Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wichita Falls Fourth Annual Cajun Festival

The Fourth Annual Wichita Falls Cajun Festival was a few weeks ago!  I had company in town from California so my life has been like a whirl wind this month. Sorry it took so long to get this posted but better late than never!

I remember last year I was still new at work and did not want to ask for a day off so I missed the Cajun Fest.  This year as I mentioned I had a visitor coming into town and needed to make as much $$$ as possible, and as a server that meant putting in more floor time.  I was able to go and check it out before work though. 

The Festival also featured a car show.  Locals showed up with their best rides, polished and gleaming.  They popped open the hoods and the chrome was blinding.  The pride these people have is very obvious.  I believe the pride is well placed.  In the day and age of computerized engines they are preserving a major piece of American history.  I'm a Ford Fan so these were my favorite two...

As cool as that was I was here for another reason.  The Food! :-0  The first thing that hits you is the smell.  I was there early so I was able to take it all in.  Vendors were hard at work, an army of foodies preparing to wage the culinary war of outdoor service.  If you have any experience with this then you know how easy something can go wrong and how much more difficult it can be to fix the problem.  But that is what makes it fun and exciting.
The first thing on my list was Alligator.  I have been wanting to taste Alligator for quite some time now.  I had been watching Swamp People on the History channel and they made it sound so good.  I grabbed and order and took a seat at one of several super long picnic tables.  They had several Louisiana style hot sauce brands to choose from set out on the tables.  My favorite was Fiery Flame Louisiana Hot Sauce.  The Gator was battered in cornmeal and deep fried.  The texture was a cross between pork and chicken and the flavor to me was somewhat the same combo.  I was surprised that there was no fishy flavor at all.  I was admittedly nervous but I wolfed those delightful tid bits down!!!

The next on my list was Gumbo.  I loved it.  It had a very earthy and hearty flavor.  Not to mention it wanted to bite back with a spicy kick. 

Next was the Craw fish Etouffee.  I am very picky when it comes to seafood so I was leery going in.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Etouffee is a french style of cooking that smothers the food in a thick roux.  Much like a gravy and served over white rice the flavors and richness of the dish were balanced well.  Of course it was spicy as well, a plus for me!

Last on my list was the most intimidating food I have eaten in a long while.  Boiled Craw fish.  I grew up playing with these things.  They were the scum of the creek as far as we were concerned.  Boy was I missing out!  As I sat down and looked my Craw fish in the eye, yea I looked him in the eye, I thought what have I gotten myself into?  They are scary looking.  You cannot deny it!  They are so good though.  It's almost like eating mini lobsters.  The meat is slightly sweet and there is a very light fish flavor.  The seasoning they used to boil them in was superb and had me licking my fingers.

There was also a Gumbo Cook Off.  I missed it :-(  I also missed the sampling.  I was there too early and had to leave before they were in full swing.  I was able to talk to a few of the teams and they ranged from four year veterans to first year newbies. 

The guy with the big beads won last years cook off.  I was not able to find out who won this year though.

There was also a line up of live music I was able to see the fist set which was Matt Castille.  I love live music so I enjoyed it.  So did these kids who danced through his whole set!
 Powered largely by volunteers it is truly a local event.  I hope to be a part of it next year and wish to give thanks to all those who put time, effort, and compassion into this years Cajun Festival!  Thanks Wichita Falls!  I will see you next year! 

Love Food, Live Life!


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