Gumbo is the perfect metaphor for our city, our music and our culture – all of the ingredients work together without ever losing their individual flavors. This was my 4th United Way’s Got Gumbo? at the Royal Sonesta but the contest has been running for 14 years. I had a friend visiting from out of town who’d been here a week and hadn’t eaten anywhere outside of his hotel and national chains. He joined us and got to taste over 20 restaurants competing in 4 categories of gumbo: traditional, seafood, exotic and vegan. Way to make up for lost time!
As usual, Raymond Signal of the Superdome’s Centerplate, made an amazing gumbo, so smoky and rich – this time using goose and gator and pouring it over goose dirty rice. I was shocked how much I liked the vegan offering from Cafe Adelaide. I only hate one food – mushrooms – and their gumbo was full of them, but it also had collard greens and the tang of wine and (after pushing mushrooms out of the way) I really liked it. Restaurant R’evolution prepared 3 categories and all were good, but the traditional was really great.
After an evening of eating ourselves silly, the winners were:
Vegetarian – Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse (Cafe Adelaide 2nd)
Exotic – Bourbon House (Palace Cafe 2nd)
Seafood – Oceana Grill (Mr. Poor Boy 2nd)
Traditional – 5 Fifty 5 (Charlie’s 2nd)
The People’s Choice awards went to:
Dessert – Tulane University
Float – Desire
Gumbo – 5 Fifty 5
As regular readers of this blog know, time is not my friend right now so sorry I couldn’t do better with the photos and food descriptions…