Sunday, December 02, 2007

Eating Not So Well In Cockeysville

The heavily fried pasteles

I had been hearing rumors about a new Latin market called La Favorita in Cockeysville for some time. Even though I live in the area, my usual path of travel doesn't take me to that part of Cockeysville so I hardly venture there. Anna (of the Library fame not of Mexico fame) recently told me that there was also a new restaurant a couple of doors down and I knew I had to check it out.

I try to favor and patronize small, independent restaurants. It's important to me to support the local businesses and Maria de Los Angeles is definitely small and local. The interior is typical "I've only got a microscopic buget so let's see what we can do" kind of decor. It's just a bunch of stuff gathered together. Nothing matches but there's a large jukebox and television running Univision non-stop.

Unlike what Anna had thought, it's not a "Mexican restaurant" but rather an El Salvadorean restaurant. The menu is simple and basic and the cooking is, well, home-y. Home-y as in the food was like your hapless uncle cooked it kind of home-y and not of the "this reminds me of grandma's cooking" kind.

For my meal, I ordered the pastele which is something I thought was Puerto Rican in origin but is sort of an empanada kind of creation but instead of using masa as the "breading", it uses ground plantains. The Puerto Rican version is steamed in banana leaves while this version is deep fried and served with a tangy cabbage salad. All in all, it's kinda salty and not very well executed. It was definitely fried with a heavy hand.

More heavily fried pork chops. A shame.

Being unfamiliar with El Salvadorean food, I admit that I went for the "safe" item by ordering the fried pork chops. I mean, I like pork and I like stuff that's fried. Pretty safe stuff, I thought.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. It's been a long time since I've been dissatisfied with a fried pork chop but this was definitely one of them. Again, the chops were fried with a heavy hand. Seems to me that these were the same thin cut, cheap chops one finds at the local Shoppers Food Warehouse for sixteen cents a pound. Small and fried to a crisp and just a bit more than salty, they were served with liquid-y beans, perfunctory rice and corn tortillas. Actually, the tortillas were the highlight of the meal, they were pretty darn good.

Maria de Los Angeles
558 Cranbrook Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030