LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It’s that time of year when many people hit the road to visit with family and friends.
And if you're driving, there’s a way to possibly make it a culinary adventure.
Most people go to a gas station to, well, get gasoline. Yet some, like Cormie’s at Big Lake and Country Club Roads, also offer gastronomic delights—at least according to Al Hebert, who calls himself the Gas Station Gourmet.
“Gas station food is one of the great culinary secrets. People don’t eat in gas stations, but they miss all this. There’s just amazing things in America’s gas stations. There’s classically trained chefs. Some of the best food in this country is served right in America’s gas stations,” said Hebert.
Hebert has been a cop, a medical writer, a reporter, and who knows what else, but one of his great joys is to identify the unusual and delicious foods he discovers at gas stations around the country.
At Cormie's, his favorites are the bread pudding and chicken salad.
“I think if you’re married and you don’t have Cormie’s at your reception, the marriage may not work out,” says Hebert.
And oh, those kabobs...
“I sacrifice so much for this business...mmmmm,” he said, biting off a large chunk of crunchy, breaded meat on a stick.
Yet, he said some across the country are very much in tune with the trend toward healthier eating.
“I was in a truck stop in New Mexico a couple of months ago. They had gluten-free pizza. They had a vegan menu,” he said.
And of course, if you’re traveling with your brood, it might be more efficient to fuel up the car and the children at one stop.
“You want food, you want quality food, and sometimes you want clean restrooms. And one of the things we have on the map; when a gas station has a particularly clean restroom, I tag it as a restroom destination which is very handy for moms and families,” he said.
And, as gas stations become more than, well, just gas stations, you never know when you will find something you’ve never seen before, such as, at Cormie’s right next to the car wash is a dog wash.
“I’ve been all over the U.S. This is the first one I’ve found. Instead of having to put your dog in the tub, you bring him here,” said Hebert.
What will they think of next?