Monday, September 05, 2005

Guatemalteca Bakery

After a cheerful stroll through Pico-Union today (two "green card" vendor solicitations, one lost car of French tourists), Ian and I ended up at this tremendous Guatemalan bakery/restaurant/grocery store some ways away on Beverly [4032 Beverly Blvd, Downtown LA, 213-382-9451, 6am-9pm]. Lunchtime line is about ten deep, testifying to high quality of the baked goods and steam table fare, as well as the overwhelming Central American nature of the 'hood.

As Gold documents, there is a parallel universe of antojitos, but we didn't try the enchiladas (actually like a miniature clayuda), tostadas (crispy tortilla smeared with sauce) or tacos-that-looked-like-flautas. Instead, we opted for comidas, lunch plates with the hearty stew called carne guisada or in my case a kidney/intestine concoction, revolcado. These were awesome, big servings of tomato-ey goodness with excellent arroz and the pureed kind of black beans, go for the crusty roll instead of tortillas. Also on the menu are a frijoles blanco or white bean/beef stew, and the tasty looking sausage longaniza among others. Not bad for $4.50! The locals were bringing in their own plastic containers and filling them to the brim, now that's service. Woman in front of me spent $47 which can only mean she was feeding about 15 people for a week.

We also sampled a chuchito or tamale which was more in the Mexican style than full-on Nicaraguan/Honduran goodness. Guatemalteca dishes up the pan/roll with assorted fillings, and we scored a pan con chile to go - eggy chile relleno in a crusty tapered-at-the-ends pan. Judiciously reheated, this was terrific later at night. I love sandwiches made with stuffed items, and the relleno contained shredded beef, peas and carrots; a lusty whole when combined with crusty roll, mayonesa and lettuce. Lastly, the quesadilla here is not grilled tortillas and cheese, but a fabulously rich cake bread made with sour cream and sprinkled with sesame seeds (sold at the bakery counter). A small round one is 50 cents, and a giant slab $2. I foolishly went for the slab and will have to ration it carefully for the sake of my arteries.

Having sampled the higher-end at Paseo Chapin I can say that the more utilitarian Guatemalan fare is also a winner. The peeps are here and once again the quality is unmistakable, give it a try if you haven't had an authentically Los Angeles Centro-American meal before.


Anonymous mia said...

wow! to my amazement i fell upon this site and i'm so happy that someone actually wrote about my fav. bakery in LA.... being a bit bias since i've been going to this fab. bakery since i was little.... and tradition being that you arrive at 5 am christmas eve for your hot and ready tamales.....
this place is yum yum yum!!! the food fresh, the bakery always a line (but quick), the food tasty! los rellenitos , platanos con crema a simple pastry con una tasa de cafe'... what more can you ask for.. this is LA at it's finest.. Down to earth and real home cookin'.....

3:27 PM  
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10:15 PM  

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