When I first open the front screen door to Tuesday night, I notice it doesn't open and shut quite right. It reminds me of the way the screen to my childhood home was never perfectly aligned with the doorframe from being carelessly slammed over the years, or the sliding glass door of my grandmother's house that didn't move along the tracks as smooth as it could've by the time she had grandchildren running around.
The aroma of fresh cornbread and fried chicken takes over once I'm inside, and the familiarity of MP's entrance is the first sign that this place is meant to be just like home. To the left behind the wood tablecloth-covered dining tables, there's a kitchen sink and counter, complete with seemingly just-washed cups, facing a perfectly-curtained faux country window.
My husband and I sit down and we both immediately know what's going to happen next: we'll likely over-order because we're already starving, we'll proceed to stuff ourselves and order dessert despite full stomachs, and there will still be enough leftovers to take home for the next day's lunch.
We debate on ordering chicken and waffles, and I glance at the the "Vegetarian in You" dish (choose four side dishes, plus cornbread) before deciding to pass. I'm not a vegetarian -- I eat white meat and some fish -- but I may as well go home if I'm going to pass up fried chicken at a soul food spot.
The situation unfolds exactly as we predict. We order an eight-piece bucket of chicken -- two each of breasts, wings, thighs and legs -- along with four cornbread muffins and sides of mac-and-cheese and string beans. When the bread arrives after our water and sweet tea (served in mason jars!), we try to hold back on eating all four before the rest of dinner comes.
When it does hit our table, the drumsticks are the first to go. Just as my husband drops a breast onto his plate, our server -- the son of MP's owner -- checks up on us and notices something isn't right.
"My man, I was gonna get on your case!" he starts telling my husband. "But you don't even have what it is you need for me to get on your case!"
He brings us a bottle of hot sauce, and my husband says he felt something was missing. "I read your mind," says our server. The hungry husband proceeds to smother his chicken with the spicy sauce and gives his approval after the first bite.
One woman sitting at the table behind us asks about the desserts on cake platters lined up on the counter.
"Is that cheesecake?" she asks.
"It's melt-in-your-mouth cake," says a young man at the table behind her. "It's awesome, just do it!" he tells her.
The server brings her table a small slice to try, and judging from the silence we hear, it sounds as if the red velvet butter cake tastes pretty good.
We contemplate dessert and talk to the young man who works there. I ask why the restaurant's name changed from "Miss Peach's Soul Food Eatery" to its current one; he says it was re-named about a year ago because his dad "just felt like it." They've been serving soul food in North Hollywood's "Antique Row" -- a stretch of Lankershim dotted with thrift stores and mid-century modern furniture shops -- for about 14 years, he says.
Finally, we decide to order a slice of strawberry chocolate chip butter cake to-go and let the young man know we'll be back for more soul food.
Looking directly at my husband, he says, "I know you'll be back." He could tell by the way he was eating, he quips.
is located at 5643 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. Business hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 2 to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays.