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Ooh-ee! Authentic Cajun fare at Bossier City, La's Ralph & Kacoo's

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There's a world of difference between mass-produced "Cajun" food and the authentic, slow-cooked, localvore flavors of real-deal Cajun. Ralph & Kacoo's is a regional restaurant group that started in 1969. I was at the Bossier City -- North Louisiana -- location. This is not some pandering-for-the-tourists trap -- it's a favorite of locals! I was happy to be hosted to experience it.

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This is a place where one can dress casually, but waitstaff is fine dining level in their service!

I was here for lunch and as you'll see, it can be very rich! These are traditional recipes with that classic French touch. Okay, so consomme and boiled eggs for breakfast, supper.

First, we started with sweet/salty hush puppies and seasoned rolls.

Next, I tried their signature Cajun Corn, that my server explained is Corn Maque Choux. Here's what Wiki says about that style of corn:

It is thought to be an amalgam of Acadian French (Cajun) and American Indian cultural influence, and the name is likely to derive from the French interpretation of the Native American name.

It contains corn, green bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, and sometimes garlic and celery. The ingredients are braised in a pot. Historically bacon grease was used for the braising stage, although various combinations of oil, butter, or cream may be substituted. The vegetables are then left to simmer until they reach a tender consistency, with chicken stock or water added as necessary. The dish is finished with salt and a combination of red and black pepper. Some cooks include hot sauce and a bit of sugar for greater complexity.

So, this is definitely 'gator country! I've eaten alligator a couple of times before, including as a judge at the Roadkill Cookoff. Often, it can be rubbery or even fishy tasting. It can be, but certainly wasn't here! I would definitely say that whether you've had 'gator before or never before, this is the place to order it! It's spicy and tender, with a light battered coating. Delicious!

I tried a special of theirs: Sea Bass Supreme. It's stuffed with crawfish and topped with green pepper, crispy seasoned breaded crab and a thinner style of Hollandaise sauce. Decadent and fresh! Ralph and Kacoo's is considered by locals to be the seafood restaurant.

I also tried a little taste of their gumbo: it was dark, with a dark chocolate-brown roux, a touch of spice.

For more information:

Explore Louisiana North

318-393-3274 http://www.explorelouisiananorth.org

Shreveport/Bossier Convention and Visitor Bureau 318-222-9391

http://www.shreveport-bossier.org

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