>> Puerto Madero | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday, 8 February 2021

Puerto Madero


COVID-19 UPDATE: The cafeteria-style tables are closed as the grocery and food counter stay open with protective screens. Two tables outside are free for use but most people call in their orders for pickup, which they recommend.

After ordering from the counter within this Santa Ana market, surrounded by the flags of Argentina and other South American nations, on the television was a replay of the past weekend's match between Barcelona and Athletic Club. Almost immediately a foul was called less than ten meters outside of the penalty area and Lionel Messi stepped up to take the free kick.

You can already imagine the result of course, after beginning an article about an Argentinean market with a story of the country's best player. Of course he made the team from Bilbao look silly in trying to defend his effort. It seemed like the perfect introduction to this Santa Ana mainstay.

Puerto Madero presents itself as a mercado latino & carniceria, and delivers on both. There are shelves organized by country with products from Colombia, Spain, and of course Argentina, among others. In the back a small meat market has the many cuts of cow and sausages necessary to make your very own home parrillada.

One shelf is entirely devoted to different types of yerba mate, the strong preference of most in Argentina for their caffeinated morning beverage. In the back a few cases display freshly baked breads and sweets.

Uruguayan and Argentinean facturas.

Twenty-five years ago it would have been unlikely for a shop to be named after the Puerto Madero neighborhood in Buenos Aires, as the old port district had long slipped into disrepair and decay after a larger port was built in the early part of the 20th century. But nowadays the zone is filled with tall shiny residential skyscrapers and makes for a dramatic skyline from the water. It is a paradise for trendy yuppies.

The market here in Santa Ana is more for the common man and woman though, on one end of everything is an economical lunch counter with an ample seating area. Come in during midday to place an order and you will see many folks who work nearby coming in to pick up sandwiches and empanadas.

At the top of the list is a slightly odd choice for an Argentinean market. The chivito ($9.99, above and below) is the unmistakable national dish of Uruguay, an always impressive stack of foods caught between bread.

Here the fried egg is omitted for some reason, while some fresh olives and roasted red peppers give the sandwich more of a flair from Argentina. The thinly-grilled strip of steak is topped with bacon, ham, and provolone cheese, and coupled with tomatoes and lettuce.

The list of sandwiches is quite long and can satisfy most, with Italian cold cuts, a milanesa, and even a sandwich with pastrami all available.

Another worth trying is the choripán ($9.99, below), a simple affair which uses Argentinean sausages flattened like hamburger patties. Rather than being loaded up with ingredients, this one lets the chorizo and the pan do the work.

Puerto Madero also has an array of baked empanadas ($1.75 each, above and below) that they make themselves daily. An order of a dozen costs $9.99 and lets you sample all five and add a second of your choice. The two darker ones on the right of the bowl above are both beef.

You will be offered their housemade regular or spicy chimichurri sauces when you order empanadas and sandwiches, which can also be picked up in bottles they have made themselves. Other empanadas available are tuna, ham + cheese, spinach, and chicken (below). While it was nice to have a variety, the classic beef and chicken versions shined more brightly than the rest.

The sign offering "Argentinian style" pizza ($7.99, below) was too inviting to turn down on this visit. It is advertised as a personal size, but is large enough to require a pizza box and is sliced into six pieces. This photo was sent without comment to a friend from Argentina who immediately responded "Looks like Argentinian pizza!"

The dead giveaway are the strips of more roasted red peppers, but the pizza must also include fried ham and green olives. These as well as mozzarella cheese sit on top of a very light and airy crust and creates a pleasant snack.

In better days, the location will be excellent for watching World Cup matches of any South American team, as the flags of each line the dining area, but especially Messi and La Albiceleste.

They may only have one more shot at glory during his time left on the pitch. Tensions will be high, but he obviously still has it left inside.


No comments:

Post a Comment