Thursday, July 1, 2010

Post hockey food: potato balls

Although I should write about it more often, I consider it Puck Boy's sacred duty to help readers pack on the calories they've burned off playing the exciting sport of ice hockey.

Toward that end, I was fairly starving at lunch today after skating enthusiastically (not the same as skating skillfully) at hockey clinic and pickup last night. My timing couldn't have been better: my lunch was at Porto's Bakery in Glendale, a Cuban place that everyone but me seems to have already eaten at. For some reason, Porto's never got on my radar.

I had the excellent and juicy steak torta with banana chips as my main dish. After the last bite of torta I was enveloped in a great wave of sadness but lacked the courage to reach across the table and start eating my friend's chicken torta. I suppose that also would have been rude -- but it was more the courage thing that stopped me. And the bitch-slap I probably would have received.

But the true revelation at lunch today was the potato balls, shown in the above photo. I know they have a proper Spanish name that is more melodic and makes them sound more appetizing. My Spanish-fluent friend repeated it several times for me, but I was too busy stuffing these tasty little demons into every available orphus above my neck line and couldn't hear.

Yes, they're that good. The potato filling is so, so, so creamylicious good! I instantly put the potato balls on the same list as the empanadas from United Bakery in Echo Park (1515 Griffith Park Blvd), which are basically empanadas with an eggroll-type filling.

Porto's is on Brand Boulevard, just north of California, in downtown Glendale. It's about a 10-minute drive to the Pickwick rink in Burbank and about 10 or 15 minutes to my home rink in downtown Pasadena at the civic center.

Now that I think of it, I could probably stop at this place on the way to rink and throw some balls into my hockey bag as a post-skate treat. Although I do have slight reservations about eating anything that's been in my hockey bag for more than a few seconds....

--Steve Hymon

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