Boyle Heights is now dwelling to unimaginable Cameroonian delicacies


Last autumn, in the middle of the pandemic, Claudia Wanki looked online for restaurant rooms to rent. She noticed one in a mall on South Soto Street in Boyle Heights. It had previously housed Puertos Del Pacifico, which specialized in Mariscos. Wanki rented the building and named her new business Mama D’s African Cuisine, a tribute to her mother’s restaurant in Maryland outside Washington, DC

Wanki had previously worked as a substitute teacher and head supervisor. She was just finishing her MBA from Marymount California University when she opened the restaurant in November and cooked many of the same Cameroonian dishes she learned in her mother’s kitchen. It is often a one-woman business. “I don’t mind working long hours,” Wanki told me in a telephone interview.

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Mama D’s African Cuisine is the weekly review. If you are new to the flavors of Cameroon, a country on the border between West and Central Africa bordering Nigeria to the south, I recommend trying two region-specific dishes, Ndolé and Eru. They are based on greens; they are very different, but just as tasty. To find out more … right here.


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Mama D’s African Kitchen’s Chicken dg.

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

– Jenn Harris covers the LA invasion of the Las Vegas Strip, including outposts and new restaurants by Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish); Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza); Kris Yenbamroong (night + market); and many others.

A man in an apron stands in front of a mural behind restaurant stalls.

Chef Ray Garcia in his new restaurant ¡Viva !, located in the newly opened Resorts World Las Vegas.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

– Lucas Kwan Peterson and Carly Olson answer a pressing question: How will new permanent al fresco dining programs and outdoor facilities help rebuild LA restaurants derailed by COVID-19?

– Lucas also reviews “a number of new products” at Trader Joe’s.

– Photographer Michael Owen Baker captured the reopening of the popular weekly event Smorgasburg LA. It restarted on July 4th in Row DTLA.

A plate of tacos

A plate of tacos from Tacos 1986 at the Smorgasburg LA reopening on July 4th

(Michael Owen Baker / For the Times)