The Workshop

Super friendly, southern hospitality, full of flavor!

There’s nothing like it–the smoky, spicy smell of gumbo, andouille sausage and chicken or shrimp, oysters and crab. And, wait, if I close my eyes and listen closely—is that an engine horn from the riverboat Natchez? Am I on a sidewalk in the New Orleans French Quarter by the Mississippi River?

The Workshop takes us there, except, we’re in Benicia; there’s a cool breeze and I hear the train whistle from across the Carquinez Strait. On  Saturdays, you’ll find fresh, hot beignets and the extraordinarily comforting red beans and rice with ham hocks, turkey necks, sausage, white rice and green onions.

A better word for sandwiches is po’ boy—your choice of fried shrimp, fried catfish and more, or the very special and classic brisket po’ boy in tribute to Tujague’s on Decatur Street in the quarter. All the fixin’s on special fresh bread—delicious chipotle aioli, fiery hot sauce, so good.

For a party in your mouth, try Thursday’s Cajun Chicken Pie special–sssshhhh, it’s a secret. Tuesday offers breaded, fried pork chops on a bed of mac n’ cheese, smothered with gravy. What?!?!? You heard me…check it out…your pandemic taste buds will thank you. Don’t leave without the sweet hush puppies or cornbread for a little “lagniappe!”

                                    Laissez le bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

511 Claverie Way , Benicia CA

707.747.6028 or drop by for take out

Outdoor tables, weather/pandemic permitting.

Tues – Fri: 11 am – 2:30 pm | Sat:  8 am – 2:30 pm


2 Minute Movie Review:  Finding Cajun

A movie goer has lots of choices when looking for a film to pair with a Cajun dinner from the Workshop. The trick is to find something that does not play on the seamy side of things — this is a family publication, after all.

You could choose the scarier-than-scary “Angel Heart,” and be seriously creeped out for years to come. Or maybe “Interview with the Vampire,” though it might put you off your hush puppies and gumbo for the foreseeable future. Even “The Big Easy,” though mild in comparison to those two, has a gritty edge which does not meet our wholesome viewing standards.

One begins to wonder, where did New Orleans get that rep?

That’s where this month’s documentary, “Finding Cajun,” comes in. In 52 minutes, this deep dive into the southern region of Louisiana spells out the rich history of French Acadians (pronounced A – ca – ji – ans) and explains the origins of the now commonly accepted appellation “Cajun.”

From there, we traverse the twists and turns of the diverse people in “Acadiana” – New Orleans and 12 surrounding parishes – navigate the diverse landscape that makes up their complex culture and explore how they themselves seek to solidify their identity.

French-speaking Canadians, native, black and mixed race Creoles, and poor white Cajuns take pride in their history even as they jostle against each other for clarity, status, and stature. You will learn a lot and appreciate that jambalaya all the more.

2018, Directed by Nathan Rabalais, documentary, available on Amazon.

7 out of 10 Whiskers

"Finding Cajun" screener image