One of the best known dishes in Spanish cuisine, paella is a rice dish that originated in Valencia and takes its name from the wide, shallow traditional pan used to cook the dish on an open fire. Monday, March 27, is National Paella Day, and with a wealth of Spanish restaurants in L.A., there are plenty of ways to celebrate.
Variations are limited only to the cook’s imagination, but usually consist of round-grain bomba rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, duck, shellfish and butter beans, seasoned with rosemary branches, taking its yellow color from saffron or turmeric.
At Tatel Beverly Hills, one of Los Angeles’ most authentic Spanish restaurants, the famous rice dish is prepared using classic Spanish recipes and rice grown in Valencia to create traditional Valencian paellas that rival those found in Spain.
To celebrate “the day of the rice cooked in the pan,” on March 27, the restaurant will offer diners the chance to try its signature paellas for free, as well as witness first-hand how it is made.
For one day only, diners and passersby will be tempted by the aromas and sights of a paella-making demonstration, as new Chef Marva and team whip up batches of the rice dish over a low open flame on the front Tatel patio, adjacent to Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, starting at noon till 9:30 p.m. On display will be the restaurant’s signature red paella with lobster prepared with a homemade seafood broth and Carabinero prawns, as well as wagyu beef paella and Spanish vegetable varieties. Diners of the restaurant also will be treated to complimentary tastes of the savory dishes during lunch and dinner.
Following the recent opening of their first Los Angeles location, Telefèric Barcelona ,the Barcelona-based restaurant group is known for their traditional yet creative Spanish hearty paellas like the paella mixta (squid ink, gulf shrimp, scallops, octopus, clams) and paella veggie (seasonal mushrooms, cauliflower, artichokes, seaweed stock) as well as new additions like the Ibérico pork paella (acorn-fed pork chop, pork belly, mushrooms). Wash it down with a classic Spanish gin & tonic or one of Telefèric’s signature cocktails.
While the Gasolina Cafe in Woodland Hills is closed on National Paella Day, the market is a great place to pick up ingredients to make your own and celebrate at home. They’ve got authentic ingredients like rice, stock, spices and chorizo. Or dine on any other day of the week for the paella tierra mar (chorizo squid shrimp olives) on paella nights or go vegan with a mushroom and roasted garlic paella served over saffron bomba rice. Socarrat – the crusty crispy bottom of the paella that becomes caramelized and toasted on the bottom of the pan – is available on request.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, Cafe Sevilla restaurant and tapas bar in Long Beach has flamenco dinner shows on the weekend and live music nightly. A true paella palace, try the breakfast meat Rupestre, a melange of pork tenderloin, grilled sausages, chicken and flat iron steak served over saffron bomba rice and topped with two fried eggs, on the brunch menu. For dinner, there’s at least five paella varieties including seafood paella with black rice, traditional and vegetarian versions that can be ordered in single and family-sized portions.
Paella Night at Atmosphere Mar Vista takes place on Saturday, March 25 and every Thursday starting at 6 p.m., Lou Lou in Santa Monica has Boho Chic Night combining flamenco dancers, gypsy musicians, paella, tapas and Sangria in addition to the regular menu.
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