Brie en Croute
Appetizers to Go is a new website that promises to make your party planning easier. Instead of hiring a caterer, you can order gourmet appetizers in bulk from their website and have them shipped overnight. All you have to do is pop them in the oven and you’re ready to go. Some items require a little bit more work in that they need to be deep fried.
I think this is a great concept. If I were having a large party or wedding, I would be likely to use this company because I like things that simplifiy my life and save me money. I would also want to serve food that people likely hadn’t eaten before (i.e. not appetizers from Trader Joe’s).
I rarely have large get togethers, so my initial impression was that the site didn’t fulfill a need of mine since many items are shipped in large quantities and the cost is around $90 for a large box. Then I found the gourmet party combo section of the site where you can get certain assortments of appetizers for around $50. Since I regularly buy lots of frozen food but I'm kind of sick of most of the grocery store's offerings, I would be inclined to buy some of these appetizers in the future just for myself.
The variety of items that Appetizers to Go sells is quite impressive. Not only do they put together special packages for holidays like Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day, but the site also caters to wide tastes. In addition to standard cocktail party fare, they sell a selection of Kosher appetizers, Asian appetizers, and vegetable appetizers. You can tell by the ingredients and the pricing that they mainly cater to an upscale clientele. Here are a few examples of their appetizers:
Sirloin gorgonzola brochettes
Japanese breaded boursin artichoke
Lobster risotto cakes
Chorizo en filo
Mission fig, stilton, and filo bundle
The company seems very well thought out. Every time I thought of a possible drawback, Appetizers To Go already had it covered. I thought that since most items are sold in large quantities, it might be easy to get stuck with something you don't like. However, there is a Bride and Groom party sample box where you can try eighteen of their most popular appetizers. This seems like a good thing to order on your first visit to the site. The site accomodates those with allergies or dietary restrictions by listing ingredients. Even though the shipping is overnight and the items have to remain frozen, it only costs $10 (in fact, it's actually free if you buy three boxes). The appetizers are shipped in a styrofoam cooler with dry ice and stay frozen surprisingly well.
I had the opportunity to experience the shipping process and try the brie en croute, a baked brie puff pastry with truffle oil and proscuitto, courtesy of the company. The sample appetizer was quite good--the dough was a bit sweet, and the filling wasn't too salty. True to their promise, I really did just have to unwrap the item and put it on a baking sheet (my kind of cooking), and the suggested baking time was surprisingly accurate. The wheel of brie puffed up in the oven, making the pastry quite attractive just before I cut it open. The only drawback of this item is that instead of being individually sized, it was meant to serve eight, and seemed like it would be awkward and messy to share at a party because the warm cheese is runny and filo dough is notoriously flaky. However, almost all of the site's appetizers actually do come in individual servings, so this drawback isn't an overriding problem. I can’t really vouch for their other appetizers since I was only able to try one item, but there are lots of things that sound good (which I will probably will order), particularly the mission fig, stilton and filo bundle.
Appetizers To Go
Al pastor tacos
El Super Taco occupies the former Mama Voula's space on Santa Monica Blvd. at Brockton. Unfortunately, the peaceful pastel color scheme of the former restaurant doesn't really go with tacos, so the walls have been redone in red, orange, and purple. The restaurant is still small and quiet, with diners focused on the flatscreen TV showing futbol games in Spanish. The restaurant is notably clean and the salsa bar offers four salsas ranging from a mild, creamy green to a hotter than hot orange. Unfortunately, the basic red leaves something to be desired in terms of both smokiness and spiciness.
So does the food: the al pastor tacos were both the smallest and greasiest tacos I've ever eaten. If you want the standard raw white onion and cilantro topping for your tacos, make sure to pick it up at the salsa bar, because El Super Taco garnishes their tacos with a heap of sauteed onions. The meat was of average to below average quality.
The super burrito was fairly flavorless despite a plethora of ingredients: rice, beans, onions, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and meat. I ordered asada (marinated, roasted beef), and was pretty disappointed--the meat was scant, and most pieces were fatty or gristly. Yet for some reason, this place is Zagat rated.
The horchata was some of the best I've had, and the service was friendly and took care to get the order right. The food was ready fast, and how many Mexican places do you know of that deliver? Even though the food was subpar, I might eat here again if I had a Mexican craving and didn't want to leave the house. Maybe I'll have better luck with the chicken torta.
The menu is short: tacos, burritos, and tortas, with a chicken tamale and a quesadilla thrown in for good measure. Tacos are $1, tortas are $4-5, and burritos are $5-6. All offer a wide variety of meat options.
El Super Taco
11923 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310-312-6260 & 310-268-0610
Hours: 10:00am to Midnight daily
Delivery 10:00am to 9:00pm with $10 min.
El Taco Llama (Van Nuys)
Tacos Por Favor (Santa Monica)
Taqueria Emanuel (Van Nuys)
Tags: Tacos Los Angeles Mexican Restaurant