St. John’s at Last, St. John’s at Last

So I made it to St. John’s Restaurant. I’d viscerally hoped this was going to happen last August when a charming state worker at the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site recommended we try it for their crab cakes. Well we were with semi-friends from out of state and they were worn out and Louisiana fooded out. So to my great disappointment, we ened up calling it a day and heading home.

Like McArthur, I vowed I would return. Return I did. I invited my happy-to-travel mother to drive out to cajun country and see if we couldn’t find my long anticipated restaurant. We got to St. Martinville, and I didn’t know what or where the place was but imagined I could ask around for the place known for good crab cakes.

I struck out with the couple I asked visiting from New Iberia. But the lady in local boutique said it was probably St. John’s I was thinking of and told we had a half hour until the restaurant close til dinner. We cut across the old catholic cathedral grounds to St. Johns and found ourselves in charming, yet a little uneasy close quarters with a full two rooms of lunchtime dinners.

It was pleasant, diverse, and very Louisiana. Conversations were going on in English and French and the owner naturally made his way around over the hour or so we were there checking in with the tables. At the same time I felt an outsider, I also felt a bond in that existed in that time and place.

Then came the food. We shared an order of catfish plantation and crab cakes. I’d meant to get it blackened rather than fried but forgot. I’m okay with it though because the catfish came like no catfish I’d ever had before. It was fried like chicken-fried-steak. Meaning a rich flour breading with almost rue undertones and not a bit greasy. It was topped with shrimp and lump crab sauce and served with grilled vegetables.

The crab cake was good. But I guess though I love crab, so far I’m just not a huge crab cake fan. I appreciated the texture of the cake’s golden outer shell that yielded a softer almost semi-doughey inside. In a welcomed break, seasoning was largely forgone allowing the flavor of the meat and cake to stand alone.

All-in-all I was happy to have made it to St. John’s. I was surprised to learn they opened in 2010. For how well integrated St. John’s is in the community and geography, it could as well have been a staple dating back to the area’s establishment. Kudos, St. John.

St. John Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Cockroach Boots

So while my wife and I were working/living in Buenos Aires for a while after college, she would frequently run for her dansko shoes anytime she saw a cockroach. She hated the cockroaches and would ferociously insist that I quickly come and kill them. I hesitated at first because I couldn’t imagine that she was serious. It was so cliché, it was surreal. Anyway, being the savy, self-preserving and relationship-preserving man that I am, I learned to quickly come and kill the cockroaches.

Even though the threat had passed, the shoes stayed on. And stayed on. It drove me crazy. When we were out walking in the city, she would trip and nearly roll her ankle on the uneven sidewalks. When we were home in the apartment, it felt like she and the shoes had become synonymous, like no woman had since the Wicked Witch of the East. It felt like her hostility toward the cockroaches was spreading to me. I implored her to shed the shoes and again join the ranks of the loving and the mortal. But with the threat of cockroaches, she stomped around in the safety and power that only the cockroach boots could provide. Damn the relationship.

Fast forward five years. My wife has been encouraging me to get a pair of comfortable  shoes for work. I had been keeping an eye out for something, when I learned that the Acadians wore clogs they learned to make from the Dutch before arriving in Louisiana. Now, admiring Coonass culture as I do, I that would be the perfect solution for my new pair of shoes. I could be cool like the Cajuns!

I bought my pair of dansko clogs and my wife could have died. She was incredulous and brought up her scarred memory of the cockroaches and really hard time I gave her FIVE years ago. How could I have possibly remembered my opposition to clogs? Turns out, it wasn’t a problem for her!