Friday, May 1, 2009

My Fave Bites: The Gumbo Pot

For years, I've been hearing about The Gumbo Pot at The Farmers Market in Los Angeles as a bastion of classic Creole cooking, but I'd never been brave enough to go. No, it wasn't the spice keeping me away--rather the throngs of tourists and babies that populate The Grove shopping center, located right next to the Farmers Market. The most I'd endured was slipping grumpily into a movie at The Grove movie theater, and then racing away as quickly as possible.

However, when my BDFF, J-Go, agreed to see Monsters v. Aliens with me in 3D because she too is a child at heart, she suggested we walk over to the Farmers Market for lunch first. I seized on the chance to get the gumbo I'd been hearing so much about!

Strolling to the far side of the market, past many other food stalls, I made a beeline for The Gumbo Pot. Actually, J-Go made the beeline and I followed her lead since I had no idea where anything was located. Rounding the corner, the smells of spicy, savory Creole food hit my nostrils and I knew we were in the right place.

Behind a counter, hung what appeared to resemble a hand-painted menu listing their offerings, and there were too many to choose between, from two types of gumbo, to sandwiches and salads, to fried fish, to jambalaya, it was like Cajun food heaven. Instead of facing indecision, I ordered what I'd been craving - the classic Ya-Ya Gumbo with chicken, shrimp and sausage. I requested the collard greens on the side and a big cup of their minty iced tea.

Serving Gumbo from the Pot

Choosing a table, we sat with our delectables, J-Go with a huge sandwich, and me with a deceptively small looking but ultra-filling bowl of gumbo topped with some white rice in the classic style. Quickly, I chowed down, the meaty, spicy flavors hitting my palate in a wave of pleasure. They certainly know how to do gumbo proud.

The collard greens were also a favorite, spicy and tomatoey, cooked down like we do it in the south. My dish also came with a delicious corn muffin. The minty iced tea was the perfect soothing, crisp counterbalance to all that spice.

You can bet that next time I go to a movie at The Grove, I'll sneak in a side trip to The Gumbo Pot, maybe sampling the jambalaya next time. Trust me, it's worth dodging masses of strollers and aimless tourists, weaving through candy booths and throngs of families to chow down. And, as a bonus, Monsters v. Aliens in 3D was a ton of fun!

The Gumbo Pot
Original Farmers Market
6333 W. 3rd St. #312
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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