"Come on down to Grand Cane and have lunch at our new restaurant," invited Grand Cane A-lister Edith Herring.
Having lunch with Edith is a happening I can never turn down. Not only does she know everyone in North DeSoto Parish, but she knows everything going on and all the gossip. Besides, she is great company.
And, I rarely say "no" to an invitation to head to a country place.
So, on an absolutely beautiful, clear sunshiny today, I skimmed down Interstate-49, and onto a country lane before I headed south on 171.
I met Edith at Grand Cane Food Co., Restaurant and Catering, at the south end of the cluster of vintage buildings right in the middle of the town.
It is a real find for a foodie.
Chef Cal Smith has been cooking for 50 years, mostly for family and church events, until he opened the Food Co. Aug. 15.
"My mama was a wonderful cook. I was raised by the stove and I learned to cook," said Smith, who worked 30 years as an administrator, before turning his talents to cookin’ full time.
And, he wanted to serve a better hamburger. So, he found jalapeno cheese buns at a bakery in Houston that he grills before filling them with Angus beef and sauteed onions. (His bread comes from Gambino’s in New Orleans.) It is absolutely a divine hamburger.
Each day, there is a different special and everything is cooked to perfection. Today, he offered meat loaf, mashed potatoes, field peas and corn bread.
I am not sure how I resisted that meal made up of all the things I love, but I selected the hamburger.
Tomorrow, there will be pork loin, rice and gravy, sweet potatoes and yeast rolls.
Thursday is steak night, but there will also be grilled shrimp and chicken/beef kabob.
The Food Co. special — and popular— au gratin potatoes and a veggie, such as steamed asparagus, are part of the order.
Friday is seafood night and will feature seafood gumbo.
And Sunday? "Whatever I get up and decide to do," said Smith.
In the past, that has been traditional baked chicken or pot roast, but also cornish game hen, which was much talked about.
But dinners are more intricate and might be grilled tenderloin with pork reduction sauce and for dessert, grilled bananas in Bourbon sauce with ice cream or a chocolate souffle.
The staff includes Dana Gilbeau, who helps with the cooking and Pam Kennedy who works the front. Justin Kennedy, who has just received a scholarship to be in the Centenary College choir, is the matrie ‘d.
If you stop by, you are likely to be in the midst of the DeSoto power crowd. Grand Cane Alderman Bill Cook walked in as we walked out.
Also spotted at other times: DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle, Grand Cane Mayor Clayton Davis, Mansfield Mayor Curtis McCoy and DeSoto School Supt. Walter Lee.
The eatery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and "after church" on Sunday, though they will be closed Easter.
Note: Next door is Village Creations, owned by Suzanne Brossette and housed in a building with a ribbed metal ceiling, unfinished concrete floors and exposed ceilings and duct work. It is wonderful and with fine gift items, including local very good art, jewelry, and mosaics, such as garden steps, plus urns, unusual guest towels and antiques.
We hope to go back and have plenty of time to browse.
If you know of some country places, send 'em my way. I'll visit and write about them.