|Fried Catfish and Lemon Cake
||[Nov. 14th, 2010|08:12 am]
From Nashville we drove pretty much due west to wind up near J’s sister’s place, at a little campground in Kensett, a little town in central Arkansas. The campground was a bit run down but the owner was very friendly, and recommended a place he said served “the best catfish in Arkansas!” There was just enough time to get there for dinner, so we piled into the van and drove east to an even tinier town (pop 132.) Georgetown is literally the end of the road; the tarmac just suddenly ends in the woods. The restaurant looks like someone’s house, and we were worried we’d walk into a living room and surprise the owners watching TV when we pushed open the door. Instead we walked into a homey, cheery dining room with white laminate tables and walls covered floor to ceiling with snapshots: winning high school teams, fishermen holding monster catfish, various record bucks or sometimes just the one they got that year, homecoming dances and so forth.
The campground host had said that the restaurant often had lines out the door so I was pretty sure there would be more than just catfish on the menu. That was for P, who wasn’t sure he’d like catfish but gamely went along with us. Well, not only was there nothing but catfish available, we didn’t even get a menu. A very nice waitress showed up and got our drinks order and then nothing.. J got up to ask about the drinks and she apologized, brought them out and told us our meals were cooking. (?) Out came platters of catfish and all the fixings, and indeed they were delicious. River fish, we were told, caught not ranched. Folks came in for takeout; they’d been out on the river all day and barely caught enough for one person so they stopped by to supplement their catch. The catfish was very good (and P found that he likes catfish – whew) but we all agreed the dessert was better. Yellow sheet cake with coolwhip frosting. Eh, I thought, then I took a bite. Lemon cake, sweet and tart and moist, coolwhip gentling the tartness and serving as a perfect foil. We raved about the dessert and one of the other ladies told us she makes it, and the secret is lemonade concentrate poured over the warm cake; she was very careful to emphasize that it’s the concentrate, not regular lemonade. I would try that at home.
The next day we had J’s sister and her family out for lunch, and had a pleasant time feasting on barbeque and buffalo wings. J’s nephew drove up with my MIL and stayed for supper; he and P made dinner under J’s direction, and all in all it was a very nice day. The week was quiet and family oriented. On Wednesday we packed up and headed north to Jonesboro, AR, where we set up at Craighead Forest Park. It’s a city park surrounding a small lake; one spit of land has perhaps 30 RV sites, first come first serve. I was worried about getting a site, but there were quite a few sites left and we managed to get one that backed up to the lake, which was gorgeous as the sun set. We split our time between there and J’s sister’s house, driving over for dinner and hanging out. MIL and her cat settled in at the sister’s house for the duration, which worked out fine. At the end of the week J cooked a surf and turf dinner for the family in honor of his sister’s birthday; we bought an elegant chocolate cake that the lady at the bakery section of the supermarket deemed “too fancy for just a birthday” but we felt it was just right.
We caught up on laundry and took walks around the lake and rested up. Our two cats had to go in to the vet for what turned out to be ringworm, but neither of them had a bad case of it and it cleared up quickly with daily applications of ointment, which wasn’t popular at all with said cats. We took them to Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital, and I was very pleased with the vets, who were thorough, kind, and attentive.