Sunrise at Poche’s
The sky – and air – turned pink.
It was the calm before the storm, a beautiful sunrise on Monday morning. I tried to ignore it, warm and cozy in bed, but as the clouds colored more deeply, I pulled on my sweats for a few quick photos. JoAnn, that’s what I meant about the morning air turning pink!
We knew we were in for a rainy day. We’ve had too many of those this winter, and weren’t willing to sit inside watching the rain fall. We decided on a pilgrimage.
Not long ago, I posted a reminiscence of our activities during a stay in 2005 at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville, LA. One of our most delectable memories is of the shrimp and catfish po’boys at Suire’s, a tiny grocery/cafe south of the small town of Kaplan – 45 miles from here.
Over the intervening years, we’ve compared each subsequent po’boy to those served at Suire’s. Many good sandwiches, but none QUITE up to the memory of Suire’s. Hoping to avoid the long drive, we asked Doug and JoAnn about their impression of the Suire’s po’boy, which they had recently sampled on our recommendation. Good? Great? As delicious as our memories suggest?
Doug just smiled, and said “YES”.
That did it – we knew we would regret it if we drove off without renewing the memory. We headed off at 11:00, map and GPS in hand. Small towns, flooded rice paddies, old farms and new brick homes, all viewed through raindrops and slashing wipers. An hour later, we dashed through the rain, onto the front porch, and slid through the front door.
Ahead, the counter. Step up and order your lunch.
Order ahead. Check out that floor.
Joan Suire, 35 years behind the counter.
Behind the counter, we met Joan, packaging up a fresh pot of shrimp and chicken gumbo, stacked in meal-sized containers on the counter, destined for the freezer. She’s down home and friendly, happy to hear we’re back after 5 years for another sandwich. Order placed, we roamed around the tiny store, peering at reviews from the New York Times and regional publications that are posted on the walls, then sat down to await our meal.
Outside, the storm began in earnest. Several other diners blew in, mostly working guys in camouflage raincoats. An older couple (yes, older than us!) played checkers while they waited for their meals. Soon Jane called my name: our order was ready.
The dining area at Suire’s
Happy diners – photo by Joan Suire.
One catfish po’boy and one shrimp po’boy, to be shared. Were they as good as we remembered? Yes! Seafood filling piping hot out of the fryer, with plenty of “my-naze” on the soft French roll. Still our po’boy standard, memories refreshed.
The storm raged while we ate. At one point, the wind blew so hard that the heavy front door of Suire’s, under the cover of the porch, was pulled outwards, sucked open by the wind howling past. Rain flew in horizontal sheets. No one braved the dash to or from a vehicle.
Inside, it was cozy. As the rain abated slightly, Jean took our picture, wished us well, and said she hopes to see us again. Out into the rain we dashed, drenched on the VERY short trip to our car.
Ultimately, our round trip was 100 miles. That’s what a rainy day, cabin fever, and a warm memory will do to you!