Going into the seventh year of Houstonia's Gumbo Smackdown, no team had ever won both the Judge's Choice and People's Choice awards in one go.
That changed this year, when Willie G's Seafood at the Post Oak Hotel took both prizes at the annual pre-Mardi Gras celebration held last Saturday at Sugar Land Town Square.
What made Willie G's gumbo the best? It was a well-balanced sausage and shrimp gumbo with a rich stock thickened by a buttery roux. It had just enough rice for texture, and wasn't so overwhelmed with vegetables and seafood that it became a stew. It was the kind of gumbo the judges (including this writer) could eat all day, and we nearly did.
That said, all the entries at Gumbo Smackdown were worthy of seconds. The gumbo paired well with beer from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, and craft cocktails and wine that were available by the glass to ticket-holders. Kilwins provided sweets, and guests had the opportunity to hang out in the Lucky Shots photo booth, all while The Stringbenders played zydeco jams throughout the afternoon.
A raffle for prizes that included restaurant gift cards and baskets benefitted the Fort Bend Rainbow Room, which offers emergency and transitional supplies to meet the needs of Ford Bend County's abused and neglected children and adults.
Plus, it was a gorgeous day for the Gumbo Smackdown, with blue skies and temperatures in the low 70s all afternoon. Sunshine, gumbo, beer, and zydeco? Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.