"Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it."
- Bubba, Forrest Gump (1994)
So there Stephen and I were: sore from a long flight from California to Louisiana, deaf from the pressure of landing, freezing our extremities off because it was SO much colder here than where we'd come from. Oh, not to mention STARVING - there was no food on the plane, and there are only so many peanuts you can eat before you start to feel sick.
Enter Bubba Gump Shrimp. We saw it in the cab on the way over to the hotel, and, being big fans of the movie, were interested enough to try it out. We quickly called and made a reservation, then scurried on over, practically running due to the cold.
The decor is a shrine to the legend of Forrest Gump, with memorabilia lining the walls, tables, and there's even an attached store selling shirts and souvenirs. There are signs on the table that indicate a customer's need for service - "Run Forrest, Run" means that service isn't required. Soon enough, our waitress came over, gave us the specials then took our orders.
Stephen ordered the lemonade, which came in a huge glass, but was pretty weak in flavour. The blueberries were an interesting addition, but ultimately did nothing for the taste.
Fleur D'Lis - US$10.99 (with Hurricane Glass)
This drink was recommended to us by our waitress - it was sweet and fruity, consisting of Malibu, peach schnapps and melon liqueur. We also got to take the glass home as a souvenir!
I loved the way that the popcorn shrimp was presented - they print their own paper with headlines from the time period of the movie. The shrimp were bouncy and tender, crunchy on the outside but juicy when bitten into. There were also crumbed and fried bell peppers, and two dipping sauces.
The coconut shrimp was really well executed, the shrimp battered and dipped in coconut before being deep fried, and served with fries, coleslaw and Cajun marmelade.
I ordered the Fried Chicken, which turned out to be a BIIIIIIG mistake. Don't get me wrong, the chicken was perfectly cooked, the batter was crisp and the gravy was tasty; but the potato was gluggy and had the mouthfeel of packet potato, and the coleslaw and corn wasn't enough to cut through the amazing amount of grease that the chicken contained. Combined with the residue oil from the other dishes, I was actually feeling quite sick on the way back to the hotel.
Apparently in the US it's odd to have a salad as a side - it's normally served as an appetiser. Luckily Bubba Gump Shrimp doesn't prescribe to that practise, because we sure as hell needed one. It was a simple house salad, nothing fancy, with our choice of dressing, which was a raspberry vinaigrette.
This is also something I wish we didn't order. We've made a key lime pie before, so we naively assumed we knew what one would be like if we ordered it in a restuarant - not so. The crust was gritty and almost had the texture of sand, the lime filling was so sweet it hurt my teeth, and there was no huge layer of meringue, which was what I was looking forward to.
Clearly there are better places to eat than Bubba Gump Shrimp, but they are good for a quick fix, and most of what we tried was pretty good. Steer clear of the Key Lime Pie and you're set.