I'm a transplant from the South. I was born and raised in East Texas, amongst the finest of fine cuisine known as Southern cooking. Being so close to the Louisiana border and also having a Tex-Mex influence from friends and family, our family had a plethora of Cajun and Mexican recipes to go along with the standard soul food and comfort foods that normally graced our tables. My grandmother and mom weren't the type to be prejudiced towards any kind of food, so we had multiculturally influenced dishes on our dinner table, also. It wasn't uncommon to see a Jewish meatloaf alongside a heaping buttery pile of mashed potatoes with cream gravy and a skillet of cornbread. Now that I've moved to L.A., I have to deal with a vast culinary difference...the Mexican food out here lacks the Americanized twang given to it by many Texan chefs, there's little to no southern-style restaurants, and I've yet to find a good barbecue joint. I get strange looks when I ask about grits or biscuits and gravy. Thankfully, the Italian joints around here are fantastic, and the quality of seafood here is excellent. Plus, Houston's sates my appetite for a gigantic, raw steak, so I have to compromise somewhere along the line.