This past weekend Houstonia magazine hosted its second annual Gumbo Smackdown party. Basically, you paid $25 to try more than 17 gumbos and sides from restaurants around Houston. I, being an intern of the fabulous magazine, got to go for free—well, for the price of labor—and bring a friend—obviously, I chose my co-blogger Anastasia Hansen.
We perused. We tasted. We sipped on TX Whiskey cocktails, bloody marys and mimosas. We mingled. We photoboothed. I froze, as I was poorly dressed for the 40 degree, windy weather. And, we witnessed Juan Carlos, the Montrose rollerblader blade up a storm.
— Houstonia Magazine (@HoustoniaMag) November 15, 2014
I managed to try 14 of the 17 gumbos—so, I have a kind of skewed selection. But, I picked my top 3 to discuss. I also failed to take pictures, because frozen, but lucky for me—all gumbo looks pretty much the same. So you get the picture.
1. Eddie V’s. 2800 Kirby Drive Ste. A-100 I thoroughly enjoy everything about Eddie V’s: the cocktails (sup to my best girl Ashlea and her bar tending skills), the decadent food, the piano-playing atmosphere; but I had no clue I would fall in love with its gumbo, which by the way was the first one I tried. It was a perfect hand-warming-yet-not-mouth-scalding temperature—a fluke I’m sure—and it was topped with the most delicious potato salad (which wasn’t overly mustardy because that would be weird) and green onions. All other gumbos just couldn’t compete.
2. Peli Peli. 110 Vintage Park Blvd Head Chef Paul Friedman had something to prove. He literally stood out in the crowd and asked me—hands full—to try his authentic South African gumbo, and honestly he needn’t have done that. The dish is delicious and he’s an encyclopedia of knowledge of South American gumbo. It tasted like hot salsa with a creamy base. He served it with an authentic polenta and a sprinkle of spice, his own invention.
3. Frank’s Americana Revival. 3736 Westheimer Rd.
I ate this one while someone—with authority—told me how great it is. And each bite backed up her opinion. The roux was buttery and dark, and the sausage was salty and scrumptious.
- Fan favorite: Peli Peli (he got to the other people too!)
- Judges pick: Museum Park Cafe