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!

Texas Cajun Heritage Festival, Orange, Texas

From the “if you could see through my eyes, if you could hear with my ears, if you could smell and taste with my nose and palate” department…

cajun fest

Uncle Tim (right) won the competition for best potato salad.

cajun fest

But Tim’s gumbo is always a winner in my book. Man, that stuff is TASTY!

cajun fest

Vincent is from San Diego like me, although he “ain’t been there in a ‘coon’s age,” he told me.


These kids played like real pros. I guess it’s because it’s in their zydeco blood.

cajun fest

The dancing tent at the festival wasn’t exactly what you would call a “smoke-free” environment. The band was most definitely smokin’ too!

cajun fest

Word to the wise.

cajun fest

My Tracie P and I loved us some crawfish pistolettes.


The pistolettes were stuffed with crawfish étouffée.


Jaybo and his “Hoghide Cracklins” tossed in Cajun seasonings were awesome.


Jaybo revealed his technique to us.

annette pernell

Annette is a “baker of all things delicious” and man, let me tell you, she ain’t lying.

annette pernell

Annette’s “Mississippi Mud Cake.”

singing cowboy

The evening ended with grilled steak dinner back at Rev. and Mrs. B’s house. Pepaw really seemed to enjoy my guitar pickin’.

Thanks for reading, ya’ll!