ISO Crispy Pata
Oh Abby your last post has started a crazy craving... I grewing up, we were VERY close to a Filipino family and for that reason, I LOVE Lumpia (With raisins!), Pancit and of course Crispy Pata! The best I've had was at Yi Cuisine (Which is gone), and to be honest I haven't done that much hounding at Filipino restuarants... so I was wondering... Which place has the BEST Crispy Pata (and bonus points for Lumpia with raisins. :))?
My favorite place for this is a place known for their Crispy Pata. Magic Wok in Artesia. Pre-orders are made well before hand during the holidays.
I wrote about the first time I had there a few years ago. Here it is:
At around $8 it was one of the more expensive items on the menu. And when it arrived on my table, it made me tremble with fear. Here before me was a ginormous, deep fried hunk of pork leg with the rind still attached and a giant white bone sticking out of it.
The golden rind, pork skin rendered beyond crunchy in boiling oil, is the first thing I tried. The texture is as dense as the crunch is deep. These are pork cracklings on 'roids, and once the crunch subsides, the remainder sticks annoyingly to your teeth. The flavor is fatty sweet, and can be a bit overwhelming if you're not used to it as I was. But I found that a dip in vinegar tames the richness from becoming too overpowering.
Once you've pried off the rind, you uncover a thin, white mucousy layer of fat (which you can scrape off) running over ruddy, sinewy meat. This muscle meat here is tender and spongy. A gentle tug and it falls apart into strands, just like carnitas. A dollop of the sweet liver sauce they give you is the perfect compliment as you eat it with rice.
So if you are accustomed dry, white meat pork chops, with nary a hint of fat; or if you curdle at the sight of the "real parts" of the animal you are eating, crispy pata probably isn't for you. But if you cater to the belief that pork should not be "the other white meat", contrary to the slogan, you might like it."
Ah the pata, a dish so evil and good at the same time, I tributed it in my own unique way.
I've posted on this back when the board was less graphic-intensive but, in short order my faves are:
SALO-SALO GRILL - Cerritos, West Covina, Glendale
Tender, juicy and with that out-of-this world crisp and crunch.
Consistently solid. Be forewarned: evenings and weekends are
405 rush hour packed.
FIESTA SA BARRIO - Eagle Rock
After a distressingly long hiatus, it's returned or so I thought. The signage in color scheme and font looks deceptively like that of the deceased BARRIO FIESTA. I just read a post by Abby that there may be some connection. In any event, they've taken over the former ISLA BUFFET site on Eagle Rock and York. BARRIO FIESTA's pata was legendary. Haven't been since FIESTA SA BARRIO opened but, I'm eager to find out if the technique and taste haven't changed.
ALEJANDRO'S - Glendale
The unfashioned, little-known darkhorse newcomer. A small, family-run operation named after the Lolo ("grandfather" and/or "patriarch") of the family who had an unrealized dream of opening his own restaurant. If the pata recipe is his, it is indeed our loss that he wasn't around.
And finally . . .
ZARLITO'S - National City
For taste and all important texture, their version rivals SALO-SALO's. They are, however, an hour and half drive (using toll 73) south in SD. Should you ever find yourself there, trust me when I say, "it's so worth it."
It looks like you already got some good replies. I haven't tried the Crispy Pata at Magic Wok, so I can't speak to it and of course, I found the one at Fiesta Sa Barrio too over-fried, but I have to say that so far, the one at Alejandro's has my heart. :)