North Hollywood: Puerto Rican Food at Mofongos
Mofongos are fried mashed plantain cakes with your choice of toppings. To crush the plantains, you use a mortar and pestle called pilon. Mofongos restaurant had a rather large one on display (as well as a cute tiny one in the knick knacks display case). A regular household would use something a bit more manageable.
Mofongos had a variety of agua frescas. I opted for the tamarindo but I’m glad Amy got a little tasting of each including the passionfruit and horchata. I fell in love with the horchata which was made with sesame seeds. It was so different and reminiscent of some Asian desserts and drinks.
Even before I started eating Puerto Rican food, I knew about bacalitos. The salt cod fritters are a must a true showcase of the prowess of a PR kitchen. Mofongos’ version was great. Not too greasy, not overfried but just a crispy fluffy fish cake.
If you grew up in LA, you may have tried the potato balls from Cuban bakery Porto’s. Those are my favorite and it was a bit of a shock to me when I realized they’re actually known as papas rellenas (loosely translated as stuffed potatoes). The Puerto Rican version at Mofongos didn’t seem as heavy as some I’ve had in the past.
Once you cut through the light and crispy ball, you’ll discover the ball holds well seasoned ground meat. I enjoyed this version and really haven’t had a bad one yet. Think of it as a fried shepard’s pie ball.
There were so many other things I wanted to try but in the end we decided to get the pollo guisado to counter balance the great pork mofongo we tried. The dish also came with a side of rice and tostones which are fried green plantains. Amy told me you can always tell Puerto Rican rice from the use of pigeon peas. They tasted and looked a bit like larger lentils.
Our server told us people missing Puerto Rican and Dominican food will drive as far away as San Diego for a taste of their food. I believe it. I liked everything we tried and want to go back for a full glass of that horchata and try some seafood.(818) 754-1051
© The Minty 2013