Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Taste of My New Orleans' Dream at Gumbo

Next to the Rose Parade, New Orlean's Mardi Gras is something I would definitely take a stab at. Any party animal would agree on me on this.  I'm  imagining myself  grooving and dancing along with every marching band that came through the place, probably wearing a glittery green mask, and jumping for beads doled out by the Krewe of Morpheus.  But sad to say, I had to earn my US Visa for that.

Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, happens to fall on Feb. 17, this year.   I guess I have to try my luck again next year, however, apart from reliving the wild street party, the glorious food of Bourbon Street is something I would also be dying to try.

It was so timely that someone invited me to try out Gumbo.  I was so glad to make that trip to Megamall that day because I was reacquainted with the resto.  I can't really remember how long it was when I dined at Gumbo in Mall of Asia.  So, it was like seeing Gumbo in a whole new light.

Stationed at the second level of SM Megamall Atrium, Gumbo invites diners with warm yet funky mood and Cajun-inspired interior.  The staff are even garbing flamboyant head-dresses. 

The mix of the Mardi Gras theme and old-Louisiana feel is something you will not see anywhere else.    

Not only did I learn a lot about New Orleans' Mardi Gras, I came up with a discovery that it's a sister establishment of Burgoo. So, no wonder their namesakes are from the dishes, one from New Orleans and the other from Kentucky, Illinois.  

Burgoo, spicy stew, typically served with cornbread or corn muffins, prepared communally as a social stew.  It's made up of chicken, pork, and chuck roast beef with some veggies on a thickened stew.             

Which brings me to my next point...


Freshly served gumbo
Of all the dishes in the realm of Southern cooking, gumbo is the most famous and, fairly the most popular. This is just trivial, you see, the first time I heard of such dish was with Bubba of the epic movie Forrest Gump.  And all along I thought gumbo is mainly a shrimp stew!  Stew-pid me...

Gumbo that had been mixed already
The very hands-on Managing Director of both Burgoo and Gumbo, Albert Alavera, explained that the name was derived from a West African word for okra, suggesting that gumbo was originally made with okra.  It's actually the thickening agent, however, I can still say that a roux is evident in this version that I tried.

A roux, pronounced as "ru", is flour that has been browned in oil or some other fat, essential in French cuisine.

In the menu, you can find two variations, Umm... Seafood Gumbo and Umm...Chicken Gumbo. Together with some other foodies, we had Umm...Seafood Gumbo, a melange of seafood faves, fresh calamari, Pacific clams, crawfish, shrimps, Andouille sausage and mussels, cooked with Cajun vegetables and seasoning.      

It's a complete meal in itself as it has rice served in the roux.  Don't be shy to do the mixing before sharing one huge serving, which can be shared with 3 to 4 persons.                                                            

Another bestseller is the Jambalaya.   Considered as a one-pot New Orleans favorite, Jambalaya, another French word, that means 'jumbled' or 'mixed up', and I have no doubt that the philosophy and heart of this recipe come from a similar place to paella and risotto. 

The porridgy, sticky texture of this dish is such a comfort food with a strong spicy kick to it.  As the name implies, everything is in it, fresh mussels, Pacific clams, shrimps, calamari, andouille sausage cooked with Cajun spiced long grain rice.  The spiciness of this plate can also be customized, btw.                                       

For that heavy spread that's perfect for a hungry bunch, there's the Family Feast (Petite-P795-Grande-P1395).  Literally a feast with a platter of honey-glazed chicken, Bourbon-style barbecue ribs, batter coated cream Dory and shrimp kebabs. Served with grilled skewered veggies.

The Bourbon-style barbecue ribs is "THE" bomb!  I wonder how they rub it with.  The smokey ribs easily fall off its bone, super soft to the bite and the Bourbon BBQ sauce that's tart and sweet at the same time is just, ahhh!

The fete of a platter is also served with Creole rice, that you might not have noticed.         

I never got to try the cream dory of the Family Feast cause I had my eyes on Oops Jumpin’ Fish & Chips, after finishing my share of the Bourbon-style barbecue ribs.  This cream dory fillet is seasoned and coated with their special batter and fried to golden, served with US fries, lemon wedge, and remoulade sauce. 

They also have pasta and pizzas.  Good thing my fave pasta, Spaghetti Puttanesca was served, else I might not be able to enjoy it anymore, cause I was leaving a room for dessert, which happened to be quite small of a space already.

Cooked in pomodoro (basic tomato sauce in Italian) with fresh basil, capers, black olives, artichokes, and anchovies, Puttanesca is authentically not Cajun but Italian, so with that you have the best of both worlds. 

A wide range of beverage is also part of their menu, I had Three-berry, Banana Shake to go with the extensive Creole meal.           

If a glass of shake ain't enough for a dessert, might you consider Mississippi Mud Pie.  It's a whole block of their home-made chocolate ice-cream, sliced and drizzled with hot choco fudge sauce, melting the the top part, as if deliberately resembling a muddy mess.

Another famous comfort food from the Southern American cuisine is New Orleans Bread Pudding. Served hot from the oven with dollops of Vanilla ice cream. It was not that spectacular but nevertheless scrumptious, it could be added with more cinnamon for more flavor though.

Gumbo's Valentine Treat 

From February 9-15 enjoy your Valentines dinner like no other at Gumbo as it takes great pride on its seafood selections on its menu such as Cajun Blackened Salmon, Barbecued Shrimps, Cream Dory with Mango Salsa, Fish and Chips, Ultimate Seafood Feast, Halibut Pesto, etc – a great way to impress your loved one!  These seafood treat comes with a free glass of white or red wine to complete that awesome Valentines date plus a complimentary red rose for your lady!   
Gumbo restaurants are located at the 2nd level, Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia; 2nd level, The Block, SM City North Edsa; 3rd level, Robinsons Place Manila Midtown; 2nd level, Atrium Bldg., SM Megamall; Gateway Mall Araneta Center; and Robinsons Magnolia.  For reservations and inquiries, please call 5560238, 4420106, 5671820 and 6353015.

1 comment:

  1. Now you had me craving for Gumbo and the baby back ribs.


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