Porto’s Gig Night Dinner

Ah, Downey. One can go from a nice little downtown to a run down strip mall dive bar with a drunk guy looking for a fight in just a couple of minutes! Yup, that’s the life of a foodist/metal drummer. (Disclaimer:  I wasn’t involved in the fight. I was busy unloading my gear. Yup, that’s the life of a drummer.)

Gigging with my band has led to various mini road trips since last November. Downey, Grand Terrace, the still-ungentrified part of 7th Street in Long Beach—I would never have set foot in these places were it not for being in my band.

But, as any foodist knows, most every area holds at least one cool place to eat. Downey has Cuban bakery and restaurant Porto’s, which has additional locations in Glendale, Burbank, and soon West Covina, if the helpful man that was in line with us can be believed. I know next to nothing about Cuban food, so I jumped at this opportunity. It was only a few blocks from the venue!

The only thing that really surprised me was the prices. So cheap! Prepared pastries and such starting at 98 CENTS and sandwiches for only $5-6! I fed myself and brought my parents a couple bites to try for $15 and change.

Cubano sandwich, Potato Balls™, empanadas, rellenitos, and a Mamey smoothie. Pictures taken outside a dive bar can only be so good, so don't start with me.

Cubano sandwich, Potato Balls™, empanadas, rellenitos, and a Mamey smoothie. Pictures taken outside a dive bar can only be so good, so don’t start with me.

Excellent sandwich—something something checklist—and great pastry bites. Potato Balls™, seasoned ground beef wrapped in mashed potato and fried, and are actually printed with the ™ on the menu, are one of those things that can’t help but be good. The same goes for the empanadas as well. The rellenitos are fried plantains stuffed with black bean paste and coated with sugar, yielding a flavor profile not dissimilar to an an pan. The Mamey smoothie was a nice cold, tropical accompaniment.

This was our second time playing this venue, so I hope to come back soon with a larger cooler!

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