A New Kingfish Comes to New Orleans and Brings a Great Louisiana Gumbo

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

Louisiana Gumbo, Louisiana Dining, RestaurantsIf you know anything about Louisiana history, you will know that we have had some interesting governors over the past many years. One of the most interesting was Huey Long, better known as The Kingfish. Here is a website that will give you a better insight to this legendary governor. 

On April Fool’s Day 2013 (the perfect day to open a new restaurant), a new Kingfish made its debut in the French Quarter on the corner of Conti and Chartres Streets.  

Best Gumbo, Louisiana travel, Louisiana vacationKingfish has only one Louisiana Gumbo on its menu and it’s a fantastic one. They serve a Smoked Rabbit Gumbo. Here is what you will find. This is a dark roux gumbo with an excellent Gumboroma. It is filled with smoky pieces of rabbit, homemade smoked sausage and an excellent blend of spices that leaves you with a nice but smoky after burn.  It also comes with dirty basmati rice. As always, I asked for the rice on the side and as you can see in the photo, there was plenty of it and it was almost a meal in itself. By the way, the term “dirty” in dirty rice doesn’t mean what you think it means. It’s a term we use here in Louisiana for white rice that is cooked with pork, seasoning, onion, celery and bell pepper. The gumbo and rice were served hot and the gumbo had a good spice level and got spicier as I got to the bottom of the bowl.

 

Kingfish's Smoked Rabbit Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”

Taste:  Excellent
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Stuff: Excellent
Presentation: Excellent
Price: The Best

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails
337 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-598-5005
Website
Lunch and Dinner 7 days

 

 
 
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  The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

Dickie Brennan’s "Tableau" Restaurant Takes Center Stage

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

Louisiana restaurant review, gumbo review, louisiana travelTableau is the newest of Dickie Brennan’s restaurants and it’s become an instant hit. Its sister restaurants are: Bourbon House Seafood and Oyster Bar, Palace Café and Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse. 

This is more than a great restaurant. It’s part of New Orleans history. Le Petit Theatre Du Vieux Carre, located on the corner of St Peter & Chartres Streets, was founded in 1916 and is one of the oldest community-based theatre organizations. Click Le Petit above to read how the theatre and restaurant came about.

Now, let’s talk Gumbo. Tableau’s Louisiana Seafood Gumbo has more stuff in it than any gumbo I’ve had and we are talking about high quality seafood. Just look at the photo. There was lump crabmeat, big shrimp and plump oysters. This light-medium roux seafood gumbo has an excellent Gumboroma and was seasoned to perfection. Yes, as you got to the bottom of the bowl it was even more powerful. What a great after burn. This was my first gumbo that had eggplant. Not big chunks, it was pureed. Even the rice was great. They use popcorn rice which is also called Cajun rice. It is a gourmet rice that has a hint of popcorn flavor. If you look at the price on the menu ($9.50) you may think it’s on the expensive side, but with the amount of fresh seafood you get and it’s in a good size bowl, it’s a steal (don’t tell that to Dickie as he may increase the price).

 

Tableau's Seafood Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 5 Spoon Rating”

Taste:  The Best
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Excellent
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Enough Stuff: The Best
Presentation: The Best
Price: The Best

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Dickie Brennan’s Tableau Restaurant
616 St. Peter St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
504-934-3463
Website 
Lunch & Dinner 7 days 

 
 
     The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
 
 
 

Metairie Scores with a Great Bistro and a Great New Orleans Gumbo

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

restaurant review, gumbo reviews, louisiana travelAndy’s Bistro is at home in Metairie, LA, which is a suburb of New Orleans, at a location that has housed several other restaurants since the 1970s, but this one should be around for a long time.  It’s only been open approximately one year, but the regulars keep coming back and the newcomers like me will become regulars.

Andy’s Bistro only serves one gumbo and, as the menu says, it’s a Gumbo of the Day. The cost for a bowl is $8.50.  I have a feeling that the Gumbo of the Day is pretty much New Orleans Style Gumbo on most days, which is what I had.  The waiter said it was a shrimp, crab, chicken and sausage gumbo. Here is the recipe: it is a medium-dark roux gumbo with small pieces of shrimp, smaller pieces of chicken and tiny pieces of sausage. As you know from other Gumbo blogs I've posted, I don’t like okra in my gumbo. This one has okra which did give it a slight slime factor.  As you can see by the photo, there are crab shells in the gumbo. I can never understand why they leave these in the gumbo when it’s served because you can’t get any meat out of it. The crab flavor has already gone into the gumbo. Some chefs must think it makes for a better presentation, but it doesn't. I also found small pieces of crab shells in the gumbo.

Okay, now I can get off my soapbox and tell you the rest of the story. This was a very good gumbo. The Gumboroma was perfect as was the spice level which got spicier as I got to the bottom of the bowl. The rice was served warm but added nothing to the gumbo.

If you find yourself in Metairie and are looking for a very good restaurant with great service, place Andy’s Bistro on your list.

Andy's Bistro New Orleans Gumbo       

Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Very Good
Texture: Very Good
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Good
Enough Stuff: Good
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Excellent

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
 
Andy’s Bistro
3322 N. Turnbull Dr.
Metairie, LA 70002
504-455-7363
Website
Facebook
Dinner Mon-Sat and Lunch Fri
 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

Creole Goodness Overlooking the French Market

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
Creole food, creole cuisine, gumbo, Louisiana gumbo
 
 
The second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans is also one of my favorites: Tujague’s (pronounced too-jax).
 
Tujague’s is over 150 years young and they are still serving great Creole food and one of the best Louisiana Gumbos around. I learned something while dining there recently.  They serve a Seafood Gumbo at lunch in a cup for $5 or a bowl for $7. At dinner, they have a bowl of Seafood and Andouille Gumbo which is a different gumbo than at lunch, prepared by different chefs. “Now let me told you sometin” (an homage to Justin Wilson). The Louisiana Gumbo I ate at lunch was fantastic. I guess I will have to taste the one at dinner soon.
 
Here are the details: the Gumboroma was perfect. It hit me as the waiter was bringing it to the table. Tujague’s Louisiana Seafood Gumbo had a darker roux than most and was on the thick side. gumbo, creole food, creole cuisine, creole, gumboIt was served hot and had plenty of sausage and large shrimp (not the tiny shrimp that many restaurants serve). It had a good bit of seasoning from the first spoonful to the last and I enjoyed a pleasant after burn that lasted all the way home. The rice was hot but didn’t add anything to the Gumbo. Definitely put this on your culinary bucket list and make sure you order the bowl (or try to get a bucket to go).
 
I must mention a few more of my favorite items on Tujague’s menu. They have a boiled brisket that is served with a horseradish sauce. The brisket is so tasty and tender and the horseradish sauce will open your clogged nasal passages and bring a (good) tear to your eyes. Now for my favorite chicken dish, Chicken Bonne Femme. If you like garlic, you will love this dish. It’s pieces of chicken fried (no batter) in a cast iron pan with garlic, parsley and fried potatoes. The chicken is crisp, garlicky and I guarantee you will even want to eat the chicken bones (but don’t). You also have to make sure the person or people you are dining with eat it as well. The other good thing about the Chicken Bonne Femme is that it keeps vampires away and since New Orleans is one of the most haunted cities in the country, that’s a plus.

Tujague's Seafood Gumbo       

Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Very Good
Texture: Very Good
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Good
Enough Stuff: Excellent
Presentation: Very Good
Price: The Best

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
Tujague’s Restaurant
823 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
504-525-8676
Lunch and Dinner 7 days
 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

Louisiana Plantations and Louisiana Gumbo Make a Great Combo

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
Louisiana travel, gumbo reviewThis is as local as local gets. I have said in past blogs that some of the best Louisiana Gumbos are served in places that don’t look like much from the outside, okay hole-in-the-wall looking places, but in most cases they have the best gumbo. This is the case with B&C Seafood Restaurant.
 
B&C Seafood Restaurant has two Louisiana Gumbos. A Chicken & Andouille Gumbo and a Seafood Gumbo. I had to have them both and I did. Here is what I found:
Louisiana gumbo, andouille sausage, seafood gumbo
 
Chicken & Andouille Gumbo
PLENTY of Andouille and chicken, medium roux, excellent Gumboroma and nicely seasoned with an excellent after burn. The rice was hot and did add something to the gumbo. By the way, B&C makes their own Andouille. 
$5.95 cup, $9.95 bowl.  
 
Seafood Gumbo 
Also a medium roux, excellent (seafood) Gumboroma, it had okra but it blended in well without the slime factor, nicely seasoned, a good amount of small shrimp and small pieces of crab meat. Excellent after burn.  $7.95 cup and $11.95 bowl. 
 
B&C is also a market so if you want to buy smoked, stuffed, boiled, fresh or whatever, they have it. I had a little "Lagniappe" (a Louisiana word meaning "something extra") during my Gumbo feast. Live music was playing in the back room. I asked how often they have live music and they said “whenever the musicians show up”.
 
B&C is located right next to Laura Plantation on LA Hwy 18, so here is a great way to spend your day. Start out at Oak Alley Plantation which is approximately four miles from B&C. After a great tour, go just a few blocks away to St. Joseph Plantation. After another great tour, have lunch at B&C and hopefully listen to some live music. You have to order either one of the gumbos. After lunch, walk next door (actually drive your car next door) to Laura Plantation for another wonderful plantation tour. Now, that is a day in Louisiana that will have great memories.

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

    Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating” 

Taste: Excellent
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Excellent
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Stuff: Excellent
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Excellent

Seafood Gumbo

   Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
Taste: Excellent
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Excellent
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Excellent

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

B&C Seafood Restaurant
2155 Hwy 18
Vacherie, LA 70090
225-265-8356
Lunch: Mon-Sat 11am – 4pm 
 
 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

Louisiana’s Crossroads Serve an Excellent Seafood Gumbo

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
Seafood gumbo, Louisiana Gumbo
 
 
Tunks has been serving great food and a fantastic Seafood Gumbo since 1978. Tunks is located right outside Alexandria, The Crossroads of Louisiana, on Kincaid Lake. The restaurant has a large indoor seating area and a big patio that wraps around the restaurant with outdoor seating. Try to get one of the outdoor tables, especially at sunset. The picture below gives you an idea of what you’ll see. 
Louisiana travel, Louisiana vacation
 
There is only one gumbo that’s served at Tunks, and that’s Miss Mayme’s Louisiana Seafood Gumbo. Who is Miss Mayme? Jimbo and Sandy Thiels are the owners of Tunks and Miss Mayme is Sandy’s grandmother. Thank you Miss Mayme for creating such a masterpiece and thank you Tunks for not changing it over the past 35 years.
 
Here is the recipe: they serve Miss Mayme’s Louisiana Seafood Gumbo in a cup for $5.95 or in a bowl for $12.95 which also comes with a salad bar and hush puppies. Please do yourself a favor. Order the bowl. You can thank me later. Miss Mayme’s Louisiana Seafood Gumbo has a brownish/reddish color and has a good body to it. The Gumboroma is just perfect, as is the spiciness. You’ll find plenty of small shrimp and little bits of crabmeat. I was told that they also use fresh fish, but you won’t find chunks of it in the gumbo. They do use a combination of chicken stock, crab stock and fish stock as the seafood gumbo base (that’s where the fish comes in). Louisiana travel, Louisiana vacation, Louisiana dining, Louisiana gumboThis is a spicier gumbo than most. You won’t find it spicy after a few spoonful’s, but just wait until you get to the bottom of your cup or bowl. Just sit back and enjoy a fantastic after burn. The rice was served warm, but didn’t add anything to this perfect gumbo.
 
Here is a suggestion to get the best of Tunks: get their Seafood Platter. It comes with a cup of Miss Mayme’s Seafood Gumbo, fried shrimp, fried catfish, stuffed shrimp, a frog leg, fried oysters, shrimp casserole and choice of a side. The cost is only $22.95. This will be a meal to remember.
 
If you are travelling through Central Louisiana, this is worth a stop. In fact, just spend the night in Alexandria and enjoy all it has to offer.
 
 

Miss Mayme's Seafood Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Excellent
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Excellent
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Excellent

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
>> Read more about things to do and see in Alexandria on Tour Louisiana.
 
Tunks Cypress Inn
9507 LA Hwy 28 West 
Boyce, LA 71409
(318) 487- 4014
Mon-Sat 5pm – 10pm; Sun 11am -2pm
 
 
 
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March is Spring Cook-off Season. The Louisiana Travelin’ Man will be the judge of that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

I have the pleasure and honor to be a judge at the following Cook-offs this March and you can join in on the fun and, in many cases, support great causes. Here are the details: 

Louisiana gumbo cook-off, gumbo cookoff, gumbo cook off

 

 

 

 

 

March 13: United Way’s 14th Annual "Got Gumbo?" Cook-Off
New Orleans

Hours: 5pm - 9pm; Admission: $25 in advance and $30 at the door

Okay, who likes Gumbo? Raise your hands. Even better go to the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and buy tickets to a great Gumbo Cook-Off on March 13, 2014 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter. You all know that I love gumbo (well most gumbos) and I will be there with several other professional foodies judging these New Orleans Gumbos. What will you find at the United Way’s 14th Annual Gumbo Cook-Off? As of this post, there are 16 teams competing for the gold. Some of them are returning to defend their title from last year. They are:  

  • Desire Oyster Bar: Best Traditional Gumbo 2013
  • Charlie’s Restaurant: Best Seafood Gumbo 2013
  • Restaurant R’evolution: Best Exotic Gumbo 2013

The cost to sample all the gumbos and other items such as desserts is only $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Please don’t wait to buy your tickets at the door as they may be sold out.

So get your tickets today, support the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and enjoy some award winning New Orleans Gumbo. See you there.

>> "Got Gumbo?" Cook-Off website

 

Louisiana travel, things to do in Louisina, Louisiana festivals

 

 

 

 

March 15: Frisco Fest at San Francisco Plantation's Cracklin' Cook-off
Granville

Hours: 9am - 5pm; Admission: Free

This is a return visit for me and this is a must for you, especially if you like cracklin’ and want to experience a Louisiana plantation. There is so much to do and see at Frisco Fest and you can even sample the cracklin’ we will be judging. The judging takes place at 11:30am. 

This cool video will give you a taste of all the fun events happening at Frisco Fest!

>> Get all the Festival details here.

>> Read more about the beautiful San Francisco Plantation

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 22: The Louisiana Swamp Stomp Jumbo Gumbo & Bayou Best Cook-off
Thibodaux 

Hours: 9:30 am  – 10:30 pm; Admission: $10

This is another repeat performance for me but there is a big change this year.  The cook-off is now held the same weekend of the Louisiana Swamp Stomp on the grounds of Nicholls State University. 

A little bit about Thibodaux and Nicholls State University. Even though it’s only about an hour’s drive from New Orleans, it’s truly in Cajun Country. Thibodaux is in Lafourche Parish and Bayou Lafourche runs through Thibodaux.  >> Read more about Lafourche Parish. As for Nicholls State University and its connection to the Hospitality Industry, you will find one of the best culinary institutes in the country here, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

Now for the Louisiana Swamp Stomp: you will hear some great music and can taste all the gumbos being cooked. So come visit, do a little dancing and eat some great gumbo.

>> Check the Swamp Stomp website for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 29: Hogs for the Cause BBQ Cook-off
New Orleans City Park

Hours: 11am – 9:30pm; Admission: $15 online or $25 at gate

This is another return visit for the Louisiana Travelin’ Man.

What will you find at Hogs for the Cause?  Some of the top New Orleans musicians and approximately 90 professional and amateur BBQ teams. These teams will compete for the title of “Ben Sarrat Jr. ‘High on the Hog’ Grand Champion.” The prize is named after the young victim of a brain tumor who died at the age of 6 in 2010.
The BBQ Teams will also be crowned in a variety of categories including, Whole Hog, Ribs, Pork Butt/Shoulder, “Porkpourri” (anything pork) and Beans which is a new category added this year and sponsored by New Orleans-based Camellia Beans. There are also awards for Best Sauce, Fundraising Champion and the patron's pick for Fan Favorite.  The only way to choose the Fan Favorite is to sample the teams' BBQ creations and vote for your favorite.

>> Visit the Hogs for the Cause website to see the great music lineup and to get your tickets.

 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

A Gumbo Worthy of a Southern Plantation

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
Nottoway Plantation, Louisiana travel, gumbo,
 
Nottoway Plantation, one of the great plantations located on River Road in White Castle, is approximately 75 miles west of New Orleans and 22 miles south of Baton Rouge.
 
A new chef brings in a new gumbo. They serve a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo in two sizes. The small is in a large bowl for $8 and the large is in a massive bowl for $11.  If you have been reading my Louisiana Gumbo blogs, you will notice that I prefer a darker roux as the base and a gumbo that doesn’t include okra. Nottoway Plantations Gumbo is a dark roux gumbo (ya-ya style) that does not have okra. This is a great start.
 
The Gumboroma hit me immediately and it set the tone for a great gumbo. The next thing that hit me was the size of the small portion. I don’t want to discourage you to get the large portion, but trust me the small size is perfect and it leaves plenty of room for you to enjoy the rest of their menu. Since you asked, I had their barbecued shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage. Wow. This was fantastic. There were about seven other items that caught my eye, but I will come back for those. 

Now back to the gumbo. The thick gumbo had plenty of chicken (breast meat) and a Louisiana smoked sausage from Creole Country Sausage. Creole Country Sausage is based in New Orleans but the recipe is from a retired sausage maker from Church Point, Louisiana, which is in Cajun Country. The sausage was very smoky, but was also a little salty for my taste (but I did eat it all). All Louisiana Gumbos start with a roux and then they add the "trinity" (onions, bell pepper and celery) but some chop them up so fine that they disappear. Not at Nottoway Plantation. I could see and taste the trinity. The rice was served hot as was the gumbo, but the rice didn’t add much to the taste (it didn’t need it). After I finished, I sat there for a few minutes enjoying the wonderful after burn and the view outside my window.

If you’ve always wanted to stay at a plantation, Nottoway is a good one. You have several different types of accommodations to choose from. So enjoy an excellent Louisiana Gumbo, walk the beautiful grounds and spend a night or two.
 
   >> Read more about Nottoway Plantation on Tour Louisiana.
 
   >> Top Ten Reasons to visit Nottoway Plantation
 
 

Nottoway Plantation's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Excellent
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Excellent
Serving Temperature: Very Good
Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Excellent
Price: The Best

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
 
 
Nottoway Plantation
31025 Louisiana Hwy. 1
White Castle, LA 70788
866-527-6884 
Sunday Brunch: 11 am - 2 pm
Breakfast:  7 - 10 am
Lunch:  11 am - 2 pm
Dinner:  5 - 9 pm
 
 
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  The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

Here Come Da Judge. Here Come Da Judge...Again

Friday, October 18, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
The Louisiana Travelin’ Man (that’s me) will be hitting the road, wearing my favorite judge's robe (actually I’ll be wearing my straw hat) and carrying my gavel (camera) to judge three different cook-offs. So why not join me?
 
 
 
Saturday, October 26, 2013
10th Annual Shop-Rite Championship Gumbo Cook-Off
Historic Downtown Crowley
There will be great Cajun Music beginning at 11:30 am and the Gumbo Contest will begin at 12 noon.
Would you believe, for only $5 you can sample all the different Gumbos and enjoy all the festivities?
Believe it!
 
 
 
 
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Black Pot Festival
Acadian Village in Lafayette
 
I was a judge at this festival last year and the event was fantastic. Great Louisiana Music, a great location and great Louisiana food. The cost of admission on Saturday is $30 and you get to taste all the dishes that are being judged (last year we judged over 50 different dishes). The music begins at 11:30 am and goes to midnight.
 
 
 
 
Saturday, November 2, 2013
St. Bernard Parish Battle for the Paddle Jambalaya Cook-off
Docville Farm – Oak Grove, Violet
 
The Louisiana Travelin’ Man can’t just eat Gumbo (well, he can) and with all the great Louisiana foods, Jambalaya is at the top of the list. There will be several teams cooking their favorite Jambalaya recipe in order to receive “The Paddle”.  Violet is less than 13 miles from the French Quarter and for $10 (children under 12 free), you can taste all the contestants' Jambalaya and listen to some local music.
 
 
 
 
 
Details on the winners will be posted mid-November.
Hope to see you there.
 
 

   

  The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 
 

 

Big bowl of Louisiana Seafood Gumbo….Little flavor

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
Old Metairie has several great restaurants and Porter & Luke’s (a fairly new restaurant) is one of them. Now I can’t say that they have a great Louisiana Gumbo, but they sure give you a lot. The gumbo photo is what they call a cup. Their bowl is almost twice the size. A cup of Louisiana Seafood Gumbo goes for $6.25 and their bowl is $8.75. 
 
Their menu says Gumbo du jour, so when I asked what the Gumbo du jour was; the waiter said it was seafood gumbo. Then he said it’s seafood gumbo every day. Go figure.
 
If I was judging a Louisiana Gumbo only by the looks of it, this would be one of the best. But, since I’m not, here is what I found. Their Louisiana Seafood Gumbo did have okra in it, but it wasn’t slimy. There was a minor after burn but it disappeared fairly quickly. There was a fair amount of small shrimp and a large chunk of crab in its shell. This is the style of an old fashioned restaurant. A great Louisiana Gumbo also has a great Gumboroma. You should be able to smell it as it’s being placed in front of you. This was not one of those. The rice had no taste but was served hot. I can’t say the same for the gumbo. The first cup was served a little less than warm. I brought it to the waiter's attention who apologized and brought me a new one. The 2nd one had the perfect temperature. I’m hoping this was an off day for the restaurant because the rest of my meal was great. You have to try their Northern White Beans which has a smoky taste and large pieces of Andouille. It also comes with a choice of a meat.

Porter and Luke's Seafood Gumbo       

Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Good
Texture: Good
Spiciness: Good
Serving Temperature: Bad, then Excellent
Enough Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Very Good
Price: The Best

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
 
Porter & Luke’s
1517 Metairie
Metairie, LA 70005
504-875-4555
Open 7 days/week for lunch and dinner
 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

A Sweet Festival in Old Arabi

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
St Bernard Parish, Old ArabiI was lucky enough to attend the 5th annual Old Arabi Sugar Fest in St. Bernard Parish, held September 29, 2013. Not only did I attend the Sugar Fest, but I was a judge (The Louisiana Travelin’ Man can’t just eat gumbo). This was my first visit to the Sugar Fest and I was impressed by the vendors, the music, the food and the 14 entries in the Sugar Fest Baker-rama contest. They also had a doughnut eating contest which I did not participate in.
 
St. Bernard Parish is just a few miles away from the French Quarter and has so much to offer. (More info on St. Bernard Parish Tourism). The Old Arabi Sugar Fest was held on the grounds of the LeBeau Plantation which is just a stone’s throw from the Domino Sugar Refinery. Unfortunately, the plantation is in need of lots of love and care to bring it back to its glory. Here is a link to info on the plantation.  
 
Now for the best part of my job: the judging. There were 14 entries and, as I found out, one person entered four different items. There were lemon cookies, gingerbread cookies, a double chocolate brownie and a pecan pie to name a few. But, it turns out that the person who entered the four different baked goods won 1st Place and 2nd Place. Her name is Elena Hodges and she is a culinary student at Nunez Community College in Chalmette and when you see the photo of her cake, you will know why she won. It tasted even better than it looked. In fact, we had to ask the organizer if this was a store bought cake. It wasn’t. Elena has a great future in desserts.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

 

Jack Dempsey’s Seafood Gumbo: It’s not a knockout.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
This is one of the few restaurants that doesn’t list gumbo on their menu. They call it soup. You have a choice of a cup for $4.50 or a bowl for $8.95. If you’re really in the mood for a Louisiana Seafood Gumbo, order it. If not try something else. They make great seafood platters, great onion rings and great po-boys.
 
I took a little liberty with the title above as the restaurant is not named after the prize fighter, but after a New Orleans newspaper reporter. The restaurant is considered a hole in the wall, but to me it’s the kind of place that wreaks casual dining in Louisiana.
 
Now for their Louisiana Seafood Gumbo. It was served warm, not the way a good gumbo should be served. One look and you could see that it was full of okra and that it was going to have a high slime factor. NOT the way I like it. This was one of the thickest gumbos I’ve had. A lot of that had to do with the (slimy) okra. Another problem for me was there was no Gumboroma.  When you are served a great Louisiana Gumbo, you want the aroma to hit you first. This didn’t. The rice was hot but, as usual, didn’t add anything to the gumbo. There was a good after burn but it didn’t last long. There was a fair amount of small shrimp.
 
 
 
 

Jack Dempsey's Seafood Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 2 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Good
Texture: Just Okay
Spiciness: Good
Serving Temperature: Just Okay
Enough Stuff: Good
Presentation: Good
Price: Very Good

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
Jack Dempsey's
738 Poland Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70117
504-943-9914
Open Tue-Sat for lunch and dinner
 

 
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  The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

The Meat Pie Capital of the World also has some Great Gumbo

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
The Landing Restaurant is one of Natchitoches’ well established restaurants located in Historic Downtown Natchitoches overlooking the Cane River. Natchitoches is located in Central Louisiana and is the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. They will be celebrating their Tricentennial in 2014 and just opened the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
>> More information on Natchitoches.
 
The menu at The Landing states Gumbo $6.00. That’s true. But, they actually have five different Louisiana Gumbos and they have a bowl for $9.00. Here are the different Louisiana Gumbos served at The Landing: Shrimp, Crab, Crawfish, Seafood (a combination of the first three) and a Chicken and Alligator Sausage Gumbo. Which one do you think I ordered? If you said the Chicken and Alligator Sausage Gumbo, you are correct. Here is what I found. The first thing I noticed was a ring of grease around the cup. The second thing I noticed was the Gumboroma was not as prominent as (in my opinion) it should have been. But, once I took my first spoonful, it didn’t matter. The taste was wonderful. I asked the waiter if they used a roux for the gumbo. He said he thought so, but went to check. The gumbo looked more like a soup than a gumbo and since it didn’t have a great Gumboroma (aroma that comes from the roux, seasoning and other ingredients in a gumbo), I wanted to make sure. He said they do use a roux but it’s a very light roux. The seasoning was perfect with BIG chunks of spicy alligator sausage and chicken which left a wonderful after burn. The rice was served hot, but didn’t add anything to the gumbo.  
 
The Landing has always been one of my favorite restaurants in Louisiana. Make sure the next time you visit Natchitoches, land a reservation at The Landing.
 
 

The Landing's Chicken and Alligator Sausage Gumbo       

Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Very Good
Texture: Very Good
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Good
Enough Stuff: Excellent
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Very Good

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
 
 
 
The Landing
530 Front St.
Natchitoches, LA 71457
(318) 352-1579
Open for lunch and dinner Tue-Sun

 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

Plaquemines Parish Kajun Gumbo Connection

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

LA Highway 23 or Belle Chasse Highway is where you will find several local restaurants mostly serving seafood, for obvious reasons. The reason for me traveling to that part of Louisiana was to visit Bayou Log Cabins on Lake Hermitage Bayou.  They are located in Port Sulphur, 5 miles off LA Hwy 23. When you arrive, you will find an old fishing village where the fish and crab bite almost all year and four log cabins where you can spend a night or more.

Now back to my search for the Best Gumbo in Louisiana. On this visit, I stopped at Lil G’s Kajun Restaurant in Belle Chasse. Talk about local! All you will find in this restaurant are locals. They have two Louisiana Gumbos on the menu. A Chicken Gumbo and a Seafood Gumbo which is what I ordered. The Chicken Gumbo is $3.95 for a cup and $6.95 for a bowl. The Seafood Gumbo is $1 more for each. Here is the menu: This was a light roux Gumbo with a very good "gumboroma". It had plenty of stuff consisting of small shrimp, big pieces of crab (claw) meat and unfortunately, plenty of okra. You know how I feel about okra? That being said, it did not have a slimy feel. It was served hot, was almost perfectly seasoned (it had a little too much salt) and had a great after burn. The rice didn’t add much to the Gumbo, but it was served hot. This was worth going back for and ordering a bowl instead of a cup.

Lil G's Seafood Gumbo       

Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Very Good
Texture: Very Good
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Very Good
Enough Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Excellent

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Lil G’s Kajun Restaurant
9338 Hwy 23
Belle Chasse, LA 70037
504-433-0500
Website

 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

Superior Name, Not So Superior Gumbo

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

Superior Seafood is located in uptown New Orleans on the streetcar line near several classic New Orleans restaurants such as Pascal’s Manale, home of the original Barbecue Shrimp, and Charlie’s Steakhouse, a steakhouse you need to experience to appreciate. Superior is not in the same category as these.

I’m not a fan of chain restaurants and this has the feel of a chain, including their Louisiana Gumbo.

Here’s the recipe. They only serve one gumbo, Chicken and Andouille, which costs $5.95 for a cup, and $9.95 for a bowl. It was fairly aromatic and had plenty of stuff. The best part of the gumbo was the Andouille, which is from Poche’s, located in Breaux Bridge. The serving temperature could have been hotter, as could have been the spice level. The lack of spices did not leave an after burn. This was a thick gumbo with a medium roux and was on the slimy side. The rice was hot, but it couldn't help this gumbo. This tasted like a corporate or chain gumbo.

So if you are in uptown New Orleans and hungry, go to a superior restaurant like Pascal’s Manale for a great New Orleans classic dish and I guarantee that their Louisiana Seafood Gumbo will be worth it (I will have a review of this in the near future).

Superior Seafood's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 2 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Good
Texture: Good
Spiciness: Good
Serving Temperature: Good
Enough Stuff: Good
Presentation: Good
Price: Good

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar
4338 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115
504-293-3474
Website
Open 7 day/week from 11am

 
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A New American Bistro with a Unique Gumbo?

Thursday, August 29, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

Rue 127 is located in Mid-City which is half way between the French Quarter and City Park. It’s a haven for several local restaurants. The restaurant is in a Shotgun double and has lots of local art that is for sale. They also have a pastry chef who is a CIA graduate, as is the chef.

Now, for the main ingredient of this blog, their Gumbo. I was really excited to try this unique gumbo due to the duck confit. That means duck fat. Yum. They only have one gumbo which is a Duck Confit, Roasted Chicken and Spicy Andouille with a Horseradish Potato Salad. The cost is $9.  A good Louisiana Gumbo has a gumboroma that you can smell several tables away. This one had a very mild gumboroma. It was served hot, and had a fair amount of stuff. There were small pieces of a Louisiana Andouille and shreds of chicken and duck. The spice level was decent and did get spicier as I got to the bottom of the bowl. There was a good after burn and a unique taste. I asked the wait person if there was Worcestershire Sauce in the gumbo and when she checked she said there was. In my opinion there was a little too much.  Many Cajun restaurants serve potato salad in their gumbo, but this is not a Cajun restaurant and their horseradish potato salad had such an overpowering horseradish taste that I’m glad I asked for it on the side. It was also served ice cold. Hot gumbo and ice cold potato salad?

 

Rue 127's Duck, Chicken and Spicy Andouille Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 2 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Good
Texture: Good
Spiciness: Good
Serving Temperature: Very Good
Enough Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Good
Price: Good

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Rue 127
127 N. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70119
504-483-1571
Website 
Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2 and Dinner Mon-Sat 5:30-10

 

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Louisiana Gumbo in the Capitol City

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
Downtown Baton Rouge continues to transform itself into a vibrant cultural center with new restaurants, hotels, museums and, of course the Capitol. In fact, the Hampton Inn is the latest hotel to open in early May. The Hotel Indigo and the Hilton are the other hotels that have opened in the past several years.
 
Stroubes (Stroo-beas) is an upscale but casual restaurant serving Downsouth food. They have great, reasonably-priced specials, and on Friday their special is a Louisiana Seafood Gumbo with Creole Potato Salad, garlic bread and a green salad. The cost is only $10.95. Since I’m searching for the Best Gumbo in Louisiana, I always try to go to a restaurant that has gumbo. Stroubes has a Duck and Oyster Gumbo which is not that common. In fact, this is the first one I’ve seen in the past year. Here is the recipe: the Gumbo was a dark color with a reddish tone. Even though it had a dark roux color, it didn’t taste or smell like it had a roux, in fact if you look at the picture, you can see the grease it left around the bowl. Now, that being said, the Duck and Oyster Gumbo was good. It had plenty of stuff, more duck than oysters, had a good afterburn and had good seasoning. The gumbo was more soupy than I prefer. The rice actually tasted very good. It had a buttery taste and it was served hot. As you can see, the presentation was excellent.
 
“And Now for Something Completely Different” (it’s my homage to Monty Python). Stroubes serves a “Gumbo Salad" for lunch. No it doesn’t have a roux, but it looked very refreshing. Here is what you get: Mixed Greens, Corn, Okra, Grape Tomatoes, Crawfish and Shrimp, tossed in a Steen’s & Sherry Vinaigrette.
 

Stroubes Duck and Oyster Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 2 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Good
Texture: Good
Spiciness: Good
Serving Temperature: Very Good
Enough Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Good

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
Stroubes
107 Third St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
225-448-2830
M-F 11am – 10pm; Sat 4pm-10pm; Closed Sun
 
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An Old Favorite Still Comes Through

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

dining in Louisiana LAA true, classic New Orleans restaurant in the Central Business District, Bon Ton Café first opened in the early 1900’s, but after a brief closure it reopened in the early 1950’s.  The owners had Cajun roots from Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes. In addition to a great Louisiana Seafood Gumbo, they do a great job on their crawfish dishes.

If you’ve been reading my past blogs, you know that I’m not a fan of okra in my gumbo, but this is an exception. The roux is on the darker side and had plenty of shrimp and crab meat. The presentation was classic and the rice was served hot, as was the gumbo. The gumbo gave off a very pleasant roux/seafood aroma or as I call it a "Gumboroma".  It had the perfect spice level which had the perfect after burn. Sometimes okra tends to thicken the gumbo, but not in this case. You would expect a classic New Orleans restaurant to know how to make an okra gumbo the correct way, at least to my taste.

Louisiana gumboOkay, now for another must-get at Bon Ton Café. When crawfish are in season, usually January – June (give or take a few weeks), you must order the Crawfish Etouffee’. Some of the best in Louisiana.

Bon Ton Café's Seafood Gumbo       

Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  Very Good
Texture: Very Good
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Very Good
Enough Stuff: Excellent
Presentation: Very Good
Price: Good

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Bon Ton Café
401 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-524-3386
Website
Lunch and Dinner M-F, they are closed S-S

Old-Time Cajun Cooking at Mr. Keets 2

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man
 
This week, I'm making a stop at Mr. Keets 2.  As you can figure out by the name, there are two Mr. Keets. The original Mr. Keets is located in Maurice, Louisiana about 10 miles south of Lafayette. Both are owned by Helen and Gerard Baudoin. Gerard is a life-long rice and crawfish farmer who started boiling crawfish for sale in 2001 and that expanded into Mr. Keets in Maurice. In 2012, Mr. Keets 2 opened, serving crawfish as well as some great gumbo. 
 

The cover of their menu says, “Specializing in Old-Time Cajun Cooking”. That is reflected in their Louisiana Seafood Gumbo and their Louisiana Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. I decided to have both. As you can see by the photo, they actually look alike. The Gumbo on the left is the Louisiana Seafood Gumbo and the right is their Louisiana Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. They are priced the same, $4.45 for a cup and $9.45 for a bowl. When I saw the price of the bowl, I thought it was very high, but take a look at the size of the bowl (compared to the cup). Here is the recipe for both:
 
 
 
Louisiana Seafood Gumbo
This was one of the most aromatic gumbos I’ve tasted. It had a heavy roux smell and taste which, in my opinion, is the sign of a good Louisiana gumbo. There was a good amount of shrimp but not much crab. The gumbo was served hot and the rice was warm. There was a good spice level which left a nice after burn. 
 
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
This was almost a carbon copy of the Seafood Gumbo as far as the aroma and the heavy dark roux taste and smell. There were plenty of big chunks of white chicken along with Andouille sausage. The Andouille comes from Savoie’s in Opelousas, Louisiana which is one of the better sausage makers. It gave the gumbo an extra spice level and a longer, very pleasant after burn. The gumbo was a little salty, but did not take away from the overall taste. The gumbo comes with potato salad, which is common in Cajun Country. As I always do, I asked for it to be served on the side, along with a side of rice.
 
 

Seafood Gumbo

    Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating” 
Taste: Very Good 
Texture: Very Good
Spiciness: Very Good
Serving Temperature: Very Good
Stuff: Very Good
Presentation: Excellent
Price: Excellent

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

   Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
Taste: Excellent
Texture: Excellent
Spiciness: Excellent
Serving Temperature: Excellent
Stuff: The Best
Presentation: Excellent
Price: Excellent

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*

 

Mr. Keets 2
3253 Ambassador Caffery
Lafayette, LA 70506
337-534-4345
Sun-Thur: 11am – 9pm; Fri-Sat 11am – 10pm
 
 

   

    The Louisiana Travelin' Man

 

 

 

 

 

Cafe b's Gumbo Earns an A...Almost an A+

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by The Louisiana Travelin' Man

There is a family in New Orleans that IS the restaurant industry. That’s the Brennan family. Now there are several of them and they each own their own group of restaurants in New Orleans (and some outside of New Orleans). Café b is owned and operated by Ralph Brennan who also owns and operates The Red Fish Grill (read my review here), Ralph’s on the Park, Café NOMA and The Heritage Grill.

Café b opened in April, 2011 and became a hit almost instantly. They have complimentary valet parking and reservations are a must (if you don’t want to wait a long time).  They have only one Louisiana Gumbo on their menu and that’s all they need. It was wonderful. They would have gotten “The Best” rating, except for one item (read on). They have a Louisiana Chicken and Andouille Gumbo for $7.50. It’s served in an oversized bowl and comes with green onion potato salad or Jazzman (Louisiana) brown rice. As you can see by the photo, I had both. The gumbo was perfect. The look, the Gumboroma and the taste were all home runs. The Chicken and Andouille Gumbo was on the thicker side, had a dark roux and had lots of stuff.  The Gumbo had big pieces of chicken and bigger pieces of Creole Country Andouille (New Orleans-based sausage maker). The Andouille had a great spice that permeated throughout the gumbo. The potato salad was very good, but the rice was ice cold. If they would have served the rice hot, I may have given them the top rating.

I have been on a roll over the past few Louisiana Gumbo tastings by getting some really good gumbos.  If you have a favorite restaurant for Louisiana Gumbo, please let me know. I still have a lifetime of gumbos to try, but if you have a favorite, I’ll put it at the top of my list.

 

Café b's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
Taste:  The Best
Texture: The Best
Spiciness: The Best
Serving Temperature: Excellent (except for the rice)
Stuff: The Best
Presentation: The Best
Price: The Best

*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
Café b
2700 Metairie Rd.
New Orleans, LA 70001
504-934-4700
Website
Lunch: M-F 11:30am – 2pm
Dinner: Sun-Thu 5pm – 9pm; Fri-Sat 5pm – 10pm
Brunch: Sun 10am – 2pm
 
 
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