If you’re looking for some down-home Southern food, head straight for Big Mama’s Rib Shack (1453 N. Lake Ave., 626/797-1792, www.bigmamas-ribshack.com, Tues.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. noon–8 p.m., $10–30). While Big Mama never brewed up the sauce at this Pasadena kitchen, she was a Southern restaurateur who made her way from Georgia across the country to California over her long life.
Today, her legacy lives on in the big ol’ menu at Big Mama’s, which boasts traditional Southern cuisine plus a number of Creole and Cajun dishes that speak to a strong New Orleans influence. Whether your poison is a po’ boy or good gumbo, you can get it (in good hearty portions) at Big Mama’s.
Fish lovers will find oysters and catfish, but strict vegetarians will find their dining options limited here. And Big Mama’s isn’t adiet-friendly establishment since few salads balance out the weight of the fried chicken, smothered ribs, and velvet cake.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition