She may be hundreds of miles from South Carolina, but contributor Suzanna Cullen Hamilton still seeks out home-style charms right here in the South Bay. Here are a few local spots that appeal to her Southern sensibilities.
1. New Orleans Cajun Café
From the Mardi Gras beads draped over potted plants to the zydeco music that spills out the front door, New Orleans Cajun Café in Hermosa Beach transports you to the French Quarter. Louisiana native, owner and chef Cassondra whips up all of the famed comfort foods of Southern dining. Fried alligator on a stick, jambalaya and delicious collard greens and cornbread make for a rich supper. However, it is the Southern hospitality and laughter of Cassondra and her waiter Chance that last long after you’ve eaten the last fritter off your plate.140 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. neworleanshermosa.com
Southerners appreciate the bargain found at the local rummage sale displayed with a wicked sense of humor as much as they value the family silver exhibited on the dining room sideboard. That’s exactly the sort of eclectic mix you’ll find at Curious in Hermosa Beach. Whether repurposed, remade or remixed, the mid-century wares have been spiffed up for sale. Hilarious books, clever gift cards and fun jewelry round out the wares. The owners and staff combine their creativity with a quirky sense of humor and overwhelming hospitality to make you and your pets feel welcome to shop.128 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. curiousworkshop.com
3. Gum Tree
We prefer historic architecture in the South, so homes with deep porches, floors that creak, solid raised panel doors, triple sash windows and squirrely floor plans that evolved over generations of family occupancy are considered the best. Gum Tree in Hermosa Beach welcomes visitors with a wide front porch and guest chairs. The architectural character continues inside, where unique items for the home, charming personal gifts and children’s items can be found, while fresh homemade food is served in the café of this beach cottage home built in 1911.238 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. gumtreela.com
4. Bella Beach
Summers are hot and humid in the South, and women have long known how to dress comfortably while looking like ladies. Palm Beach heiress Lilly Pulitzer designed her bright shifts in the ‘60s, and they still dominate women’s wardrobes from Sea Island, Georgia, to Vero Beach, Florida. The flattering and fun clothes made by the Lilly Pulitzer clothing label can be found at Bella Beach in Manhattan Beach. Unfortunately, no one in the South Bay carries Jackie O.’s famous Navajo sandals by Jack Rogers, but you can order those online from Saks.
227 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Man-hattan Beach. shopbellabeach.com
5. Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles
Golf is an integral part of Southern life, and golf etiquette is as important as stroke execution. The Ocean Courses at Kiawah and Sea Island provide the ultimate in challenging golf along the Atlantic coastline, while requiring the most stringent propriety and decorum. Like those famed courses, Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verdes provides stunning ocean views while offering exceptional service and congeniality. From the course to the dining room to the professional staff, Trump National commands excellence.1 Trump National Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes. trumpnationallosangeles.com
6. Tin Roof Bistro
Tin Roof Bistro might be modeled on Santa Barbara style, but there are enough Southern references to make one feel right at home. The wait staff sports plaid shirts, while diners sit at chopping block tables under the tin ceiling and Edison lights. Georgia is the pecan capital of the world, and the nuts show up on the Tin Roof Bistro menu in both sweet potato and roasted pecan ravioli and curried chicken salad with pecans. Further Southern staples on the menu include buttermilk fried chicken and short ribs served with mashed potatoes and cole slaw.3500 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. tinroofbistro.com