Praise the Lard
Dear Mr. Gold:
Since you have already managed to turn the restaurant section of the Weekly into something resembling the Los Angeles Review of Lard, where do you find good lard in Los Angeles? Not that sour stuff in the red cartons, but something that will really make great pie crusts and pastries. If it happens to be leaf lard, so much the better.
—Mike, Van Nuys
I have found leaf lard, the delicate fat surrounding hog kidneys that is one of the grails of pastry chefs, to be all but impossible to find in Los Angeles. It must be out there, and you can mail-order it from Niman Ranch, but it has so far evaded me locally. But I did just discover a product called manteca de carnitas, the superflavorful pig fat rendered in the process of making carnitas, at the Tresierras Supermarket in Pacoima, a golden liquid that smells like the best roast pork. I haven’t yet tried it in a pie crust, but Southern-fried chicken cooked in it is just somewhere back of beyond. How could it be wrong if it feels so right? 13158 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, (818) 896-6618.
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