Question: Where in Gods name can I find a decent paella in this town? And dont tell me to go to one of those schmancy Nuevo Whatever places that make their paellas with ginger and black beans and other things that would have made my grandmother shriek. Multiculturalism is okay and all that, but not where my paella is concerned.
Luisa, Echo Park
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Answer: The big Spanish community in Lomita seems to have mostly vanished in the last 15 years. But La Espanola Meats, one of the biggest distributors of Spanish products in the U.S., is just a few blocks away from Lomita, and its morcilla, cured pork loin and many, many different kinds of Spanish chorizo are just fantastic, and quite unlike anything being made at the moment in California. Not incidentally, La Espanola makes paella on Saturday mornings only, and you can take it home in giant takeout containers or eat it on a patio on the factorys western flank. The paella is quite wonderful, the wet kind, tinted violently yellow with saffron and spiked with squid, chicken parts, big prawns and a few different kinds of La Espanola sausage. It costs almost nothing $12 or $13 worth will more or less feed four, and theyll throw in some tapas for free. But make sure to call and reserve a couple of portions in advance. Because if you show up too late in the day, theyll be out of paella and youll be out of luck. 25020 Doble Ave., Harbor City, (310) 539-0455. www.laespanolameats.com.