Our Growing Edge is the part of us that is still learning and experimenting. It’s the part that you regularly grow and improve, be it from real passion or a conscious effort. This monthly event aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to.
After rereading the criteria, I believe this post will fit in nicely.
October’s Growing Edge host is Alice from Nom Nom Cat.
Hi Alice, your Ratatouille looks magnificent! Please accept my submission:
I have heard of it before, in southern novels. It is a dish usually written about with some passion, but I had no idea what it was at all. No mental picture, no idea of the ingredients, the only thing I knew about it is that it contains prawns.
And then by some strange coincidence my sister took me out to this new eatery called Orleans in Britomart. If it wasn’t for my sister my culinary experience would be much deprived.
Orleans is a trendy eatery with food like Po Boys, Jambalaya, corn bread, and of course Gumbo. So that’s where I tried my first Gumbo. To be honest I didn’t know what the fuss was about. It was like a spiced up tomato soup with bits of chicken, sausage and okra in it (we omitted the prawn because my sister doesn’t eat seafood). It was definitely good, but it didn’t seem to warrant the kind of passion that I’ve read about in books about Gumbo. June liked it too, she has got quite a palate for a two year old. She loves my Indonesian chicken curry and rendang. She has quite a high tolerance for hot (spicy) food.
We also ordered their Baked Cornmeal Gnocchi (which was really good), Pig Po Boy (ok) and curly fries. We had their Pecan Tart with Bourbon Ice Cream (lovely thin pastry with rich pecan filling and the ice cream was really quite boozy) and Apple and Rhubarb Cobbler (loved it, my kind of comfort food). All in all it was a good experience, the staff was attentive and helpful (especially with June around). There was quite a lunch crowd here but it did have a pretty adult kind of atmosphere, not exactly a place for a family lunch. They have outside seating though (it was a windy day when we were there so nobody was outside) and this might be quite popular for families during the weekends.
Later on though, the morning after our Orleans lunch my mind kept wandering back to that gumbo. The taste and texture of the okra was really exquisite! I don’t usually like okra but somehow it fit in just right and the memory of the taste of that tangy tomato soup lingered.
So when my sister asked me if I’d like to go to Miss Clawdy’s, another eatery catering for Louisiana inspired food I said yes of course!
By the way, these two eateries are both pretty new, I think soul food has found its way to Auckland and there may be a few more popping up.
Miss Clawdy’s is located in Wynyard Quarter, not far from Silo Park. This time we went with both girls because it was a Saturday and we planned a trip to the Alligator and Silo Park Playground after lunch.
Maybe because of it’s proximity to the playground and because it was a Saturday, Miss Clawdy’s appeared more family friendly, there were lots of kids (very well behaved ones, surprisingly) with their families. We put in our order for Gumbo (of course), some Po Boys for the kids and for my sister (who doesn’t eat seafood, so she was getting that while I had the whole bowl of Gumbo to myself), Fried Jerk Chicken and Cajun Hushpuppies.
I must tell you, after trying out that Gumbo, I can now understand what all the fuss was about. It was quite different from the Orleans version, there were lots of chunky bits in here, celery, okra, crab, chicken, prawn and smoked sausage and the flavour of the soup was so rich and dense! It was unbelievably good!
The rest of the food was good too. The Po Boys my sister had was good and generous in flavour, the fried Jerk Chicken was tender and juicy (the kids loved it too), Hushpuppies were light and fluffy (my sister loved these, I thought they were a little bland). We followed that with dessert: dark chocolate cookie with ice cream and chocolate milk for the kids, it probably isn’t a very good kid’s dessert, they only enjoyed the ice cream, the cookie was too dark and bitter for them (but I liked it) and the chocolate milk was spiced (a bit like a chai spice) which they didn’t like much either. My sister and I shared the Key Lime Meringue Pie. I’ve heard a lot about Key Lime Pie and wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest, to us it just tasted like a regular lemon meringue pie, although admittedly the lime curd was very rich and velvetty. I don’t usually like meringue but this was a good one.
After that we were really stuffed! So it was good we could burn some of that food going up and down the “Alligator” (viewing platform in Silo Park) with the kids.
I think I’m going to take up Casey’s challenge to make my own Gumbo. I found some highly recommended recipes online and when I’ve got a moment I will give it a go.