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PALM LATITUDES

THE SCENE : The Art of the Meal

July 18, 1993|Jaymes Trief

Sitting on a patio that shimmered under a string of tiny lights, surrounded by high-energy art and faced with a heaping plate of barbecue, I was thrilled that D.J. McDuff decided to become a restaurant owner . . . and a chef . . . and a painter . . . and an art gallery owner.

Since opening Art N'Barbee, a restaurant/gallery in Los Feliz last January, McDuff has catered to artists and audiences at her monthly gallery shows, and to fans of scrumptious, low-priced barbecue. An artist who moved to L.A. in 1968, McDuff first opened Art N'Barbee as a takeout joint on Hoover. Though her first foray into foodom, it was an instant hit; soon after she moved the restaurant/gallery to its present, larger location.

"My mother's minister was the catalyst for the restaurant," McDuff says of the man who encouraged her to combine her interests in art and cooking. "I consider that a blessing."

So there we sat, a journalist and her friends, savoring the victuals, jazz virtuosos Strange Fruit, the art and the eclectic crowd, living an L.A. we wished existed: where everyone could get along, and pay about $10 for dinner and entertainment.

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