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CALLING ALL CHOWS! CHOW EMERGENCY!

Went to the ubiquitous Panchos tonight and as usual the line was out the door for the stalwart Mexican. In lieu of waiting 30 minutes for a table, I grabbed Mr. G and wandered around the corner to Sazon Latin Fusion. It's a small place on the corner of Centinela and Washington. There's an August thread with very good praise for this small, non descript hole in the wall. But Claudia, the owner/chef, makes it all worthwhile. Home cooking that covers all the latin countries from Puerto Rico to Peru and of course our cousin to the South. We had some of the homemade Agua Frescas, Tamarindo and Jamacia, both were deliciously refreshing on this hot day. My acid test is the sugar factor and her drinks were NOT sickeningly sweet. Perfect. She also uses vegetable oil and little or no salt, but lots of veggies and herbs for flavor.

Next up was a spinach/cheese empanada and a meat empanada. The spinach was still bright green inside, not some mush and really delicious. The meat was tasty if you like ground beef taste. There's a salsa bar with the great mexican style carrots.

I had the Pollo Saltado which is usually with fried potatoes but Claudia makes hers with roasted. Mr. G had the Pollo stuffed with spinach served with rice, beans and lovely roasted carrots, squash and broccoli.

Finally, an amazing dense flan, again not too sweet, but really yummy. Mr. G had no idea that flan didn't only come in a plastic cup off the taco truck,

For approximately $15 each we enjoyed a healthy, wonderful home cooked meal.

The problem is we were one of three tables tonight at 7pm. This lovely little restaurant just struggled through their first year and if it continues like tonight, they may not make their second.
Don't wait to eat at Pacos or Mariscos Chente, try Sazon for lunch, dinner or weekend breakfast.
It's important to help support these small establishments in our neighborhoods. Claudia is a worthy cause...she really cooks with her heart and the foods shows it!

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  1. what is there for a vegetarian to eat?
    my normal friday night crew contains an ovo-lacto vegetarian.
    we won't go to a place that only serves a token quesadilla or a bowl of rice for her--we need a place that serves some actual vegetarian entrees, preferable ones that are not loaded with fat.. . .
    also, if beans are served, they can't have lard in them.

    would Sazon Latin Fusion work for my group?

    7 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        the website seems to show just one dish that might be vegetarian--a salad.
        there is reference made to a vegetarian/vegan plate.
        do you have any idea what is on that plate?
        i'm sure it would have white rice? is there anything else?
        do you know if they use lard in the beans?

        honestly, judging from the website, it doesn't look like a good restaurant for us.
        our usual rotation includes: ayara, metro cafe, 26 beach, tlapazola, and antica pizzaria. all of these restaurants offer some really good vegetarian choices.

        what a pity. we're always on the lookout for a new place to add to the rotation.

        1. re: westsidegal

          I will say that Claudia does rotate the menu and we have had wonderful Calabacitas from there. We saw her at the Mar Vista Farmers Market Picking up Ingredients for A Corn Soup special on the menu that night. If you are really worried, give her a call and she will most likely put together a menu to fit your needs.

          1. re: westsidegal

            The two times I've been there I've never bothered to ask, but the menu does say that they use veggie oil in their beans.

            Who knows, but I would ask and would be surprised if the place would not accomodate any type of reasonable request as Matt points out above.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Last night's specials included a lentil soup and a veggie plate. The roasted veggies were nicely cooked, not to mush and yes, white rice and beans which I doubt have lard, but you can call Claudia.

            2. re: westsidegal

              At the bottom of the Menu it says:

              * * If you do not see it on the menu it does not mean we do not make it...ask! * *

              1. re: westsidegal

                2nd that Claudia is very accomodating within reason if you talk to her.

          2. I will definitely give this place a try. It sounds right up my alley. Thanks!

            1. If only I lived closer! She has mofongo on the menu. If anyone goes this place please order either of the mofongos and let me know how it is.

              For those who do not know mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish usally a street/beach shack food consisting of fried green plantains, chicharon (the kind with some pork meat still attached), olive oil, garlic and somtimes oregano. They are all smashed togeter and then either stuffed with a stew or rolled into balls and deep fries like a fritter.

              If I was closer I definately try this place.

              3 Replies
              1. re: SeaCook

                I'll definitely give it a try. I'm going back to PR soon and am looking forward to eating some decent mofongo. We'll see how it compares. :)

                1. re: annapurna7

                  Please do! The only other place I have it is Senor Big Ed's in Cypress and it's only so so. Thanks

                2. re: SeaCook

                  Sazon is in our regular rotation and I've had the mofongo a few times. But that's the only place I've ever had it so can't compare it to anything. I like it but it's more of a cold weather dish for me. Very stick to the ribs.

                  My original Sazon write up
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/542079

                3. Thank you for this post. I was just wondering about trying someplace new and she is located very close to me. Will definitely try it!

                  1. is this place anywhere near Wilshire and Sepulveda? I have a Dr apt. there and then will be heading home to Palos Verdes. So looking for something on the way home. We will not be hitting the 405 gridlock probably take Sepulveda home, but a detour is always doable as long as it isn't too far.
                    Thanks Jen

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: JEN10

                      this will be VERY near your route home.
                      several miles south of wilshire a short distance west of sepulveda

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Thanks Westsidegal. I have lived in the beach cities all my life, I am clueless when it comes to town. We are going to hit this place up, I can't wait it sounds awesome.
                        JEN10

                        1. re: JEN10

                          Just make a right onto Washington BLVD (not Washington PL) from Sepulveda and go straight until you hit Centinela Blvd. It will be on your left hand side.

                          To go home, just take Centinela going south back to Sepulveda.

                          1. re: annapurna7

                            Thank you, Annapurna! I will report back!!!