Archive for the ‘Louisana’ Category

The Grand Finale!

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Wrapping up Louisiana with a powerful punch, we found room for several more meals, happy hours and great music as well as a visit from my sister.  Karol joined us in Abbeville on Saturday and even spent the night in our spare room.  Having her come visit us helped us to stay on our timeschedule to be back in Arizona by Friday.

Karol made it to Betty’s RV park about 10 am and after catching up we headed to Cafe Museum in Erath, LA to enjoy an afternoon of music.  Apparently there is a museum but all we found is the Cafe (Bar)  and lots of very happy retirement age people having a grand time in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

 

A little Zydeco Music

A little Zydeco Music

Zydeco Music   Usually fast tempo and dominated by the button or piano accordion and a form of a washboard known as a “rub-board,” “scrub-board,” “wash-board,” or frottoir, zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing.  Lots of good music and some dancing.  There was a couple of different groups that played, one was pretty much country and this man played most of the afternoon on his accoridan!  Lots of fun.

Erath is a tiny town with not much in it but they do have this museum, Saturday music and a very good spot to enjoy crawfish dinner during season.

Big Johns

Big Johns

Big Johns Seafood, not much to look at and about a mile out of town, plastic table clothes with the mayo already on the table along with trays for eating your crawdads.  We walked from the museum so that when we ate our 5lbs of crawdads we could know we had to walk home, about a 1.5!

Interior Design

Interior Design

When you sit down there is a menu to look at but the main attraction is crawdads,  3, 5 or 10 lbs.  We ordered 5 lbs to share as well as a pound of shrimp.  The table is set with large round trays that are for your individual pleasure of breaking the heads off and sucking the meat out of the tails!  On top of the trays are little cardboard boats and small containers of mayo.  You are suppose to apparently pour the mayo into the boat and add whatever you would like and make your own dip for the crawdads tails.

Yea right, no ones eats the corn!

Yea right, no ones eats the corn!

Karol saw what other tables were doing and proceeded to build herself a dip!  We never even ate the dip, the crawdads are plenty good all by theirselves.  I did put a bit of lemon on mine.  With your crawdads you can order a side of corn or potatoes but I think those are just to make you think you are having some vegetables!  They were just boiled and just took up space that could be filled with crawdads!

Paul doesn’t like crawdads or all the work so he ordered the pound of shrimp.  He had to work some because they came with the heads on!  Yuck!  With the heads removed these shrimp were still 6 inches long and very tasty.

That walk was needed after that dinner!  Sunday morning we were up and enjoyed a nice breakfast of yogurt so that we could go back to Suires Grocery for one last meal!  Again it was so good and we all bought some to take home so we can continue on our eating frenzy of wonderful cajun seafood, ettuffee, stew, gumbo and don’t forget the rice!

Laissez les bon temps roulez

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Laissez les bon temps roulez

A cajun expression meaning “let the good times roll”  conveys the attitude that prevades south Louisiana!

Crawdads, fried trout, fried, grilled and stuffed shrimp, gumbo, crawfish ettufette, more shrimp, po boys and some amazing fresh cut red potatoe french fries!  Not gaining weight is getting harder and harder.  Besides going out for all this wonderful food we also enjoy lots of local greats at the Happy Hour at the RV Park!

And great music too!

And great music too!

There is lots of great music in the area but we are so lucky that many of the RV residents also love to play!

The wildlife is really fun also other than the biting bugs!  There are owls, all sorts of birds, armadillos, turtles, lizards, squirrels all within a short walk of our campsite and we are in a town!  I think I even saw a small black bear in the woods.  Today on my walk I saw this cute little guy.armadillo

I’ll be sad to be leaving on Sunday but excited to be getting back west very soon.

Laissez les bon temps roulez

 

 

3 miles that felt like 200!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Tuesday morning we had to prepare to move the 3 miles to Betty’s RV Park where we stayed on our last visit to Vermilion Parish and where we will finish our stay this trip.  About 11:30 we are deciding to pull out and the Airstreams start arriving!  There will be a rally of 27 Airstreams here this week, hence why we are moving out and they are arriving early.  There are lots of people scurring around, doing what they think is helpful to the arrival so we chat with the rally captain and explain we will pull out, wait for them to clear the road which is very narrow and about a 3/4 mile long and then we will get out of the way.

Paul pulls the rig forward and Airstreams are still arriving!  So much for holding traffic up or giving us a heads up when it will be safe.  Eventually, the captain waves for Paul to pull up so they can get yet another Airstream around the bend and past us into the the campground.  Paul starts forward and realizes he pulled to far off the pavement and is in a bit of mud!  Whoops!  He backs up and the tires dig in, all 3 of them!  Great!  we have an audience, a bunch of excited people arriving and several that seem to be incharge but not really!

Paul gets out, checks it out and tells one of the guys he is going to need some blocks!  The guy had no idea!  Really,  a campground and no one can share their blocks!  I start calling GoodSam.  A tow truck will be dispatched.

Paul finishes raising the RV using the jacks and his crew help put some wood under the tires as well as our porch carpet.  Paul gets in the RV, everyone thinking this will never work and then the back wheels start actually moving back instead of in!  Very slowly Paul backs 40ft of RV back out of the mud and onto the pavement!

We were on the road and into our next spot about 1 hour after he pulled out of our site!  That was lucky but now I just want to sit!!!  The good news is Betty’s is a great place to sit and relax especially with the happy hour at 4:30!  Tonight is even a potluck, Mexican on St. Patricks Day?  Hmmm.  It was delicious complete with Green Margaritas.

Tourist stops we pass on!

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Another day out and about, exploring Louisiana and we see a sign for Rip Van Winkle Gardens.  “Hurry, turn here someone told me about this spot”  I holler and then I am trying to  remember who and who is Rip Van Winkle!  I have no idea but we continue down the road.  We arrive and check out the gift shop- very ecletic and realize this is a tour of a garden and it is also a venue for weddings and other events as well as a B&B.  Looking through the brochure we decide paying to look at a garden is not what we want and continue to enjoy another sunny day in the rockers on the nice wooden porch.

Then there is this loud rustling and I look over the railing

The male peacock is making his desires known!

The male peacock is making his desires known!

peacock4

peacock1

peacock

He turns from us in the direction of the peahen!

He turns from us in the direction of the peahen!

The dance was very interesting.  We watched his dance for about 15 minutes and then it was time to head down the road!

 

Everywhere you look

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

We are in Crawfish country. Abbeville, LA is in the Vermilion Parish and we were here in 2010 .  We are back because we loved the area and loved the food! It’s all about the crawfish and good cajun food!   This morning while waiting for Paul to finish up some work I sat outside enjoying the sunshine and spotted an Owl in the trees.  He was huge but I never thought of trying to get a photo.  Then when he flew away I watched a woodpecker above also.  You will just have to believe me as there are no photos.  And,  the owls are very loud at night!

Saturday we took a drive around the countryside of Abbeville, very remote and you aren’t going to find any fast food chains!

crawfishtraps

Fields of crawfish traps

We were headed to a spot we had been to last time through here, Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant.  I can’t believe they have a website!  We couldn’t remember the name or where it was but I had a photo of the front of the place and we googled it and there it was!  Suire’s looks like an old gas station outside and inside is not much better but they have a few tables and a huge menu of cajun favorites!  I went for what I knew, the Shrimp Po Boy and it was every bit as good as I remember.  Paul couldn’t decide and asked the lady taking our order.  She recommended the Shrimp and Egg Stew which she said came with a piece of fish!  Pauls order comes, everything here is served to-go so it was in a large styrofoam box that weighed at least 3 lbs!  He opens the lid and on top of the foil cover is a large piece of deep fried fish.  I didn’t like the fish and figured it was catfish but being tourists we didn’t ask when we ordered.  Paul loved it.  Then he takes the foil off and he has a full meal.  Half of the tray was filled with a rice dish covered in a brown gravy full of shrimp and right in the middle is two hard boiled eggs!  It looked weird but the shrimp gravy was amazing!  It also came with a roll, potato salad and a small piece of chocolate cake.  We think we paid about $8  but we never saw it on the menu and I didn’t ask for a breakdown of the costs.  After Paul ate what he could he went up to the counter and asked a different girl what he just ate.  The look on her face was worth the whole bill.  She couldn’t believe he ate something that he had no idea what it was!  The fish was Catfish, which when she answered  she seemed like what other type of fish is there!  Later at home he googled shrimp and egg stew and actually found a recipe so I guess it is a real dish.

Another great experience in cajun country and today the sun actually came out and shined all day long!

Rain, Rain go away!!!

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Wow,  it just keeps falling out of the sky.  We are near New Orleans this week and the sun has never come out!  It peeked Wednesday afternoon but it is just gray.  New Orleans is very damp and with the rain there are full drainage ditches and puddles everywhere as the ground can not absorb anymore.

On to more interesting things.  My favorite thing about Louisana is the food. Creole, Cajun or Southern fried it just doesn’t matter, they do it all perfectly.  Wednesday evening we drove all the way (40 minutes one way) into New Orleans just so we could go to Mother’s Restaurant for a roast beef Po Boy complete with Debris and au jus.

Debris \ˈdā-ˈbrē\ n. The roast beef that falls into the au jus gravy in the pan while roasting in the oven. A Mother’s original.

There is actually a Po Boy that is only Debris!  It is so yummy and so full of flavor.  We also enjoyed the seafood gumbo which Paul just loves.  I was hoping to splurge and get the Bread Pudding with Brandy Sauce but I was good!

We had been to Mother’s a few years back so we knew it would be good, not fancy but oh so good!  We were hoping to be able to walk along the Mississippi River to wear off some of that debris but the rain just would not go away so we traveled into New Orleans, found a parking space, ate our Po Boy and came right back to our home.  A long drive but well worth it.

Today I had to try another New Orleans favorite that I have not had before, Beignets and Chicory coffee from Cafe Du Monde.  The beignets are fried after you order them and served hot smothered in powdered sugar.  The coffee can come black or 1/2 and 1/2 with milk.  I chose black, thinking there are enought calories in the 3 serving size beignets that I didn’t need the milk!  These both are very tasty but I am not really a donut person so I probably won’t go out of my way to get those again.  And,  I love my latte from Starbucks better than most coffees so next time I will probably skip the donut and just get my latte!

Two tourist must dos while in New Orleans checked off our list and tomorrow we head further west to Abbeville to eat even more amazing cajun and creole foods!

We are moving really fast!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Tuesday we left Baytown and traveled the rest of the way thru Texas along Interstate 10 into Louisiana. Paul traveled the whole thing this trip.

Mile marker 880!

That’s a lot of one state!

Tuesday night we spent in a roadside visitors center near Baton Rouge.  The visitor center had a parking area for RV’s where we could really set up camp with the slides out and everything for FREE!!!  Of course we stayed.  I thought we would get a really great nights sleep because we were off the highway and there were no Big Rigs allowed but about 1 am the storm started.  I was awake several hours listening to the rain and thunder and watching the wind and lightening.  The storm lasted most of the night but by 8 am everything was pretty clear so we hit the road.   We spent last night in FountainBleau State Park on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.

Lake Pontchartrain

20 mile Causeway across the lake to New Orleans

Moss

What kind is it?

It is beautiful here and the lake is huge.  We had dinner last night at a great restaurant that had patio seating where we watch what there was of a sunset.  Rip by the lake was an excellent choice and I tried something new again!  Soft shell crab and fried catfish.  Soft shell crab you eat the whole thing.  Tastes like crab but the stuff inside I admit I ate around it!!!  The catfish was really good.

New Orleans – Day 2

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

The weather keeps threatening rain but only drizzle so far.  Today we are going to try to get into the French Quarter earlier and hopefully have lunch at one of the many choice restaurants in the area.  Well we are not so lucky with the rain and here it comes!  It is still almost 80 degrees so it isn’t too bad but we decide that because my knee still hurts, it is raining and Paul is fighting a cold we will take a steam boat tour up the Mississippi River.

A Paddlewheel Steamer Ship

St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square

The boat was very nice and took us up the river about 8 miles where we could see lots of docks and some plantation homes on the other side of the levee.  The rain never really got going and the wind subsided some so we decided after the ride we would walk to the Art district and have lunch at Mother’s restaurant where they are famous for serving all the local favorites.  Today it was the World Famous Ferdi with debris!  The Ferdi is the name of the Po-Boy sandwich that some guy couldn’t decide if he wanted ham or roastbeef so it has both, dressed with debris and gravy.  Debris is the parts of the roastbeef that fall into the pan before they make the gravy and the gravy is like au-jus so it is very yummy.  Dessert was bread pudding.  Every restaurant we have been in says they have the best bread pudding and we had yet to try it.   It is ok, but I prefer some chocolate in my desserts so we bought turtles from the Southern Candymakers in the French Quarter. 

We walked back to the French Quarter, along the way Paul found a Cigar Factory where 8 guys make 40 thousand cigars by hand each year.  We got to watch them roll the tabacco and snip the ends and form the tips.  After seeing his cigar being made Paul paid $7 for one to smoke while he walked the streets of the French Quarter.

He's real. The dog is not!

Just like San Francisco and most other City’s there is always the street entertainment.  This guy was pretty good.  He stayed in pose without flinching while people asked him questions -and he answered!  The best part was when he walked away and stood across the street people were still walking up, checking the puppy out and putting money in the bucket!

So while most people come to the French Quarter for the cheap sex and the free flowing alcohol although it wasn’t free – Hurricanes were about $10 each, Paul and I did enjoy ourselves and we saw it all.  No Hurricanes to drink today but when we got home the rain decided it was time to appear and we have had off and on rain with big thunder and lightening all evening with even more wind.  I hope we don’t float or blow away!

“N’Awlins

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Careful how you talk around here or they might guess you are a tourist!  We arrived in town about 2 pm under very cloudy sky’s – it has been so humid that I feel like a sponge.  Tonight we are going to give in and run the air conditioner and keep the windows closed to see if we can dry things out a bit.  We are staying at a nice RV park near Lake Pontchartrain which is about 5 miles from the French Quarter so we will ride the shuttle and save Paul the headache of where to park.  We catch the shuttle about 3:30 and it drops us off about a block from Bourbon Street and we start walking cause those Hurricanes are waiting, oh and the stripper girls of course!  Anyway, just as we are reaching the corner of Bourbon Street my feet give out and I find myself face down on the very uneven brick & paving stone sidewalk!  My knee is killing me and Paul has to help me up.   No one even notices because they assume you are drunk – drinking on the street is encouraged!  Now I really need a drink and some ice for the knee which is swelling very quickly.  Paul finds a nice police officer who finds a bouncer and they get me a bag of ice and I get to sit in the back of the cops 4 wheel golf cart sort of thing!  So much for a wild night in the French Quarter.  We decide we better find a place to sit down, have a drink and maybe some dinner.  That is hurricane #1.

Looking up Bourbon Street

After resting for a bit I was ready to venture out and see some sites.  We walked mostly and listened to some of the music coming from inside the bars – mostly rock, you had to hunt for the jazz.  Along the way we found one of the establishments that serve Hurricanes from a machine to-go.  That’s Hurricane #2.

Good music, with an added touch

This group was playing in the street and if you look closely behind the singer you will see a little girl (in orange) who is 7 and sat in so her dad could take a smoke break on the drums!  She kept the beat throughout the song which included a Clarinet, trumpet & trombone solo along with some great singing.  She was awesome!

I love the Iron work and balconies

By now my knee is starting to hurt and we either  had to get a taxi home or wait another hour for the shuttle to return so we found a bar that was playing music and took a seat.  Pat O’Briens has two pianos on stage and call it dueling piano’s.  Lots of fun,  singing, and pretty good piano playing by two women who were in there mid 40s’ but they played some of the stuff the kids listen to now and were really entertaining the crowd of young people. 

He is playing a pizza pan along with the Dueling Piano's

That’s Hurricane #3 and time to call it a night.  We were on the shuttle by 7 pm and out of the French Quarter before dark when all the fun starts.  Tomorrow we will be back.

Etouffee, Gumbo, Boudin,Po-Boy, Andouille, Roux, Maque choux?

Friday, April 30th, 2010
We arrived in Abbeville Louisiana on Tuesday and have tried everyone of these local foods!  I can’t decide which is my favorite.  They also use some really great spices – “Slap yo Mama” is very popular and adds a lot of flavor to most anything.

Our first night we went to a local eatery called “Chucks”, not like the name but like chucking corn.  A nice little place where we had Gumbo & Crawfish Etouffee.  The Gumbo was like a brown soup with rice and seafood – ok but the Etouffee is to die for!  Of course it is good, it has lots of cream and some great spices,thick & creamy with fresh crawfish pieces over rice – Yummy.

Our second meal was Crawfish Pie -Etouffee over pastry instead of rice and some catfish!  This goes on for 4 days while we are staying in Abbeville which is a small town in the Vermilion Parish about 150 miles west of New Orleans.  We chose this town because of an RV park we had heard about and wanted to check it out.  Betty’s RV Park where the hostess, Betty has happy hour everyday at 4:30 pm – my kind of place.  The park was everything we hoped for and a perfect place to park while we enjoyed the local flavor.

A swamp tour wasn’t about food at all.  Bryan Champagne’s Swamp Tours is all about getting up close and personal with the creatures that live in a swamp.  A swamp is just what you think it is, a wet, dark, muddy area that is the overflow from a Bayou.  What is a Bayou? A stream or creek off the main river or lake. 

Lake Martin - Looks harmless, but just wait!

We went onto the lake but quickly Bryan, our guide quickly turned left and we were in another world.  The good news is as he told us, you do not need life jackets because where we are going the water is at most 1-2 feet deep, you can walk out – I DON’T THINK SO!!!

Bayou

Beautiful by day.....

Closer to a swamp

Dragon Flies keep mosquitos out of the swamps - For real!!

Cute little turtles

There were lots of turtles sunning themselves but as soon as our little boat got within 30 feet they were off swimming.  There were lots of birds in the bayou & swamps but our favorites had to be the Alligators!  They are not afraid of the boats at all – infact it seemed like a game to them.

They look so harmless

A small one- 6 feet

12 Feet +

No! i am not using a zoom lens - he is about 3 feet away!

Right after this little guy swam away Bryan our guide informs us the boat is stuck on a log and we are stuck!  Someone may have to get in the water and push us off – kidding, we just had to all move to the side of the boat where the alligator was  and hopefully that will dislodge the log.  The good news is we didn’t fall in and the boat again floated so we could be on our way.  The scary part of this whole thing is that Alligator was about as long as our little aluminum boat was and there were 12 tourists that had to get the photo at all costs!

That was enough excitement and we are back to the food tour!!!   We ate in places that looked really scary but had awesome food; places were not big enough to call a restaurant; and places that were in the middle of nowhere.  We ate food like peanut butter balls (very much like homemade Reese’s); fried shrimp po-boys; platters of crawfish that you order by the pound and have to extract the tail.  We have a freezer full of fresh off the boat shrimp and Boudin (meat sausage with rice). 

No menu - are you kidding? Everyone just orders Crawfish - you want 3.5 lbs or 5 lbs?

Nowhere to sit but the Boudin is the best in the Parish

You know it is good when the parking lot is full and it is in the middle of nowhere!

Right next to the town of Abbeville is New Ibernia, the town made famous by TABASCO Pepper Sauce.  We had a tour of the factory as well as tasting such goodies as jalepeno ice cream!  Very interesting.  We also visited the oldest Rice mill that still produces a million pounds of rice each year.  The coolest thing there was they had cats everywhere, all sizes and colors to keep the rat population away from the rice. 

This was a great stop on our way East and we will be back to see Betty and enjoy her hospitality and all the great food!  Next stop New Orleans.