Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rice Mill and Alligator Balls

When we first pulled in to this area on Sunday, Bob and I were not impressed. The area is very flat, the homes and businesses we passed seemed low, small, and a bit run down.  A train track ran through the entire part of the town that we drove in on. And the campground itself, a very reasonable $15 a night using our half-off Passport America rate, was essentially a parking lot with hook ups.  We were one of five rigs here, and the place looked like what it was--an overnight spot for visitors and competitors for the rodeos, horse shows, 4-h shows, and car shows that happen here on the weekends in which to stay.  It does have a beautiful pool, but no trees or areas of natural beauty.  

So, armed with a Visitor's Guide we ventured out to see the Konriko Company Store, and to tour America's Oldest Rice Mill.

Our guide was a Cajun woman who was very knowledgable about not only rice production but Cajun culture, the foods and the history of the area.  Two other couples toured with us.  One couple from Michigan were on a camping trip from Michigan with their two collies (who joined us on the tour) and the other couple were from the UK and were traveling the southern states. The Company Store contained local foods produced and distributed by Konriko, and provided free samples of some of their products.  They featured types of Konriko Rice, Cajun and other types of seasonings, and rice crackers.  Our tour guide was happy to answer all of our many questions about the area, and recommended stopping in at Tres Amies for Beignets (a kind of Cajun doughnut) and the Little River Inn for Alligator Balls.  She hastened to tell us that alligators had no balls, but that this treat was similar to crab cakes in how they were made.  That was enough for me--I had to try 'em!

So after our tour we headed out to find us some Alligator Balls.  And were they ever good!

They were a little lighter and fluffier than a crab cake, and served with a remoulade, a kind of sauce, on the side.  I could have eaten a whole serving myself, but Bob and I split an appetizer serving.  I then had seafood gumbo, and Bob had chicken and sausage gumbo.  What a tasty lunch!

We drove through the other side of town afterwards which instantly changed our minds about what the area was like.  Beautiful homes, some tiny and perfect, others spacious and palatial, lined the streets.  Trees dripped with Spanish Moss; some of the trees were unbelievably large and ancient looking. We want to spend some time just "walking and gawking!" This was what I had imagined when I thought about Louisiana!  There is really a lot to see around here, and there won't be enough time to do it all, I am sure.

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