Catfish and Gator Tails

April 28, 2008


IMG_2672 From the time Sara and I moved to South Georgia, we knew we wanted to truly experience the south while we were here. Yes, we both grew up here but sometimes you just don’t appreciate it all or take “everything” in until you move away. So, these last 10 days in GA has been about experience all the things unique to the south. We began last week by visiting Ray’s Millpond Cafe. Just from the name alone, you probably wouldn’t know what to expect. It had been close to 20 years since I’ve been to Ray’s Millpond, but I knew exactly what I’d be getting… catfish!

Sara’s had mixed feelings about coming here. She loves seafood, but catfish hardly qualifies as seafood. In addition, catfish is basically banned from Sara’s diet (before she’s even tried it) from the simple fact that catfish are bottom-feeders. She does like shrimp (last time I checked, they were bottom-feeders too), but I guess the thought of bottom-feeding off the floor of the ocean is a little more okay than bottom-feeding off the floor of a nasty pond.

IMG_2664 [Blog]IMG_2665 [Blog]So, Ray’s Mill Pond is out in the middle of nowhere. We had to drive way north up to Ray City. It’s off an obscure road, through several run-down neighborhoods, through several pecan groves until the road basically dead-ends into a pond… Ray’s Millpond. This place is not easy to get to, it isn’t easy to find, but the place is nearly always packed. I guess there aren’t too many good places to get catfish around here. Who knew?

IMG_2687 [Blog]IMG_2690 [Blog]The restaurant is just a big, single story house set on the edge of a pond. I don’t know if it is, but it feels more like one of those pre-fabricated houses when you’re inside. The restaurant is made up of 3 or 4 dining areas. The furniture looks like it came from other restaurants circa 1960. While waiting for your food, or if you’re waiting for a table, you can explore the pond with a nature trail and several decks on the back of the restaurant. To me, this is a pond but to those who aren’t from the south, it looks more like a swamp… but that’s just what most ponds and rivers in the south look like.

We ordered fried pickles and gator tails for appetizers and catfish (I think Sara ordered the shrimp) for dinner. Each dinner also came with a big bowl of cheese or butter grits. It was absolutely amazing.

IMG_2701 [Blog]IMG_2705 [Blog]Since it had been close to 20 years since eating catfish, I forgot how careful you had to be while eating, making sure not to swallow a bone. It was a chore, but I ate all four catfish, two hush puppies and a bowl of grits. Yum! No really, it was a fantastic experience. Sara had a bite of my catfish and she fell in love with the hush puppies. I’m sure that the next time we’re in Valdosta, Sara will want to come back to Ray’s Millpond Cafe. I would imagine that she’ll be writing a detailed experience of Ray’s on her blog soon!

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