Dining pick of the week: Lola's



241 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 101, old Holsum Bakery, 227-5652

You don't have to drive 1,600 miles to Southern Louisiana for authentic Cajun food. It's right here in your own backyard at Lola's ---- A Louisiana Kitchen. Start with pan-fried crab cakes with lemon-garlic aioli, charbroiled oysters with garlic, lemon and a blend of cheeses or hot crab and artichoke dip. House specialties include bronzed catfish over smoked Gouda grits with andouille sausage and mushroom ragout, New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp with steamed white rice and shrimp Creole in a tomato-based stew. Other favorites are chicken and sausage jambalaya, Mama's Cajun red beans and rice, and po' boys (roast beef, Philly steak, fried oyster, chicken or hot dog in chili topped with fries) on French bread that is flown in from New Orleans. The seasonal Shrimp Salad Supreme has boiled and peeled Gulf shrimp in house dressing with romaine, celery and hard-boiled eggs. Lola even has her own special charbroiled hamburger. Desserts include Lola's famous bread pudding in rum praline sauce, sweet potato pecan pie and Louisiana sheath cake. Po' boys with one side begin at $7.99. Lola's is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.

-- Jack Bulavsky