New Year’s Eve in New Orleans is a lot of fun. Well, New Orleans is fun no matter what, and NYE is just a bonus. We were in town for the Sugar Bowl for a few days, so it was like a big party with my OSU friends. Our New Year’s Eve dinner was at Cafe Soule, and then we rang in the new year on the balcony at Cat’s Meow karaoke bar. The next day was gameday, and thankfully it was a night game so we had the whole day to both recover, regroup, and get ready for the game. A couple of years ago we played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at 11am on New Year’s Day. Now that was brutal. Never again.
I woke up earlier than I had originally planned, and decided to go for a run to get the new year off to a good start. I stopped at my parents’ room, and they were heading to breakfast. Normally food trumps working out, but I decided to stay strong and go running. A few hours later, it was time for a feeding. Joni had a little too much fun the night before, so I met Tony and we headed out to meet Bob and his parents for lunch. Tony had said good things about Gumbo Shop, so we decided to go there.
Unfortunately, my pictures for this post didn’t turn out as well as I would like them to. I’m currently taking all of my shots with my cell phone, and while I’ve gotten much better at crisp and clear pictures with it, I failed on this day. I don’t have a fancy camera yet, and I would feel really awkward taking a big camera into a restaurant. I also realized that it’s harder and kind of distracting to take food pictures when I’m part of a big group of people. I felt rushed because we were all very hungry, Bob’s mom told me to “hurry up” with the pictures of her food, and I also didn’t want to keep people waiting on their dishes.
I love how in the French Quarter the shops and restaurants have signs hanging in front. That way you can see what you’re looking for as you walk down the street. Very smart.
Gumbo Shop is located in the heart of the French Quarter, not far from our hotel. Honestly, everything in the French Quarter is really close to our hotel, which was very convenient. The down side of New Year’s Day, we quickly learned, was that many restaurants were closed. So combine that with all the fans in town for the game, that made the lines really long every place that was open. We waited in line for about 40 minutes to be seated at Gumbo Shop. You wait in line outside, and then once in the buiding you wait again down a long hallway. The hostess was very friendly and several times apologized for the wait. It wasn’t her fault, but as she said, she hates to see people waiting in line. I get it. What all of the restaurants do is as tables open up, they call for groups that are that size. Your whole party has to be there, and then they will seat you. A couple of times we considered breaking our party up, because larger tables take longer to turn over. But we eventually decided to just wait it out.
The Gumbo Shop has won several awards for the best gumbo in New Orleans. They also have the recipes for a couple of their most popular restaurants listed online. I really like that idea. You can also order food and merchandise online. The restaurant itself has a good-sized main dining room, with a small full bar towards the back corner. There is no seating at the bar though, it’s just where the servers go to pick up drinks. There is also a small open courtyard. In good weather it would be a great place to sit, but it was cold that day. I am so happy we didn’t get seated out there. Even though they had several tall space heaters, we could tell that numerous guests were really cold. That wouldn’t have worked for Bob’s parents at all.
Finally, our table was ready. Even though there were 5 of us, we were seated at a table for 6. This ended up working out perfectly, because just as our table was being called, Joni had rallied and was heading to meet us.
We were all starving, so we started with spinach & artichoke dip
The chips were very crispy and a little salty, and were a great accompaniment to the dip. The dip itself was served hot, and had a lot of spinach, much more than you get at many other restaurants. I really enjoyed it. The only down side is that the serving of dip was small compared to the amount of chips, and we only had one serving for 6 of us. So I was good and didn’t devour the whole thing.
We also got the crabcake appetizer
I’m very particular about my crabcakes. So many of them have way too much filler, and end up being more cake than crab. My all-time favorite crabcake is at Jerry’s Seafood in Maryland, so that’s what I compare all other crabcakes to. Is that fair? Probably not. But I can’t help it. This crabcake was good! It did have quite a bit of filler, but the crab was fresh and the seasonings were wonderful. The light sauce on top was also delicious.
While you wait in line, there are menus near the door so you can start looking and thinking. Bob’s mom had a really hard time deciding what to get. Several times I thought she was going to nix the restaurant all together because she kept saying nothing looked good. Eventually she settled on the shrimp salad
They weren’t kidding with the shrimp. There had to be at least a pound of it on the plate. I have to say, the shrimp didn’t look so appetizing because it was just boiled and therefore had no color, but Mary said they were really good.
Bob’s dad got the creole combo platter
I tried a bite of the shrimp creole, and it was really delicious. He said all of it was good.
Bob got the blackened fish
I’ve never been a huge fan of catfish, but this one was delicious. It also had a good kick from the blackening that added a lot of flavor.
Tony got red beans & rice with smoked sausage
I tried a bite, and it was really good. In hindsight I probably should have gotten that, to celebrate the new year. But I wasn’t thinking.
Joni got just a side of the red beans & rice
I went with the seafood gumbo and macque choux corn
I was actually a little hesitant to order the gumbo, because I don’t like okra cooked this way. But I decided to be adventurous. It wasn’t as hot as I would have liked, but it was delicious. The okra almost melted into the soup, and lent a really wonderful flavor to the entire dish. The corn was just okay. I think it was a little soupy for my taste. But I had never tried it before, and that whole adventurous thing got the best of me again. I’m thinking I can find a good recipe on Pinterest and try to make it myself.
As if we hadn’t already eaten everything in sight, we decided to order dessert. Actually, Mary ordered a slice of pecan pie when she placed her meal order
I don’t normally eat pecan pie, but I tried a taste and this was fantastic.
We also got an order of the warm bread pudding with whiskey sauce
Oh my. This was fantastic. It was served warm, and that rich whiskey sauce added so much flavor. It was a small portion, so I just had 2 bites. But I could have easily eaten the entire thing myself.
Will I go to Gumbo Shop again? Yes, because overall the food was really good. But with so many restaurants in that area, I have to say I don’t know that it would be at the top of my list. I would like to go on a day when it’s not so crowded so that we’re not waiting in line forever and can have a little bit more of a relaxing experience.