Authentic Yucatan Peninsula Experience

27 May

El Portal outside area and a little bit of the façade to the left

During one of my outings in Pasadena, I came across a Mexican restaurant that specializes in food from the area I come from in Mexico, so I had to go in and try it out.  The name is: El Portal – Yucatan Mexican cuisine.  It is located east of Paseo Colorado Plaza inside a small plaza on Green Street. Looking at the menu I see: panuchos, cochinita pibil, tamales de Yucatan, enchiladas de mole, among many others, and I think “If I could only eat them all; I have not had any of these dishes in such long time!”  So I methodically check the ingredients of each dish, thought back on how long ago I had those meals…mmm… cochinita and tamales were pretty much even by the end; however, since I generally can eat pork (though not in the same delicious form) I decided to have tamales.  Ok, tamales are easy to find in LA, but not tamales wrapped in banana leaves that just have this green tint to the masa.  So I order it with a glass of horchata (I was just a little disappointed that they don’t have tamarindo drink or Jamaica, but horchata also places high in my list of favorite drinks).  By the way, horchata is a rice based drink.  I finally get my horchata, yes! It is so refreshing, sweet, and it is in a family size glass (my opinion) so I cannot possibly drink a lot before the main dish or I would not be able to finish.

Tamales

Finally, there it comes my tamales!  Oh, wait a second, what is this plate the size of a center piece?  No worries, I will finish it no matter what.  There they are: tamales, fried beans, and Spanish rice.  Ohhh! tomato sauce on top of my tamales… oh, well it has been such a long time that I might as well eat it, and failure is not an option!

They are as tender as I remembered them to be and to my surprise, tomato sauce does enhance the flavor!  Now I begin with the fried beans, though I never had them in a plate but in a bowl before it does not detract from the flavor when it is mixed with the rice.  By now, it is becoming slightly difficult to start eating the rice and finish the tamal, so wait, maybe a sip of horchata will accommodate things better in my stomach.  Yes, it works, onward I go.

And this was the story of my close encounter with typical food from my home town.  I will definitely go back for more!

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