Cajun cooking at Larry’s French Market, Port Arthur, Texas

Texas isn’t just one state, really. It’s actually five states. As Rev. B (above) pointed out last night, the drive from San Diego to El Paso (on the western edge of Texas) is shorter than the drive from El Paso to Orange, where Tracie P grew up, along the Louisiana border.

While folks in El Paso may feel more of a connection with the west and the culture and cuisine of Mexico, folks here feel a kinship to the Cajun culture of the bordering state to the east and they often refer to this area as “Coonass country” (a designation not considered derogatory when self-referential).

Last night I had the great fortune to dine at Larry’s French Market in Groves, Texas, not far from Port Arthur. Uncle Tim, the family’s resident gourmet and gourmand, who works at the Total refinery across the road, eats there every day.

Rev. B had the “Captain’s Platter” (above), reminding me of what famous guitarist Jay Leach once told one of my bandmates in a recording session in L.A. many years ago, “Play a high C over a C major 7? Man, that’s a captain’s platter!” (meaning the musical phrase would teem with clams or mistakes).

That’s a fried bun atop a heap of fried crabs (female), crawfish, shrimp, oysters, and French fries.

Did you know that the Oxford English Dictionary quotes Hank Williams in the entry for filé (ground sassafras used to season gumbo)?

    1952 H. WILLIAMS Jambalaya (sheet music) 3 Jambalaya and a craw-fish pie and fillet gumbo, ‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio.

Pretty cool, huh? (The OED contains an entry for Coonass as well, btw.)

I had the oyster poboy. Man, that was good! (BrooklynGuy, do you now see the error of your ways and know why you MUST come visit us in Texas???!!!)

I did, however, overdo it a bit with the hot sauce. It was delicious though. And I’ve learned my lesson… Rev. B will probably be teasing me for years about how my face turned red as the sweat rolled down my cheeks!

Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend and travel safely!

8 Responses to Cajun cooking at Larry’s French Market, Port Arthur, Texas

  1. tracie p says:

    2B–you forgot to mention the Cajun band playing live, it definitely added to the fried atmosphere. Love the pics, btw!

  2. Sgt Sassafras says:

    So, all y’all went down and ate another dinner after your Thanksgiving meal?

  3. orangewesley says:

    So we all gained five or so pounds this holiday weekend. When the family gets together we eat, visit, sleep, eat, visit, sleep. Okay sometimes it eat, sleep, visit. Its all just about family…and my Momma’s maiden name was Leblanc…so I enjoyed the Cajun band a bunch…

  4. Wow, that is some “healthy” platter! Looks like you had hot sauce for vino :) I am hungry!

  5. Randy Fuller says:

    How nice to see a mention of my hometown and the culinary delights available there. I moved away 21 years ago (to Los Angeles) and miss the Cajun cuisine so much! Ii looks like Larry’s really has some taste treats. I was always more inclined to the boudain from Nick’s, myself. I’m happy to say I can buy Zummo’s boudain (frozen) in Los Angeles at the meat shop in the Farmers Market, Fairfax and Third. Happy holidays!

  6. Do Bianchi says:

    @Tracie P and Rev B I can’t believe I forgot to mention the music! It was great, real deal… So much fun that night.

    @Gary I don’t think they can legally allow BYOB at Larry’s but man that would be awesome: Muscadet or Vermentino and fried crabs! YES!

    @Randy Fuller so glad you enjoyed the post. I know the Farmers Market on Fairfax well! Used to live on Hauser around the corner! Have been meaning to ask you: are you one of the Fuller family of musicians?

    • Randy Fuller says:

      Not one of the musical Fullers (the late Bobby and brother Randy, I guess you’re talking about?) unless first chair tonette in grade school counts! I travel down Hauser every day! It’s still a pretty good alternate to Fairfax or LaBrea.

  7. Donya David says:

    I am from the Dallas area but am a Port Arthur native. How do you make the crawfish dipping sauce? I promise not to tell.

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