Went to Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch Saturday night for the first time in years ... maybe a decade. (I went through a decade at least of veganism, and AKBP is useless for a vegan). Aunt Kizzy's, for the uninitiated, is a venerable soul food establishment in Marina Del Rey. There is usually an actor or athlete you'll recognize in there (particularly basketball players, most of the Lakers and Clippers live in or near the marina and all the visiting teams use marina-area hotels when in LA on road trips), though the eight-by-ten glossies on the wall are not exactly a who's who. More like a who's that?
Me, the wife, my teenaged son went.
For those unfamiliar, AKBP asks you to choose an entree, a starch (rice or cornbread dressing w gravy) and two "vegetables," though the vegetables include macaroni and cheese, along with (I won't remember them all) corn and okra, collard greens, black eyed peas, red beans and a few others. Some of the entrees come with less choices, for example the hot link comes with red beans and the jambalaya comes with rice. But you get the idea.
I had fried chicken (you get a choice of dark or light, I chose dark two drum sticks and a thigh) black eyed peas, collard greens and rice.
Son also had the chicken, with mac and cheese, collard greens and rice.
Wife and the beef short ribs, with rice, corn and okra, and collard greens.
Everyone got a little corn bread muffin served hot to eat while we looked at the menu, I guess you could have more bread if you wanted.
The restaurant wasn't too crowded, btw, on Saturday around 7, maybe slow for the holidays, because I remember it being busier.
I liked the fried chicken a lot. Chowhound has a lot of discussion that involve the word best, but I try not to go there. I don't know if it is the best. But what I liked about it was that the skin was really nice and crunchy, without being all batter ... batterer ... battererry. Something like that. It wasn't all thick, is what I mean, covered with batter. It was just lightly battered. The chicken was moist, tasted like good chicken to me. I'd order it again ... I ate two of the pieces and handed off a drumstick to the wife. My son, who eats like the lineman he is, only managed to eat one piece of chicken, as he concentrated on the sides.
I really liked the collard greens. I'd eat them more often, but I can't figure out how to make them. Ours always come out bitter, a good bitter, but bitter. AKBP's collards were sweet and tender. None of the hard spots I always leave in. Black eyed peas tasted like good black eyed peas are supposed to taste, cooked to a creamy softness.
Son gave his approval to the mac and cheese. We both -- all -- liked the rice, but to tell you the truth we wish we realized the rice came with gravy because we all would have said "no gravy" if we knew. Not that the gravy was bad, in fact, it tasted pretty good, but I like the taste of rice and didn't need the gravy. Next time I'll know.
Wife's beef ribs came out in a huge pile. She said they were really good and the one bite I took was fine. To be honest, they weren't falling of the bone tender as advertised. But I'm not a big rib guy so they might have been just right, I'm just not an expert. She ate all the corn and okra, but said they were a bit salty.
No dessert, we were full, didn't even finish what we had.
Other things looked good on the menu and on other people's plates including the meat loaf, the fish (catfish fillet I think) and the jambalaya. I like hot links, so that could be on a future order.
It's not cheap to eat there, but not super expensive. With one iced tea the bill was 50 bucks give or take for three people.
Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch, for me, is good old-fashioned comfort food to be eaten during what passes for winter in Southern California. I don't know if it is the best soul food in the city -- when I worked in Exposition Park we used to drive up Vermont and Hoover looking for little family run kitchens with no names and find great food -- but it's a good meal with very good service. The restaurant was warm, cozy and friendly with some holiday decorations and holiday music playing.
A nice evening that I recommend.