Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In Louisiana, red beans and rice are traditionally served on Mondays. Monday was wash day, and once all of the ingredients were thrown in, you could ignore the beans all day while you tended to the laundry. I am obsessed with red beans and rice. The only version I've eaten that beat my own recipe was made by Mike Anderson's in New Orleans.
But I have to admit that The Gumbo Pot in the Farmers Market serves up some damn good red beans. They are chock full of ham hocks, without the slight funk or gaminess. Of course, The Gumbo Pot is situated down the lane from a meat market with the biggest, meatiest ham hocks I've ever seen. The beans have that special kind of creaminess that can only come from loads of pork fat. They are not overly spiced, but depending on the day, they sometimes they pack a wallop. They are served properly over Uncle Ben's converted rice - the true rice of New Orleans.
Cajun and Creole food are controversial, and I'm sure everyone is ready to stand up for their favorite spot, extolling the wonders of The Creole Chef or Uncle Darrow's. I will admit that there might be better gumbos out there, and there might be better jambalayas out there. But as a frequent traveler to New Orleans, I can attest that The Gumbo Pot serves a damn authentic red beans and rice. Well, maybe not so authentic - because I don't know of any restaurant in New Orleans that is this generous with the ham hocks. Order the side salad with candied pecans and homemade pickles in a buttermilk dressing, split a po'boy with your friend and prepare to be transported down to the Crescent City.
The Gumbo Pot (323) 933-0358
6333 West Third Street # 312 Los Angeles 90036