611 Main St., Vancouver, Wash., 360-597-3260. Breakfast, lunch
and dinner daily.
The man in the kitchen bussing tables and serving customers at Mama's Kitchen—the 'Couv's blues-infused soul food room—is owner Joseph Richburg, a New Orleans native who came to the Pacific Northwest in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now, after almost a decade of saving catering paychecks working in Portland, he's the owner of a restaurant you really should visit if for no other reason than to see how great catfish can be. With a flawless carapace of creole-spiced cornmeal and stunningly pearlescent white meat, it's just the best damn fried fish you'll find anywhere. But don't come in a hurry. Bring a few bottles of Bud over from the sports bar next door, kick back at the red checkered tablecloths, and watch the muted TV hanging over the flat-top. Patience is a virtue.