The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Wanna-Be Gilbert’s Carrots


The only reason we moved into this house was it was the closest one we could find to Gilbert’s El Indio.

What’s Gilbert’s, you ask? It’s a casual neighborhood Mexican restaurant 3 blocks from us. I’ve been going there for 15 years and still love it. It took me a while to realize the food is just OK. But I don’t go for the food. I go for the carrots & the margaritas. There’s nothing like a Gilbert’s marg on the rocks with salt! I don’t dig frozen margs. Unless that’s all there is, then I’m like, “Yes, pu-leaze!”

Aside from the margaritas, the pickled carrots are real draw.

They are spicy, but not too spicy, salty, but not too salty, & oregano-y. Yum, yum, YUM – don’t get me started. I just can’t stop eating them. By the time my food arrives (which is pretty darn fast, actually) I am so full up on carrots & margs that I really don’t need my entree but I like to be classy & order one anyway.

This place is TOTALLY family friendly! What I mean by that is you can wear WHATEVER you have on (even mud splattered mountain biking gear), children are more than welcome & the food comes out in about 3 minutes. They have high chairs & will make up a plate of beans & rice with shredded cheese or whatever you want even if it’s not on the menu. I just order a beans/rice plate for my kids to share. Then they eat everything else off of my plate.

Two notes: It’s not the most vegetarian friendly place (read: chips are fried in LARD – you can actually see yourself in the chips) BUT it does have a vegetarian burrito and a chile relleno both of which are tasty ENOUGH supplemented by your carrots & margarita(s). I recommend 2 margs on the rocks with salt. Don’t go over 2.

Almost forgot the second note: it’s CASH ONLY. If you forget your cash – go next door to the liquor store or launder mat & use their ATMs.

Forgive the poor photo quality. I will make these again this week & post better closeups.

Anyway, I was thrilled to find this copycat recipe on the internet(s) a few months ago. Apparently someone else is as crazy about these carrots as my friend Kinga & I are. I tried it and it was spot on! I still need to sneak some of my carrots over there for a true taste test which I’ll do when Kinga gets here…

These are reeeeeeeeeally easy.

All you need:

10-12 large carrots, peeled & sliced at an angle
1-2 small white onions, sliced
1 sprig fresh oregano (left whole)
2-4 bay leaves
2 c white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3-4 tsp salt (to your taste)
3-4 jalapeños, sliced (or use jarred Jalapeños – I added about 1/4 c jarred)

Directions called for diced onions. Next time I make this, however, I will slice them. The onions are not the star of this show so you want to be able to get at the carrots without wrestling with hundreds of tiny onion pieces. So just slice them longways. (I’m not even going to show you the photo b/c I don’t want you getting confused!)

Ok. Here we go: combine carrots & jalapeños in a large container with lid. I didn’t have a lidded glass dish so I just used a huge mixing bowl (non plastic).

In a large sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes.

I actually ran out back to check my garden and then forgot to run back in. When I finally came inside my pot was boiling away merrily, and I do mean away as it was on HIGH. Everything turned out fine though!

Pour the hot liquid over the carrots & jalapeños making sure all vegetables are covered.

Let it cool to room temperature on your counter.

Pour into some kind of lidded dish (glass is best) and chill in refrigerator for 3+ hours.

I got some of these lidded jars at IKEA of all places. They have larger ones too.

YUM these are sooooooooooo good!! I actually ate them all myself.

And then, the other day, after I made & ate all those carrots, I found that Gilbert’s actually shared this recipe with the world via the LATimes way back in the 90′s. So I’ll try that recipe next & post the results.

Wanna-Be Gilbert’s Carrots
Recipe type: Relish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

Zesty, spicy marinated carrots! Great as a relish for Mexican food or just for pregnant ladies.
  • 10-12 large carrots, peeled & sliced at an angle
  • 1-2 small white onions, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano (left whole)
  • 2-4 bay leaves
  • 2 c white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3-4 tsp salt (to your taste)
  • 3-4 jalapeños, sliced (or use jarred Jalapeños – I added about ¼ c jarred)

  1. In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine carrots & jalapeños.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil for a few minutes.
  3. Pour hot liquid over carrots/jalapenos.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter.
  5. Chill in refrigerator (in lidded container) for 3+ hours.

These should store in your fridge for 1-2 months!



Source: Go Go Zoe

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2 comments on Wanna-Be Gilbert’s Carrots

  1. Kinga
    October 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm (2795 days ago)

    You have made being away from LA ok by sharing this recipe. I’ve made these several times, and have my dad hooked on them as well. Carrot crack! What could be better! Miss you!

  2. Christina
    November 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm (2764 days ago)

    So glad you made them, Kinga!! They’re really easy & yummy! I made them for the girls’ bday party and ate most of them myself. Last time I told Maddie we’re going to Gilbert’s she smiled and said, “I can’t WAIT to eat the carrots!!” That’s my girl…

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