A meal at LA Spice could be the best thing to happen to you all day, and if you order the Oklahoma Specials, it might be the best thing to happen to someone else too.
LA Spice has been cooking for catering since 1988, but just opened up a permanent space in Culver City in February. Currently open for breakfast and lunch, the menu offers a nice variety of eggs and omelettes, sandwiches, salads and sides.
I came in for the special – any dish you order off the Oklahoma menu sends a dollar to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to help the communities affected by the tornadoes. All of them are worth ordering, even without the goodwill incentive.
If you like BBQ, you can get a half a moist, fresh chicken done to a turn with a supporting cast of deep fried okra, mashed sweet potato, and roasted red pepper corn bread. It doesn’t matter if you like your sauce sweet or hot, because this one covers both, with some intense tight sweetness in the first bite, followed by a nice peppery burn at the finish. The corn bread is the rich, buttery kind where you think that’s all you are going to have, but the fork decides to go back for a bit more; the added corn kernels and the roasted red peppers in the batter make for a flavor that is home-style and hip at the same time. The okra topping the dish has a fried cornmeal wrapping of crunch to it that keeps the greens at an ideal texture.
Not quite so hungry? The shrimp and corn hush puppies are hot little balls of total corniness (although I did wonder what the connection might be between Oklahoma and shrimp, I’m a shameless shrimp junkie – I will eat them here or there, I will eat them anywhere-) served with a side of caramelized onion dip. Think of the classic soup-mix and sour cream onion dip, and send it to the advanced class with slowly sweetened onions, and a fraction of the salt; hush puppies are great, but even a slice of bread would be happy with this dip.
If you are looking for enough calories to feed Oklahoma and portions of the Texas panhandle, you must have pecan pie. Possibly the best pecan pie I have ever had, (and I have spent time in Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia where pecan pie is not only an art form but also a competitive sport,) the pecans are pan toasted adding a subtle depth to the chewy topping, and the super sweet filling is bright with unexpected vanilla, opening the flavor up from the usual sticky darkness that we all love.
Y’all don’t love peeekaan paaah? Order the peach cobbler, and you get the best of two worlds- A cobbler that’s also a crisp. Warm peaches nested under a doughy crust with a crisp-like topping of steel-cut oats, dried cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Served with an impossibly generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s a nice size to share; you are not going to finish all that by yourself.
Oklahoma Specials will be up all weekend (June 7 through 9) and there’s lots more to enjoy.
Picking up a sandwich? The signifiers on the menu are ‘v’ for vegetarian and ‘vg’ for vegan, but there’s no shortage of carnivorous goodies either. The Royal Treatment Grilled Cheese (favorite of Amanda at the LA Spice offices) is a goat gouda on pan de mie (translated as ‘great bread’) with a bit of tomato bisque soup for the dippers or the sippers. Bollywood is a tandoori chicken sandwich on a chewy baguette dressed with chutney, sliced apples and lettuce. I was wishing the chutney had a bit more kick to it- we are here for the spice trade.
There’s also a rotating menu of daily specials with soups, stews and braising dishes with treats like butternut squash soup. baked potato soup, turkey chili and the eyebrow raising coq au Reisling, a unique version of the old French standby of coq au vin.
LA Spice is offering a special Father’s Day Brunch (on June 16, y’know, Father’s Day…) and they will be opening for dinner on June 21 with a new dinner menu.
It’s a great place to have in the neighborhood with seriously fine food, wonderful service and a side order of compassion. I’ll be be back for more.
LA Spice is at 4357 Sepulveda Culver City 90230