A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Monday, January 01, 2007

The LA Report

I answered the call of sunny Southern California for the holidays and spent a relaxing week with the family and RFC cruising around, snowboarding and eating lots of Latin food. Isn't the ratio for any CA trip one taco for every two days in California?

In honor of RFC's first time meeting my family, we had to get a pizza from Baronne's. They say they are the originators of the rectangular thin crust pizza in So Cal. I have no idea if it's true, but I do know that their pizza is like no other I have ever had. It's nothing like NY pizza or Chicago pizza or the fancy CA pizza with tandoori chicken and feta cheese. It's kind of greasy, the bottom crust is a little doughy and the crust around the edge is almost non-existent, but what is there is crunchy and crisp. It is the best pizza I have ever had!

Another must-eat every time I am home is Poquito Mas. Their ahi tacos are simple and delicious, as are all their tacos. They also have salsa bar with two kinds of salsa, various shades of other pepper sauces, jalepenos and carrots, and cilantro. And the tortillas are made to order. Yum!

That was only the beginning of the Latin food we enjoyed. There was also a trip to El Torito. I know what you must be thinking, "Ack! A chain! The TGI Fridays of Mexican food!" But it is a favorite of my mom's and I have to say that the food was much better than I remembered. I had the Mexico City tacos which were pretty darn tasty. We also indulged in the tableside-made guacamole as well. I admit I was pleasantly surprised.

One night was spent down in Venice. If I ever have to move back to LA, this is where I would want to live. There are so many sweet little houses and they are all distinctive. My friend recently moved into the neighborhood and she has such a neat little set up. She took us to a laid back tapas place, Santino's. Many of the dishes have an Argentinean bent and there is also a large panini menu. We were partial to Eggplant Mamma Mia, a garlicky spread, and the chicken empanada. From there we went down the street to La Cabana for excellent margaritas and creamy guacamole. Both restaurants had a laid back, chill atmosphere. Great places to catch up and get to know my friend's new beau.

One last treat was a visit to Porto's. This Cuban bakery has been family owned and operated since 1960. They have an outpost in Glendale, but we checked out their newish location in Burbank. The little cakes and pastries filling in the case are beautiful. Mini coconut cakes with purple orchids perched on top, tres leche cups with piped merengue, fruit filled empanadas...you can't go wrong. This time, though, we were there for lunch and I had my very first Cubano sandwich. I can't believe I waited so long! The bread was crisp and toasted just enough to warm the inside, which was filled with pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. All the sandwiches come with plantain chips. The next day we stopped in for breakfast on our way to the airport and had omelets on croissants with guacamole and papa rellenas. These breaded mashed potato balls are heavenly and filled with seasoned ground beef.

The week was fun and went by so quickly, but it's nice to be back in NYC. I still have a little down time before I go back to work and I think I need to detox just a bit and hit the gym after all the indulging. RFC seemed to enjoy his time there and fit in well with my people. Next time, though, I have to get get him up to Northern California for an entirely different experience.

13726 Oxnard St.
Valley Glen, CA
(818) 782-6004

Poquito Mas
10651 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA
(818) 994-8226

3021 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 392-5920

La Cabana
738 Rose Ave.
Venice, CA
(310) 392-7973

Porto's Bakery & Cafe
3614 Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA
(818) 846-9100


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