This month's top tastes range from an all-American steak sandwich with fries to exotic fare such as a saffron-laced drink from India. The others are an exceptionally pretty crab cake, a Salvadoran pupusa with a touch of tradition and a Russian-Armenian pastry that is more than sinfully delicious.
1. Ribeye steak sandwich at San Antonio Winery's Maddalena Restaurant. The meat has great grilled flavor, the filling includes sliced mushrooms, and you get a huge heap of French fries on the side. Plus there's plenty of red wine available to go with this hearty sandwich.
San Antonio Winery, 737 Lamar St, Los Angeles, CA 90031. (323) 223-1401.
Montrésor, 11266 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604. (818) 760-7081.
3. Love vegetables? Then try the ayote con queso pupusa at the Salvadoran restaurant Mi Cuscatlan. Ayote is squash, an ingredient that filled pupusas in El Salvador before the Spaniards brought in pork and cheese. There is cheese (queso) in this one too, so it bridges old and new.
Mi Cuscatlan, 1436 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90006. (213) 382-4933.
4. Masala Grill's saffron mango lassi is possibly the most luscious and luxurious mango lassi in town. Those are saffron threads floating on top, and you know how expensive saffron is. Cardamom blended into the drink makes it even richer.
Masala Grill, 5607 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019. (323) 954-7570.
5. Vrej Pastry's asali is a heavenly concoction of tender pastry topped with almonds and honey. It's Russian-Armenian, they told me in the store. A tip--reheat the pastries lightly before eating. This softens the honey and makes them all the more irresistible.
Vrej Pastry, 11148 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills, CA 91344. (818) 366-2526. Also at 1074 N. Allen Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104. (626) 797-2331.