Today we dished it up Cuban style with a trek to Porto’s Bakery in Glendale, California.
M & R’s Rants, Raves, & Ratings
I guess it’s NOT always about the heat. At least when you are talking Tamales. Porto’s delivers a succulent, warm and “mashed potato” fuzzy Tamale that hits the spot without the spice. The Masa has a wonderful fluffy texture that melts nicely with the rich pork filling.
The hefty portion is savory, and definitely falls into the “comfort food” zone of pure pleasure. Go for the Tamale and stay for the dessert. And don’t be intimidated by the crowds. The staff is pleasant and efficient and as Magda noted, could teach the TSA a thing or two about processing long lines of people.
Portos’s Bakery is probably the last place you’d think of to get a tamale, but don’t be fooled by the racks of custard filled pastries, cakes and decadent desserts, they make a mean cuban tamale.
Cuban tamales are rolled mounds of masa piled with pulled pork and steamed in a cornhusk. It’s sort of like an inside out tamale. Ordinarily I don’t like tamales that are heavy on the masa but Porto’s flavors their masa to perfection. The texture of the masa is also light and airy and doesn’t leave you with that heavy filling. This is good because you will definitely want to try at least one of their desserts.We tried the coconut glaze balls (at 80 cents each how can you refuse?) I also had a side salad with raspberry dressing and a can of my favorite Peruvian Inka Kola.
Porto’s Bakery has 3 locations in Los Angeles county and they are huge establishements that are always crazy busy. Think of LAX with a more efficient crowd control system and you have a good idea of what Porto’s is like. The staff is always so well mannered and efficient despite the masses pressed against the display cases. None of the young staff there ever write down orders. How do they remember everything? I’d love to learn how they’re trained.
This was my third visit to Porto’s Bakery. Everything on the menu is a winner.
Masa: Rich, savory. I’m not even going to complain about the lack of spiciness.
Filling: The Cuban equivalent of Mac and Cheese. Perfect comfort food richness.
Presentation: Tied up in nicely in a cross length double wrapped corn husk.
Location: Easy parking at the Glendale location. Porto’s is loud, noisy and bustling with diners competing for a table. This is a 2 person job: one to order, the other to scout for a place to sit -and well worth the effort.
Masa: Very tasty and flavored with the meat sauce. Moist, yet flakey.
Filling: Delicious pork filling. This is the only kind they sell and I could use a tiny bit more filling per tamale but it’s not a big gripe because they are so good.
Presentation: Each tamale is wrapped in doubled corn husks and tied neatly with string. This isn’t a restaurant so you’re stuck with plastic plates and forks.
Location: Southern California is a sprawl so be prepared for a longish drive if you do not live in the vicinity. There is plenty of free or nearly free city-run parking. Porto’s bakery is huge. All 3 locations are massive, well-run wonders so don’t be intimidated by the crowds. These people know how to serve you quickly.
Porto’s Bakery is located on three large sites in Burbank, Glendale, and Downey in Southern California. It is primarily a take-out bakery but they also serve sandwiches, and other savory dishes onsite. Seating is plentiful at all locations. Each site also includes a party planning department and they specialize in cakes for special occasions.
Porto’s Glendale is located at 3614 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA
See their website for other locations: portosbakery.com