LA in L.A.

ONE OF the things I have always appreciated about living in Los Angeles is that it allows people to travel “back home:” you just have to know where to find your pocket of it.

Yesterday, for some reason, after a lot of hoop-jumping errands, I wanted a bit of New Orleans — my mother’s home. So I traveled to the New Orleans Fish Market where she used to go when she was feeling a little bit that way too, I’m sure.

Couldn’t decide between a po’boy or gumbo.

I looked at the fish and picked out a bag of Camellia-brand red beans then, finally I placed my order. I found a seat and then time-traveled back across the decades. My mother buying shrimp and crab for jambalaya or gumbo or an etouffee. Eye-balling everything. The mental exactitude of my mother; the patience of the fish monger. “Crab boil? More file?” — They’d do the entire back-and-forth in shorthand.

As my order was being prepared, we got to talking: I asked the gentleman behind the counter if they carried cream cheese.

“Aw, darlin’. We don’t any more. Used to but by the time it would get to us from New Orleans it’d be spoiled.” A pause, and then a smile: “You know, not too many people here still ask about Creole Cream Cheese, darlin'”

(Yes, they call you ‘darlin’ too.)

This is what I ended up with:

I’ll be back. Best bowl of “home” I’ve had in years.

Another hidden beauty of L.A.

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