A meal can bring friends closer together, much like a camping trip or a pact to never mention what happened on the camping trip ever again. Have an evening you'll never forget with this Groupon.
$16.50 for $30 Worth of Cajun Food
The menu features a 10-ounce grilled top sirloin ($12.99), the fried-seafood platter ($17.99), and chicken and shrimp jambalaya dotted with smoked andouille sausage, tomatoes, and Cajun spices ($14.99).
Jambalaya is just one example of creole food, a specialty cuisine that includes some of America's oldest recorded recipes. Dig in to Groupon's exploration of perhaps the most famous creole specialty—gumbo.
Gumbo: A Multicultural Melting Pot, Literally
There is perhaps no greater sign of Louisiana's culinary heritage than the mélange of aromas that wafts from a pot of simmering gumbo—a cornerstone of creole cooking from as far back as the time of the Louisiana Purchase. Nearly every recipe calls for some kind of roux, a traditional French sauce that consists of butter, oil, or some other fat mixed with flour. Beyond that, the specific spices and ingredients vary wildly, but most versions of gumbo fall into one of three general categories. Seafood gumbos feature oysters, crawfish, and other catches simmered with okra and vegetables, whereas filé gumbo uses a spicy herb made from ground sassafras leaves to highlight the savory flavor of andouille, poultry, ham, or smoked links. The third variant is known as gumbo z'herbes, a vegetarian recipe traditionally served during Lent.
Despite its indisputable creole ties, gumbo can't actually be traced to a single cultural tradition; the version using filé powder, for instance, originally derives from Native American cultures. Either way, the name itself comes from the West African term “gombo,” which means “okra”—a plant native to Africa that the French colonists of Louisiana likely introduced to North America in the early 1700s.
As far as impulse buys go, it's hard to beat the Louisiana Purchase. That massive 19th-century land acquisition essentially doubled the size of the United States, but more importantly it paved the way for restaurants such as Belleville's Bayou Grill. Nearly everything at this Cajun haven smacks of New Orleans, from the party beads at the hostess stand to the gargantuan alligator parked on the roof. But the food is what really stands out here. The Cajun- and creole-inspired menu features everything from baked seafood platters to spicy jambalaya. French, Italian, and Spanish influences are easy to pick out, unlike the string of beads you might accidentally drop into a bowl of piping hot gumbo.