Where To Have A Cozy Holiday Meal In LA, According To Masego

The Jamaican American musician shares his favorite spots.
Where To Have A Cozy Holiday Meal In LA, According To Masego image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

The holidays can feel chaotic—there are travel plans to make, presents to buy, and nosy relatives who ignore social cues and ask the most invasive questions on earth during dinner. But as Masego, a Jamaican-American rapper/singer/musician/comedian/DJ/saxophone player (known for his sultry smooth spin on R&B, hip hop, and jazz music), understands—it doesn’t have to be this way. “As a recording artist, my schedule gets really crazy,” he explains. “So I always make sure to slow down during the holidays and spend time with my family and friends. And food is always at the center of those gatherings.”

He’s also spent a good amount of time eating through LA (turns out, you can’t plan for an NPR Tiny Desk concert on an empty stomach). So, we present you this: Masego’s picks for a cozy, holiday meal in LA, including classic diners, decadent desserts, and yams. So many yams.

The Spots

photo credit: Krystal Thompson



$$$$Perfect For:Classic EstablishmentSerious Take-Out Operation
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A revered soul food spot with two locations in Inglewood (and one in Crenshaw), Dulan’s is an LA institution. “It reminds me of the way my mom used to cook,” says Masego. “They give you so much food—enough that you’ll definitely get full, but still have some for leftovers later. The smothered oxtails and cornbread stuffing are some of my favorite items off the menu.” Plus, with its low-key atmosphere and cafeteria-style flow, Dulan’s is just a nice place to hang out: “There’s great hospitality, which is missing in so many places—they always get you through the line quickly, even if it’s long.”

Walking into this classic diner on Centinela feels like entering a secret club at the center of the neighborhood. Everyone is here— families, big groups of friends, and solo diners who’ve come in every week for the last 35 years. “I like the French toast because it melts in your mouth—warm, sweet goodness,” he describes. “I also love their more savory options, like cheese grits with catfish and eggs, or their collard greens. I come here whenever I’m craving soul food.”

A fantastic shop in Baldwin Hills, Southern Girl Desserts churns out cupcakes, pies, cookies, puddings, and cobblers. “I grew up in Virginia, so Southern desserts are close to my heart,” Masago explains. “I’m a huge fan of pecan pie, and they have one of the best in LA—it’s filled with yams, vanilla, cinnamon, and lemon. I stop in for one of their mini pecan pies all the time.”

And if You're Ever in Virginia...

Mama J's Kitchen


This family-run restaurant in Historic Jackson Ward recreates the feeling of going to grandma’s house for dinner with an array of Southern favorites. “My friends and I ordered the fried fish sandwich, club sandwich, and fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese, plus candied yams. No complaints with the food at all, but it was the hospitality that really made the experience enjoyable. That’s very important to me, anywhere I eat—the waiters are very attentive, and give great recommendations.”

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