Once you try the potato balls at Porto's, every subsequent stopover or trip through L.A. that doesn't involve these starchy spheres of goodness feels significantly less emotionally satisfying. At least, that's been my experience. The deep-fried, breadcrumb-coated rounds of mashed potatoes filled with seasoned beef are perfectly tasty with nothing more than a squirt of hot sauce, but for a mere $4.85, you can try them in sandwich form, pressed between a slab of Cuban bread with cheese, mayo/mustard mix, tomato slices, and lettuce. The official name for this carb-on-carb cuddle is the Papa Preparada.
Sure, it would be tastier if the cheese was melted, and it's desperately in need of hot sauce (ask your server for a few packets), but these imperfections can easily be overlooked once your tongue meets the potato ball smushed between the cheese and bottom slice of bread. They're simultaneously fluffy and crunchy, and because they're mashed flat, the starch isn't too much of a detracting factor. With the addition of veggies like thick slices of tomato and romaine lettuce, the end result is a well-balanced 'which.
Three locations in Los Angeles, full list at portosbakery.com
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax