CAO Expeditions meet Chef Bourque- A Cajun Good time!

Posted: July 13, 2012 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
Tags: , , , ,
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Suburban Camping!

Day two was pretty uneventful traveling, unlike the previous day. We left Mobile around noon, saying goodbye to our couch surfing host, after taking down our tents and drinking a cup of coffee.

Leaving the neighborhood, where we did a little “Suburban camping”, we noticed some interesting signs. Now these must be “special” Alabama only signs. I have been in many states, towns, countries, and tourist areas however, have never run across these before. They said “Speed Lumps”. Oatmeal lumps, sugar lumps, lumps of coal, but speed lumps?
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Hopping back on the highway, we were met with yet more torrential rain. We are getting pretty used to this by now and just rolled with it. The air temperature rapidly dropped from Scorching hot, to miserably humid. Fortunately we had the air condition running full blast. Unfortunately, Bernard’s air is not working in his vehicle. This will be a project later at one of the military base craft shops or maybe, Mexico.

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I have to eat here as a tribute to my Father in Law!

Along the roadside, we started to notice billboards advertising seafood restaurants. They were popping up everywhere like the old mole game at Chuck E. Cheese’s! Though its likely that they have been replaced with the new facelift Chuck E. Cheese recently received. This was pretty exciting, as I love seafood. We even found one especially for my Father-In Law Don, because he and I enjoy a good seafood dinner occasionally.

We pulled off the highway to find our longtime family friends Ted and Shirley Bourque. Now since retiring from the post office several years ago, Ted has focused on retiring, sitting on the front porch rocker watching people walk by. NOT! He has his own cooking show, brews beer, wine and most importantly can cook Cajun food like nobody’s business! We were invited out for just such a meal, and were heading to his Cajun kitchen restaurant. We felt privileged as this is a private restaurant and its invitation only. Its located on the front part of his 5 acre spread.

We pulled into the driveway, and though it had been over 20 years since I last saw them, we were greeted like best friends that just came back from vacation. Hugs and introduction to the CAO expeditions crew commenced, and then we went inside to enjoy some air conditioning. As we walked in the door the Cajun aromas greeted us with tantalizing spices and mouth-watering scents. We were introduced to the old-time Coke cooler that served ice-cold bottled Coke’s, Crush, water, or Root Beer. They said they had removed the coin pay slot long ago. “Help yourself, and make yourself at home” is what we were told. Boy, you cannot beat a cold bottle of Coke perspiring droplets of water on the out side of the glass, and its so cold little ice crystals form on the top. That is some refreshing stuff!

CAO Expeditions meets Chef Bourque and his wife!

We were offered a sandwich, as dinner was still simmering to perfection. Chef Bourque tended that pot like a mother tends a new-born baby. Checking every so often, to stir and add spices, making a succulent gravy. It smelled so good, that my stomach was doing butterflies in anticipation. Finally it was ready and we sat down to enjoy a Chef Bourque signature dish of Chicken Fricke See! I had two helpings and I noticed that Bernard also went back to enjoy a second plate. We were introduced to “Slap Ya Mama”. No this is not some form of domestic abuse, it is an amazing combination of Cajun spices that as we learned later will go on everything with the exception of ice cream, and even that’s debatable.
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After finishing up dinner, we settled down on the back porch to sit on the swing and tell stories. It was fun hearing of days gone by and seeing pictures of my parents sitting in the very swing that we were, probably telling their own stories. Out of the blue Chef Bourque says ” Are you ready for karaoke?” Now, I know in hindsight, had he known the lack of singing abilities that I could offer, he might have reconsidered. Nonetheless, we all retired to the living room, to choose the “perfect” song to accentuate our voices.
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Ted and Shirley prepared a Johnny Cash/June Carter duet that set the bar very high. It was as if we were enjoying a concert of yester years. You can tell they enjoy, and are pros, at the karaoke machine. Bernard surprised us with his version of “Aint no sunshine when you’re gone”, and “Taking care of Business”. Man that really livened up the room! The air guitar was a nice addition too. I made an attempt to get low with a little Johnny Cash and “Folsom County Prison Blues”. It was an unexpectedly great time, given the initial apprehension to participate.
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We were offered beds to stay over the night. This was a welcome invitation, fully enjoying the air conditioning, and comfortable accommodations. The Bourque’s are world-class hosts! They were even given coffee mugs by a prior visitor proclaiming the same thing. They make you feel so welcome and even tell you to make your self at home. We throughly enjoyed our evening with them.

The next morning we woke up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and a genuine Cajun, country breakfast of scrambled eggs, deep-fried bacon, grits, biscuits, and fig jam! Of course as is customary in Cajun country, the eggs featured “Slap Ya Mamma”. Man it was good!

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“No Air Time” John

We were privileged enough to be present at the time of the most recent production of Chef Bourque’s show. We were even featured in the segment.  While filming “No Air time John” showed up hoping to make it on camera. He was unsuccessful, however, we enjoyed meeting him and hearing his stories of travels to Mexico. You absolutely must check out Chef Bourque’s youtube channel at : Chef Bourque’s kitchen I recommend watching “How to clean a turtle”. You can learn to make the Cajun dishes that we enjoyed.

See our video of our meeting with Chef Bourque here:

After the recording,  we decided to take a tour of the local fare. on our way out of Lafayette. The Bourque’s were gracious enough to lead the caravan to the first stop, Fresh Pickens’ Market. This featured so many unique foods and spices, that it was difficult to take it all in. Fortunately, our tour guides were experts at navigating the market. I purchased my own “Slap Ya Mamma” spice to carry on the road. Bernard marveled at the pricing on the fresh produce, as much as 1/2 of the cost we are used to paying. Boiled quail eggs seemed to be a specialty, as there were numerous variations, from pickled, to Cajun spicy, and many in between. notably ,full pineapples were only $1.99 each!

Our last stop was a much-anticipated destination, as I have enjoyed fresh Boudin and Sausage from this location for many years when my parents would bring some back from their travels. The name is Best Stop, and it is named appropriately. It is a little hole in the wall convenience store with a meat counter in the back. This counter features some of the most delicious hand-made turkey, chicken or beef sausage packed into large sausage links. Also the boudin is something to write home about. They offer it hot and ready to put on crackers or cool ready to take home. As you are checking out, there is a large window with Boudin balls sitting under the heat ready to eat. These things melt in your mouth! You simply must experience these first hand. There is just enough spice, rice, meat and breading to make the perfect combination. We enjoyed the stop to the fullest, sampling boudin balls, and chocolate milk (at the behestering of our hosts).
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We said our good byes and jumped on the highway headed for Houston and our next adventure! We were fortunate enough to have two invitations in Houston to stay over. Bernard’s cousin, George offered his home and a child hood friend of mine that I have not seen in over 20 years (Chef Bourque’s son) aka The Urban Treasure Hunter, offered to accommodate us. Stay tuned for more road stories!

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Comments
  1. Chef Bourque says:

    WOW! What can I say. You guys were excellent guests and we enjoyed having ya’ll. We were truly blessed by you guys visit. I am looking for your return trip. Aieee!

    • John Dupre' says:

      It was a real pleasure meeting the three of you and especially getting a “little air time” Good luck on your travels, wish I was doing it with you. John “no air time” Dupre’

  2. James says:

    Making me miss the southland brother, eat up!

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