Here's a sneak peak at what's coming in this week's Food section:
Antojitos Latinos' owner has added a full-scale restaurant down the street in Van Nuys, where fans can savor sancochos and other Colombian comfort foods. A small-plates gastropub-style meal could easily be assembled from any combination of antojitos with the freshly made soup of the day at El Mesόn Criollo. Ideal candidates might be papas chorreadas with their delicate cheese sauce, or corn-crusted empanadas de carne, eggshell-thin-crusted turnovers stuffed with juicy seasoned shredded beef.
Then there's the pizza-like patacon pisao, whose tropical "crust" is a whole lengthwise-sliced and flattened green plantain that's deep-fried. Topping choices include beef or chicken braised with onions and tomatoes or with seasoned vegetables. With these, regulars love to order a batido, the Colombian milkshake or ice-blended juice made from imported tropical fruit purées such asguanábana, guayaba or lulo (a.k.a. naranjilla), a mini tomato-like fruit.
Read more: "The Find: El Mesόn Criollo."