by Sasami Ashworth
Grammy weekend (Feb. 9-10), the state of Louisiana brought the bayou to Los Angeles (or as they like to call it, “the other LA”) to celebrate their always-impressive list of nominees. The sixth-annual “Only in Louisiana” brunch took place on Saturday atop Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, for two cajun-spiced hours of acclaimed regional cuisine and live music. From smoked rabbit and alligator gumbo to washboard-strummed revelry, this brunch was certainly not short on Southern charm.
Kix Brooks, one half of the award-winning duo Brooks & Dunn, imparted his easy-going Shreveport sensibility as an emcee alongside Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne as they honored Louisiana-bred Grammy nominees like Lil’ Wayne, Frank Ocean, Dr. John and Ellen Degeneres. Among the highlights of the event was a performance by Corey Ledet, who brought Southwestern Louisiana to the stage with his Grammy-nominated accordion playing. The room was studded with eminent music industry members and recording artists, all of whom chowed down as the toe-tapping sounds of soulful roots music filled the hall.
Cotton executive chef and Food Network’s “Chopped” champion Cory Bahr provided iconic Southern fare like crawfish remoulade, North Delta shrimp and grits, cornmeal-dusted Louisiana catfish, and Louisiana blue crab cakes with Creole mustard aioli. Bahr’s rich braised pork shoulder and smoked ham eggs Benedict with duck egg hollandaise on fresh cathead biscuits were an apt pairing for the boozy breakfast libations and endless Champagne. Although there was a modest offering of healthier options like vegetarian jambalaya and, well, fruit for those still trying to fit into their Grammy gowns, the menu mostly boasted a decadent spread of elevated down-home dishes. For a sweet ending, attendees zydeco danced to the buffet line for seconds and thirds of the sweet potato beignets, miniature Bourbon pecan pies and bacon pecan pralines with sea salt.
For more information on the colorful culture and cuisine of the Pelican State, be sure to check out our extensive array of Louisiana Travel Features and restaurant reviews, as well as our New Orleans 72-Hour Vacation Travel Guide.