China Doll goes with gumbo in Paradise (Capt. Joey Patti’s)

I was afraid my gumbo would be served in a Styrofoam bowl when I saw the waitresses serving the orders at Capt. Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant in Pensacola. Everything from po boys to cole slaw was being dished out in a plastic basket or Styrofoam carry-out box or  cup with a lid. Fortunately, the gumbo was served in a glass bowl, though it was accompanied with a plastic spoon wrapped in a paper napkin. It was the largest small bowl of gumbo I’ve ever seen at a reasonable $4.50. According to the menu, the Patti family has been perfecting this gumbo recipe for forty years. I think they’ve just about got it right. Like promised, it has plenty of shrimp, crab and fish in a red roux. The description implied a “nutty” roux flavor but I didn’t quite taste that, perhaps because there was so much seafood. And the seafood is quality seafood; the shrimp is medium-sized and tasty, and the crab and fish are mild and sweet. I guess it helps to be related to and located next-door-to Joe Patti’s, the largest seafood market in the Florida Panhandle. The menu also guarantees there won’t be too much rice in the gumbo. That’s a nice promise because many places serve rice with gumbo, rather than gumbo with rice. But, any rice served with gumbo should be real rice, not instant; my palate tells me Capt. Joey serves instant rice. Even a wee tablespoon of instant rice still tastes instant.  I would have traded the glass bowl for real rice in a heartbeat.  When I wasn’t living in the Deep South, I had my parents bring me China Doll Rice from Mississippi because it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. I just stacked the bags in the freezer, and then cooked the frozen grains. Worked like a charm. Here, I can buy my China Doll at Wal-Mart and Winn Dixie – just another reason to live in Paradise.


About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
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1 Response to China Doll goes with gumbo in Paradise (Capt. Joey Patti’s)

  1. Joy Skelton-McClure says:

    Hello, Diane, and, thanks for this awesome tip of the best gumbo around Pensacola!
    When we visited Navarre Beach, before you all moved to Paradise, we visited Jo Patti’s Fish Market. We had the best fish to take back to the Condo, when we were vacationing, and your experience doesn’t surprise me with the gumbo!

    Please put that on our list of favorite places to eat when I come out to visit!!! Now I
    am, more than ever, motivated to visit!! Just messing with you, I really enjoy my brother and sister-in-law’s company more than anything else! {but it is a definite “perk” to flying over to Pensacola!}

    Thanks for all the great writing you’ve done on your website! I love the name of your site.

    – Joy –


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