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Published March 14th 2015
Taste the creole without the plane fare
If you ever get the chance to go to New Orleans, take it.
Trust me on this one. Walking down Bourbon Street stimulates all the senses - the sight of people enjoying themselves, the sounds of just about every music type coming from the bars, the smells and tastes of the many food options available; and of course the feel of the beads late in the evening.
Of course it's not that easy for us here in Australia to simply pop over for the weekend. Instead, Brisbane locals can head down to The Valley and check out Papa Jack's.
It's only a small bar on the corner of McLachlan and Connor Streets rather than a whole street full of them, but has tables both inside and outside.
If you do go inside, make sure you have a look at the well-appointed bar. The bar staff are dressed up to fit the New Orleans theme, while some of the cocktails have to be seen to be believed. The most unusual we saw while there was one that included bacon in the ingredients; unfortunately these aren't always available as the cocktail menu does change weekly. There's also a nice range of beer and wine available, with the beers a nice variety of local and imported craft beers. In fitting with the New Orleans theme there's also some very nice blues music playing through the speakers at a volume that's loud enough to hear but not too loud to drown out conversation.
You don't come here just for the drinks though. Papa Jack's has a number of weekly specials on share plates, although my friend and I decided to be selfish and go for individual meals. My friend went for "Le Big Jack", a Wagyu beef burger with creole cream cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion rings. Despite having to take the onion rings off the burger simply to fit it in his mouth the verdict was well worth the $20. Having been to the USA last year I went for the "Stickiest of the Icky Baby Back Ribs" to see if they matched up - and that they did. A nicely sized rack came out with some amazing barbecue sauce; the meat was so tender that it fell off the bone with only the gentlest persuasion. About the only criticism I would have with my meal was the thin paper covering the serving tray; this disintegrated as wet paper tends to do and made it difficult post-meal to tell what was delicious meaty goodness and what was soggy paper.