Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hankering For Some Catfish

I don’t think about eating catfish all that often, but, every month or so, I do get a certain hankering for it. And, if I don’t immediately feed my hunger for the fish, it gnaws at me until I do.

The nagging craving for catfish appears suddenly, and without warning, and when it does, I immediately start thinking about all of the places nearby where I can go to get my fried catfish “fix.” I avoid the chain restaurants at all costs, unless, of course, I’m really desperate. Fortunately, there are quite a few places in the hill country which make a living off the fish, and know how to prepare it correctly.

When the catfish mood hit me this past week, I jumped into the car and headed over to Marble Falls. As I drove over the winding road through the hill country of Texas, I knew that at the end of my journey there would be fried catfish filets with my name on them. My destination, of course, was Ken’s Catfish & BBQ.

The restaurant is a small white concrete block building right on Marble Fall’s main drag. When I arrived, as is usual at the noon hour, the parking lot in front of the place was crowded with oversized pickup trucks. Despite the clutter of trucks outside, I knew that there would be a seat for me inside. There always is, as the locals will gladly seat you at their table if you have no other place to sit.

The kind folk at Ken’s, like nearly everywhere else in the hill country, are friendly and sincerely appreciate your business. They say “thank you” with a special emphasis after you order, and they really mean it. But, once the catfish is delivered to the table, it’s time to say “thank you” back to them.

The thin catfish filets, breaded in cornmeal, were hot and delicious. A choice of sides was available, including fries, beets, slaw, green beans and potato salad. I went with the coleslaw and green beans. In addition to the catfish and the sides, my order was also served with hush puppies. On top of the great food, I have to tell you, the ice tea was something special.

While I was enjoying the catfish, I looked over to the table next to me, and saw two good old boys eating a couple of impressive-looking overstuffed barbecue sandwiches. Under normal circumstances, I might have regretted my decision to get the catfish, but not that day. I was on a mission to satisfy my catfish craving, and not even those delicious looking beef sandwiches could deter me.

After having devoured those wonderful fried catfish filets at Ken’s Catfish & BBQ, with the accompanying sides, I felt so much better and headed home. It will be a month or so before I get a hankering for catfish again, but, when I do, I know that I will be able to find respite in one of the many places in the Texas Hill Country that know how to fry them up properly.

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