Every Saturday, the Spanish import shop La Española Meats serves paella for lunch on their outdoor patio. A lot of it. Juana Faraone, whose son-in-law Alex Motamedi manages the shop and the charcuterie factory attached to it, makes enough paella to feed 70 on a pan the size of a dining room table. Faraone, who is from Valencia, Spain, cooks her saffron-shot Valencia rice with chicken and seafood, beans and peppers, and three kinds of house-made sausages.
And while you're sitting outside on the patio, with perhaps more of LA's ex-patriate Spaniards than any place outside of the kitchen at Jose Andres' Bazaar, Motamedi will bring you a plate of free tapas: 3 or 4 of his house-made chorizos, wedges of Idiazabel cheese, house-marinated olives, and some warm baguette. Warm not because La Española is magically also a bakery, but because the par-baked bread is imported--along with all the wines and cheeses and Jerez vinegars and Marcona almonds and a good portion of your tablemates--from Spain too.
La Española Meats was founded in 1982 in Harbor City, and it's difficult to find, right off the 110 freeway in a labyrinth of concrete, if you're not among the initiated. Think of it as you would a treasure hunt, as that's what it is anyway. As well as the paella and the sausages and cured meats, the shop houses an impressive list of olive oils and wines, vinegars and olives, rice and cheeses and saffron and canned fish and, well, one could go on. They also stock paella pans, in an impressive array of sizes, should Faraone's lunch leave you particularly inspired. They do not sell any the size of the one pictured, nor the smaller sort upon which Faraone cooks hers. Settle for something more the size of a Weber grill; you'd still be able to feed a portion of the Spanish legion.
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La Española Meats Inc., 25020 Doble Ave., Harbor City, (310) 539-0455. Paella is $8.50 and served only on Saturdays; call ahead and let them know you're coming.