Portugal Imports

On Saturday, my half-Portuguese friend, the ever-talented Tanya Bjork, introduced me to Portugal Imports in Artesia.

Olive oil, sardines, jellies...

Linguica, cheese...

It’s a small grocery shop/deli that serves up some pastries, bread, sandwiches and various imported items from Portugal and Brazil.  Here you will find cheeses, linguica, olives, wines and other specialty items.  And of course, port.

Since we got there in the early afternoon, most of the pastries were gone. I did get 2 natas (egg custard in a flaky cup) and 2 almond pastries.  The natas were decent but apparently, not quite authentic according to Tanya.  I enjoyed the almond pastries which was a cake-bread type thing with an almond filling and almond slivers on top.

There were only two pieces of bread left so we claimed those for our sandwiches.  I noshed on a delicious linguica (Portuguese sausage) sandwich.  This was a simple sandwich…bread and sausage which seems a little wimpy since we’re used to getting overloaded subs.  But it is surprisingly filling!  The bread was good but a little dry from sitting out all day.   The linguica was juicy and plump and really flavorful.  I wish there had been some cheese but I think you could ask for it.  Next time…  I did try a little bit of the Sao Jorge (St. George) cheese which Tanya told me only comes from the island of St. George…sort of how champagne only comes from that region in France.  The cheese had a mild nutty flavor.  I picked up a package of the linguica and some wedges of the cheese to bring home.

I also tried the bacalhao bolinhos (deep-fried potato cakes with salted cod) which were awesome.  Crispy outside, soft inside, it wasn’t overly salty or fishy which is a sign that the bacalhao (dried salted cod) was rehydrated correctly.  Bacalhao can be quite salty if it is not soaked long enough with regular water changes.   Also known as Pasties de Bacalhao, these are made in house and can be purchased frozen in boxes of a dozen.

The workers here are really friendly.  We chatted about various Portuguese dishes, alcohol and Rockband with the man and woman behind the counter.

If you’re in the Artesia area, I recommend stopping by just to see the shop and, if you get there in the morning, pick up some of the pastries!

I give Portugal Imports 4 NOMs for their food, grocery items and especially their service.

Portugal Imports
11655 Artesia Blvd
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 809-7021
www.portugalimports.net

Portugal Imports on Urbanspoon

The Corner Bakery – Manhattan Beach

Like most people out there, I needed to hit up the mall/grocery store on Christmas Eve for some last minute items.  What a nightmare…but it did give me the excuse to have lunch at The Corner Bakery in Manhattan Beach.

I’ve seen this chain around and heard good things but never tried it.  It reminded me a lot of Panera, another bakery-restaurant chain. When I walked in, the setup was quite similar…big board with the menu and baskets of breads behind the register.

Corner Combo

I ordered the Corner Combo – half a sandwich/panini and a cup of soup or salad.  I opted for the chicken pesto sandwich and tomato basil soup.

My first impression when my food was delivered was mixed.  The soup looked quite tasty with chunks of tomato but the sandwich looked a little wimpy filling wise.

Tomato Basil soup

I tasted the soup first.  Lots of flavor.  The tomato chunks were soft but not mushy and there was plenty of basil pieces.  It seemed a little thin, not as creamy as other tomato basil soups I’ve had, but then again, the menu did say soup, not bisque.  Definitely a nice filler for a chilly winter day.  I’d come back to eat this again but in a bread bowl.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich

As you can see in the picture, there doesn’t seem to be much in the sandwich…bread, tomato, a thin piece of chicken and some arugula.  The bread was good, soft inside, semi-crunchy crust.  The dressing gave the sandwich a little bit of a sweet flavor.  The ingredients were fresh and the chicken was moist but bland.  I appreciate the use of good quality ingredients but there was nothing about this sandwich that made it memorable or interesting.  I think I’d try a different sandwich next time.

The portions of this meal were just right to fill me up but not uncomfortably stuff me.  I also thought the price was decent but a little on the high side.  With a regular fountain drink, it cost me around $12 for everything.

I give The Corner Bakery 3 NOMs.

The Corner Bakery
3208 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-2454
P: (310) 545-2596
F: (310) 545-3295
http://www.cornerbakerycafe.com
Corner Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

Pronto's

Work is filling up my time and school starts tomorrow for me (going back for my Master’s!).  But I didn’t want to neglect this blog…

For those in the San Diego area, specifically near Carlsbad, there is a great little family-owned deli called Pronto’s.  They sell fresh home-made pastas that are delish!  My husband and I tried the beef cannelloni last night for dinner.  Pasta sheets rolled around ground sirloin seasoned with herbs and cheese.  This was very flavorful and cooked up quite nicely.  Because I was tired and lacked ingredients, I didn’t make a sauce from scratch; I just used classic Ragu and threw in some extra garlic and Italian seasoning.  Besides, the husband likes Ragu (*sigh*).  Despite that, the cannelloni really stood out and we both enjoyed our dinner immensely.

Pronto’s stocks a variety of pastas.  I picked up a package of seafood ravioli, pumpkin ravioli, herbed gnocchi and a blue cheese ravioli that also has orange glazed pears in it.  I plan on making a sage pesto for the pumpkin ravioli.  I’ll be sure to blog about that…

Pronto’s also makes sandwiches, pretzel rolls, salads, etc.  It’s a popular place for nearby workers to go to for lunch.  I can vouch for their egg salad sandwich.  Yum yum.

They also have imported bottled wine for sale, including a blood orange mimosa that was pretty good.  Oh, and they are a bakery as well if you want something sweet.

Pronto’s
2812 Roosevelt Street
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 434-2644
http://www.prontosmarket.com/
Pronto's on Urbanspoon

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