Ellen and I killed ourselves to get to FW in two days. So going home we said, let's do it in three days and enjoy ourselves.
Of course, that meant we would eat and drink reall well at
fun new places
So we left Monday and came east on I-20 to Shreveport and then headed south on I-49 to Lafayette, which is in the heart of Cajan country
So, about 40 miles south of Shreveport is a lovely town called Nachicthocies. The City of Lights. Definitely worth a stop
This charming town sits along the Cane River, lots of brick and metal porches with great adornments.
Right in the middle of town is a cool restaurant called Margeauxs. They do beef and seafood mostly in the Cajan style.
We both ordered a plate of shrimp and grits priced at $12.
It was a deal, the shrimp were packed high over a large plate of smokey, savory grits. We got some nice fresh baked rolls with it. We chased it all down with a great Malbec from Chile for $8. It was so good, and yet, we could not finish it all,so we did a little walk around town.
Then it was on to Lafayette for the night.
We got a Red Roof Inn for $46 which gave us a little extra cushion for dinner.
Our goal here was the Blue Dog Grille.
The famous New Orleans painter, George Rodriguez, who painted all those great Blue Dogs,was from this area so he opened up the Blue Dog restaurant. It is filled with his work. From I-10 you take University south where it ends at Pinhook Way. Take a right on Pinhook and the BD is about two miles on the left.
This where you come for Creole cooking. They do wild game, beef, pork and seafood. Full bar with a generous pour. I had a great Makers Manhatten. Then we both chomped down on seafood.
Ellen had a Cajan infused shrimp dish, no grits this time.
I had a broiled redfish sandwich for $12 that was a yummy taste and a sizable portion. The Blue Dog is always worth a stop.
The next morn we had a leisurely breakfest and hit the road around 9 am, our next destination being Pensacola.
When we hit the Mississippi state line on I-10 we detoured off it south on route 90 which takes you along the Misssissippi coast which is only about 46 miles long.
It is a worthwhile alternative to the interstate. Might take you 45 minutes longer but it is a mellow drive.
You pass thru the beach towns of Waveland,Bay Saint Louis, Pass Christian, Biloxi and finally, the best one, Ocean Springs.
Ellen had never seen this coast and she was stunned by its beauty.
There are sparkling white sand beaches the whole way. There is easy, free gulf side parking.
What is cool about this coast is that most of the development of high rise hotels and gigantic houses are on the road across from the beach. You have perfect views of the water, piers and the beach. Biloxi is the exception. The casinos and big hotels dominate the beach landscape. They bring a lot of tax money into the city which is plowed back into great beach projects like auditoriums, beach shelters and piers. Biloxi has done a great job of rebuilding since the hurricane hit them last.
At that time, the coastal flooding extended inland almost as far as I-10 in some places. All structures took big hits.
I have watched them rebuild since then, been thru three previous times. So it had been two years since my last pass through and everything looks magnificent.
If you have never driven this stretch of the coast, you owe it to yourself to do it.
There are ample restaurants tucked in everywhere. Hotels are modestly priced and of course you can gamble big time in the Biloxi area.
We made several beach stops along the way so I could take off my shoes and trip thru the squeaky white sand taking pictures of terns, piers and whatever.
We stopped for lunch at my favorite community, Ocean Springs.
This is a very chic little town with vibrant retail, restaurants and fishing boats. Most of the town resides under towering old oak trees that allow dappled sunlight to reflect everywhere.
They have an art show here in the spring, ask artist Paul Flack about it. There is serious wealth here, nobody lives in an ordinary small house.
I winged it as usual. Ellen knows me well. I can go into almost any unknown community and sniff out the coolest, reasonably priced restaurant. I do it over and over again, in fact I have been doing it for more than 40 years. It might be my best trick I can do.
I found a place on the bayou called Mikey's. It was perfect, we sat on an upstairs deck and ate great blackened snapper sandwiches for $12 with a small order of onion rings for $4.
This was the best lunch place ever.
OK, are you still with me?
It has been quite the culinary journey, but there is one more and it is a killer.
On to Pensacola.
Whenever I do the Pensacola art show I always stay at the Red Roof Inn just off I-10, rooms run about $60 per nite and they are very clean and kinda modern for Red Roof.
We usually go to the Fish House down on the wharf, which I have blogged about many times (look at my previous blogs about the Great Gulfcoast art show in Pensacola).
This time our goal was the Global restaurant on Palafox which is the Main Street.
This is a chic bistro that does short dishes, tapas style, as well as big dishes. It is very uptown in its decor. They give very generous pours of wine and Makers Mark, that is why I like them.
We sat at the bar, it can easily hold 15 people and the restaurant can seat 100 more.
This is the place to eat here.
Food choices change nightly and they are akways delicious.
I celebrated Fort Worth. I ordered a bottle of Pegu cab out of California. Most restaurants this would be a $125 bottle. Here it was $74, I snapped it up. Pegu always makes the top cabs in America next to Caymus.
That night they were offering sushi grade tuna, finely chopped, tartare style for $12. It had a wicked kick, definitly some hot peppers in there. We had cobia tapas for $21 which was killer, I had a fresh oven roasted beet salad, garnied with blue cheese for $9 more. Then we had a tapas of three lamp lollipop chops for $18, with the wine, and ok. I did slip one Bookers Manhatten chilled up, in there--who is counting?
We had a delicious cheesecake dessert, with expresso.
Thankfully, I found our way home, safely.
Next day, we were home to Ybor in under eight hours, we arrived alive.
Hope you enjoyed the journey, chime in with some comments.
Life is good, Nels.