Ellen's Restaurants

L.A. Is My Beat - The Restaurants of Los Angeles as I experience them

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch

This past Saturday we were invited to a birthday celebration at Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch in Marina del Rey. There were about a dozen people in our party. The place was filled with diners and very lively, even on a rainy L.A. night. The wait staff is very attentive at Aunt Kizzy's. The food is the usual selection of southern soul food, including fried chicken, catfish, hush puppies, meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, pork chops, mac n' cheese, collard greens, and more. They make really delicious lemonade and have good desserts like sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, sock-it-to-me cake and more.
Carla, Michelle, Natalie Crowded on a Rainy Night Clive's Catfish, Hush Puppies, etc.
Mac 'n Cheese, Cabbage
Larry's Meatloaf, Vegies, Red Beans and Cornbread Dressing

Ellen's Spicy Chicken and Dumplings
We had such a large party, so we were able to sample a variety of entrees. Everything was prepared and served beautifully. It's difficult serving large parties all at the same time, but Aunt Kizzy managed to get our order together in a timely fashion.
Singing Happy Birthday

Peach Cobbler AND Sweet Potato Pie
Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch has been around for a long time...at least 20 years in this location. Although the food is good, I have to say that there are better examples of this type of cooking to be found in the Los Angeles area, like M & M's Soul Food on MLK Blvd., Dulan's Catering on Crenshaw near 48th and even Pann's Coffeeshop has great down-home cuisine. However, you just can't beat Aunt Kizzy's for atmosphere and service.

Larry and Alem
Since it was Natalie's birthday, there was much merriment, singing, presents, etc. Kizzy's staff sang along with a recording of Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday" a 1980 single written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder for the Motown label. Wonder, a social activist, was one of the main figures in the campaign to have the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. become a national holiday, and created this single to make the cause known. Thanks to Natalie's husband, Joe for hosting this joyous birthday celebration!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

La Bodeguita de Pico

La Bodeguita de Pico

Friday was Larry's birthday. We had dinner at a new restaurant near our house to celebrate. La Bodeguita de Pico was recently reviewed in the L.A. Times. Anytime we hear about a new restaurant in our area, we try to support it.

When we arrived at the restaurant, housed in a restored Deco building along the Pico Revitalization Corridor, just west of La Brea, it wasn't too crowded. There was a musician playing Cuban tunes on the piano. After about 15 minutes, the place started to fill up. We spied former L.A. D.A., Gil Garcetti walk in with his wife and another couple for dinner.
Friendly and Lively Crowd
Grainy Close-up of Garcetti's Party

The waiter took our drink orders and brought us hot, buttered and garlic-ed French bread. The menu at La Bodeguita is good....lots of selections and decent prices. We ordered a Caesar salad to split. Larry ordered the Clasico Plato Cubano which includes rice, black beans, roasted pork and ground beef in habanera sauce with yucca and platanos fritos. I ordred Habanero Relleno con Camarones which is halibut filet sauteed with large shrimp then glazed in a seasoned tomato sauce, also served with rice and black beans, along with platanos fritos (fried bananas). Everything was really delicious. For dessert we split an order of flan de caramelo...divine!

Garlic Toast
Pork and Beef Dish

Halibut and Shrimp

Caramel Flan
It was Friday night and the place was really busy, so the waiter wasn't as attentive as he could be. It was quite awhile between the end of our main course and our dessert. The restaurant is huge...the kitchen is way at the back, so the waiters have to cover a lot of ground. I definitely want to go back on a less busy night.

Birthday Boy
Next to the piano was a conga drum which leads me to believe that La Bodeguita de Pico offers live Cuban music on certain nights. There's certainly enough floor space for dancing too.

As we were leaving, we bumped into another celebrity....actor, writer and director Buck Henry! He's always been one of my faves. We ended up chatting with Buck and his lady friend while they waited for their table. Nice guy...very approachable!

La Bodeguita de Pico, 5047 W. Pico Blvd., LA, 323/937-CUBA

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dupar's @ Farmers Market

Ah, the good ol' days!

Dupar's Restaurant is finally open at the Original Farmers Market after being closed for two years. The owners of the old Tiny Naylor's and Biff's Coffee Shops took over and totally updated the aging place. They did an excellent job of refurbishing. The place looks almost the same, just cleaner and neater. They did get rid of the counter, however and replaced it with a huge dining table for large parties. I'll miss the counter. It was always nice to sit, have a slice of pie and chit-chat with your neighbor. That's what the Farmers Market is all about for me....chit-chatting with neighbors and feeling that sense of community.
Excellent Lemonade
Brit and Ted Peruse the Menu Most of us tried the Chicken Pot Pie T.K. had the Meatloaf Dinner Ted had Turkey w/ all the fixin's Stuart had French Toast w/ a side of bacon Tatiana had the Cheeseburger
Anyway, our regular Wednesday night dinner group included 10 of us last night: Amy, Stuart, T.K., Tatiana, Rob, Ted, Brit, Jack, Larry and me. Most of us had been frequent visitors to the old Dupar's, so this was a test to see how the new menu compared to the old one. Well, the menu hasn't changed much, but the prices certainly have! We used to be able to get the Chicken Pot Pie for $5.25. Now the Chicken Pot Pie costs $10.20. It was really delicious though and much larger and more full o' chicken chunks than past pies. We ordered a variety of dishes. Everything was tasty, especially the lemonade. We were too full for dessert, but will return soon to see how the famous pies are.
Dupar's added a patio dining area next to the parking lot. I'm not sure I would want to sit in the parking lot, but there is a fence. Landscaping will probably be added to shield you from angry motorists.
Patio Dining at Dupar's
I know that a few people are not that happy with the food at the new Dupar's, but from what I've seen and tasted the food is good, the atmosphere and service are good, even if the prices are somewhat higher than the good ol' days!

Dupar's at the Original Farmers Market
3rd and Fairfax, Los Angeles

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Porto's Bakery in Burbank

We tried to buy yarn, but ended up eating our way from Los Feliz to Burbank!!! Read about it here.

The House of Pie on Vermont near Franklin has fairly good breakfasts. The new Porto's in Burbank is fantastic!

Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery