Our visit to Palacios was short, but full of good eatin’. After I mentioned Baytown Seafood, Keith commented that we should give their gumbo a try. Since we also wanted to sample their catfish and fried shrimp, we decided to visit for lunch – if the food was as good as the reviews claimed, we’d return for dinner.
My lunch order was a shrimp po-boy… not as good as what my memory conjures up from Louisiana, but a good warm-up for our arrival in that state tomorrow. Odel ordered fried catfish, which might have been the best we have ever had: sweet, succulent, with a very light, very crisp coating – served too hot to eat. We split a bowl of the incredible smoky gumbo – thanks for the tip, Keith, as I think the gumbo vegetables have been my ONLY vegetables in the past several days.
The quality of the food dictated another visit for dinner – this time, more gumbo (served in the classic style: a bowl of soup/stew accompanied by a bowl of white rice) and nine coconut shrimp, served with cole slaw. Good, good, good. I’d say that the Outrigger Grill has better atmosphere – close to the seawall, with a nice outdoor patio in the back and a venue for live music - but the food is excellent in both restaurants. I doubt that we will ever return to Palacios but, if we do, we won’t go hungry. :)
It might have been the dreary, gray weather, but I found the drive from Palacios to Beaumont very boring – when not downright depressing. We followed Hwy 35 most of the way, through miles and miles of flat, winter-bitten scenery, broken by small town main streets that had seen better days. Around noon, we hit I-45 and jogged north to the toll road skirting Houston, paying $9 to avoid the worst of the urban traffic.
We saw miles and miles of this…
Followed by miles and miles of this.
Between Hwy 35 and I-45, we took a 6-lane suburban road past banks, car dealerships, and strip malls. When we came to a major slowdown, complete with sheriffs directing traffic, we were mighty surprised – even in TEXAS – to see horses, riders, and covered wagons pulling out of a mall parking lot onto the road!
Lee Road Trail Riders Wagon
Texas Independence Trail Riders in suburbia
It was the Texas Independence Trail Ride Association heading to the Johnson Space Center (Huh??) on their way to Houston for the Rodeo – an 8 day ride. There is no telling what you will encounter, even on an otherwise boring travel day. :)
Now we are settled in Gulf Coast RV Park (read our review here) in Beaumont, Texas, on a narrow concrete slab – much appreciated as rain is pouring down. Our high temperature of 50 degrees has given way to the low 40’s, on its way down to the low 30’s tonight – and sleet? snow?? Our site is in the front row, where we can watch each new arrival as they pull in – since I took this photo, neighbors have arrived on both sides. It’s so good to be OFF the road before the rain begins.
As soon as we great a break in the downpour, we’ll be off to Willy Ray’s BBQ for St. Louis style pork ribs and carrot soufflé. Will they be as good as we remember, or will four intervening years of travel – and plenty of mediocre ribs – have distorted our memories? Stay tuned!