>> [CLOSED] Mia's Kitchen | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday 9 November 2020

[CLOSED] Mia's Kitchen


EDITOR'S NOTE: This restaurant has permanently closed. An updated version of this article (19 February 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
The island of Trinidad, right at the southern and eastern edges of the Caribbean Sea and nestled in close to Venezuela, is not the postcard tropical paradise that many non-Caribbean people might imagine. For that, you go to Tobago, its smaller sibling just to the north. But when you are in the capital city Port of Spain, residents will all make sure you head up to Maracas Beach to have a good swim, get some sun under palm trees, and most importantly, eat some good bake & shark.

A couple blocks from the sand of Manhattan Beach, Mia's Kitchen is a good reminder of Maracas Beach, its screen door allowing for the smells of curries and dhal puri to make their way out to the sidewalk. If you come from other places, find parking and grab your food before walking down the steep hill to the beach.

Before your fish sandwiches, grab an order of doubles ($9, above), possibly the most iconic of foods from Trinidad and Tobago. Usually they are some of the most un-photographable foods in the world, but here they reduce the amount of chickpea curry and they come out beautifully even for takeout. The yellow flatbread it lays on is bara, usually used as a pair and the origin of the name of the dish, but here lighter and fluffier than usual.

The tamarind chutney and hot pepper sauce will usually hit you fast, but here the mix of everything is more subtle. Add some of the hot sauce they give you on the side, but do take caution with this and heed their warnings. That delicious sauce is basically all hot peppers. Having spent almost 20 years in New York City and eaten a healthy share of doubles in Port of Spain as well, the $9 for one doubles (they say one order is two doubles, but the definition of doubles is two pieces of bara so this is one) was quite the sticker shock, but for west coasters who are unfamiliar with the food, it is a must order regardless.

Another order handy for the beach and common for takeout in Trinidad is a wrap of chicken roti ($11, above). Mia's paper thin dhalpuri roti is the star here, much like the bara of the doubles, delicious and still dusty with its ground and dried yellow split peas. Potatoes, carrots, and chick peas join large hunks of chicken and curry inside.

These are meant to be eaten immediately when handed to you, so once it started to be eaten at the beach it did not stand up so well for an interior photo, but this is not the kitchen's fault, everything was prepared just right.

Maracas or Manhattan Beach?

But let's head back to your beach towel under the tall palms of Maracas Beach for a moment. While shark is not on the menu here in Manhattan Beach, the fry bake & saltfish ($8, above) will fill in just as nicely. Once again the bread is great, a sliced open piece of puffy fried dough.

This "pocket" is filled with a generous portion of salted cod, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Listed in the "light to-go snacks" section of the chalkboard menu, the sandwich is definitely a filler.

One of each, please?


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