The La Fiesta Super Mall used to have an unspeakably depressing food court. But somewhere between 2007 and now, everything changed. "Gone are the mediocre stalls of yesteryear," says Das Ubergeek. "The old mediocre Mexican combo-plate place has turned into a small outpost of Metro Balderas," which is known for its wonderful carnitas. Das Ubergeek continues: "One of the closed stalls has now turned into La Perla del Pacifico, a restaurant specializing in the food of the Pacific coast of Colombia. Not the antioqueña food of La Maria, this is the food of the lands west of Cali and Medellín."
La Perla has surprising empanadas de carne: masa-based treats, with long-stewed, stringy beef inside. "The shell was slightly tough to crack open (think of a deep-fried sope that wraps around things), but in the mouth they weren't tough at all; they crumbled into an intensely corn-y front flavor that complemented stewed beef well."
There is encocado de piangua, ark clams in coconut sauce, with a heavy hit of citrus and garlic. But best of all is sancocho de pescado, a coconut-based soup, sort of like a Thai yellow curry. "You've got big pieces of perfectly fresh, moist, plump whitefish (black cod?) along with potatoes, yuca, plantains, and a thin coconutty sauce with tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic. These folks can cook, and they can cook well," says Das Ubergeek.
Then, another surprise: Remember Wat Thai, the Buddhist temple with a weekly Thai food festival? The festival that got banished for bizarre code reasons? Remember the stall that served bamboo shoot salad? Well, there's a stall for that here, too!
La Fiesta Super Mall Food Court [San Fernando Valley - East]
12727 Sherman Way, North Hollywood