tonight Show” and “Late Night with David Letterman.” She and I sang the classic duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” at this year’s “Charlie Brown Christmas” put on by the lovable super talent John Milham. She also fiddled with me on a couple of numbers. You may not be as familiar with Mayhem. He’s a wrestler with a heart of gold, who never made it out of the minors because he’s actually a pacifist. The only time he shows his killer instinct is when his road rage sets in. Get him out of the car and he’s a teddy bear. He even looks like one.
Mayhem was in town briefly and we were dying to have a meal together. Since we are both big fans of Cajun food, Boudreaux’s seemed like a great place.
This place has a beautiful view of the bay, but it was little too cold to dine outside. We were seated at the first table that could accommodate five, and our friendly waitress got us started with water and tea. One look at the appetizer section and I knew we were getting Cajun cheese fries ($7). What sold me on them was the tasso cheese sauce. I will order just about anything if tasso is an ingredient. In this dish the pork was shaved into tiny flakes and was delicious.
The consensus of the table was to also try Swamp cakes ($8), a battered and golden fried Boudin cake topped with crab and spinach cream sauce. We all enjoyed splitting these five ways and had no complaints.
Mayhem claims to be particular about gumbo ($5 per cup). He rattled on about some tragic story involving gumbo from when he was a boy, but I wasn’t paying attention. I’m not scared of him since he retired. He gave me a bite of his gumbo and we both agreed it was good quality, medium to darkish roux with seafood. Molly tried the crab bisque ($5), which aside from being a touch salty, was very good. I went with the special soup of the day beef and vegetable ($5), made with Fairhope Brewing Company’s Paint it Black IPA. It was very good as expected.
John is a fairly health conscious individual. He had his eye on Eggplant Medallions ($11). These are grilled and smothered in a balsamic reduction with sprinkles of goat cheese and served with more veggies and rice. I tried it myself and the balsamic was a little overpowering and surprisingly sweet, but John cleaned his plate.
Agent 549 was watching the carbs and couldn’t pass up the Salmon Salad ($13). It was a grilled piece of OK salmon over a bed of spinach with cranberries and pecans that dressed it up. Tossed in the same balsamic reduction and goat cheese as John’s eggplant, that side of the table had a theme. As a whole, this dish was described as good but not great.
Speaking of themes, from the lunch menu Mayhem ordered Wood-fired Yardbird ($8), Molly had Kickin’ Crawfish ($9), and I had Grilled Boudin ($8). What is the theme here? Every one of these is served over a bed of house slaw!
Wally’s consisted of skewers of chicken thighs smothered in a Bourbon and cane syrup reduction. It was good, but completely lukewarm. Molly’s crawfish were the same way. They had a really great cream sauce that could have been spectacular but was also lukewarm. My boudin, however, was perfect. They must have cooked it last. Despite tragically cooling off my dining partners’ proteins, the slaw was pretty darned good.
Mayhem was the only one brave enough for dessert, but they brought five spoons. Bananas Foster Bread Pudding ($7) was too much to resist. We all agreed the outside was a little burnt, but the inside was divine. This one has a rum butter sauce as opposed to a whiskey sauce and is definitely not a dessert built for one, maybe not even two.
I must say we did enjoy our attentive waitress. She knew the menu well and handled the ebb and flow of not smothering us. I think the complaints we had were problems easily fixed. Perhaps the slaw is best served on the side. I will be back for more traditional items such as étouffée, fried shrimp, a real muffuletta and the fried Oyster Rockefeller po-boy! Maybe the lunch items we had aren’t their strong suit, but they sounded so good on the menu.
I say give the place a try, but stick to traditional Cajun fare. I like what they are trying to do. I think I caught them on a bad day.
We bid our farewells to the drummer boy, the fiddle player and as the wrestler turned to express gratitude for lunch I noticed the gray in his beard. I felt the sting of waning celebrity. I thought, “If he could wrestle one more match … ” but at our age no one wants to see him in those tights. Adieu, Mayhem.
29249 US Hwy 98
Daphne, AL 36526