“He who tastes of Mississippi water, he’ll be back. He who tastes of Mardi Gras, he will also return. It’s the maddest, fastest, giddiest, most absurd, most magnificent thing in New Orleans. Yes, you’ll be back.”
– Harnett T. Kane
You’ve returned from New Orleans. Your suitcase is flooded with strings of rum punch-soaked beads. The soiled evening-wear wadded beneath your souvenirs is branded with curious yet identifiable stains – Rorschach-shaped dribblings of cafe au lait and smeared clods of powdered sugar, recklessly acquired during heavenly 2am breakfasts by the river. Your bags emit the pungent scents of flat beer, muddy water, and mule-drawn carriages…odors of a city that is like no other.
Fat Tuesday marked the last day of the month-long celebration in New Orleans. If you’re looking to squeeze in a little bit more Louisiana flavor, these Los Angeles-area restaurants may stir some muddled memories of the Big Easy.
Downtown Arts District gem serving Cajun/Creole standards – jambalaya, gumbo, po’boys. Great Sunday champagne brunch buffet features shrimp or crawfish Étouffée, fried catfish, fried chicken, fruit, beignets. Sazeracs and rum hurricanes. Lunch buffets Thursday and Friday. Live jazz and blues most nights. Free valet.
734 East Third St., Los Angeles 90013 213-680-3003
New Orleans Cajun Cafe
New Orleans Cajun Cafe
Only ten tables at this beach-city cafe. Gumbo, Étouffées, alligator meat specialties, jambalaya, and southern hospitality served in a friendly, slow-paced atmosphere. Lots of counter space in this cigar-shaped restaurant that resembles a ‘shotgun house.’ Zydecco bands add to the fun. BYOB (no corkage fee).
140 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach 90254
Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ
Opened 25 years ago by three sisters – each with a unique cooking skill – spicy New Orleans Cajun, Southwestern Soul, and East-Coast Southern. The menu captures all three flavors. Large portions of pan-fried chicken, jambalaya, collards, candied yams, bourbon bread pudding, and Zagat-awarded buttermilk pie. The sisters serve fresh lemonade in enormous mason jars. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday. Dinner only, Saturday and Sunday.
21818 Devonshire St., Chatsworth 91311
Harold and Belle’s
Harold & Belle’s
Old-school creole restaurant about a mile west of USC. A bit pricey for Louisiana fare but a bit more upscale than its competitors, and portions are huge. Gumbo, jambalaya, fried fish, oyster po’boys, Étouffées, smoked sausages, cobblers. Hearty cocktails. L.A. institution since 1969 when it was opened by Harold Legaux Sr. and his wife Belle.2920 W. Jefferson Blvd.,
Los Angeles, 90018
323. 735. 9023
Through the years Boogaloo has transformed itself from a restaurant to more of a nightclub. Loud blues bands perform for packed weekend crowds. Located amid dense cluster of Hermosa/Pier Avenue bars. Large selection of sports bar style food with Cajun flair. Sunday special is all-you-can-eat ribs (in 2 hours) for $19.95. Festive spot for private/group parties. City recently scaled back closing hour to midnight (from 2am) in response to chronic rowdiness.
1238 Hermosa Ave
Hermosa Beach, 90254
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Yep, this is located in Downtown Disney and exudes a prefabricated gloss, but still deserves recognition for Louisiana charm. The two story replica of a traditional French Quarter building includes an open-air courtyard and cast-iron balconies that overlook the crowds at Downtown Disney. New Orleans-style jazz accents traditional Creole dishes. Bananas Foster (a Brennan’s creation) is made table-side. Authentic beignets are as good as you can get outside of Cafe du Monde. Sure, the restaurant is guilty of Disney-spruced up sterility, but it’s still a fun atmosphere if you can’t be in the Vieux Carré.
1590 South Disneyland Drive
Downtown Disney District
La Louisanne Restaurant
“La La,” as the locals call it has been serving Louisiana food for decades. Crawfish etoufee, shrimp creole, oysters Bienville, jambalaya, gumbos, stuffed crabs. Live music nightly. Service can be inconsistent and décor is a bit dated, but they still capture a very loyal (albeit an older) clientele. On weekends it has an ‘inner city roadhouse’ feel to it – Imagine a ‘Dexter Lake Club’ (from Animal House) featuring Otis Day & the Knights …on Slauson Avenue. Open every night.
5812 Overhill Drive, Los Angeles