Menu Mining: Drunken Shrimp at the Gumbo Pot

So, there is seafood, and then there is the drunken shrimp at the Gumbo Pot in the Farmer’s Market. The drunken shrimp take it to another level. I was away from LA for two months recently and when I got back, I made a beeline from LAX to the Farmer’s Market for some drunken shrimp.

Drunken shrimp, french bread, fried okra on the side!

So, first of all, it needs to be understood that everything at the Gumbo Pot is awesome. I love the sweet potato salad, and I love the po’boys, and the fried okra will seriously be the death of me. And you obviously can’t go wrong with the gumbo itself. But I feel like the drunken shrimp are the oft-overlooked crown jewel of the Gumbo Pot’s menu.

When you order the drunken shrimp, you get a bowl lined with waxed paper, filled with a steaming hot broth that is made out of beer. And rosemary. And probably butter. And did I mention beer? It’s made out of beer. That might be the most important fact here. It’s made out of beer and it’s damn spicy and it warms you up and you can feel it down to your toes.

And in that steaming, golden, buttery beer broth, are the drunken shrimp themselves. They are spicy, they are sweet, they are tender and delicious. These shrimp are truly blessed amongst shrimp, for to end up in a shining bowl of buttery beer broth must be an auspicious fate indeed.

But the best part? The best part isn’t even the wonderful wonderful shrimp. The best part is the loaf of french bread that comes on the side. Because once you’ve finished your shrimp, you get to sop up your buttery beer broth with french bread. And that, my friends, is the most delicious thing in the world.

The Gumbo Pot, at Farmer’s Market
6333 West 3rd Street, 90036

Menu Mining: Sticky Toffee Pudding at Waterloo and City

Waterloo and City is a recent addition to the spectacular list of restaurants that call Culver City home. I’ve been three times and have tried many things on the menu (all super delicious) but when they bring the dessert menu over I wave them away with a very posh  “Bring me the sticky toffee pudding!”

Oooooh boy.

The sticky toffee pudding itself is hot and melty with the cakey part soaked through with the toffee part. But the kicker, the thing that gets me every time is the salted caramel that the pudding is bathing in. I could honestly have a bowl full of the caramel and be done with it, but you need the pudding part to break up the caramel overdose. On top is “milk ice cream.” I don’t know what that means exactly, sort of feels redundant. But who cares because that kiss of creamy goodness involves itself so beautifully with the toffee, caramelly goodness. I could see myself getting more intimately involved with this dessert, it is so sexy. Whew. Is it hot in here or what? [fans herself]

Get on over to Waterloo and City and try all of their yumminess (their special last night of the pasta with brown butter sauce and garlic foam with shaved truffle on top nearly did me in). Their menu changes often, which makes going often really fun, but if they ever EVER take this dessert off the menu…oh they’ll be in Barney!

Waterloo and City
12517 West Washington Blvd. (that’s the south one)
Culver City (the very West part)

Menu Mining: Café Tropical’s Medianoche Sandwich

Ah, Key West, home of so many delicious foods. And so much rum….

Oh yeah. Los Angeles. Yes.

We may not be splashing distance from Cuba, but thank goodness we have people who used to be.

Seen that deep purple building on the corner of Sunset and Reservoir (where you turn to get to Silver Lake Blvd.)? That’s Café Tropical, and in addition to having a truly surprising array of pastries, they serve what are arguably the best Cuban sandwiches west of Miami.

Sure, you can order the Cuban Mix, and it’s done up right, but I’ve always considered those to be … well, just a sandwich.

OR –

You can order up the incomparable Midnight (we professionals say Medianoche) and get something really worth eating. I recommend you ask for it “all the way,” which is how they say “everything on it” in Key West. Now you look like a real bigshot.

Ingredients: roasted pork, ham, cheese, some slices of pickle, on a special sweet bread. The sandwich is heat-pressed but it ain’t no Panini.

Aaaarch, my eyes roll up in my head just thinking about it.

Bonus: Prices are Dirt Cheap. Medianoche is $6.50 and it comes with free wifi.

Café Tropical

2900 W Sunset Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90026

Open every day from 6am – 10pm

(yeah, go get your Con Leche on before work)

Am I cheating by including this link to Yelp? Maybe. But I’m putting it at the end, and only because I couldn’t find a website for them.

RIP Stephen J. Cannell

Television icon Stephen J. Cannell died last night. He was only 69. Television might not be what it is today without all the amazing characters and shows that he created and wrote. Among many others were: The Rockford Files, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Baa Baa Black Sheep, The Greatest American Hero. (And my personal sentimental favorite Tenspeed and Brownshoe.)

We attended a Writer’s Guild Panel a few years ago about his legacy and career and no one had a bad thing to say about him. He was clearly a man who was open to helping anyone out, offering support and creative criticism and encouragement to all who showed gumption and talent. His own work ethic was legendary, cranking out scripts after script and later, novel after novel.

Mr. Cannell’s work might not be considered “art” but he created entertaining, fun, full-of-life tv. He will be sorely and sadly missed by so many in the business, myself included.

Distracted Driver enhanced enforcement set for 10/5

I got it in a couple of  tweets from the CHP.  A multi-agency task force is set to enforce the hands free cell and texting ban on October 5.  All day event  and the tickets aren’t cheap.  They refute the urban legend that the tickets are only $20, they are actually $139 plus court costs which will push you near the $200 mark.   You’ve been warned, the largely unenforced ban will be enforced on Tuesday

Menu Mining: Jake’s Mushroom Burger

Oh so delectable Mushroom Burger Basket at Jake's Roadhouse

Sometimes you just crave a burger with something different. Something a little old school like a Mushroom Burger and Jake’s Roadhouse in Monrovia is the place to get it. When ever I get the urge I make tracks for that place, parking in the area be damned and satiate that urge.

What makes it so special? Aside from a very good cooked to order burger with the usual trimmings, it is packed with oodles of mushrooms. Oodles as in more than the bun can contain and they spill out into the basket leaving you with nibbles of sauteed-buttery-garlicky-salty mushroom slices. It is nirvana on a bun as far as I’m concerned. Others in the area may have similar on their menu, but none over pack the plate with those slices of fungi goodness like Jake’s.

Its affordable too. The Mushroom Burger Basket with your choice of fries or onion rings can be had for under $10. Toss in an iced tea and tip and I’m in heaven for under $15 which is quite the deal in itself. Of course you don’t have to just take my word for it, try it yourself if you happen to be in Old Town.

Lastly, you don’t go to Jake’s for a fine dining experience, rather you go there for great food, great service at a reasonable price. While you’re waiting please eat the peanuts and toss the shells on the floor. It’s that kind of a place. They do a pretty good BBQ Rib and Tri-tip too,  but this is about my favorite item on their menu and the subject of this post.

Jake’s Roadhouse, 622 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016-3406 (626) 599-9453