Chef Alisa Reynolds wanted to create a new version of down-home cooking that reflected her Southern roots but also her Southern California healthy lifestyle. “I had a vision of revamping what we consider soul food-American food,” she told a reporter. The chef focused on local, organic ingredients; included vegetarian and vegan options on her menu of Southern staples; and then she added pastas and tacos to the roster, to reflect, she explained, “how America has evolved.”
The menu at My Two Cents includes Southern favorites like seafood gumbo, greens, dirty (brown) rice, and cobblers, but also ravioli, vegan spaghetti, oxtail tacos, and macaroni and cheese with a definite twist: it’s made with quinoa. The fried green tomato BLT po’ boy comes piled high with thick bacon (or veggie bacon, if preferred) and fried green tomatoes. “Gries” are grits shaped like thick French Fries, fried, and served with a spicy dipping sauce. We ordered the shrimp and corn grits – a delicious creamy, cheesy concoction – that we thought could not be bested until we tried the black eyed pea stew, which was even yummier. The fried chicken was a boneless breast, nicely finished, served over greens (a mix of kale, collards and spinach), and topped with a tangy barbecue sauce.
I can’t wait to go back to try the pork chop stuffed with plantains, but this gal can only eat so much at one sitting – and we had to try a dessert. The tasty peach cobbler was complimented by a wonderful salty caramel ice cream (scooped up at next door neighbor Cordially Invited). Other desserts include chocolate bread pudding, sweet potato cake and, on the day we visited, pecan pie.
Prices range from $5-8 for sides like the quinoa mac and cheese, braised greens and black eyed pea stew (but you can make a meal of these); main entrees including one side range from $7 to $14.
Don’t be in a rush when you come to My Two Cents. Everything is made to order and this soulful food is worth the wait.
4 1/2 Stars on Yelp
5583 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tue-Thurs., Noon - 9p.; Fri - Sat: noon to 4p and 6 - 9p:
Sun, 11a - 4p