Ponchatoula, located in Tangipahoa Parish, is the home of the Strawberry Festival which is held in April every year and serves up the best strawberries you’ll taste anywhere in the country.
I had the pleasure of spending some time in Ponchatoula recently and had lunch at a fairly new Café NOLA Restaurant (five years old) and I was pleasantly pleased. There are not a lot of restaurants in Tangipahoa Parish that serve Gumbo, but Café NOLA does and boy, do they do a great job.
They have only one Gumbo and it’s called Gumbo Ya Ya. If you have read my previous blogs you may notice that when I see a Gumbo called Gumbo Ya Ya, I get a little apprehensive. Why? The first time I saw a Gumbo called Ya Ya was at Mr. B’s Bistro and that has always been one of the best. The Gumbo Ya Ya at Café NOLA comes very close to Mr. B’s. It doesn’t have as dark of a roux as Mr. B’s, but it can be classified as a dark roux. There was a great gumboroma, with a strong scent of fresh seafood. You can order their gumbo by the cup at $4.95 and it comes with rice, or by the bowl at $9.50, which comes with potato salad. I ordered the cup. Here is what I found. There were small pieces of smoked sausage, several good size pieces of local shrimp, small pieces of chicken and slivers of crabmeat. The Gumbo was seasoned perfectly and had a fantastic after burn. It was so good, every part of my tongue was tingling (TMI?) The rice was just okay.
Café NOLA is a local’s restaurant, but you would never know it by the way you are treated. The service was great, the fried shrimp was as fresh as it could be and they prepared the French fries just the way I like them (extra crispy).
Café NOLA Gumbo Ya-Ya
Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Very Good
1625 Highway 51
Ponchatoula, LA 70454