Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ride to McGehee Catfish Restaurant Part 2

I got to the McGehee Catfish Restaurant early to take pictures and I was the first of many that arrived and waited for them to open for lunch. Unfortunately, I’m not much of a photographer and forgetting to check the cameras settings the photos turned out too dark because I think it was on the close up setting. The restaurant exterior was made of rough weathered wood and had a wood shingle roof and had an old log cabin feel to it. There was some type of pine trees scattered around it ad a nice breeze blowing through that helped with the heat. The parking lot is fine gravel so I advise taking it slow and cautious. The lettering on the door stated Weekdays 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.

The first elderly couple to arrive after me came in a white car with Texas plates. I asked them if they had eaten hear before and if it was good. They had and I said that must mean it was good if they came back again. While we stood around in the shade enjoying the cooling breeze we chatted and they told me how you used to be able to look out into the river area and see the catfish farms where the restaurant used to raise there own.

One older gentleman rode on a Suzuki Burgman 650 with a buddy on a burgundy Honda VTX1300. We chatted about the bikes and the scooter. The VTX owner bragged about how much better the ride quality was since he installed a new Mustang seat. Before he said it was like riding a log. The Burgman owner stated that even the 400 model would be a good first scooter and bragged about the large cargo space under the seat. He claims when grocery shopping he can fit five grocery bags under there. He said they run great at highway speeds as well. They also mentioned that the airstrip next door had been closed down a few years before. People used to fly in for lunch or diner here. Before long the restaurant doors were being unlocked.

I went in and the hostess said we could seat ourselves. I took a spot in the main room in a corner by the window at a small table. You could look out the window behind the restaurant and see the Red River in the distance. Inside the restaurant was decorated rustic country style with old antique farming utensils and tools hung on the rough out dark wood slat walls. The waitress showed up shortly and asked what I would like to drink and did I want the catfish. I responded water with lemon and yes to the catfish. She came back shortly with some coleslaw, sweet pickled green tomatoes, and hushpuppies. The hushpuppies were too hot to bite into yet so I started in on the slaw and tomatoes.

The eating utensils were packaged and at the table in a holder as well as a roll of paper towels to clean your hands with. The coleslaw was good and not too sweet. It was diced up to a real fine consistency, the finest I had ever seen. I had never tasted sweet pickled green tomatoes before but they were excellent. They tasted like a sweet pickle and had a slight spicy hotness to them. Note to self; look for these in the store. The hushpuppies finally cooled down and I sampled them. They were not too big and you could tell they were freshly made and quite tasty. I texted a status report to my better half and about that time the main course arrived.

The main course was three large pieces of farm raised catfish deep fried with a crunchy cornmeal coating. The waitress asked if I needed anything else and since there was already ketchup on the table I asked for some tarter sauce which she quickly brought out in a condiment squeeze bottle. Along with the amazing fish were the French fries. So many French fries that they were heaped on the plate and falling off as the waitress set the plate down, in fact. These weren’t ordinary fries either. They tasted like freshly cut with skin on and fried to a golden crispiness. They were a great compliment to the catfish and I used the ketchup liberally. The waitress asked me several times if I wanted more catfish since it was all you could it but, even though I had not eaten any breakfast, because I was so hot I did not have my normal appetite and I turned her down.

The feeding frenzy was over and it was time to go. I tossed a five spot down for my attentive waitress, took one last drink of water, and proceeded to check out. The food was great however I would have preferred my catfish a little moister inside. If you like yours real crispy you would have loved it. I went outside, rolled my sleeves down, put my gear on and started the ride home.

The ride home was rather uneventful. I rode straight through and was trying not to have to stop for fuel. Riding passed 114 on I35 I thought maybe I should take it to 121 to go home but instead I kept going the way I had come. When I got to Western Central Blvd the freeway came to a grinding halt and it was stop-n-go all the way down and around 820 eastbound to just past Rufe Snow. Looking down at the thermometer it was now reading almost 100 degrees.

There was a half mile reprieve and then where 820 merges with 183 Airport Freeway it stopped again and was backed up just as far as I could see. I managed to make it over to the Precinct Line exit and turned left and then right into the Quick Trip and refueled. Not wanting to get back into the traffic on the freeway I took Harwood the rest of the way home. Walking inside my house it was almost 4:00 pm. It felt grate to be home and I headed to the shower to cool off reflecting on what a great time I’d had.
If you missed part one of this ride, please check out Ride to McGegee Catfish Restaurant Part 1.

Ride on,

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