Ok, so I didn’t actually get on a plane and fly to Puerto Rico, but I did get a small taste of what it might be like to enjoy a meal there. A coworker of mine and a fellow foodie (Cher, a.k.a. the frequent commenter on my blog!) researched the Puerto Rican dish called “mofongo” after seeing it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. A successful google search brought us to Mofongo’s in North Hollywood. The restaurant is one of those out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall gems. The entire restaurant consisted of four tables, one chef and one waitress. The menu is limited, but sifts through the fluff and gets right down to business, offering up delicious and authentic dishes.
We started with an appetizer plate, De todo un poco, or “a little bit of everything.” Starting at the top right, working clockwise, we have: Pasteles (a Puerto Rican tamale), Pastelillos (I think one was chicken and one was beef, similar to an empanada), Relleno de Papa (potato balls, similar to the ones at Portos) and Alcapurrias (fried tamales).
Next up was the main dish, and THE reason (and namesake) for visiting Mofongo’s–the mofongo. We were told the best way to savor the dish is to get the “soup” on the side and only pour it on the mofongo a little bit at a time. The description (thanks to Wikipedia) sounds bizarre, but it all works wonderfully together: “Mofongo is generally made from friend green plantains…which is mashed together with broth, garlic, olive oil and pork cracklings or bits of bacon. It is often filled with vegetables, chicken, crab, shrimp or beef and is often served with fried meat and chicken broth soup.” This particular version also had bits of pork rinds, which added a nice crunch to everything! I love a healthy amount of garlic, and this dish definitely does not fail to deliver. You can essentially feel the garlic seeping out of every pore on your face…in a good way of course:)
The exclamation point to this Puerto Rican culinary sentence was the bread pudding. Not too dense and not too fluffy, not overly sweet. I would go back just to eat this:
What the restaurant lacks in size definitely makes up for in authenticity, heart and soul. The service was fantastic (the chef even came out to chat us up), the food was tasty…all in all a meal that was muy delicioso!
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