My mom, sister and I waited at a table under a sprawling oak, inhaling aromatic smoke, as we waited for ribs, links and a potato bomb at Rogers BBQ Barn. Then we moved to a screened-in, rustic dining area to feast. The view from there was another oak with low branches, a garden and a field, that made Mom reminiscent of Louisiana visits in her youth.
I know this place at 15879 Old Sour Lake Road has been around more than a year, because a friend of mine ordered her holiday spread from there and raved. For me, it was worth the wait. It’s not far from the track where I walk near Westbrook High School in Beaumont. Yet it’s down scenic country road that makes you feel like you’re on a road trip. We saw horses and what Mom insists was a jackass, not a mule.
Refinery workers, motorcycle riders and pickup truck drivers paraded past the ordering window of this little red “barn” and they all seemed like they were regulars on return visits. I got to weigh and buy sweet potatoes on the honor system from under a tent. Every bite was good, and there was plenty of raw, white onion, my favorite barbecue side. I”ve driven much farther for “famous” barbecue that was less impressive than Rogers. I’ll be one of those repeat customers and I’ll be ordering ribs again.
Runamok Maple’s barrel-aged syrups are high-end breakfast enhancers. The skill and knowledge that comes out of Cambridge, Vermont comes at a price, but syrup in the $16.95-$27.95 range is sometimes the only thing that will highlight your masterpiece pancakes or sausage. Sugarmaker’s Cut reserve, not blended or homogonized, is the most romantic variety name in the line. Bourbon Barrel-Aged is as beautifully packaged as its neighbors, like Cinnamon+Vanilla Infused. That’s Madagascar vanilla, and pairs with apple pie, pancakes, ice cream or yogurt.
But it is the Hibiscus Flower Infused, with a ruby-red tint and a warning to not share with friends unless you’re ready to run out that gets most of my love. Granted, I haven’t tried them all, though Cardamom-Infused beckons. But I’m guessing that the hibisucus will remain my favorite straight up. Makers suggest it to enliven cocktails. Runamokmaple.com can get some of these flavors to your holiday tables.
Goat poop blessings
Goat poop and bee vomit for Christmas? A goat for milk and manure and a hive for honey is considerably more valuable to a family somewhere than a singing trout would be here.
World Vision Gift Catalog guides gift givers to stylish jewelry and décor handcrafted with the intent to give back. Make a donation and receive something like prosperity cinnamon, carved wooden spoons or a turquoise medallion necklace made by families in Delhi. The chain is distinctive and the medallion is a web of beads on gold wire that’s eye catching. If your “gift” is wearable, you have the added bonus of a conversation starter, so you can spread the word on this program. It’s tax deductible. To order from World Vision’s Gift Catalog, visit www.worldvisiongifts.org or call 855-WV-GIFTS.