The last thing I expected to find in the Denver area was authentic New Orleans cuisine. But that’s exactly what happened. Whilst exploring Loveland, a town I blogged about a few weeks ago, my husband and I stopped for lunch at a restaurant on the main drag with the intriguing name of Mo’Betta Gumbo. It did not disappoint!
I’ve been to New Orleans, and I’m here to tell you this food is absolutely what you’d find down there. According to Mo’Betta’s website, Chef Clay Caldwell makes good use of his southern roots by serving up family recipes in the storefront restaurant.
Inside there has been a grand effort to turn the place into New Orleans, complete with masks and Mardi Gras beads:
Note the murals on the right wall.
I knew nothing about the place when I arrived in Loveland, and we ate there because I liked the name. It’s as good a reason as any. As with every other place my husband and I dined during that trip, I expected a decent meal with nice service. However, that meal was a real downhome experience. I was so thrilled at the friendly, attentive service and fantastic food we had!
We started out with the hush puppies:
My husband had the chicken and andouille gumbo:
So good! For my part, I ordered the shrimp and grits. Now, I’ve never had the shrimp and grits combo before, though I’m a fan of both spicy shrimp and grits separately. But Chef Clay puts an Asiago spin on the grits, which raises the entire dish to a memorable experience:
In fact, I was so enamored of this dish that last week I made a concerted effort to duplicate it in my own kitchen. I’m pretty sure I got close, though Chef Clay has me with experience and southern DNA. However, I’m very pleased with my own effort, so if you can’t make it out to Loveland, you can make my version of this delicious Cajun treat using my recipes (email me and we’ll make a deal). I started by making up a batch of Essence of Emeril, my favorite spicy Cajun seasoning by Emeril Lagasse. I’ve used it for crab cakes in the past and it was just the ticket for the shrimp.
So, for Shrimp and Grits, the process is as follows:
First, mix up the seasoning or buy a good one.
Second, coat the shrimp with the seasoning and put them in the fridge to marinate.
Third, whip up a batch of the BEST cheese grits on the planet because they use lots of cream and Asiago cheese.
Fourth, once the grits are done, cover them and fry up the shrimp.
Lastly, dish up some of the grits in a bowl, top with shrimp, drizzle some of the spice-infused oil around the sides then garnish with crumbled bacon and sliced scallions.
This stuff is SO GOOD! And it makes wonderful leftovers. Plus the shrimp recipe and grits recipe can be made separately for other meals. Definitely keep these in your repertoire. Please write and let me know how yours turn out!
One last thing: I’ve implemented my shop on the blog. Click on “Shop A Travel for Taste” at the top of your screen above the header photo. Right now you can buy all my books via this page. The book links will take you to Amazon for your purchases. Very soon I will have an apron with the ATFT logo on it plus a luggage tag and other merch for sale. If you are a subscriber, you’ll get a chance to buy the new gear at a much lower price than everyone else for a limited time, so be sure you are signed up.
Photo for No Apparent Reason: