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I Want My Baby Back, Baby Back…

After spending two weeks of my summer eating cornbread, ribs and other delicious delicacies in Tennessee, I was determined to find a restaurant that served good-quality “soul food,“ which is a cuisine of the South, here in Los Angeles. At the end of August last year, my friend Ella and I began exploring all parts of L.A. for tasty and unique restaurants we hadn’t tried before.

While making a first-time trip to Urth Cafe, Blue Plate Taco and Hummus Bar Express, I took note of every restaurant I saw in order to try and find a quality Southern meal, but I had no luck. However, during a trip up to Manhattan Beach from Pacific Palisades, Ella and I passed a restaurant sign that read Baby Blues BBQ in Venice. I hoped I had found the restaurant I was looking for, so we went back the next day to try it out.

The restaurant smelled of savory ribs and pork; beer-bellied men filled each table. Ella and I made our way to the back to find a seat. Our waitress sat down next to me and put her arm around my shoulders. “Have y’all been here before? I can tell you the specials.”

Each table had an assortment of sauce bottles each labeled ketchup, sweet BBQ sauce or spicy, with which customers smothered their ribs, chicken or brisket in order to bring out the flavor. Portraits of country singers and taxidermy stuffings of cows and bulls decorated the walls.

We both ordered baby-back ribs with two “fixings” of mac-n-cheese and cornbread. One bite of our meals, and we were hooked. I had found exactly what I had wanted: a meal that took me back to the South.