Friday, December 8, 2018. Around three in the morning with a steady drizzle outside, I get out of bed, don a thick jacket I use so seldom that I’d forgotten I owned it. I walk through the rain at the southwest corner of the house and fight the binding that gets in the way of opening the faucet. The temperature is in the mid twenties tonight, and I need to start a drip to keep pipes from freezing. I also hope that at least one of our three cats will come inside. But they remain hidden. They know all the warm-up places round about. Our oldest cat Tumbler knows to park himself under the shower. Although she’s still outside, the warmth coming through the tub is enough to protect her.
We awaken to a heavier drizzle that I noticed earlier. Before long, this becomes a steady snow. Not sleet or wintry mix or flurries, but a full-fledged snowfall. It’s not long before it begins to accumulate on the lawn, then on the trees, the roof, and the cars parked in the open.
I am supposed to meet my three sisters for lunch at Mr. B’s, there to rendezvous with a relative one of my sisters discovered on the West Coast. I have the day off at the radio station–I’m being pre-empted by the state high school football playoffs. But I am only three miles away from the Cool Water Ranch when I decided that it would not be a good idea to make the drive across the Causeway. Already I noticed a slight wavering when I cross a small bridge. Signs have told me for years that these bridges freeze before the roadway does, and to watch out. I take this advice, turn around, and return home.
My sister Lynn, who set up the lunch, is very disappointed. MA loves the snow as it becomes more insistent. After a few hours, the field at the ranch is brilliant white, giving the illusion that the sun is shining. It is anything but. I finish my newsletter and join MA at the window to watch the amazing snow piling higher and higher.
The word from the leaders of NPAS–the chorus I sing in–is that our concert of Christmas music this evening will still go on in Mandeville. But within the hour cooler minds prevailed, and the show will be postponed.
That settled, our next matter is what we will eat. I have not had a bit of food since this morning. MA lately has stopped eating altogether. (That’s what it sounds like she’s doing when she talks about it.) We have enough for a basic batch of sandwiches, beans, pasta, whatever. At around five, MA says that she’d like to have dinner at Pardo’s, a favorite restaurant of both of us. Owner Osman Rodas tells us that he certainly has room for us. Restaurants all around town are being flooded with reservation cancellations.
MA says she’d like going to Pardo’s, but only if she’s at the wheel. For some reason, both of the Marys dispute my driving abilities. I have no idea why this is. I’d think about it if I weren’t already occupied with the thought of Mary Ann’s standard driving methods. I let the matter drop.
We have an excellent dinner at Pardo’s. We begin with a pair of altered French 75’s, which have a touch of juicy fruits in their flavor. Now a half-dozen big oysters in the style of both Bienville and Italian. The oysters bake on their shells with a thick stuffing of bread crumbs, herbs, olive oil, and a few other flavors that belong here as much as any two batches of ingredients ever did.
I have a soup made with Chinese-style dumplings, mushrooms, and a few other tasty ingredients. MA begins with skewers impaling big shrimp with a flavor she liked a lot. Then comes a confit of duck with creamy grits, all of which she loves–except that in this case the duck is a bit undercooked (she actually said “under-confited.” MA likes meat that fall off the bone.
Pardo’s always has beautiful scallops, and it was a long time since last I tried them out. Indeed, they are as fine as I remember them, with no sand caught under the skin, and a nice searing with a rather peppery finish. At all added up to an excellent dinner. Why have we not been dining lately at Pardo’s is a mystery. We may get more of it in the months ahead. He has opened a new Mexican restaurant in Covington called Pepe. It could only be better than a restaurant that had been there before.
The snow has ended by the time we’re finished eating. This is not the end of it, though.
Pardo’s. Covington: 69305 Hwy 21. 985-893-3603.