The latest venture from former ‰ÛÏIron Chef America‰Û� contestant Govind Armstrong, Post and Beam serves up farm-to-table California cuisine with a soulful twist. The chic-yet-relaxed Baldwin Hills restaurant invites guests with an airy dining room, while an open-face exhibition kitchen provides a peek at the behind-the-scenes action. The menu is characterized by SoCal-inspired soul food like grilled organic pork chop with peach chutney and deviled eggs with house-smoked catfish. However, don‰Ûªt expect comfort food like your grandma used to make‰ÛÓnothing is deep-fried and more traditional Southern dishes share space with lighter fare like burrata salad and black kale pizza. A rustic patio edged by a kitchen garden is perfect for enjoying a bourbon cocktail or a selection from the well-chosen wine list with friends. Note: We believe correct name is Post & Beam, so we would change that in title and copy
One hallmark of a good friendship is the ability to share secrets with one another. And as Catarah Hampshire and Shoneji Robison have proven, it's even better when those secrets include closely guarded family recipes. They've taken these recipes and extrapolated them into a collection of cakes and cupcakes inspired by the flavors they grew up with. Eschewing trendy ingredients such as truffle oil, coffee nibs, or shredded pashminas, they aim to evoke down-home Southern cooking in every dessert. Just the names of the resulting treats?such as chicken & waffle, sweet potato, and peach cobbler?have customers reaching for a glass of sweet tea.
The baking duo have earned themselves plenty of laurels with their homegrown flavors. Eater LA named their seasonal Egg Nog and Sin Pie as one of its "15 Holiday Desserts to Try Right Now" in 2013. In the same year, the pair won Season 8 of Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Their sweet creations have also graced the palates of celebrities, including Stevie Wonder, Denzel Washington, and Nick Cannon. Still, their greatest delight is when a customer tells them, "This is better than my mama's."
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
A little corner of Mississippi stands in southeast Inglewood. An unassuming space on Crenshaw hosts M&M Soul Food, which recreates a huge menu of southern favorites from 8 a.m. through dinnertime seven days a week. Chefs load up plates with meatloaf, smothered pork chops, barbecue ribs, and fried seafood, among other soul-food staples. Then, of course, there are the sides—three of them per dinner plate, not counting the plump corn muffins. The menu also incorporates many dishes that can be hard to find outside a southern grandma's kitchen, such as liver and onions, chitterlings, ox tail, turkey wings, and oyster loaf. Cakes, cobblers, banana pudding, and potato pie obliterate the danger that someone might accidentally walk out with a little belly space left empty. In addition to standard combinations of grits, pancakes, and omelettes, breakfast hours hold out less-common dishes such as eggs with catfish or smoked beef links.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nothing proves this adage quite like Mel?s Fish Shack. Because, while it fries and grills more than a dozen types of seafood, what Mel?s represents to its community is more than just a popular takeout spot?it symbolizes a lifelong legacy. Mel Powell founded Mel?s Fish Shack in 1982 on a whim. But within five years, it became wildly popular, known as the place where Miles Davis, The Jackson family, and Stevie Wonder went to chow down on Louisiana-style fried fish. Mel gave his food an unforgettable taste by crusting fresh red snapper, jumbo shrimp, and catfish in a special seasoning and cornmeal mix that he blended himself.
Today, his daughter Georgette Powell runs the business. She had been working with her father since she was nine, starting as his secretary for an ornamental-ironworking business where she learned the importance of integrity, discipline, and a strong work ethic. Even so, she never imagined she'd take over the family business, until one day, just a year from graduating college, she realized that helping her father was the right thing to do. Today, she serves both new customers and the same regulars her father did nearly 33 years ago, frying up their favorite orders with her own personal touch. The eatery is also conveniently located right off the Metro Expo Line, luring Natural History Museum visitors just a few stops away.
To bolster the selection of such soul-food classics as crispy catfish filets, oysters, and hush puppies, Georgette has expanded the menu to include healthy options of grilled-salmon salad in a ginger vinaigrette dressing and fish wraps with dill sauce. According to a recent article on the website of the county supervisor, she also hopes to eventually expand Mel?s to other locations and build up her newfound ?healthy soul food niche? through a community culinary school, driving Mel?s legacy beyond the historic fish shack.
When channel 5’s KTLA Morning News Show put out a call for the best desserts in Los Angeles, the city responded. More than 170 entries were submitted, but in the end, it was Charlene’s butter-pecan caramel cheesecake that took the top prize. At The Real Cake Baker, Charlene and her fellow bakers make bliss-inducing cakes out of only real ingredients with names you can pronounce. Bakers whip sugar, butter, and flour into moist buttermilk sweet-potato pies, banana pudding, or old-fashioned stovetop pudding made with real meringue topping. Sugar- and gluten-free pies are also pulled hot from the oven and served along with gourmet coffee and southern-style pralines made with a hint of cognac. Charlene and her staff are so confident in their skills that they offer the Taster’s Guarantee: if a dessert is not to a customer’s liking, they can return the uneaten portion and bakers will replace it with another dessert of equal or lessor value.