The Unvegan

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Food for the Soul at Chef Marilyn’s

My soul says thanks.

A couple of weeks ago, Squidink tossed out a list of the 9 Best Macaroni and Cheese Dishes in LA. Naturally, my mouth was watering profusely as I read through and saw the gooey, holy cheesus. And, while they all looked awesome, there was only one that I felt the need to eat immediately. This was Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food Express, which resides in that fascinating part of west LA on Pico and La Brea.

Chef Marilyn’s is truly an express restaurant, packing a whole lot of food into a 10×10 storefront with no seats or tables whatsoever. The food is out buffet-style and while a couple sauces had a film formed on top, I knew this was not going to be a bad thing. In this tiny space, Chef Marilyn’s offered a massive variety of soul food and as one whose only soul cred is having an afro throughout college, I found it hard to decide. Surely, I wanted the mac and cheese. The fried chicken breast was a no-brainer. But I knew this alone would not satisfy me after a humbling tennis loss to my arch-nemesis, Joel, who I also happened to be eating with. On a whim, I opted for a smothered chicken thigh and watched as the guy behind the counter dropped everything into a sectional styrofoam to-go box. I paid up my 8ish bucks and headed back to Joel’s to dine.

Mac and cheese for the soul!

First, I had to try the mac and cheese and It unquestionably lived up to its reputation. To be fair, it would probably be more appropriate to call this cheese and mac, because it was loaded with that wonderful substance even a vegan has a hard time giving up. This stuff was all at once thick and creamy, with that nice variety of cheese texture you sometimes get when your mac and cheese is scooped out of a much larger vat. They had loaded a new batch in right before we ordered, but it still had that texture that I sometimes dream of.

Next up was the fried chicken, which was also awesome. I would have liked if the breading was a little more crisp, but the flavor and juiciness of the chicken was unbeatable. Finally, there was the smothered chicken. In truth, I had no idea what I was getting into when I ordered the chicken, other than knowing I’ve never had anything bad that has been described as “smothered.” Fortunately, this trend didn’t change with the smothered chicken. The smother itself was a sort of delicious gravy with a pretty good onion and juicy chicken flavor.

Needless to say, Chef Marilyn’s was a huge hit to my taste buds and stomach. In fact, eating it after tennis was so great that I may even make a tradition of it. because we all know nothing goes together better than tennis and soul.