St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 8 Good Breakfast and RAIN

Day 8: Raining

The forecast was for rain all day and it was right. It rained through the day and the night too, sometimes hard.

We drove seven miles to Ville Platte to try Café de la Salle for breakfast. The sign along the road said open M-F 8 am- 2pm lunch. We guessed that if they opened at 8, they would have something for breakfast.

We pulled in at 8:30. No cars in the parking lot. A dark brown neat and unassuming building. We stepped into the café and looked around. Cash register, buffet under glass table, and tables and chairs for about 60; mostly 4 per table with a few seating 6.

The walls were decorated with pictures, old signs and some antiques on a shelf. In one corner was a large Rotary banner behind a podium pushed against the wall and a few Rotary signs. A sixteen by eight foot wall painting of a Cajun paddling through a cypress swamp covered part of one wall. It was colorful and primitive.

Three plump middle aged ladies were sitting at one of the tables having breakfast. “Do you serve breakfast here?” I asked. “Yeah, just made a pan of biscuits and have a fresh pot of coffee on.” We sat at a wall table for four. Each table had a small wood boat (a bateaux) with salt, pepper, sauce, knapkins etc in the center. Each had a number and the French word for the number (we were at 4, quattre I think).

One of the ladies got up and brought us menus and a breakfast menu. Pretty standard choices. We picked scrambled eggs, bisquit, grits, and Margo bacon and me ham. “We come in and open up and first have a big breakfast,” said the waitress, “that’s why we are so fat. Where y’all from.” She spoke with the southern/Cajun accent. Minnesota. Came down to see how to get a winning football team,” a line that has worked pretty good with everyone around being avid New Orleans Saints fans.

“We needed that win at the Superbowl after all the bad things with the hurricane. And such a good Christian man, Drew Breese, to take us to the win!” as she took our order.

The tables had a glass plate on top of a dark table cloth. Under the glass were menus and religious mottos. She soon brought us our coffee in blue green mugs that said “First Baptist Church of Ville Platte” on them. The coffee was good, although the creamer was powdered.

Soon our meal arrived. A large white dinner plate with real silverware. On it was a huge, 4x4 irregularly shaped biscuit and our eggs and meat. Margo had two round crisp bacon pieces. I had a round slice of ham (thin sandwich style). A bowl of fresh grits and two small dishes, one with butter and one with grape jelly. The whole meal had the pleasant flavor of butter. The grits were good. The biscuit excellent; bottom crispy and butter soaked. The eggs scrambled in butter. I have been looking for a real southern breakfast with a fried ham slice with a bone in the center, so was disappointed, but the slice did taste good. It was the best breakfast we have had so far—and very filling. It cost $11.50 for the two of us with coffee. We recommend it! The only problem is it is not open on the weekends and only has breakfast and lunch. We plan to try lunch where the specialty is all kinds of local seafood including shrimp and crawdads running $5 to $11.

We went for a long drive in the rain out through the country and saw many white birds, egrets possibly, and hundreds of ducks in the bayous. In the early afternoon we returned to the camper in the heavy rain and read, did some email and napped. The campsites are still mostly empty with only one neighbor pulling in for the weekend.

One thing that puzzles us are the empty businesses in the towns around the area. Some downtowns seem to be half closed/boarded up. Even gas stations and businesses around the towns are closed in large numbers. The buildings seem to be kept up, so it appears the closings are in the last few years. We wonder if it is all from the recent recession or of longer standing.