Five Day Challenge

Guinness Chocolate Cake from The Irish House, a bonus dessert in the Five Day Challenge

Guinness Chocolate Cake from The Irish House, a bonus dessert in the Five Day Challenge

Forget the cleansing, healthy, lean green, raw and organic diets. I designed my own, original, personal five-day eating challenge in New Orleans last week – Gumbo Every Day for Five Days. Nah, too easy. I raised the bar, requiring gumbo prepared by the finest chefs in New Orleans. But wait, there’s more. I vowed to vary the meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The gumbo got better and better with every meal.

Pascale ManaleDay One: Dinner at Pascale’s Manale, the Pascale Manale's (2)102-year-old Italian restaurant in the Garden District famous for inventing New Orleans’ BBQ shrimp. I ordered seafood gumbo as an appetizer while I waited for the arrival of my BBQ shrimp – and the drool bib that goes with it. The gumbo had a kick, just like the shrimp. Both were great choices to start my challenge.

Day Two –The Gumbo Shop in the French Quarter for

The trio includes seafood gumbo and chicken & sausage gumbo, plus the soup of the day.

The trio includes seafood gumbo and chicken & sausage gumbo, plus the soup of the day.

dinner. As an appetizer, I ordered the Trio, which includes a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo, a cup of seafood gumbo plus a cup of the soup of the day. Day Two tasted even better than Day One. The chicken and sausage gumbo is worthy of its many awards.

Day Three – Lunch at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, the French Quarter restaurant owned by Chef Paul Prudhomme. I savored delicious chicken and sausage gumbo while reading the gumbo poster on the wall. I’m K Paul'sglad I have Chef Paul’s cookbook because the poster only lists the ingredients, not the steps. I’ve never been able to master the dark, smoky roux like K-Paul’s serves. Now that I’ve seen and tasted it, I can cook the roux to the right color.

Three days down and the gumbo is getting better and better.

Irish House (2)

Gumbo at The Irish House reminds me of lamb stew, but there’s no lamb in this Irish Bayou Gumbo. Irish Bayou is located east of New Orleans in an area locals call the Rigolets.

Day Four – Irish Chef Matt Murphy of Chopped fame has opened the Irish House neighborhood pub on St. Charles. The food is delicious and the entertainment lively. Here I had a bowl of Irish Bayou Gumbo which includes chicken, sausage and crawfish. It reminded me of Irish stew. I don’t know how he makes gumbo taste like lamb, but it was the best gumbo so far.

Day Five — I finished my challenge with gumbo for breakfast at the Camellia Grill on Carrollton. It was a delicious prelude to my mushroom omelet and the first gumbo in five days to feature okra. Superb and mild enough to taste all the flavors.

I loved my five-day challenge and plan to extend it to seven days on the next trip. But first I have to shed the five pounds I gained during my inaugural gumbo challenge.

On second thought, maybe I should blame the Guinness chocolate cake, bread pudding and pralines.

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About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
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