Jury duty, while one of the fundamental principles of the American judicial system, is a pain. You have to miss work, you have to sit around for hours or even days and all you have to show for it at the end of the day is 15 bucks. Yet, in my case I took my jury duty as an opportunity. More specifically, a food opportunity. As opposed to most LA jury duty, which is in downtown LA, mine took my to Inglewood. Although I spent a lot of time in El Segundo in my previous life, it is amazing how different that was from Inglewood.
To ensure I would find a good place to eat, I consulted an old coworker of mine who was now working in the Inglewood area. He was quick to recommend a Jamaican place called Blessed, which is right across the street from Hollywood Park in a corner strip mall. I noticed the place had a B rating, which actually made me even more excited about the place, knowing that such a rating would scare away ordinary suburban white people. There was loud reggae music blasting from a stereo in the corner, but nothing that I had ever heard of, so I assumed it was more authentic. Plus, it wasn’t like some ambiance music to give the impression of comfort – no, this stuff was really blasting and would have made it virtually impossible to carry on a conversation had I not been there alone. As it was, everyone else who came into the restaurant were simply picking up orders and not hanging around.
At the ordering counter sat a man with a chef’s outfit on, so I assumed he was doing double duty. I asked which lunch special he recommended and he told me a few things. First, he said if I like spicy food, the jerk chicken is a great choice. Then, he also said that the oxtail was the most popular item. I was torn, but I like spicy and went with the jerk chicken. I waited a few minutes and was brought a fork, napkin and a styrofoam box containing the chicken, a red bean and rice mixture and some sort of cabbage and carrot concoction. I avoided this third thing and set to work on the chicken.
While no knife was given, I quickly found out that none was needed, as this insanely tender chicken should be pulled straight off the bone with a fork. I also found out another thing – Blessed is awesome. As I said when I reviewed Coley’s, I am not exactly knowledgeable when it comes to Jamaican food. I do, however, like to think I am knowledgeable about taste and flavor. With that in mind, Blessed blew Coley’s out of the Caribbean. The jerk sauce was out of this world and absolutely perfect for my spice tolerance. After each bite I could have easily taken a drink, but it wasn’t necessary. And as spicy as it was, the flavor was still powerful and delicious. With some spicy food, your tongue can burn to the extent that everything you eat afterwards tastes spicy, but this was not the case at Blessed. The rice and beans made for a tasty buffer that didn’t really have any sort of special flavor, but just matched up well with the chicken.
In sending me over to Blessed, my old coworker did me a huge favor. Not only did he lead me to some awesome food, but he gave me a bar with which to compare all other Jamaican food I eat. If you ever find yourself in Inglewood, whether for jury duty, Hollywood Park or any other reason, be sure to stop at Blessed. It won’t disappoint.