Pablo finds huacatay at the Santa Monica Farmers Market
This past August Pablo Osorio and I decided to take our Brooklyn-based de Porres Dinner Series to Los Angeles. For some time we’d been curious to see how our project, with its menus of Peruvian small plates and Southern desserts, would travel outside of New York City. Additionally, we were out for adventure: the allure of the distant, the thrill of the new.
Through contacts in California we arranged to stage de Porres in three different locations: an awe inspiring yet intimate home in the Pacific Palisades, downtown art space 356 Mission, and poolside on a hilltop bohemian den in Mount Washington. Soon after we arrived in the—famously sprawling—days before our first event. With neither Pablo nor myself being familiar with LA and its markets, we soon learned that, while one can find Mexican and Central American products with very little effort, Peruvian staples were more elusive. Thankfully, we had money for gas, GPS, and a functioning radio to assist on our Los Angeles odyssey. Feel like making your own sudado de pescado or aji amarillo marinated pork shoulder but not sure where to buy the key ingredients? Look no further. de Porres has you covered.
For produce, herbs, pork, and beef
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Arizona Ave & 3rd St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
A dish inspired by the market: zucchini blossoms stuffed with huacatay and feta
We cannot speak more highly of this farmers market. As one can expect, the best of Southern California seasonal produce and local humanely raised meat were for sell. However, we were most pleased and surprised to find huacatay, a fragrant and powerful black mint native to the Andes. If anticuchos are on the menu, one can handily find grass-fed beef heart.
For fish and seafood
Los Angeles Fish Co.
420 Stanford Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Black Sea Bream Tiradito at de Porres Angelino East
Make no mistake: this is a wholesale warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, not a chic fishmonger. All the better for us! The fish is delivered daily, stunningly fresh, and affordably priced. From here we bought black sea bream for tiradito and sudado de pescado, mussels for aguadito de choros, crab and shrimp for causa, and black sea bass for ceviche. Be sure to arrive early to guarantee your pick of the day’s catches.
For Aji Amarillo and other Peruvian goods and fresh produce
2323 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Peruvian staples at Northgate
If you’re serious about cooking Peruvian, you will need aji amarillo in your arsenal. We found ours at Northgate Supermarket, in addition to this distinctive fruity yellow pepper, they have a number of other Andean products, choclo and aji rocoto being among the offerings. Additionally this mostly Mexican market offers very fresh produce, no shortage of citrus, and zucchini blossoms—which we’d later stuff with huacatay and feta, batter and fry them for a modern Peruvian treat.
A version of this article titled, "Sourcing Peruvian Ingredients in Los Angeles" originally appeared on The Latin Kitchen website.