Just got back from the great state of Texas, and for a weekend trip I tried to cram in as much grub and country as I could in 52 hours. I think I succeeded. Thanks to the former NYer Paul for laying out the "Welcome Northerners" mat. Between crawfish, boudin balls, oysters, shotguns and pistols on a 38,000 acre ranch in La Belle, TX, shrimp, 200 pound crawfish boils in the town of Winnie, TX pop. 2,900, quail and eggs, Dos Equis galore with Twang lime salt, gator watching in the bayou, stepping in freshly made cattle shit, venison sausage, seeing the heart ripped out of a just shot red winged black bird, Shiner Bocks, shrimp etouffee, riding in the back of a pick-up truck, and more crawfish, I'd be hard pressed to say I missed anything. Would have wanted to check an Astros game at Minute Maid, but I was a week and a half too early. Also missed out on the rodeo- having too much fun in the country, and I mean country. And I didn't even purchase any old school Astros caps with the H and star.
Hopped off the plane, dropped our bags off and went straight to the Ragin Cajun on Richmond Ave. Anyplace that has a 10 ft. crawfish hanging off the roof is good in my book.
Each bucket contains 3.5 lbs. of crawfish. Accompanied by oysters, boudin balls, gulf shrimp, and shrimp etouffee.
Next day we headed to Goode & Co. Taqueria on Kirby Drive for some traditional Texas breakfast before taking part in some traditional Texas activities, i.e. shooting guns, drinking beers, and watching yankees have no clue what they're doing on a ranch. The biscuits were the truth and the hash browns with sliced bacon and pork were serious.
Quail and eggs. Unbelievable.
Buck Fever. Eggs with Hill Country venison sausage.
Catfish and eggs.
Filled up and headed east to La Belle, about a mile past Boondocks Road and Leon's fish camp and turkey shoot. This was my first time shooting guns so I was kind of hyped. Had some NWA "Fuck the Police" banging out the pick-up. Honestly, bluegrass was in the background since that was the only attainable station. We had an assortment of firearms, Glock 9mm, Heckler and Koch 9mm with the attached laser light, 2 Benelli shotguns, and a .22 rifle with the banana clip. Big shout to Texas Phil and Kevin for making dreams come true.
We had to ask the cattle to leave so we could waste some ammo. I was told it's not proper to shoot them, and that calves demand a lot of money.
The hi-tech shooting gallery.
Banana clip H. Possibly an album cover in years to come. The mudboots really came in handy. Between all the bovine dung and mud, I'm glad I didn't have to wear my Nikes. Truth be told, these are the hardest things to put on and take off.
Texans don't play- 10 year old kids on pick-ups holding rifles. That shit kind of freaked me out.
Riding through the sprawling property we were lucky to sneak up on an unsuspecting black bird. Being that this was educational, thus serving a greater purpose, I choose to not view this as an egregious act of callous murder. Kevin, cousin of Phil, jumped out the ride, and introduced the bird to his maker. Then he proceeded to rip it apart and throw the still beating heart on the back of the truck.
Gators don't like to be photographed. Every time I saw a gator head on the surface of the water they quickly ducked under. Not to be denied, we came up on this one right before exiting the ranch. Unfortunately there was no gator to be had for dinner.
As if we hadn't had enough Texas for the day, we headed out to Winnie to experience an authentic crawfish boil. A crawfish boil entails many live crawfish, a huge pot with potatoes, corn and Zatarain's crawfish boil seasoning, a propane tank, plenty of paper towels, an abundance of cardboard boxes to serve as the tray, white bread, tabasco sauce, butter, beer- unfortunately no Heiny Lights, a huge cooler to keep the crawfish hot, and plenty of people. We held it down. Eating crawfish for close to 5 hours. I learned that if the crawfish tail is coiled up it was alive when cooked. If it is straight out, it was dead before being thrown in the pot and the meat might not be firm.
Get them done.
I almost got sick of crawfish after this weekend, but now that I'm back, I could definitely eat a couple of pounds.
I came to find out that the gracious crawfish boil host Sara, and her father, are direct descendants of Texas royalty. James Taylor White is considered Texas' First Cattle King, and the tradition has been carried down through generations. The family's brand- the Crossed W (looks like 2 overlapping V's) is one of the longest used brands in all of Texas- see the 2nd row far right. There were 3 steer heads on the wall in the living room with horns that measured close to 7 feet from tip to tip.
As if the day couldn't get any better, I was able to play with their pet calf, Tuffy. Yes, they have a mini barn in the back of the house where Tuffy lives. She is 2 months old, and when I asked when does a calf make the step to cow-dom, I was told it's when she gets pregnant. Foolish city folk.