My summer dining adventures started a few weeks ago when I discovered The Ricans Food; a new Puerto Rican food stand in Downtown Los Angeles at Smorgasburg LA. I wasn’t planning on eating Puerto Rican food, but I talked myself into it considering that my boyfriend is from Puerto Rican or, but rather, a Boricua which is a Puerto Rican living in the United States. Yep, it would be nice to surprise him one day with Puerto Rican food for lunch so, I decided to check out the food at The Ricans Food.
The wait wasn’t as long as one would expect it to be, but then again I got to Smorgasburg LA just as they opened for business. Those who were already in line at The Ricans Food were Foodies like me and a handful of Millenial generation Boricuas waiting to get their food fix. I wasn’t sure on what to order since I am not familiar with Puerto Rican food at all. Like seriously, I’ve had my fair share of Jerk Chicken, but it ain’t Puerto Rican food. As such, I was literally like a deer in headlights when I placed my orders. All I could do was pray that what I ordered will taste good.
Had to try a Tripleta and the Chicken Mofongo. Also, got an order of Quesitos for something sweet. After paying the bill, I sipped on a rather interesting malt beverage from Puerto Rico called Malta Hatuey. This drink looks like a Stout beer, but it’s actually a sweet, fizzy soda that kind of tastes like beer with a hint of toasty cereal. Surprisingly, this non-alcoholic beverage is made with hops…yup, an ingredient used to make Stout beer. I like it. So different than the American sodas that I’m used to.
Just when I downed another gulp of Malta Hatuey, I heard, “Sunny!” My food was ready.
It would have helped to have my boyfriend around to help carry everything to the table, but I managed on my own. Lucky for me, the open bottle of Malta Hatuey that I snuggly placed in my purse did not spill during my search for a table. Thank goodness.
Wow, the Tripleta was good! I love hot sandwiches and this one was stellar. The Tripleta, a Puerto Rican street food sandwich, is made with a toasty bread called Pan Sobao, cheese, and a combination of beef, chicken, and pork. The sweet plaintains on the side were a nice contrast. It’s not the kind of sandwich that is filling, but rather the kind of something that one could eat on-the-go or in between lunch and dinner.
So what is a Mofongo? According to Epicurious.com, “Mofongo is pure Puerto Rican soul food, and no culinary tour of the country is complete without a heaping helping. This hearty dish of mashed plantain mixed with chicharrónes, or pork cracklings, and chicken stock resembles thick, golden mashed potatoes.”
In an otherwise obvious LA-twist, The Ricans Food serves a vegetarian version of the widely popular Puerto Rican Mofongo. They also give customers an option to add a “Protein of the day” on top of the Mofongo. Mine was chicken that was most likely stewed in a Salsa Criolla.
I absolutely adored the flavor of the Stewed Chicken and the Mofongo together. It was like comfort food. That Salsa Criolla on the bottom of the bowl was pleasantly simulating on the palate. What a lovely tomatoey and garlicy essence of the sauce. I would have loved to have more it to soak up the Mofongo. An enticing dish worth every bite.
The Puerto Rican Quesitos is a Sweet Cream Cheese Puff Pastry. It’s not exactly dessert, but something to eat with a coffee or an espresso.
My boyfriend, any Boricua as well as those who are Food Adventurers would be very pleased to dine at The Ricans Food. What a blessing to finally have Puerico Rican food in Downtown Los Angeles among the many ethnic food options at Smorgasburg LA. Definitely an enjoyable feast.
$$, cash, credit card, paid parking, street parking, outdoor seating only.
(at Smorgasburg LA on Sundays only.)
785 Bay Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021