If you’ve never heard of a cantimpalito, you aren’t alone. In America this Spanish delicacy is hard to find. Across the Latin world, however, they're commonly served at celebrations like birthdays and weddings as pre-meal pinchos.
For Claudio Blotta, owner and co-founder of Silver Lake's Barbrix, cantimpalitos hold sentimental value: They were his favorite snack as a child. Barbrix's executive chef, Don Dickman (formerly of Rocca), has been serving them as a seasonal offering since the restaurant opened in 2009.
Cantimpalitos look like bite-size Spanish chorizo sausages. Encased in a sheep casing, they're composed of pork seasoned with lots of garlic and paprika and are lightly smoked, giving them a juicy consistency.
“They made appearances from time to time,” says Blotta of Barbrix's menu, “but whenever we took them off, people always asked.”
Though the menu changes daily, Blotta has decided to make cantimpalitos a permanent offering — if they're not listed, just ask for them. It's the only L.A. restaurant we've been able to find in L.A. that serves them.
For $8 you get 14 deliciously plump cantimpalitos and a side of house-made mustard. They pair perfectly with Port Brewing Company’s Mongo IPA or a glass of Zweigelt Claus Preisigner.
Barbrix, 2442 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; (323) 662-2442; barbrix.com