Food rich in history and full of taste from time-honored family recipes is the common theme you’ll find from the urban and midwestern soul food inspired foods you’ll find at the The Block: Urban Gastronomy food festival series. These are recipes that have been perfected over time and through trial and error by family chefs who want to share with the public the foods they grew up with as kids. I want to thank ReeCee from Collective Committee for organizing this food event and inviting Scott and I to participate.
The head chef of Not Your Mama’s kitchen cooks with recipes passed down from his grandmother. He takes pride in serving a wide variety of soul foods like catfish, greens, gumbo along with staples like fried chicken and mac and cheese. He quips that soul food has become less-diverse lately and that when people think soul food they just think ‘mac and cheese.’ His goal is to show customers that soul food’s traditions and tastes are as relevant to today’s taste pallets as they were years ago. I must say, Not Your Mama’s gumbo, heavy with jerk flavor has a nice kick to it.
There’s a certain competitive whiff to this food festival. Each of the restaurant vendors are eager to grab the crowd’s attention to tell their story on why you should taste their food. The owners of Smok N Joe’s boast with pride that their chili is highly acclaimed. For the last several years, Smok N Joe has been traveling across the country to compete (and medal!) in chili competitions across America. They serve a tomato-less chili. They make up for the lack of tomatoes with extra ample portions of beef creating an extra savory chili.
There’s a time-honored New Orleans tradition of having waffles and french toast with fried chicken. You don’t see too many places in LA serving that apart from famed Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles. Well, today, I’ve learned there’s another and it’s in the heart of LA called Wi Jammin Caribbean Cafe. The chicken they serve is memorable because it’s full of Caribbean jerk spice. I love maple syrup with french toast but even more so with chicken too.
The Block featured several dessert vendors. Starting first with the beloved funnel cakes. I LOVE FUNNEL CAKES!!! is a food truck serving funnel cakes. I think it’s great they are taking this county fair/theme park staple and bringing it to more non-traditional venues.
The Sugar Spoon serves an incredible apple cobbler. The recipe used has been passed through from generations. It’s home-made with a sweet crust and a strong cinnamon taste.
The cupcake shop called, Sugar & Spice, is the new pastry shop on the block. They serve beautiful cupcakes.
The Block food festival occurs several times a year. The next Block food festival is in May. Stay tuned. Don’t miss out!