Never been? You should go as soon as possible. This family owned chain of bakeries/restaurants has some of the best food I’ve ever tasted (outside of France, of course). They have locations in Burbank, Glendale, Buena Park, Downey and West Covina — but as I just learned, they will send you their products so you can bake from home. And it’s that service that has changed what (and how) I eat every single night.
The service is simple enough, and it’s too bad more restaurants and eateries don’t offer the same.
Basically, the staff will put together some of your favorite pastries into a small, medium, or large box depending on how many of each item you order, and then send the pastries to your doorstep still frozen. You remove them from the box, put them in the oven, and then feast. I’ve become particularly accustomed to using Porto’s baked goods whenever friends or family come to visit. They’re perfect for a game night.
You can order potato balls, meat pies, chicken empanadas, cheese rolls, or something sweeter like chocolate chip cookies, sprinkledoodle cookies, guava and cheese strudel, dulce de leche besito cookies, and more. All of these goods are so so so delicious.
I was so enamored with the food that I wanted to know more about how Porto’s got started. It turns out it was all because of one woman’s love for baking for family and friends — Rosa Porto, a Cuban native who eventually found her way to the United States. She learned to bake from her mother’s recipes, who had arrived in Cuba from Spain. Rosa learned to love cooking early on, especially because of the smells that normally went in and out of their kitchen.
Then the Porto family decided they wanted to flee Cuban communism. When the authorities caught on to what they were trying to do, Rosa’s father was sent to a labor camp while the women were fired from their jobs. Rosa began baking for neighbors, unwittingly gaining a reputation for great food in the process. It was that reputation, perhaps, that allowed the Porto family to finally emigrate to the United States.
After a long hard struggle that started with nothing but the shirts on their backs, Rosa opened her first bakery in Echo Park, which quickly become an unlikely success story. Today, Rosa’s children and grandchildren oversee a group of chefs, all of whom help make the bakeries one of the best places to eat in the Los Angeles area. Good for Rosa, who is currently enjoying retirement!