porto’s bakery and cafe / downey – los angeles, ca
Day 4 of Eating in LA! Potato Balls. That’s all I have to say.
I’ve had potato balls at a local Cuban restaurant here in town and they were alright. I’ve been wanting to try the ones at Porto’s for quite some time so this visit to LA was perfect timing for us to stop by and try some out. Our friend, Chris, is also Cuban and I was curious how they would live up to his idea of potato balls from Florida.
Since it was a Tuesday afternoon around lunch time, there was a bit of a line but nothing like the “line out the door” situations that I’ve read about (yay for weekdays). We eyed all of the delicious treats as we decided on what to get.
Here’s our box o’ potato balls (plus one meat pie).
And here’s a shot after I ate one. The potato ball had a nice golder crust with a slight crisp with the creamy mashed potatoes inside and the lovely ground beef filling that was saucy, savory and delicious. The spices used in the inner filling were just right – a good spice and flavor with the ground beef. The potato balls lived up to my expectations! I noticed (after my visit) on the website that they have a sandwich with potato balls… god I wish I had gotten that sandwich.
Chris and Jake also got Ironbeer soft drinks which originated in Cuba. Ironbeer sounds like a totally weird name for a soda to me, but who I am to judge? Chris was quite familiar with these sodas and insisted they get some. Me? I don’t drink regular soda anymore so I got had some unsweetened iced tea instead. But I totally dig how the cans look.
This is Chris’s sandwich, a Medianoche or Midnight Sandwich ($4.25). It’s got slices of roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, butter, and mustard and mayonnaise mix on a sweet roll and comes with plantain chips.
This is Jake’s sandwich, the Pan con Bistec ($6.70) which has marinated steak, potato sticks, grilled onions, tomatoes, and mojo (Cuban garlic sauce) on Cuban bread. I liked Jake’s sandwich so much better than mine that I asked if we could switch. I liked the flavor of the steak and the little potato sticks in the sandwich gave it a wonderful crunch. I would get this again!
This is my sandwich which sounded good in theory. It’s a Pan con Lechon or Roasted Pork sandwich ($4.99). Very simple sandwich, it’s just roasted pulled pork, grilled onions, and mojo (Cuban garlic sauce), on Cuban bread. I found the sandwich to be a bit dry and lacking in “extra goodies” (ie: potato sticks).
If Jake sees a red velvet cupcake, he wants it. It’s weird because he’s not a big sweets eater and he would never get excited about desserts the way I do. But he now seems to have “red velvet cupcake radar” because he spotted this right away. This red velvet cupcake only set us back $1.50 and came with a pretty rose petal on it. It tasted okay, not the best I’ve ever had. A little on the dry side but not bad for the price.
I have a weakness for NY Cheesecake ($2.50) myself. The cheesecake lacked the creamy richness I expect from cheesecake and it also was not very sweet and borderline sour tasting.
They have so many baked goods! I ended up going back in and getting some apple and mango turnovers, apple tarts and an almond and chocolate croissant to go to have for breakfast for myself and my family during the rest of the week. I loved that the chocolate croissant was dipped in chocolate on the outside (sorry, no photo). They just have tons and tons of treats – you’re sure to find something to your liking here.
And look at all of these cakes! I wonder how long it would take to try every item they have here? Probably a really long time.
Porto’s Bakery and Cafe
8233 Firestone Boulevard
Downey, CA 90241-4842