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Simply D’licious is Chef D (Dennis Baines)’s take on Louisiana food in a story that took his own family from the south to California, keeping with them a “Louisiana cuisine state of mind.” Baines was raised in Los Angeles. He never intended to be a chef but after he completed successful professional stints as both a rehabilitation nurse and dancer, he “happened” to take a job at Gumbo, a southern food restaurant down the street in Baldwin Hills. There, he discovered he his love and talent for cooking, so strong it naturally evolved into a restaurant and catering career.
Simply D’licious has all this and more. The refined Creole cooking has all the Soul food” favorites (though Southern Soul Food can also be Cajun) What is “Soul Food” It is defined as, “
Also typical of the southern tradition is the plain wrap dining room cafe and a straightforward menu to match. Categories include Southern Cuisine and Creole Cuisine along with Signature sides, Sides, Appetizers, Salads and Desserts. Reading the list of Southern (fried or BBQ) and Creole (Blackened) dishes is mouthwatering without descriptions so popular today of item origin: oxtails, chicken, pork chops, catfish, shrimp, red Snapper. Gumbo, Po’Boys and hot links head up the Sandwich category.
Seasonings and seasonings developed by the chef flavor the food instead of heavy oils flavor the food. So many customers asked about them that Chef D developed his own very popular line.
Even before you take a step into the cool interior,what could be more homey than Chef D working his smoker right on the sidewalk. The sidewalk also makes for easy customer pick-up.
Booths line one inside wall, tables on the other. Walk through the doublewide storefront to find a private “party central” room for catered events, and a patio out back. Chef D also does off-site home catering.
Succulent short ribs flavored with his own seasonings come with choice of two sides that include brown or white rice, red beans, collard greens, hush puppies, fried okra or seasoned fries.
Start the meal a house-made lemonade or Sweet Tea, “like your mother used to make” with just the right amount of sugar in it to make it sweet without cloying.
Chef D showed us both his catering and restaurant expertise with a menu of individual sampling dishes, eat in its own little ramekin.
Care and individual flavors bloomed in each dish. Nancy Foster, a friend and business associate chuckled in agreement. “That kind of attention and preparation is what every customer gets both in the restaurant and at their own parties,” she told us.
Chef D enlisted the help of chef friend, caterer Sion Holmes (www.cateredneeds.wix.com), to prepare this very special offering. While we savored the dishes, the two chefs sat and explained their techniques while seeing to it that we had everything we needed. The good natured banter so common in the neighborhood was punctuated by very serious, food talk –the facts of Chef Baines entrepreneurial story is the stuff of fairy tales. Chef D’s thoughts on liquid smoke and seasoning alone would an entire article.
“Flavors of all the dishes we tasted were rich and unctuous throughout,” wrote Darien Morea. I loved his not-hot Blackened Snapper on Rice with his special Etoufee’ sauce, which contains his own seasoning blend mixture that he uses liberally on many of the items. Even for someone who does not enjoy spicy hot foods but this was just right amount of heat.”
The Creole Blackened Shrimp atop classic Sauteed Collard Greens was outstanding. The Mac and Cheese was topped with a rich layer of melted cheddar, which our table mixed into the pasta.
“The gumbo tasted very much of shrimp and had pieces of smokey beef sausage in it. Both the gumbo and the red beans and rice had an extra smokey flavor, which is a signature of his unique style. My favorite was the Oxtails, topping rice with that “gorgeous” Etoufee’ sauce.
“Simply D’Licious on West Washington is easily freeway accessible, about 1/4 mile east of La Brea. It’s a simple restaurant mid-block, with comfortable leather booths as well as individual tables for larger groups. There is a back party room with a long bar, too for indoor-outdoor family or personal celebrations – it can hold at least 60-70 persons I’d say. The restaurant also caters at private residences. Parking can be a challenge but take-out is easy as you can park your car at the neighbor’s lot next door and Simply D’Licious will bring your food to the car.
Simply D’licious, (323) 549-9829, 4641 Washington BLVD; Los Angeles, California 90016
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