Here in Houston, we are fortunate to have a great cajun restaurant, little more than a crawfish shack, actually, named Ragin Cajun. The food is so good – perfectly, lightly fried shrimp po boy sandwiches, scrumptious efftoufe with thick, complex roux, dark bayou-worthy gumbo, hush puppies with jalapeno peppers mixed in the batter, corn on the cob spiced with pepper and paprika…and for those who eat crawfish, giant, heaping plastic buckets of them. I’ve never eaten them, but people spread out newspaper over the picnic tables and sure look blissed out as they eat.
I was craving the shrimp ettoufe and hushpuppies. It’s my thing – I treat myself when I need to taste home. I was raised in the New Orleans, and I know my Cajun food. Shrimp ettoufe is just the thing to take me back. While waiting for my order to go, I was sitting at one of the picnic tables, writing an email to my boyfriend. An older gentleman was
talking to someone else about the Saints, and I searched my brain, trying to remember if the Saints were football, basketball… or perhaps some combination? As I was typing, the gentleman, who was the manager, approached me. “You know how to use those?”
I said, “Yes, sir, I sure do.”
He said, “My grandson is always using those and I don’t know how.”
I decided to be friendly. I am rarely friendly. Usually I plug my iPod into my ears, keep my glasses on, and make sure I convey the fact that I am not really looking for new friends, or even just a polite hello. But today, being at the Ragin’ Cajun, I felt happy, so I said, “Those Saints you were talking about…”
“Oh yeah, the Saints!” His face lit up.
“Those are football?”
“Yeah they were playing for the Super Bowl!”
The joy in his face was just adorable. I was smiling like an idiot, loving his enthusiasm. “So, that was the Super Bowl? With the… Vikings?”
“No, they play one more for the Super Bowl.”
My number was called, meaning my ettoufe was ready. I got up and grabbed it from the bar. The man was speaking with another customer.
“Good luck to your Saints,” I called on the way out of the door.
“Yes ma’am,” he replied, “Geaux Saints!”
“Geaux Saints!” I said just as the door closed.
I think I am a fan now, just based on the quality of their other fans. I felt like a million bucks walking out of there.