Tasty fare steps from dockyard

Tasty fare streetcar named new orleans

Billy and Sarah Rieger are bringing the flavours of New Orleans to CFB Esquimalt.

On a chilly winter day, when you might wish your ham and cheese sandwich lunch was a piping hot bowl of chicken gumbo, you don’t have far to go to find the comfort food you crave.

Just outside dockyard gates, in front of Lyall Street Service Station, a bright yellow food truck is serving up New Orleans cuisine three days a week.

The owners of A Streetcar Named New Orleans, Sarah and Billy Rieger, spent much of the summer serving unique flavours at different markets and festivals.

But in early November, with a baby soon to arrive, they settled their business in Esquimalt, just a few blocks from their home and their target audience: the men and women of CFB Esquimalt.

“We just want to give the people who work at the base a different option for lunch, something new and exciting,” says Billy, a seasoned chef from New Orleans.

Starting with a base of the “holy trinity” of New Orleans cooking – onions, celery and bell peppers – all their dishes are full of flavour, but not as spicy as one might expect.

The belief that all New Orleans food is spicy is a common misconception the couple have been fighting since they got their business on the road.

“We see people walk past us, certainly we saw it often at festivals, and you’d see someone say, ‘No, too spicy,’” says Sarah.

Mimicking the actions of folks with jalapeno-averse stomachs, she shakes her head, pinches her face and pats her stomach.

“I wanted to climb through the window and say, ‘No!’ We still haven’t figured out where this idea comes from, but it’s not spicy food.”

For those who like some heat in their food, there is a selection of hot sauces that can be added to any dish the pair serves.

Their meals are a taste of rich cultural history.

Influenced by settlers from France, Italy, the Caribbean and Spain, New Orleans food is a “cultural gumbo,” says Billy.

“It’s a mixture of all these different cultures, and over the years it’s come out as what we’re serving.”

Their menu includes the traditional Creole dish of red beans and rice, which is more than its name would have you believe.

Added to the title ingredients are ham and sausage, which are cooked slowly to make a thick gravy.

The dish is topped with rice and a sprinkling of green onions.

“That’s one of my favourite things in this world,” says Billy.

“And every Monday in New Orleans, I’d say 99 per cent of people are cooking that. It’s typically a Monday dish, but we serve it every day.”

They also have Po’ Boy sandwiches, which Sarah admits looks just like a regular sandwich, but of course it’s got that New Orleans flare.

Served on French bread, a dressed Po’ Boy comes with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and pickles and whatever meat you want: fried shrimp, slow cooked roast beef, root beer glazed ham, hot sausage and more.

Then, of course, there’s the world-famous gumbo.

Much like a stew, gumbo features meat or seafood and vegetables cooked in a flavourful stock, perfect for a chilly winter day.

If you’re pressed for time at lunch, no problem, says Sarah.

You can call ahead at 250-213-1009 and your order will be waiting for you when you arrive.

Walk-ups don’t have to wait long either. Bring cash, debit or credit card.

Their most up-to-date hours and location can be found at streetfoodapp.com/victoria/a-street-car-named-new-orleans.

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter, streetcarNOYYJ.

Carmel Ecker
Staff writer

Filed Under: Top Stories


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