New Orleans has been a bit gray and rainy lately, but that didn't stop Dan and I from stopping by the second annual Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival yesterday afternoon. From our apartment on Ursulines, we strolled a few quick blocks to the Jazz & Heritage Center on Rampart Street. Loud gospel-style jazz emanated from the open space behind the center, where, besides the large white tent containing the stage, lay several covered arts-and-crafts booths.
Although we were tempted to browse the interesting creations on display, being the foodies that we are, we made a beeline for the four food stalls, each of which offered a variation on traditional gumbo, among other delicacies. Our first stop was the TCA Brocato booth, where we each purchased a $2 sample cup of chicken and andouille gumbo. Less thick than the gumbo we're used to, this one nonetheless had a flavorful broth – and the sausage wasn't bad either.
Afterward, we each tried the seafood gumbo from Ms. Linda's Catering. As the lady filled our sample cups with white rice, steaming broth, and crab claws, I wondered if it would be skimpy on the seafood, but no, there were probably more tiny shrimp and pieces of crab meat in the little cup than there often are in the normal-sized bowls at tourist traps like the Gumbo Shop. Though it was indeed a tasty gumbo, the first one was still a mite better.
For our final tastes of the day, we shared a sample cup at each of the last two booths – The Praline Connection, a popular eatery in the Faubourg Marigny that was offering a tomato-based okra and sausage gumbo for which I opted, and Li'l Dizzy's Café, another Marigny joint that was serving an interesting Creole filé gumbo that Danny chose. Ultimately, our favorite selection remained the first one, but we still enjoyed the variety of flavors. How could we not? The sun might not have been shining, but the jazz music was incredible, our beloved Saints had won their 13th game just an hour earlier, and I even managed to find a unique Christmas present for my mom.
Now, if only I could finish the rest of my holiday shopping list. Sigh.
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