LA Paella

It has been quite some time since my last true blog entry.  You can consider my recent post on Yu Chun as just a little freebie to my “starving” readers, who have expressed longing and sorrow over my notable absence from the blogosphere.  I actually went to and blogged about Yu Chun some time ago.  Being a frequent haunt of mine, I didn’t think it a time sensitive post, so kept it in the dusty backlogs for just that occasion when the “overworked” lead to the “underfed,” blogger and readers, alike.  Don’t know if any of that made sense, just try not to think too hard.  I try to apply that mentality to my everyday life, but sometimes it is not safe to have, considering my line of work…

The Communist, who will now be interchangeably referred to as The Pouter, was to begin yet another journey of world travels, this time to the land of communism and dumplings.  Before embarking on her international jaunt, she thought it would be nice to catch up and do what we do best together, EAT.  Eating is always more fun with more people (but please, no more than 6 is appropriate in my book).  Who else do we turn to for good fun and good times?  The Soprano Man.  This evening, he picked me up and even opened the door for me from the inside, from his driver side.  I thought to myself “Well, what a gentleman!”  Little did I know, that he only did that because the door does not open otherwise!

Who likes paella?  I do!  I do!  Well, at least I think I do.  Who can really turn down the thought of rice and seafood, married together in a delicate warmth of saffron scents with a Spanish flare?  Ole! I say!

Bread olive tapenade, butter

Pretty standard and unexciting.

Gambas al Ajillo shrimp sauteed with garlic and chili pod

We started off with a large pitcher of sangria (which, btw, was so delicious, but incredibly light on the alcohol here) and some tapas.  Disappointingly, the shrimp were few in number and high in price.  I was in such good spirits, and coming off a slew of moonlighting shifts, that I did not care too much.  In retrospect though, the shrimps were tasty, but not spectacular.

Calamares a la Plancha grilled squid with garlic and parsley 

I do love calamari, but find it a difficult protein to enjoy in restaurants since its usually battered and deep fried.  I was excited to try these.  Texturally, they were quite tender and enjoyable.  Flavor was lacking.  Another helping of salt would have done some good.

Espinacas con Piñones y Pasas spinach sauteed with pine nuts and raisins

Soprano Man suggested the spinach, and I agreed we needed some balance to all the proteins.  The Pouter and I were not that impressed, but Soprano Man just lopped every bit of green.

Champiñones con Chorizo mushrooms with spanish red sausage

You can never go wrong with mushrooms!

Fideuà shrimp, mussels, calamari, clams, saffron and “fideo” noodles

I had never heard of Spanish noodles.  The Pouter insisted on these, but of course, being at La Paella, I still wanted rice.  Being the fatasses that we are, we got both.  One order is equal to 2 portions, so we ordered 4 portions of rice and noodles for only 3 of us to eat.  I rather enjoyed the fideo.  It felt like short spaghetti noodles, softened with the juices and flavor of seafood and saffron.  The actual seafood was hardly generous.  I got 1 dinky mussel, 1 dinky clam, and 1 shrimp. 

Paella de Montaña con Chorizo rice, saffron, chicken, pork, green beans, lima beans and sliced spanish red sausage

In contrast, the paella was much more generous on the meat.  The chicken, chorizo, and pork were a plenty.  The rice was well cooked, but lacked any of that “crispiness” from the bottom rice that I’ve heard so much about for paella.  I probably wouldn’t have liked it anyways.   I did not enjoy the lima beans one bit though.  They tasted like mushy pastey piles.

All together, the noodles and rice, made for a very comforting homey meal.

Soprano Man was going off about a “boys night” he had coming up with Tofu and WonTuan.  The Pouter, well she looked on the verge of pouter-dom, being left out and all.  To comfort her, I said, “Don’t worry Pouter, one day when you grow a penis, you can hang out with the boys too.”  And just as I said the word “penis” we all paused in silence as the busboy was cleaning up the plates and stifling the biggest embarassed smile.  We were all wearing our most awkward smiles in return, and burst out laughing when he hurriedly ran away.

Arroz con Leche rice cooked with milk, lemon, cinnamon

The dessert was served cold.  This is how its traditionally served, but it was just too cold for me and it made the rice just a bit too al dente for my liking.  I really did enjoy the slightly creamy and sweet flavoring.  It was delicate and well balanced.  After all those carbs, I could only enjoy a few bites of this before calling it a night.

Was this the best paella in all of LA?  I hope not.  The paella was tasty, but it didn’t knock my socks off.  Most paella I’ve had has never knocked my socks off.  Dumpling Man has come to the conclusion that he just does not like paella.  This being said even after a journey all throughout Spain, eating paella and drinking wine for 2 weeks.  Maybe one day, I’ll join him with the same sentiments.  For now, I will still look for great tapas, paella, and sangria wherever and whenever!

La Paella

476 South San Vicente Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90048

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