by New Orleans-Born, Vietnamese Chef
PORTLAND, Ore. (October 23, 2014) – Known for its New Orleans cuisine served on small plates, tapas-style, Tapalaya introduces a new Asian/Cajun menu created by the restaurant’s New Orleans-born, Vietnamese chef Anh Luu. Located on Portland’s NE 28th restaurant row, Tapalaya is the city’s first-and-only restaurant to serve New Orleans cuisine as small plates. Tapalaya, which is a combination of the words tapas and Jambalaya, will continue to offer its contemporary Cajun/Creole tapas while launching a Vietnamese-inspired special menu.
Born to Vietnam War refugees in New Orleans, Luu and her family evacuated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With their home under 15 feet of water, Luu’s family moved to Portland, Oregon but Luu remained in Louisiana to attend school and work in several top New Orleans restaurants. She later moved to Portland to join her family and attend the Western Culinary Institute. Subsequently, Luu was hired as Second in Charge at Tanuki, Chef/Owner Janice Martin’s izakaya. Following Tanuki, Luu was hired as Head Chef at Tapalaya in May 2013.
“Chef Anh brings a new opportunity to serve our customers in an innovative way,” said Tapalaya Owner Chantal Angot. “Supporting her energy and passion for creating dishes that are truly from the heart is the ideal inspiration for our new menu,” said Angot.
Nightly menu specials will be infused with Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients from Luu’s Asian roots including the following:
- Pono Farms Steak Tartare with pho seasoning, quail eggs and five spice chips;
- Vietnamese Coconut Caramelized Pork with pickled mustard greens;
- Cassava Root Cake with plum compote;
- Crawfish Etouffee with roasted chiles, lemongrass, and shrimp paste.
Angot has also launched a Nightly Seafood Boil featuring shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico or locally-sourced crawfish and Taco Tuesdays, offering Blackened Catfish tacos with charred ginger Pico de Gallo or Beef Cheek tacos with salsa verde, among other rotating options.
According to the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, to escape the incoming Communist regime at the end of the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese fled to America in the mid-1970s, and a large number settled in Louisiana. Recent figures put the Louisiana Vietnamese population at 25,000, with the majority living throughout the New Orleans area. New Orleans was appealing to Vietnamese refugees because the sub-tropical climate and proximity to water allowed them to move to an environment that reminded them of home. And, many of those fleeing were Catholic, and both New Orleans and national Catholic charities were spearheading efforts to help newcomers find jobs and housing in the city. And, finally, when word got out among Vietnamese refugees that family and friends were settling in New Orleans, the city became an even more enticing destination.
Located at 28 NE 28th Avenue in Northeast Portland and serving lunch and Happy Hour daily with live New Orleans music on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Tapalaya serves contemporary Cajun/Creole cuisine sourcing many fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood from local farms and farmer’s markets in Portland, the Willamette Valley and Vancouver, Washington. Gluten-friendly, vegetarian and vegan options are offered and classic menu items include Red Beans & Rice, Jambalaya, Po’ Boy Sandwiches, Crawfish Etouffee, Barbeque Jumbo Gulf Prawns, Blackened Catfish and Beignets. Tapalaya offers a full bar, wine and beer. Signature cocktails include the Hurricane, Uptown NOLA and Sazerac.
“At Tapalaya, it’s personally important to me that we feed the body, heart and soul of our customers and community with high-quality food,” added Angot. “We also create an atmosphere of respect, joy and fun mixed with funky beats and a cool, Big Easy vibe.”
For reservations or for more information, please visit www.tapalaya.com or Tapalaya on Facebook.
Tapalaya is a contemporary New Orleans tapas restaurant located in Portland, Oregon’s NE 28th Restaurant Row. Inventive Cajun/Creole tapas prepared with locally-sourced ingredients from the Pacific Northwest are made from scratch with love. Born in New Orleans, and raised by her Vietnamese parents, Chef Anh Luu has introduced new menu items that are infused with the Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients from her culture, heritage and childhood. Portland’s first-and-only restaurant to serve New Orleans cuisine as small plates, Tapalaya offers contemporary Cajun/Creole tapas along with a Vietnamese-inspired special menu. Small plates are perfect for sharing and pairing in a fun and relaxed atmosphere with cheery, New Orleans funk décor, set to a funky beat. The restaurant offers live music every Tuesday and Thursday and Happy Hour every day. Owner Chantal Angot has been proprietor of Tapalaya since its opening in November 2008. A combination of the words tapas and Jambalaya, Tapalaya is located at 28 NE 28th Avenue in Portland. Lunch and dinner are served daily from 11:30 a.m. For reservations or more information, please call (503) 232-NOLA (6652) or visit www.tapalaya.com.