Location: 14530 SE 202nd Ave, Damascus
Hours: Fridays 11am-7pm; Sat, 10am-2pm at Gresham Farmers Market
I grew up in deep SE Portland. We actually lived in unincorporated east Multnomah county, a mysterious rural land between Portland and Gresham. I raised pigs that usually went to “pig camp” while I was at summer camp. Food options in the area consisted of jojo’s at the local market or Subway or Dairy Queen. What I would give to have have been able to eat at A Cajun Life while a kid. It would have been childhood favorite.
A Cajun Life is the work of Chris Fontenot and his wife Hillary. Chris, a Louisiana native who ended up moving around the nation a bit before landing in Damascus, discovered the one thing he truly missed about home was the food. A common theme heard when talking with transplants to our fine town. Luckily for us, they chased this dream down and opened the cart named Roux down off HWY 212 and SE 202nd right in the heart of Damascus. It wasn’t easy. Damascus is a new city with little or no regulations regarding mobile vendors, so Clackamas County became the final arbiter. They too are new to mobile vending, so in the end, everyone has been on a learning curve trying to support this small business, get them open and keep them open.
A Cajun Life’s menu features all the dishes I have fell in love with during my numerous trips to New Orleans. While everything on the menu looked simply amazing, I asked Chris for his specialty and he put together a combo of his Bayou Boogie and crawfish étouffée. Normally, this quantity of food would give me pause, but after that first bite of hot sausage and rice with a bit of chicken, I couldn’t put the fork down. The hot of the sausage was so different than what I’ve had, I couldn’t get enough. I quickly realized I had picked out most of the sausage and left everything else there. I felt like a kid separating items on the plate. The difference here was that the rest of the dish was amazing even though I had already ate the sausage. The crawfish étouffée, crawfish tails smothered in sauce, was equally flavorful and a treat. I asked Chris about a crawfish boil and he stated it may end up on the menu in the future. Mmmm, crawfish!
A Cajun Life, located in Damascus, may be a bit far for many of our readers here, but it is on the way to and from Mt. Hood and elsewhere east. Take a different route next time you’re out for a hike and drop on by. Their hours are weekend focused open on Friday at the cart and Saturday at the Gresham Farmers Market. If you’re a Timbers fan, you can check them out at Saturday, September 29th’s match against DC United. I’m happy to see mobile vendors succeeding beyond Portland but close enough to visit. Drop on by if you’re in the area and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Authentic Cajun Gumbo: chicken, sausage, Tasso served with potatoes in roux based sauce over rice – $8
- Crawfish étouffée: crawfish tails smothered in sauce served over rice – $8
- Bayou Boogie: chicken, sausage and Tasso gravy served over rice – $8
- Crawfish Pistolettes: French bread stuffed with crawfish cheese sauce – $3.50 each