Cuban meals is a delight at this San Fernando restaurant – Day by day Information
Mojitos in San Fernando is an all-outdoor café, providing a style of Havana with particularly good, crispy empanadas, together with dwell music on weekends. (Photograph by Merrill Shindler)
They don’t have a liquor license at Mojitos in downtown San Fernando. So, relying on how doctrinaire you’re about your cocktails, the wine-based mojitos they make (traditional, mango, strawberry, coco-pineapple and fervour fruit) are both a intelligent workaround … or a mildly alcoholic fruit drink.
However then, because the mojito has at all times been a rum-based fruit drink, made with sugar cane juice, lime juice, glowing water and mint, making it with wine is not any much less official than non-alcoholic beer. And anyway, I’ve learn that one of the crucial standard mojitos in Havana nowadays is made utilizing a rose-flavored spirit. In Mexico, mojitos are made utilizing tequila.
In Peru, they taste mojitos with grapefruit, passionfruit, pears, raspberries, orange and strawberries. I’ve seen mojitos made with gin and tonic water. One legend is that the mojito was created by Sir Francis Drake, who used brandy. Hemingway drank loads of them when in Havana. It was lately named the preferred cocktail in each Nice Britain and France.
So far as I’m involved, so long as it tastes good, it’s a nice sufficient beverage to quaff seated on the patio of the San Fernando Library. Which is the place Mojitos the restaurant nestles, hidden from the visitors on Maclay Road, in a peaceable enclave, adjoining to a barbecue store, throughout from a Mexican restaurant.
I wasn’t right here for the mojitos. I used to be right here for the pollo asado, a richly marinated rooster dish I by no means develop uninterested in. The model at Mojitos doesn’t have as a lot garlic because the well-known one at Versailles. However the meat — so candy! — falls from the bone. It made a large number of my fingers and my shirt. I had no complaints.
It’s each crispy and tender on the identical time, doused with plenty of sliced onions and sauce, served with surprisingly tasty white rice, black beans which were cooked all the way down to their important components, and plantains which are half starch and half dessert.
However actually, all of it comes all the way down to the rooster and the sauce. And but, the necessity to style extra is tough to withstand. Dangling within the air is the notion that possibly, simply possibly, there’s a dish on the menu that’s even higher. And so, I introduced alongside a very good eater — a heavy fork — to assist out.
We have been there for the weekday lunch, after they provided dinner dishes at properly discounted costs. We started with an order of the meat empanadas, which have been as crispy as french fries, reminding me that the Cuban culinary mantra appears to be when unsure deep-fry.
Crunchy is in all places — and particularly within the thinly sliced plantain chips referred to as mariquitas, and within the chunky pork dish referred to as masitas de puerco, “marinated in our home garlic sauce.”
Although it’s not a lunch particular, we additionally knocked again a Sandwich Cubano, which isn’t a lot a sandwich as a pastry full of a loopy variety of substances, dominated by pork, pickles and cheese, served on crusty bread that reminds you of simply how good bread could be (and the way a lot of a debt we owe to the Earl of Sandwich and his card taking part in).
I don’t perceive how they keep so trim in Havana; it’s all of the dancing, I assume.
We had ropa vieja — which interprets as “previous garments” — and is a dish of shredded, braised beef so tender that the slogan discovered at a neighborhood barbecue home stated, “You don’t want no enamel to eat our beef.” And that applies right here completely.
The pork — Mofongos jogs my memory of simply how good the Cuban therapy of pork actually is — consists of lechon asado (roasted pork marinated in garlic mojo sauce), and the aforementioned macitas de puerco fritas that one way or the other handle to be each tender and crispy on the identical time.There’s additionally a bit of the menu devoted to the definitive Puerto Rican dish referred to as mofongo — a mash of inexperienced plantains and pork rinds, circling a doughnut-sized gap stuffed with pork, rooster, beef and seafood (just about something and the whole lot). It’s a culinary object of want for Puerto Ricans. It’s the kind of dish that has me promising myself I’ll dwell on salad the day after to offset the injury.
At Mojitos, the ring is stuffed with a alternative of shrimp, ropa vieja, lechon pork and rabo, which interprets as oxtail. (There’s truly a restaurant in North Hollywood referred to as Mofongos, the place the choices additionally run to each rooster stew and fried rooster, beef stew, steak and onions, pork roast, shredded pork, fried pork, shrimp, lobster and extra. You may add avocado, too, which appears to be virtually a wholesome contact.)
For dessert, there’s the three-milk cake referred to as Tres Leches, and naturally an excellent flan — primarily based, just like the mojito, on sugar.
Sometime, I hope to go to Havana, and have a mojito in Hemingway’s favourite bar, La Bodeguita del Medio. It’s on my bucket record, which simply retains getting longer. However then, not like my want to someday go to the stays of the Titanic, it’s not less than rational. So long as I don’t have too many.
Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance eating critic. E mail email@example.com.
- Score: 2 stars
- Tackle: 233 N. Maclay Ave
- Info: 818-639-0339; www.mojitossanfernando.com
- Delicacies: Cuban
- When: Lunch and dinner, Monday by means of Saturday
- Particulars: Beer and wine; reservations not wanted
- Ambiance: An all-outdoor café, within the very nice library plaza, providing a style of Havana with particularly good, crispy empanadas, together with dwell music on weekends.
- Costs: About $25 per particular person
- On the menu: 6 Appetizers ($7.50-$23), 7 Beef Dishes ($17.50-$25), 2 Pork Dishes ($17.50), 4 Mofongo Dishes ($21-$25), 4 Rooster Dishes ($17.50-$22), 5 Seafood Dishes ($17.50-$23), 5 Sandwiches/Burgers ($12.50-$13.50), 10 Lunch Specials ($13.75-$15.50), 5 Sides ($3.50-$5.50)
- Bank cards: MC, V
- What the celebs imply: 4 (World class! Value a visit from anyplace!), 3 (Most wonderful, even distinctive. Value a visit from anyplace in Southern California.), 2 (A very good place to go for a meal. Value a visit from anyplace within the neighborhood.) 1 (When you’re hungry, and it’s close by, however don’t get caught in visitors going.) 0 (Truthfully, not value writing about.