Cozy, Comfort Food in Downtown Long Beach
By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer
Going out to breakfast on the weekends is a big deal, but there are a lot of breakfast joints that just don’t have it figured out. That’s fine—we also don’t have to eat there. I have a hard time wrapping my head around paying $12 for eggs, bacon, toast, and dry (or way too greasy) potatoes that just don’t taste good. I’d rather stay in bed and chew on my arm.
Whether it’s Long Beach, San Pedro, or anywhere in the Harbor Area, we all know the deal and we own it. We wait in line and don’t complain, because when we put our name down for a party of four, we know we’re waiting for greatness. And let’s be honest, if you drive past a place and no one is outside waiting, you probably shouldn’t be there.
So, stop what you’re doing right now and go to Sweet Dixie Kitchen.
I’m serious, you need to drop everything and go there. For those of you who haven’t tried it, you’re in for a treat. They do breakfast and lunch, and to say they do it well would be a severe understatement. They do it the best.
Located in the Arts District in Long Beach, this cute-as-a-button eatery almost made me shed a tear. I swooned over the homemade scones, jams and coffee cake. Their pastries are adorably hand-crafted and delicately placed in a little display case that made me want to scoop everything up and run out the door like a kid in a candy store. I’m pretty sure I drooled; I should probably be embarrassed.
I ordered inside and commandeered a little table. As plates emerged from the kitchen, I made some customers pause before eating just so my photographer could snap photos. We furiously uploaded all of this food porn onto Instagram. If you haven’t been following Random Lengths News on Instagram, this would be a good time to start.
The food at Sweet Dixie Kitchen is like mom’s cooking, if she knew how to really get creative. It’s Southern, it’s comforting, but redefined to be lighter and healthier. They don’t use lard, or gross additives, or any other nonsense, for that matter. All of the recipes are developed in-house; everything is fresh and made with love and from the finest ingredients. If there are slices of turkey on your plate, it was roasted in their kitchen. It’s that kind of Southern taste, with the same passion, but without the heart attack.
I hate using kitschy sayings like “family owned and operated” and “farm to table” but sometimes that’s the only way to explain the restaurant’s intent and execution. I will tell you this: Sweet Dixie Kitchen gives “family-owned and operated” a new meaning. The entire family down to their significant others runs this shop and you can taste the emotion, dedication and downright perfection that cranks the food out of this place.
Kim Sanchez, the owner, opened her cozy eatery about two years ago, but that wasn’t her first jaunt in restaurant business. She married into the Mama’s of San Francisco family, a popular restaurant in the North Beach. Eventually the family moved to Atlanta, where she was the general manager of a Zagat-rated restaurant. A Francophile at heart, Kim started experimenting with different recipes that encompassed her love of French and Southern cuisines.
Sweet Dixie’s breakfast sandwiches come in different shapes and sizes. BiscuitWitches and WaffleWitches are just what they sound like, and they are perfect in every way.
Try the Brett’switch, a homemade biscuit sandwich with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and spicy sausage gravy. The Sunrise Skillet is also amazing. Think rosemary home fries smothered with cheddar, scrambled eggs and house-made salsa. My favorite dish was the SOB: scrambled eggs with melted cheddar over zucchini cakes topped with tomatoes, black beans, avocado and homemade corn salsa. Don’t leave without trying the coffee cake or the scones. The scones are absolutely heavenly.
I actually heard one guy say, “This is the best food of all time,” and then took a huge bite of DixieBBQ Chicken & Waffles—the craziest waffle sandwich I’ve ever seen.
Sweet Dixie Kitchen is at 401 E. 3rd St., Long Beach
Details: (562) 628-2253
Gina Ruccione has traveled all over Europe and Asia and has lived in almost every nook of Los Angeles County. You can visit her website at www.foodfashionfoolishfornication.com.