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Easing into Puerto Rican: Sazon on Washington and Centinela


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Easing into Puerto Rican: Sazon on Washington and Centinela

Dommy | Jun 21, 2008 10:39 PM

I probably shouldn’t be admitting this, but if you ever see a speedy little Volvo on the Westside reacting slow to a green light, it might be me… I have this bad habit of looking around when stopped at red lights. Things change to fast around here! And you never know when you might spy neat new restaurant ...

Well I was stopped at Washington and Centinela and saw a brand new restaurant sign… “Sazon. Latin Fusion” hanging over one of my old favorite taquerias, Taqueria Estillo Mexico! It made no sense, the guys were just at the Mar Vista Farmers Market the weekend before!! Then I spotted a little hand written sign in the window, “Now serving Cuban and Puerto Rican Food”

OMG!! The conflict was huge… I love Cuban and have always wanted to try Puerto Rican… but those Sopes de Cabeza…


Driving back home, I decided to return later that week to go check the situation out…

We walked into the place and to our surprise the Taqueria menu was still up. There was a Chalkboard with about 10 specials, but most of them Mexican. The little hand written sign was out of the window, when we looked around for menus, there was none. We must have looked utterly dumbfouned (which we were) because soon one of the workers came up to us and asked us what were looking for.
We sheepishly asked about the Puerto Rican food. She bluntly asked us specifically what we wanted…


You see… I’ve never really HAD Puerto Rican food. I work with A LOT of Puerto Ricans. They have told me about their food and as a fellow Caribbean girl, I knew I would like it… but names of dishes… what I ‘Liked’, NO IDEA…

And so, I pleaded my ignorance… then she spilled out her side of the story…

Her name was Claudia. She was the cousin of the Taqueria founder and the family wanted to try something different. So the good news the awesome Taqueria menu is still the same and awesome (Hurrah!!) but they are going to gradually start introducing more substantial dishes with a Cuban Puerto Rican bent. They haven’t committed to a menu just yet because I wasn’t the only one to walk in there going, “Mufongo whaaaa?”
And so we place our dinner in Claudia’s hands. And based on her recommendations we ordered…

Platanos Fritos: One of my absolute weaknesses. They were served with crema and were piping hot. This is the sorta dish that even when it's done bad... it's pretty darn good... but when done well.... it's heaven. These had the PERFECT crisp caramel edge which shows the kitchen’s attention to details...

Spinach and Cheese & Picadillo Empanadas: They also came out fresh from the kitchen. They had a much thinner crust than the ones at Empanada’s place, so although the crust had very little flavor, they were absolute crisp shells. The Picadillo was good, but not as complex as I'd hoped (No green olive at all) but the Cheese and Spinach was note worthy. The spinach had great flavor and the cheese wonderfully gooey.

Pollo Rostizado (Pollo A la Sazon). Her take on Cuban Roast Chicken. We are a huge fan of Versailles Roast Chicken (When they do it right) and looked forward to this interpretation. First off, the flavor of the chicken was off the charts. It was absolutely dripping in a mojo type marinade. It was also cooked very well.. not dry at all..

Camarones con Salsa: The winner though was this Puerto Rican inspired dish. The broth had the underlying seasoning of a great pozole and something more I could not place. Although its served in a small bowl, there were plenty of shrimp.

Finally, Claudia sent out her homemade Flan. It was a perfect rendition of a Flan Napolitano. Firm, Eggy, Rich and not too sweet. Flavor if pure burnt sugar and cream. We were so excited to dig into this dish, I forgot to snap a picture.

And so, we gave Claudia a big applause for a great meal. I am relieved that I can still get those great Sopes and Barbacoa, but I love the idea of getting those Plantos Fritos along side now too…


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