SHRIMPING COUNTRY: Just outside Palacios you'll start seeing
shrimp boats which shouldn't come as any surprise considering you're in the Shrimp Capital
of Texas. Along the beach I found this neat white porch and further on the Palacious
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
Seems a Spanish ship wrecked in Matagorda Bay a few hundred years back and
the stranded sailors (probably driven to distraction by the wind) thought they saw three
palaces on the shoreline.
Reality must have slipped a cog or two because the land is
flatter than the underside of a pancake. Or just maybe the sailors caught a glimpse
into the future, and the three palaces were the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), the
Celanese Chemical Company and the South Texas Nuclear Project -- the three principal
industries (apart from shrimping) in the area.
ronically, Palacios started out as a bull pasture owned by Abel H.
(Shanghi) Pierce. So maybe Port The Cow isn't such a strange a name after all.
Now, Shanghi Pierce is a legendary trailboss who was actually born in Rhode
Island. In 1853, when "Shanghi" was only nineteen, he stowed away on a
ship in New York harbor bound for Indianola, Texas -- so he wasn't exactly
Shanghied. Although he arrived in Texas without a penny, Shanghi Pierce eventually
became a "cattle king" with a one-half-million-acre ranch to back up the title.
One of the writers for Enchanted Rock Magazine,
James Coronet (aka. L. Kelly Down), worked for Mr. Pierce in his youth. That is
until he realized the wages and hours in the oil field were more to his liking.
Between Port Lavaca and Palacios we came across a temporary highway sign, "Seismic
Crew Ahead". The day being Sunday there was no one around, which was a
disappointment. I imagined we'd see a few men the size of Sumo wrestlers wearing
headphones plugged into the earth while they went through a foot stomping routine. Oh,
Ms. Intrepid and I decided on Palacios because we
liked the name and a Letter to the
Editor recommended the place. Looking back, I wasn't too impressed with the
boats in the Private No Trespassing dock. They seemed all wrapped up in a cocoon of
ropes. I was looking for real working boats. Boats with color and character --
Being the Shrimp Capital of Texas, Palacios filled my
need to a fraction. After shooting thirty or so pictures among the boats we headed
for The Outrigger Restaurant on the
recommendation of Judy the Subscriber.
You might as well know now, Ms. Intrepid is a
certified chef and I've never seen her eat shrimp fried. But when the owners,
Wayne and Cheryl Dodd joined our table, Cheryl wanted us to sample their fried
shrimp. Now, I'll eat shrimp any way you serve it, but I was holding my breath when
it was offered to Ms. Intrepid -- fried.
She liked it. She really, really liked it!
Now I'm not your gourmet type but I understood right away why Ms. Intrepid was
impressed. The shrimp was fresh that day and delicately fried without a doughy
I ordered a shrimp cocktail with a mixture of shrimp, jalapeno, green onions, avocado and
spicy sauce. I don't remember what Ms. Intrepid ate cause I was too busy licking my spoon.
The Outrigger opened in September 2000 in what was
once Price Lumber Company built around 1906. Relics of Palacios' past fill the walls.
There's even a peg leg which no respectable sea food restaurant should be without.
Cheryl Dodd took me on a tour of their expansion and
I was particularly impressed with two beautifully painted doors by an artist named
Thank you Judy the Subscriber! The next time
you're at the Outrigger in Palacios introduce yourself. Wayne and Cheryl want to say
While taking a tour of the town Ms. Intrepid said,
"This is a town just waiting to happen." And she's right on that
score. It's a clean place for certain, with some commercial property with real
potential. (Cheryl is lobbying for more lodging and Ms. Intrepid was eyeballing cute
PAGE 1: INDIANOLA
/ PAGE 2: PORT LAVACA
PAGE 3: PALACIOS / PAGE 4: EL CAMPO
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