CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Oysters get the Port Arthur treatment

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, March 16, 2021

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Everybody associates Port Arthur with seafood.

As the Texas Outdoor Writers Association planned a February conference in Port Arthur, Vizi Caldwell styled a Port Arthur Oyster/Bacon Portabella Stew to set the mood.

Knowing Cajuns live here, her “Port A” seasonings included red pepper, paprika and a dash of Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce.

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Area outdoors writer Chester Moore earned many accolades at the Excellence in Craft writing awards at Museum of the Gulf Coast. Visitors enjoyed museum exhibits; and artist/writer Sam Caldwell, Vizi’s husband, called the experience a “stunning treat.”

The Portabella Stew recipe ran in a Coastal Conservation of America newsletter and is reprinted here with Caldwell’s permission:

Port Arthur Oyster/Bacon Portabella Stew


1.5 pint fresh, raw oysters, undrained

4 slices bacon, cooked & chopped

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

8 ounces portabella mushrooms, sliced

One half red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon fresh dill

One fourth cup celery with tops, chopped

1 and one-half tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 and one-half quart half and half

Port A Seasoning to taste suggestion: Salt, pepper, cumin, crushed red pepper, paprika, dash of Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce


Get your oysters ready — reserve liquor, rinse oysters gently.

Fry your bacon crispy, remove bacon and saute onions and celery in rendered bacon fat and butter until translucent. Remove from pot.

Saute mushrooms with thyme until golden brown. Add half and half to the pot with reserved oyster liquor.

Simmer a moment, then add all the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for an additional 5-7 minutes until oyster ends begin to curl. Ladle stew in bowls and garnish with chopped green onion. Serve with oyster crackers, or crisped flour tortillas.

Who ordered pizza?

Don’t fret if you missed National Pizza Day in February. There’s a National Pizza With Everything (Except Anchovies Day) coming up on Nov. 12 this year.

My husband has famously said he could eat pizza every day for a month and I challenged him by making variations for a couple of weeks straight.

He never wavered. There are so many variations, and you may as well dress the part for them:

Bring Me Some Pizza Socks

For the price of a slice or two, these non-slip comfort babies have a message for friends and family.

Prop up your feet and the non-slip ink announces: “If You Can Read This, Bring Me Some Pizza.”

A saucy pizza design goes up the legs of these Lavley socks designed for years of wear and slovenly days to remain bright, soft and well fitting. Husband won’t take them off.

Little GF Chefs

The one time my husband helped me make pizza, it was from this kit designed for little kids. Little, fun, adventurous cooks I might say.

Bonus: Ingredients made this very tasty pizza safe for those with diet restrictions like Celiac or other allergies without sacrificing “savory pizza-liciousness flavors.”

Little GF Chefs is a subscription with all sorts of ways and cultures to go.

The pizza came with wee spice packets a cool rolling cutter and a checkered table cover.

We felt like a couple of kids having fun with this box goodies.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie always looking for culinary adventures. She writes for Port Arthur Newsmedia and can be reached at