Fine Southern Cuisine with a California Twist
Just about anyone native to Los Angeles has been to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, but the real question is have you experienced M’dears Bakery & Bistro? If you haven’t, you need to. Considering their history and longevity in food culture, M’dears is fairly new to me, I’ve been eating there for 2-3 years, maybe, which is not very long taking into account that they opened in 2003 and I grew up less than 7 blocks away. The location is quaint and is a nestled storefront between several buildings on a major street in South Los Angeles, Western Ave.—if you blink twice you’ll miss it.
Having a Louisiana background of Grandma’s (or M’dear for you southerners) fine pastry baking, M’dears comes from a humble beginning. They began as a hotdog cart in what is now known as The Promenade in Downtown Long Beach. After 10 years of successful baking, they opened a coffee-shop style bistro in the heart of South Los Angeles in 2003. This small cafe has family and southern feel to it. As you walk in the door you get a homely feeling; similar to what you’d imagine walking into a diner in Mayberry would be like. Soon after opening they decided to become a full-service restaurant—serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve always gone for breakfast or brunch and generally get the same thing. Sweet Potato Waffles or Pancakes.
Sweet Potato Pancakes (Jumbo Pancakes)
Today’s my 30th birthday. My lady friend wishes me well and invites me out for brunch. “M’dears?” I exclaim. She excitedly replies “YES!” Struck with surprise I question whether that was what she was thinking or did my eager suggestion yield her response—great minds think alike. We get to M’dears and having been there several times without venturing into their selective menu, I begin questioning Marissa, my waitress of choice, as to what I should eat for my special day. We go back and forth and she entertains my silliness yet leaving me to decide on my own meal, because creating new menu items out of existing ones was not happening today. I finally decide that I do not want a waffle but I do want pancakes, a short stack. I order the Sweet Potato Pancakes—light and fluffy—and 5 Wings with a side of 2 eggs, over-medium.
Eagerly awaiting my breakfast, I sip my Arnold Palmer whilst chatting about. My pancakes arrive first and I nearly inhale them. Not before taking the jaw-dropping picture you see above. The sprinkled confectioners’ sugar, dashes of cinnamon and melted butter combined with sweet maple syrup and tiny bits of Sweet Potato in the batter yield heavenly goodness only known to those who have experienced all levels of pancake nirvana. My friend, as well as, Marissa & Carolee, the young ladies who alternate and sometimes work together as a waitstaff team, look on in amazement as the plate empties within seconds. The wings and eggs arrive while I am breathing pancake oxygen. I carefully cut the eggs as not to break the yolk—I think to myself, I need toast. Fortunately, for the first time in life, I cut and fork the eggs into my mouth without causing a yellow mess and no bread to sop it up. Yes I am one of those weird people who don’t like one food touching the other, especially egg yolk.
Meet the Staff
During my visit, after goofing off with the girls and trying to create extra large waffles or pancakes, Chef Norman introduced himself to me. He is a true down-home Louisiana man with a taste for good food and innovation. He mentioned his M’dears exclusive creation, The Po’ Burrito, a Po’ Boy Sandwich with a Mexican twist. I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, but I think I will on my next visit and certainly give it my opinion.