This article has been published in the December 2010 issue of Town Favorites Magazine. You can visit the Town Favorites website at http://www.townfavorites.com/, follow them on Twitter @TownFavorites, "Like" them at Facebook.com/TownFavorites, and find their magazines at over 150 restaurants and businesses around Baton Rouge! Pick up a copy today!
|Jay Ducote shows off a pair of gumbos at The Chimes|
by Jay D. Ducote
There is certainly no shortage of Baton Rouge restaurants serving delicious bowls of gumbo this winter, so often times the only real challenge is determining which gumbo is best for you. I recently took a miniature tour aboard the “Gumbeaux Express” to see what local establishments are offering. One thing’s for sure, no two gumbos are ever alike! The tricky thing about gumbo in south Louisiana is that everyone seems to prefer whichever style of gumbo their grandma made. It is culture, tradition, and memories on which our fundamental love for gumbo is developed. Due to this, we can sometimes be hard pressed to find a restaurant version that lives up to our expectations. Still, with so many great chefs and authentic Louisiana restaurants in our great city, somebody out there has to be cooking a pot of gumbo “like grandma makes it!”
The first stop aboard my Gumbeaux Express tour occurred at Dempsey’s on Jefferson Highway. Chef George Gugich and manager Daniel Hatcher met me inside on a cool, rainy day to serve up a sampling of both their seafood gumbo and their chicken and andouille gumbo. George has been cooking gumbo his whole life and continues that passion at Dempsey’s. The Jefferson Highway location is the newer version (opened in July 2009) of their other location on Coursey Boulevard (13 years old and still going strong). Josh Armand, the chef at the Coursey restaurant, has been there since they opened the doors when Josh was 16 years old. The two restaurants have the exact same menus, so you can decide on your own which to visit! At the Jefferson Dempsey’s, George cooks up giant 35 gallon batches of gumbo to feed their loyal patrons. Each batch features everything made from scratch, begining with three gallons of flour and two gallons of oil to make the roux.
|Dempsey's Seafood Gumbo|
|Chicken and sausage gumbo at Dempsey's|
|Drusilla Seafood's gumbo features a dark roux|
|The Chimes' seafood gumbo|
|Duck and andouille gumbo at The Chimes|
There are so many more places that I could have gone to try gumbo, but I can rest well knowing that I hit up three well deserving establishments with their own versions on classic Cajun gumbo. Each creation that I got to try tasted fantastic and I’d be happy to eat any of them again. Do yourself a favor and grab a spoon and make your own Gumbeaux Express tour this December. Your stomach won’t regret it!
Jay D. Ducote is the author of the blog Bite and Booze, which chronicles his culinary and indulgent cultural experiences around Baton Rouge, South Louisiana, and the world. It can be found at www.biteandbooze.com. You can also reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, like the Bite and Booze fan page on facebook.com/biteandbooze, and follow him on Twitter @biteandbooze.
Thanks to Eric Ducote of BRBeerScene.com for taking all the pictures for this article.