Question: Where in God’s name can I find a decent paella in this town?
And don’t 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
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 factory’s
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 they’ll 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, they’ll be out of paella and you’ll be out
of luck. 25020 Doble Ave., Harbor City, (310) 539-0455.