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Paella showdown: Lunch at La Espanola…

Dommy! | Aug 15, 200504:46 PM

A few weeks ago, asked a few questions about La Espanola in Harbor City… I had made Paella for father’s day and wanted to compare my result to something that has been proclaimed as the most authentic in the city! Having wonderful Paellas from my grandmother (My grandfather is Spanish), Chicago and Mexico City, I could not wait to try out La Espanola’s famous version! So this Saturday morning I made some Sangria and went down to La Espanola with a small group of hounds for some Spanish by the shore!

La Espanola is a importer and maker of fine Spanish meats and ingredients. It’s located in a warehouse in Harbor City and only makes Paella on Saturday afternoons. This Paella is so sought after that they require you make reservations.

Now, when I pictured a warehouse by the L.A. Harbor, I imagined pretty much what you’re imagine right now… yeah… BAD… But when I got there, it actually was in a nice quiet clean neighborhood. There was limited parking by the warehouse, but street parking was not a problem either. Also, the seating was much nicer and more ample that I imagined. It’s like a little patio off to the side, also clean, and very cozy. A perfect place to sip on Sangria in the afternoon.

But the real beauty is within the deli… It’s enough to almost make your head spin! Every single Spanish ingredient that you can imagine is housed inside. A big case full of their meats, a HUGE case of all sorts of cheeses! Spices! Ooo.. lots of Spanish wines… I really cannot recommend enough just going down there and exploring all they have… you will come out with more than a few things for sure! :) Further, the prices are great!! I got a large tin of smoked paprika for like $3.00!!!

Within the deli I got a scrumptious paprika dusted goat cheese. Their best Serrano ham, which was rich, hammy, and not too salty and a small package of firm membrillo, which was both the perfect compliment to the ham and goat cheese. But the best thing was the thin baguette. Fresh made, CRISP on the outside, soft and yeasty inside. Still warm when you get it… I could have just been happy munching on these items the whole afternoon…

But we were there for our Paella! For each party who orders Paella, they give you a complimentary tapas plate. Slices of the above mentioned baguette, olives, cheese, slices of their meats and marinated garlic… It also was wonderful, especially since it was unexpected and made the paella lunch (Paella costs ~$7.00) an absolute BARGAIN!!

As for the Paella… well I’m sad to say… my very high hopes for it were not exactly met. It was prepared well, the rice not mushy, nice saffron scent and flavor… but the mix of meats was slight. The complex flavors that the Paella is known for, were just not there. I guess expecting earth shattering Paella for $7.00 was a little too hopeful for me…

So while I was happy that my Paella still reigns supreme, I would just recommend going through the trouble of ordering their Paella only if you are looking for a fun afternoon excursion with friends, planning to visit the store or if you do find yourself in the harbor area.

Paella must be ordered by Saturday morning by calling the office. There are several paellas available and they range in price from $7.00 to $10.00 and are ready for pick up on Saturday at Noon. Because they are deli… if you do plan to eat your paella there, don’t be shy and ask for status of order. They sometimes forget orders or mix them up. Nevertheless, the staff is very nice and will answer all your questions.

Website with number and directions:


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