Thanks to a brilliant radio show called Good Food on KCRW (that I only extremely recently discovered), I heard about this market in Chinatown, Los Angeles called the Little Jewel of New Orleans. It has a kitchen, as well as a market for all of your southern cooking needs. Now YOU can go home and make red beans and rice - properly - with the right ingredients.
We were on our way out to a gallery show not too far from there, and decided to stop in for a quick meal and peruse the market to find anything that might strengthen my gumbo game (impossible!). And actually, they sold tasso! I have only used it once in my gumbo (on advice from a southern friend) and it has brought my gumbo game up a notch! Thankfully, now I/we have two sources for it in Los Angeles. In addition to many of the products I've seen in New Orleans (Zapps, Abita, chicory coffee, Camellia beans, Crystal hot sauce) they also have an old school candy aisle that's just fun!
I will return, this time with a decent sized cooler, and ingredients list so I can take a stab at more recipes from my southern cookbooks. Like bbq'd shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, maybe even something with okra!