QUESTION: My husband and I are from Washington, D.C., which has a number of delicious Cajun restaurants. We crave a really good crawfish étouffée, gumbo and those naughty, but oh-so-tasty, beignets. Where can we find that, short of hopping on a plane to Bourbon Street?
—Catherine & Tim, Los Angeles
ANSWER: Many of the best Cajun and creole restaurants in Los Angeles seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur. Orleans and Patout’s and Gagnier’s and Sid’s Jase Café have been gone for years. The Gumbo Pot, in Farmers Market, is past its glory days. And I recently had a Cajun-ish meal, in Monrovia the other day, so bad that I believe the state of Louisiana may be entitled to sue for damages. But the po’ boys and such at Uncle Darrow’s, both on Venice and on Lincoln, aren’t bad, and both the smoky fried chicken and the Friday-only gumbo at Stevie’s on the Strip, down on Crenshaw, are excellent. And I highly recommend Harold & Belle’s, an old-line creole restaurant down by USC, where the smoked sausage is delicious, the fried seafood is formidable, the crawfish étouffée is really worth checking out, and the oyster po’ boys are fine. Plus, you can get a decent drink at Harold & Belle’s, which, as anybody who has spent more than a couple of days in New Orleans can tell you, is what dinner is all about. Harold & Belle’s, 2920 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 735-9023. Got a burning culinary question? Try us: firstname.lastname@example.org