Day 7: Honduras
Honduras may not be the easiest cuisine in the world to find, but if you live in the greater Los Angeles area, I strongly recommend El Katracho in Sherman Oaks. Influenced by indigenous Mayan cuisine, but within close proximity to Mexico, South America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic— Honduran food is a taste of the exotic, yet with something familiar to bring you in. To an average U.S. citizen it will come off extremely similar to Mexican food but with some very accessible and truly exciting twists. MamaBites, Ultimate Manilow and Car Accidents Bernstein are happy to come along for the ride. We start with the basic baleada — a thick whole wheat tortilla filled with mashed up fried beans, cheese and cream. A familiar flavor that takes you by the hand and kindly guides you into the world of Honduran cooking. Even the basic corn chips, topped with grated cheese and a light, soothing sauce continue the trend. We follow that with “Plantains with meet [sic]” which, for being a plate of fried plantains topped with ground beef, is strangely light and very satisfying. Now for entrees. Each one comes with rice which has been cooked in coconut milk to give it a unique taste. In fact, coconut milk is one of the big ingredients in Honduran cooking that really takes it into its own world. MamaBites goes with the marinated chicken— a truly warming and tasty creation, tossed with what has to be the best overcooked noodles I’ve ever had in my life. Car Accidents Bernstein opts for the El Katracho— a sampler trio which really illustrates the difference between Honduras and its Mexican neighbors to the north. Ultimate Manilow and I each get soup. Both have a coconut milk base, but he opts for crab and I pick the conch. Like everything else we’ve had, the one word that keeps coming up is “soothing”. Everything just makes me feel really at ease. It’s like the comfort food I never knew I craved.
We’re offered dessert, but this time I think we have to pass. Too much food, too full, too content. For today this will have to do and that feels all right. The food feels strangely like home, so my body figures it will be back. Comfort food is a wonderful thing. I just think there’s a whole lot of it out there waiting to be discovered. I can now add Honduras to the list of countries I really want to visit. Or spend the rest of my life. I have to think that list is going to get very, very long.
El Katracho Restaurant
14838 Burbank Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91411
Food Breakdown: 6 alcoholic beverages, 1 non-alcoholic beverage, 2 appetizers, 4 entrees
Distance From My House: 14.6 miles