Tuesday, June 29, 2010
3614 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91504
Porto's Bakery has been on my radar for a while. It's a large, popular Cuban bakery that sells a huge selection of baked goods for very low prices. I read great review of Porto's from Gastronomy and Eileen Likes to Eat. Even my mom has tried Porto's. Apparently someone brought some to her work and she emailed me about it, saying I should try it next time I'm in LA.
Unfortunately, Porto's is quite far away and has not been near any of the places I visited on my recent LA trips. Finally, I had a chance to visit Porto's this past weekend. Porto's has two locations, the original one in Glendale and now a second location in Burbank, which is the one I visited.
The bakery is quite big and once inside, I was overwhelmed by the number of baked goods. It was incredible how many baked goods they offered and the massive amount of quantities left despite the fact that the place was incredibly busy with long lines. The popularity of this bakery reminded me of 85 C in Irvine.
I wanted to try everything. Though it really wasn't possible as there were maybe a hundred different things to try. The prices were so low that I left with three boxes of goods. Almost everything was priced at between $1-$2, a refreshing change from the usual prices I'm accustomed to at bakeries. Luckily I had people coming over the next day to share all the pastries with.
While the lines are long, they move fast and the staff is efficient. There is also plenty of tables to dine at inside and outside.
I won't describe everything I bought. Here is a shot of each box of stuff.
The savory box contained potato balls,chicken croquette and meat pies. I really liked the potato balls and the chicken croquette. The potato ball was crispy and breaded on the outside, with a layer of mashed potatoes and then a chili filling. It was slightly spicy and absolutely delicious!
Normally I'm not a big fan of danishes, but Cuban bakeries are known for their danish-like pastires, so I figured I would try a few. The cheese rolls, and the guava and cheese ones are very popular here, so I got a few of those. I also got a sweet croissant, an apple turnover, a slice of crumb cake and a coconut ball.
Despite not loving danishes, I enjoyed the guava and cheese roll and the cheese roll. They weren't too sweet and the pastry layer wasn't too oily.
My last box was filled with lots of pretty individual cakes. My favorite was the mango mousse, the fruit tart and the mango cheesecake. I thought the red velvet cupcake was a little dry. I also didn't love the eclair. The little chocolate cake was intensely chocolate and was more like a chocolate mousse. I preferred the three layered chocolate mousse which was lighter and not as sweet.
I wish this bakery was closer to me. I would definitely pay it a visit often. Especially for the potato balls, croquette, fruit tart and mango mousse.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Congratulations to Sandy and Jess of Lazygirlkitchen for winning the panda cookies giveaway!
I’ve never tasted clafoutis before, but I’ve seen a lot of recipes for them recently. I decided to try baking some cherry clafoutis this weekend to try them out. It just so happened that my cherry chomper arrived this weekend. Not only is it adorable, but it makes cherry pitting so much easier!
I didn’t have the ramekins I usually see used to make cherry clafoutis, so I used the small ones I had. Clafoutis are really easy to make. I didn’t even need a mixer. I used a recipe I found on Fork Spoon Knife. The recipe actually calls for the cherries not to be pitted. But I thought it’d be easier to eat the clafoutis with pitted cherries and I really wanted to use my cherry chomper.
Some of my cherries didn’t look so pretty after I baked them. The lighter red ones came out brown. The darker ones bled purple into the batter. I saw some variations on clafoutis that added an almond flavor. I think I may try that next time.
Cherry Clafoutis (adapted from Fork Spoon Knife)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1.5 T granulated white sugar
1/2 cup cream
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 T unsalted melted butter
pinch of teaspoon salt
handful of cherries for each ramekins
1. Sift the dry ingredients
together. Whisk together the cream, eggs, extract and butter. Add the
wet to the dry and whisk to make a smooth batter.
2. Place the
cherries in shallow ramekins and pour the batter over them not covering
them completely. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes or until the clafoutis is
puffed, set, and golden brown around the edges. Serve immediately with
a dusting of confectioners sugar.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Earlier this year, I discovered a Korean sesame tapioca bread that I totally fell in love with. The first one I tried was at Paris Baguette. They seemed super popular, so I grabbed one to try. The bread is light and airy and very, very chewy. It's like a cross between the chewy crusty French breads and a mochi. The bread is not really sweet. The toasted sesame seeds add a great flavor and keep the bread from getting boring. Normally I'm not a fan of black sesame, but the addition of the black sesame seeds is perfect for the bread
Since I love almost all things chewy, I really liked this bread. The use of tapioca flour is what makes it so chewy, similar to the tapioca balls served in the milk tea drinks. Since then, I've been on the hunt for this tapioca bread. I've found at various bakeries.
In the Bay Area, I've also found the bread at the Sogo bakery (10889 S. Blaney Avenue
Cupertino, CA 95014). Theirs is one of my favorites because it's really big and only costs $1. I've also seen it at the Mitsuwa bakery in Costa Mesa, though they are called "mochi bread" even though there isn't any mochi flour in the bread that I know of. I've seen it at the Tous Les Jours bakery located inside H Mart in Irvine. I saw it once at the Zion Market bakery in San Diego, but on subsequent visits, I wasn't able to find it.
Since it's been so hard for me to find these breads, I thought about trying to make my own. I searched the internet for recipes. But I couldn't find any. All I found was one poor girl's attempt to find the recipe also. She posted on quite a few forums trying to find a recipe. The only answer was that some Korean markets sell a mix you can use to make them.
So then, I began searching for the mix. I checked every Korean market I passed, but couldn't find it for the longest time. Finally, on my last trip home, my mom and I were out shopping and picking my favorite chewy noodles when I suddenly saw the mix on display. I was so ecstatic and I immediately bought a box. Since then, I've now seen the mix sold at Zion Market in San Diego.
I was so excited about finding the mix, that I didn't even realize that the direction were in Korean until much later. After I realized my dilemma, I immediately tried to think of what friends I had who could translate the instructions for me. I realized there was no one around me who could. And then I thought of the foodie community. And immediately through of one of my favorite bloggers, Rosa from Dining with the Catty Critic.
After some twitter exchanges, she told me that she couldn't translate, but that her mom could. So I snapped a picture, sent it over, and a few days later, I got my translation thanks to Rosa and her mom. Thank you Rosa and Rosa's Mom!
I made the balls this weekend. I was a little bit worried at how dry the dough was even after I added the egg and milk. But it was wet enough to form dough balls. It was quite easy to make. Each box contains two packages of mix. I took one package, poured it out, added an egg and the milk and then worked the dough with my hands until it came together.
Then I put ping pong ball size dough balls onto a baking sheet and put some water to keep them moist. Thirty minutes later, they were done! I think I might have overbaked them a bit because they seemed slightly too hard on the outside. Or perhaps my dough balls should have been bigger.
The ones I've bought in the bakery always have cracks and aren't completely circular. Mine had cracks, but all look like little pacmen. I'm not sure why they turned out this way. They were circular balls when I put them in to bake. I'm play around with my next mix to see if I can create a less pacman-like look. But I'm super excited I can now make these whenever I feel like eating one.
Instructions (Courtesy of Catty Critic's Mom)
1. Put 1 egg (60g), Milk or Water 70ml, in mixing bowl and mix well with the Mixer.
2 Put 1 pack of Kechal bread mix (250g) in the bowl, and knead well.
3. Place a ping pong ball sized bit of dough on baking pan with some distance.
(Spray with water on the face with sprayer for moisture).
4. In preheated oven, 180'c, bake about for 30-40 minutes. (I think next time I will reduce the baking time since mine seemed a bit hard at 30 minutes)
.When the Kechal bread bakes, they grow big so need distance from each other.
.It is better to store them in a vinyl bag after cooling.
.Be careful when eating right away out of oven; it is very hot inside of it.