Monthly Archives: June 2012

Cuban Bakeries – Portos vs Tropicana

Sorry for the long hiatus, things have been a bit crazy (to say the least) in the world of Wander Foodie.  So I hope you guys have been all doing well!  Hopefully the food blog will be regularly updated from now on – I know there are a lot of back-logged posts!  🙂

So today’s post is a comparison between two popular Cuban bakeries, both located in Downey.  Porto’s is pretty well known and an established chain in LA.  Tropicana Cuban Restaurant is more of a local mom-and-pop shop.  Here’s the verdict:

Porto’s Bakery & Cafe
8233 Firestone Blvd
Downey, CA 90241
(562) 862-8888
 
 
This Porto’s location is fairly new and is its own stand-alone building off of Firestone Blvd.  Finding parking was a breeze (either street parking or in the adjacent free structure).  The place is pretty big, so it was easy to find a table.  Lots of pastry and sandwich selections.  First, go up to the counter and order/pay.  Then, find a place to sit and your order will be delivered to you.
 
Potato balls, with meat filling inside.  Good flavor and filling!  I heard the Tropicana version tops this one.  $0.90 each.
 
Guava and cheese pastry. Pastry was flaky, with light guava flavor.  I like the one from Tropicana better – even though it’s less flaky, there was more guava flavor.  $0.75 each.
 
The Cubano (Cuban sandwich) – slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles on Cuban bread.  Comes with plantain chips.  So yum! $4.85.
 
Guayaba (guava) smoothie. There’s actually no dairy in this.  Basically it’s just guava juice ice blended.  Good flavor, but I prefer my smoothies to be creamy, instead of watered-down when the ice melts. $3.39.
 
 
Tropicana Bakery & Cuban Cafe
 
Right when you walk into Tropicana, you’re hit with the local diner vibe.  The wait staff fits into the Cuban theme with the Cuban style hats and shirts.  There are quite a lot of items on the menu, ranging from breakfast items, to sandwiches, to entrees, stews and finally desserts.  I actually like this style better, since it’s less of a crowd than Portos and it’s good for any time of the day.  🙂
 
Spinach empanada – stuffed with spinach, ricotta cheese and artichoke hearts.  It’s a good size with lots of ricotta filling!  Great to snack on before the entrees arrive.  $1.65
 
Guayaba and cheese pastry.  Like I mentioned above, I like this one better than Portos.  More guava flavor.  Yum!  $0.85 each
 
American coffee – free refills!  I heard the coffee was pretty decent.  $1.50
 
I think this is the frita cubana sandwich – Cuban style hamburger made with ground beef, chorizo and pork.  First time I’ve ever seen fries stuck to the buns of a sandwich, but I heard it was pretty tasty.  $5.95
 
Spinach & cheese omelet.  Good portion and well made. Even came with a few strawberry slices on the side! $5.95
 
Ropa vieja entree – shredded flank steak simmered in garlic, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.  The meat had been stewed for a long time, so it’s nice and tender, with tons of flavor!  Comes with plantains and rice.  $12.49
 
In terms of drinks, I like Tropicana’s way better.  This is the papaya shake – thick but not too sweet.  There’s no papaya shake/drink at Portos… $3.89
 
You can also order coconut juice in a can, which tasted pretty good.  $1.59