Our reservation at Gumbo for dinner was only 30 minutes away, after work hours. Desperate to catch it on the quickest time, I walked briskly (almost ran) until I reached my first stop: Chocolat, SM Mall of Asia, where I bought a red velvet cake for my parents’ wedding anniversary. The night, after all, was all about celebrating this wonderful occasion.
My parents hit their 26th this year. *Big congrats!* It’s our first time to dine in at this branch of Gumbo (read review of Gumbo at Robinsons Place, Manila). Funny it’s located exactly beside Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant, where we celebrated our parents’ silver anniversary last year. We were led to our seats and before we knew it, the food arrived.
Celebrating Our Parents’ 26th Wedding Anniversary at Gumbo (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City)
It’s already more than a decade when Gumbo opened its first branch in the Philippines, but it already feels like longer. Featuring New Orleans cuisine, this restaurant is considered as iconic an institution as any of the high-low, smart-fusion, upscale-casual restaurant archetypes that have redefined how we eat. Its menu reflects a melting pot of different cultures. A decade later, the crowds are still here. Gumbo branches are all spacious and thus serve as great venues for celebrations and parties.
For the food, we opted with the tried-and-true classic, Gumbo’s Spaghetti Puttanesca (PHp 375, Petite; PHp 575, Grande). It consisted of spahetti pasta, tossed in pomodoro sauce with fresh basil, capers, balck olives, artichoke and anchovies. With flavorful and aromatic sauce, this version of spaghetti is a comfort food favorite that’s rich and satisfying. The best thing about it? It’s free from meat and is completely vegetarian! At least for our family, it’s a timeless dish that’s ideal for any day’s supper.
Like Burgoo American Bar and Restaurant, which is also owned by Specialty Restaurant, Inc., Gumbo gives customers the liberty to choose up to four pizza flavors on the menu and make them into an order of one pizza. We had the following:
- Jumpin’ Shrimps – all fresh-shrimp pizza with pomodoro and mozzarella
- Quattro Formaggio – mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar and bleu cheese
- Pomodoro and Cheese – pomodoro sauce topped with mozzarella cheese
- All-Meat – a hearty combination of pepperoni, Italian sausage, grilled chicken cube and andouille sausage
Gumbo’s pizzas are so good that I’d want to eat a slice every day, but then my diet would be doomed.
Lastly, this wedding anniversary celebration wouldn’t be a feast without us ordering the Family Feast (PHp 795, Petite; PHp 1395, Grande) plated with the best of everything. It had the combination of honey-grilled chicken, Bourbon-style barbecue ribs, batter coated cream dory and shrimp kebabs and grilled skewered veggies (zucchini and mushrooms). We generally agreed that each viand was a pleaser. The balance between the seasoning, sauce and smoke of the seafood, meat and veggies had captured the subtle complexity of what we regard as good food.
After eating, our attending waiter quietly offered to serenade us with a song and at the same time serve the cake. I said okay and they waited for my signal. Shortly, all of Gumbo’s staff (yes, including the chefs and kitchen assistants) arranged themselves in a horizontal line and sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” in front of our table. It was such a joyous moment that we wholeheartedly appreciated.
My sister gave my parents a handmade heart-shaped letter and personalized couple mugs with prints of their name and faces. These things are not anything monumental or life-changing but enough to make my parents that know and feel they are loved and cared for. We then exchanged sweet nothings, enjoyed wearing Gumbo’s hats and took pictures with their lovely background and cozy ambiance for the rest of the night. 🙂
Every year since I was in secondary school, I make a self contemplation about marriage. Looking at how my parents live life together, I learned that seriously loving someone is not much about having butterflies in the stomach or having extravagant gifts to exchange every day. Rather, being together is more about the day-to-day co-existence. It’s more about living simply—smiling when a message is received from the partner, laughing at inside jokes, cooking meals, serving food, watching shows, telling stories and setting directions.
When one is sad about life, unmotivated to wake up in the morning or when one is ready to give up on everything, the other should give purpose and excitement over again. I told myself I should remember all these. I must take pictures and write about them, so I’m reminded how great my parents are with everything that goes on around them.
Happy 26th Wedding Anniversary, Mommy and Daddy. We love you, always. ♥