Tom Sez:

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris June 17, 2020 02:00 in Dining Diary

The day started with a well issue at the Cool Water Ranch. I put on a small pot of hot water for tea, turned around and went to the tap again only to hear it sputter. Our plumber said it sounded like a well problem, which was better because the well people are closer and there are a lot of them, but I thought it might be a lot more expensive.

The first part was true, they were at our house in a half hour. Fortunately, I was wrong about the second assumption. It was just a little switch and in no time we had water for under $200.

But while it was out I agreed to go with Tom to get a belt for him. Tom is having trouble adjusting to this new life and he didn’t want to wait in the weird socially distant line, so we left and went to lunch. He’d be upset about that too but things are looking more and more normal with each restaurant visit.

We didn’t go far, which is another thing about our post-Covid life. We stay sort of close to home. Vera’s is a very good seafood restaurant a little down the highway from us. It is the second location of the original Vera’s which was the ramshackle pile of wood on stilts that was blown away in Katrina. Talk about atmosphere! Out on the lake with lots of windows, Vera’s was the epitome of a Louisiana seafood shack. 

When it washed away in 2005, they relocated to a strip mall on Slidell’s western edge. They’ve done reasonably well there, though the place has no particular charm at all. Or maybe it’s just by comparison to the original place. Donnie and Dena re-did the interiors and made it rustic, because Donnie is in construction too. When the place on Hwy 59 in Abita came up, Donnie did some light remodeling with his woodwork. There are some beautiful single-slab cypress benches that definitely make a statement.

Vera’s has great lunch specials for $9.99, and a respectable number of choices. We sometimes go for that, but today the stuffed crab plate called to me, and the crab meat au gratin enticed Tom. Mine came with a side salad which I gave to Tom because I knew he’d love the homemade remoulade dressing. Besides, I chose coleslaw as the side for my platter.

His appetizer crabmeat au gratin was really large and covered with cheddar cheese, served with a nice-sized portion of french bread.

When the plate of stuffed crab arrived in front of me, I was surprised to see three of them. That almost certainly meant that the $15.75 price assured me that there would not be much crabmeat inside the stuffed crabs.

While I would say that the crabmeat wasn’t obviously plentiful, these were very tasty stuffed crabs. They, like so many now, were breaded and deep-fried, which is not my preference, but I definitely liked them and would get them again.

The coleslaw was different, and my description may sound negative, but I like this very much too. It was a large amount, with coarsely chopped pieces that were also very long, which made it a bit difficult to eat. There was no red cabbage or carrots in this coleslaw, just a bit of also coarse chopped purple onion. The dressing was light and not especially creamy, but I liked this a lot. I was very happy with my choice of side, and everything about this meal.

Again, I was less depressed than usual dining in these days. The environment was relaxed, and there were people all around, no chairs on tables, and masks were few. That feeling of “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” is dissipating. And that feels fine.