One of our favorite things to do as we travel the country is to sample regional cuisine to get a taste (pun intended) for the area: pasties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, cheese in Wisconsin, Tex-Mex in Texas, etc.
While in the San Antonio area, we made a point to tour the River Walk, a hidden gem that sprawls 15 miles beneath the city, offering shops and all kinds of ethnic fare–not just your Texas standards. We arrived at lunchtime and bypassed a Mexican restaurant to visit an Irish one, where we shared bangers and mash buried under a thick brown gravy.
After finding our way to the Alamo, which was worth the visit, we ventured back to the River Walk and stopped at a German restaurant before strolling back through the walk, past Love Lock Bridge, to our vehicle. Bob indulged in a German pretzel, and we shared a plate of Nuremberg sausage (yum!), Polish sausage, mustard mashed potatoes, pickled vegetables, and sauerkraut.
Inspired by a friend who had told us about camping opportunities on Padre Island, we traveled from the San Antonio area to Corpus Christi. We spent a week on the beach at sister Mustang Island.
Unlike our friend’s sunny, warm experience in the area (in August), we faced cold, clouds, and wind (in March). But we didn’t let that stop us from strolling along the beach to take in God’s beautiful creation. We even braved a chilly bike ride to sample the local cuisine at a BBQ restaurant.
After weathering hours of 30 mph winds the night before our departure, the sun came out victorious. But it was too late for us. We had to be on our way to make room for the next camper scheduled to arrive in our spot. So, we packed up and hit the road on a brisk, 47-degree morning.
Two days later, we pulled up at the home of our friends, Dwaine and Belinda, oblivious to the treat that lay in store for us. We met this wonderful couple on our Panama Canal cruise in 2019 and have kept in touch. They offered to let us moochdock on their piece of paradise, and we gladly accepted.
Authentic Cajun Cooking
Dwaine and Belinda are born and bred Louisianans, and they made sure to immerse us in the staples they love. Most of the food in the region consists of rice and some sort of meat-laden, spicy gravy.
They fed us seafood gumbo, turtle (tastes a lot like chicken), red beans and rice, and tasso and cabbage. Tasso, we learned, is a smoked, spiced, cured meat–typically pork. We found it quite tasty.
Our Cajun food highlight, though, has to be a crawfish boil. We had heard of such a thing but had never partaken. Wanting to give us an authentic experience, our hosts enlisted the help of their son and daughter-in-law to do the cooking. And what a spread!
In addition to the crawfish, they boiled potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, Brussels sprouts, and corn on the cob. After seasoning the water and bringing it to a boil, they threw in all the veggies to cook. These served as appetizers while the crawfish boiled.
Before we knew it, the crawfish, essentially tiny lobsters, were ready to be eaten. As with lobsters, you break off the head of the crawfish and eat the tail meat. If you get one with decent-sized claws, you can eat the claw meat too.
We ate and ate and ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. And we even took home leftovers. Bob spent hours digging the meat out of the leftover crawfish, and I enjoyed it on my lunch salads the next few days.
We couldn’t have asked for a better, more authentic Louisiana stop. Thank you, Dwaine and Belinda, for your wonderful hospitality and for giving us such a cultural experience.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.