Tag Archives: soul food

I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.

Gaffey Street is the busiest street in San Pedro for one reason. It leads to the freeway. I normally try to stay off of it and turn onto it so I don’t have to sit at the stoplights as everyone tries to get out of the South Bay. On one occasion I decided to cruise down Gaffey in search of lunch on my way out. I was glad I did, because I found Mama Joan’s Soul Food Restaurant.

Catfish, Collared Greens, Mac n’ Cheese, Cornbread Muffins.

Pork Chops, Buttered Corn, Collared Greens.

Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, String Beans.

Don’t worry. This wasn’t all eaten in one trip.

Soul food is what a person needs after being dumped by his girlfriend, something to fill the void. The void is large, and that’s why the portions are big. Every meals comes with sides and those cornbread muffins, but it’s not just about quantity. Eating at Mama Joan’s won’t make you think you’re eating a complex combination of flavor and texture that will blow your mind. The green beans are soggy, and I swear the corn was cooked in pure butter instead of water, but none of that matters. When you take a bite of soul food, the world seems the quiet around you,¬†like nothing else matters in the moment. You’re at peace.

Plus, the fried chicken is pretty damn good.

Here are a couple tips for this place. Unless you tell them you are dining in, they are going to pack up your food to go, and if you order fried chicken, they make it fresh and it’s going to take twenty minutes so call ahead.

I feel like chicken tonight!

Michelle and I put ourselves on a diet challenge for the last month before our wedding. No white flour. We’re not going to be overly picky about the rules. No white rice, noodles, or bread. Whole wheat is fine. For our first dinner on our diet, we went to check out Torimatsu in Gardena for some yakitori.

Beer is never off the “okay” list for any diet.

One of the things I love about Japanese food is that everything is so precise.

Salt shaker? Not on my watch!

We ordered a set of ten items that the chef picks chooses, so if you can identify or correct the names of any of the stuff we ate, please go ahead and leave a comment. I’ve seen places use electric grills to get more even heat, but there’s something really cool about doing it the original way with wood charcoal.

Chicken meatballs.

On the right, chicken wing. I’m not positive about what’s on the right. It has the consistency of steak, but tasted like chicken. Although this is supposedly authentic yakitori, I did see they have duck on the menu.

Gizzards. Tough, chewy, flavorful.

Quail eggs.

Stuffed lotus and stuffed bell pepper. I really like the stuffed lotus. It’s got a great crunch, and the chicken flavor comes through much more than expected.

Tofu on a stick, the non stinky variety.

Chicken skin.

Guess what? Chicken butt! I think that’s what this is anyway.

Feeling a little adventurous. Rare chicken breast. You know how they say everything tastes like chicken? Rare chicken doesn’t taste like much. It’s got a great consistency though.

I know what some of you are thinking. Rare poultry?! We tried this under the assumption that they had  good source for chicken that was hopefully free range, rather than the standard 1,000 chicken crammed into a single coop. We figured the worst case scenario would be able to cut our diet short after speedy weight loss through food poisoning. None so far.

Since we had some friends with us that drove quite a ways, one food spot wouldn’t cut it. We stopped by Flossie’s for some soul food. Since we’re on a diet, we only ordered some fried chicken. No need for all the extra calories.

The chicken here is delicious, light and crispy on the outside and super juicy on the inside. Only a leg and a thigh each. Remember, we’re on a diet.