If you've never been down South for some good home cooking, consider heading over to 95th Street and Avalon Boulevard to try the M&M Mississippi Home Cooking restaurant. Opened in 1963 by Mary Stewart, the restaurant is popular for its fine home-style soul food.
Mary's daughter and head chef, Debra Ratliff, who is assisted by her sisters, Nicole and Jackie, is justly proud of the restaurant, which is decorated plainly with a few pictures and blues concert posters. One does not come to M&M for elegant surroundings, but for authentic soul food. One bite and you know: This food simply tastes good.
On one occasion, M&M was sold out of my first two choices, so I reluctantly ordered the turkey wing with dressing ($7.99). Now it's my first choice. I had heard the saying "so tender the meat falls off the bone," but it wasn't until I tried M&M's turkey wing that I ever saw it happen. I picked up the large wing and all the meat--and there's a lot of it--fell off the bone.
One of the most popular specials is the short ribs of beef ($7.95). These very tender, meaty beef ribs are sprinkled with seasoned salt, Accent and pepper and topped with gravy. As with all entrees, they come with a choice of three side dishes.
No matter which entree you order, go for the outstanding sweet potatoes. Other side orders are red beans, rice and collard greens.
The $4.95 lunchtime special is a good value. Diners get a choice of meat, perhaps the tender oxtail or crunchy fried chicken wings, plus two vegetables and ice tea.
Breakfast combos, such as eggs with pork chops or salmon croquettes ($5.95), come with potatoes, onions and fruit.
M&M Soul Food Restaurant, 9506 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 777-9250. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.