House of Blues Restaurant & Bar brings the magic of Southern cooking to Southern California.

My dinner date and I were guided to our table at House of Blues Restaurant & Bar just as guitarist and singer Robin Henkel was ripping into some muddy, muddy blues. I’ve lived on both the East and West Coast but have never got a chance to experience the intrigue of Southern culture and food. Thankfully, I have House of Blues to teach me a little about the region with its special twist on classic Southern food.

I wasted no time with my drink order and requested a Hound Dog Mule right away. This is a classic mule with vodka, lime juice and ginger but made unique with a splash of watermelon. It was sweeter than other mules I’ve tried but extremely refreshing. I had to keep reminding myself not to down the entire drink all at once. Pro tip: Save your receipt when you get this one so you can collect a free copper mug from the gift shop!

The Gumbo came out next. It’s an appetizer but looked like it could be a hearty meal on its own! For those unfamiliar, gumbo is a Southern meat and veggie stew. House of Blues’ version uses andouille sausage, chicken, peppers, and onion with white rice on top. I’m a vegetarian, but my dinner date/boyfriend Greg sampled the gumbo for me. He’s been through New Orleans while on tour with his band Take Offense and says the combo of the warm gumbo and Hinkel’s steel guitar brought him back to “The Big Easy.”

My dietary restriction didn’t restrict me from eating all of The Foothills Flatbread, which were piled high with veggies and cheese. Thin, crispy wood fired flat bread was topped with pesto sauce, feta, corn, caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms and sprinkled with cilantro. The carmelized onions stood out because they added a yummy sweetness that balanced out the savory flavors. I’m crazy for all things pesto and thought the use of cilantro instead of basil for this sauce was an interesting–and delicious–twist.

The towering high BBQ Bacon Burger came out next. Greg paired the burger with sweet potato fries which he said worked harmoniously with the burger toppings–cheddar cheese, Applewood-smoked bacon, crispy jalapeños, sautéed bourbon onions, and Memphis BBQ sauce. I stole a few fries and the side of sweet pickles it came with. Both were deliciously sweet and savory–especially the pickles! These must have been pickled with lots of sugar and spices.

We ended the dinner on a sweet note with a slice of Key Lime Pie. This dessert had a thick graham cracker crust, sweet lime custard, topped with whipped cream and roasted coconut shreds. It’s been a minute since I’ve had Key Lime Pie and this version was the perfect one to welcome the dessert back into my life–it was sweet, citrusy and cool. Whipped cream is usually a no-go for me because I find it too overbearing, but the one on this Key Lime was light and fluffy.

If this review made you crave one of these magical dishes from House of Blues, I suggest hitting up the restaurant after watching The Aquabats and rapper Froggy Fresh this Saturday, July 21. It’s Comic-Con this weekend, so it only makes sense to see a five-member band of heroes dressed in blue and black spandex. The band formed in 1994 in Orange County and became well known for their comedic personas and ska music. No new albums to speak of, but the group has five studio albums you can play on repeat.

For ticket information, visit

By: Lara McCaffrey

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