There's something about New Orleans that, once you've visited, never quite lets you go. This is even more true if you grew up there, as Brandon Boudet did. The chef/owner of Little Dom's, Dominick's, 101 Coffee Shop and the new MiniBar was born and raised in the Crescent City and counts Louisiana cooking legends Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagassse as mentors, having worked under both as a young cook. Now firmly ensconced in Los Angeles, Boudet often yearns for a taste of home. Here are his 10 picks for everything from gumbo to fresh shrimp to make-your-own NOLA-inspired cuisine.
10. Harold and Belle’s
“When I'm in need of my New Orleans fix, I will normally head over to Harold and Belle’s, sit at the bar and watch some soap operas as I have a beer and a bowl of gumbo. It closed for renovation but should be reopening soon.” 2920 W. Jefferson Blvd., Jefferson Park; (323) 735-9023, haroldandbellesrestaurant.com.
9. La Cabañita
“La Cabañita's chuleta en chile pasilla is another one of my go-to’s. It’s very reminiscent of the neighborhood soul food restaurants that I ate at growing up.” 3445 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale; (818) 957-2711, cabanitarestaurant.com.
8. Ô Banh Mi
“New Orleans has a pretty decent Vietnamese food scene, so the roasted pork thit nuong banh mi (served only on Fridays) at Ô Banh Mi in Los Feliz knocks out two cravings at once.” 1997 Hyperion Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 665-1941.
7. The Boiling Crab
“While it’s not really classic New Orleans boiled seafood, the Boiling Crab in Alhambra is definitely the closest thing to a New Orleans boiled seafood joint in Los Angeles.” 742 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra; (626) 576-9368, theboilingcrab.com.
6. Saturday Fisherman’s Market at Ventura Harbor
“Growing up in Louisiana, you would often get a knock on the door from someone selling fresh shrimp for a couple dollars per pound. The closest thing to that is heading up to the Saturday Fisherman’s Market at Ventura Harbor. On a recent visit, live ridgeback shrimp were only $5 a pound.” 1449 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura; (805) 218-4888, venturaharbor.com.
5. El Cochinito
“El Cochinito's pan con lechon brings back memories of home. It’s a slow-roasted pork sandwich with a ton of garlic, raw onion and lemon pressed between a soft and crunchy bolillo.” 3508 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 668-0737.
4. Primo’s Donuts
“Back in the day, there was a bakery in New Orleans called McKenzie’s that was known for its buttermilk drop donuts. Primo’s Donuts on the Westside is the closest you’ll find to those, and Primo's are probably even better.” 2918 Sawtelle Blvd., Sawtelle; (310) 478-6930, primosdonuts.com.
1., 2. & 3: 101 Coffee Shop, Little Dom's and MiniBar
“Lastly, some shameless plugs: When I need a po’ boy, I conveniently head to the 101 Coffee Shop for a roast beef po’ boy on Leidenheimer French bread, which we order from New Orleans, or the fried oyster sandwich at Little Dom’s. To start or finish out the night, a Sazerac at MiniBar is the closest thing to the Carousel Bar in New Orleans. Sorry that this bar doesn't rotate.” 101 Coffee Shop: 6145 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; (323) 467-1175, 101coffeeshop.com. Little Dom's: 2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 661-0055, littledoms.com. MiniBar: 6141 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; (323) 798-4939, minibarhollywood.com.