Porto's House Specialties - Downey
Porto's Bakery amazes me. How is it possible that a place which operates like LAX with a crew of hundreds is able produce food that tastes like someone's dear abuelita made it with her bare hands?
I'm talking about their savory house specialties in particular. Yes, they're masters of the baker's craft. There are cakes pretty enough to be featured on those ubiquitous Food Network shows about cakes. And their cheese rolls remain the benchmark to measure all cheese rolls, be it Cuban, Mexican, or Martian. But have you had their papa rellenas? Incredible! They are mashed potato balls gushing with spiced ground beef, breaded with a fine-grit crumb, then deep fried--a flavor fiesta in your mouth, if you can pardon my frivolous use of Spanish.
The chicken empanadas crumble like savory shortbread cookies filled with meat. The chorizo pie is the ultimate Hot Pocket, with the notorious pork sausage as the ultimate filling. The ham croquettes are luscious pellets of porky paste.
These are just a few of the items on the specialties menu. And I've tried them all. I'd recommend getting one of each, and sample the whole lot for lunch.
One discovery you'll make will be the tamales. It is important, however, that you insist on getting it when it's fresh, right out of the steamer. If they offer you one that has sat around in their hot box, refuse it. Tell them you'll wait for a fresh piece; it's worth it.
We pried our corn husk apart and the steam plume that escaped scalded our fingers. The contents inside was still practically liquid--a creamy, heavenly liquid you'll need a spoon to scoop. It's this cornmeal mush with bits of pork that will fill your senses with sweetness, an unequivocally great snack that will make you wish you ordered two more and wonder whose abuelita is working in the back.
Porto's Bakery & Cafe
8233 Firestone Blvd
Downey, CA 90241
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