>> Caribbean Gourmet | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Caribbean Gourmet

GUYANA 🇬🇾

Is it the imagination, or does there seem to be an influx of Caribbean chefs flexing their muscles in Los Angeles these past couple years? In addition to the long tradition of Belizean and Jamaican spots dotted all over town, countries with most of their diaspora in New York and Florida have started to show up here and there. 
 
Some have storefronts at the beach, some are cooking from shared kitchens and doing pop-ups, and Guyana is on the map thanks to a delivery service and farmers' market pop-up known as Caribbean Gourmet.
 

Seen here at the Crenshaw Farmers' Market, Chef Yonette Alleyne's current Saturday spot, this stand takes pre-orders but also has a decent stock of pre-made meals for walk-up customers. The market is open from 10:00-15:00, but do not go anywhere near the closing time as she is a fan favorite and has a lot of regular customers that sell out her meals fairly quickly.

You will see the flags of every Caribbean island hanging from her tent, it almost seems like Eastern Parkway on Labor Day, and true to form the menu does dabble throughout the region. The recipes of stews and curries are shared between neighbors and are eaten almost everywhere.


During a pandemic of course, everything has to be pre-made and packaged before arriving at the farmers' markets, so prepare to take them home. The chef portions her boxed meals very well and they lend themselves kindly to warming up just as they come.

Make sure to grab some of her homemade tamarind or sorrel drinks to pair with the lovely fattiness of dishes like the oxtail stew plate ($15, below). Thick, meaty oxtails are prepared in garlic, ginger, spices and habanero peppers and placed with rice and peas that are slightly sweet from coconut milk, fresh cabbage, and fried sweet plantains.


Her other plates were favorites like jerk chicken and curry chicken with roti on this day, but the menu shifts and has new items here and there. Trini doubles were even available last weekend.

Jamaican-style beef patties are also popular, and the chef of course makes patties for vegetarians, but on this day the turkey patty ($4, below) was selected purely because it was new to the palate. The thin, flaky crust shows true talent and holds well-spiced ground turkey within.



As the patties prove the chef's talents in baking, the pastries also let you dive a little bit deeper into her Guyanese roots. Any number of goods will be available depending on whether you are at a market or ordering for delivery (check her Instagram), but from the small sample tasted, these are not to be missed.

Skip the microwave this time and place beauties like the cheese roll ($4, above) straight in the oven to warm up. Once hot, prepare for its flaky excellence to get all over your hands and lap, for this is inevitable.

 
On the sweet side, try the currant roll ($4, above), another well-worn favorite from the south Caribbean. This one is wonderful and definitely the finest ever sampled in Greater Los Angeles. It makes you look forward to the day that Chef Alleyne opens up her own bakery.

Until then, you are going to have to hunt her down!

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