Deep into Cajun Country

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

224 Miles

The last couple of nights at the Palace have been fun – such a different venue for us.  We have an early tee time this morning and then are going to get back on the road.

We purchase coffee and two huge muffins at the casino coffee shop.  When I go to pay I hand the cashier my Player’s Card in order to get a small discount.  She informs me that I have enough points to pay for the whole breakfast.  Cool. I resist the urge to throw another $20 into my Gold machine and we are outta there.

Today we will be playing The Preserve, the Palace Casino’s sponsored course. I have read that it is really nice and we are looking forward to a complete change of pace from the Dogwood Hills course of yesterday.  Just coming upon the sign for The Preserve lets us know that this will be a horse of a different color. (compare it with the Dogwood Hills sign on yesterday’s blog)
We are further encouraged when we notice that even the grass on the side of the road leading to the cluhouse is fully manicured.  The clubhouse is beautiful and the guy at bag services greets us with a warm, Southern style.  Our first glimpse creates a great impression.


100+ year old Live Oak tree (notice superintendent's dog dutifully waiting in the cart for him)
100+ year old Live Oak tree (notice superintendent’s dog dutifully waiting in the cart for him)
Beautiful morning at The Preserve
Beautiful morning at The Preserve

Practicing on the putting green gives us encouragement that The Preserve will actually have grass on their greens.  The place is virtually empty and we are told that we can head to the first tee whenever we are ready.
The fairways are absolutely beautiful – perfectly maintained grass and divots have been filled.  It is like a nice, soft carpet.  The rough is kind of deep, but not impossible to hit out of.  Everything goes well.  Until…we reach the green. This is true on every hole.  Neither of us can sink a putt. There are very subtle breaks that are impossible to read and the greens are super fast.  Rich claims that there is a flag on every green, but no holes!

Our front nines are not good.  We get a little more used to the greens on the back and have pretty good back nines.  It is a good thing this course is so pretty. It is extremely frustrating to get to the green in regulation only to realize the ball will not fall into the hole.

Should I even bother to putt this?
Should I even bother to putt this?

We looked for critters all along the way.  It appeared as if there would be wildlife all over – snakes, deer, coons, etc.  Finally, when we reached the 18th green we spied our first and only critter:


Rich and one of the employees got into a discussion regarding ObamaCare and the government “shutdown” that happened today.  People are definitely passionate one way or the other on this issue.  We ended up listening to CNN all afternoon during our drive.  I am sure the Government Shutdown of 2013 will go down in the history books.  (I am avoiding being opinionated here on ObamaCare or anything else to do with politics…)

We had a pretty nice drive through Louisiana until we got near Baton Rouge and drove into a big thunderstorm. Wow.  The rain was really coming down. I was glad when we finally drove out of it.

Our stop for the night is Eunice, Lousiana.  It was chosen striclty because it is halfway to Keller (tomorrow’s destination) and we coud get a room at the Holiday Inn Express using their reward program points. When we checked in we were “upgraded” and given Cheetos and water bottles!  (a bit different from an upgrade at the Four Seasons)


Jacuzzi tub in living area!
Jacuzzi tub in living area!
Where is the pot of gold?
Where is the pot of gold?

Our only order of business for the rest of the evening is to ifind a place for dinner.  Not such an easy task in Eunice.  When I searched on Yelp I found 3 Cajun places (this is absolutely Cajun country- boudin balls are advertised all along the way): Rocky’s, Ronnie’s and Ruby’s.  Ruby’s gets the best reviews, but it is closed on Tuesdays.  Reviews on the other 2 are mixed and generally not great.  It will either be one of those or Popeye’s chicken. (Janet claims they have a decent Shrimp Po Boy).

We decide to do a “drive-by” of both Rocky’s and Ronnie’s to see if we can get a feel for them.  We pass Ronnie’s first.  There is a couple in the parking lot who are just leaving.  Rich says the woman looks like she is getting ready to puke. (she was bent over rubbing her stomach but I think there must have been a reasonable explanation).  We drive on to Rocky’s.  Looks even lower rent.  Back to Ronnie’s.


Ronnie’s is not much on atmosphere but there are several other customers inside which gives us hope that the food will at least be edible.  OUr server gives us the menu and it is fairly extensive with a variety of Cajun specialities.  I order the special Eggplant (fried eggplant covered with Crawfish Etoufee – how bad can that be?) and Rich has the Catfish Ronnie (grilled catfish covered with the same Crawfish Etoufee).

We were both pleasantly surprised with our dinners.  Seriously, I loved mine!  Not much to look at, but it was delicious.  The etoufee was perfect – not too spicy and very flavorful with lots of crawfish.  The eggplant was super delicious and the battered fried coating paired beautifully with the etoufee (I felt a bit guilty since they were fried).  I could have eaten my entire place, but made myself STOP.  Rich’s catfish was almost as good.

Eggplant with Crawfish Etoufee
Eggplant with Crawfish Etoufee

Glad we stopped at Ronnie’s.  Just goes to show you not to judge a book by its cover.  There are truly some hidden gems out there if you take the time to uncover them.

Tomorrow we leave for Keller to visit with Rich’s sister (Betsy) and our neice and nephew (Abby and David).  Can’t wait to see them!


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