Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Antojitos Bibi-Honduran delights from La Ceiba to Teguc

The exquisite sopa de caracol at Antojitos Bibi


baleadas, the famous street bite from Honduras

tamales Hondurenos

Alex, the freindly manager at Antojitos Bibi

I had several adventures a few years back driving through Honduras, courting a catracha and getting my diver certification on the island of Roatan. It was a six day trek that took me from Tegucigalpa to La Ceiba and a ferry ride to the island of Roatan. I encountered a dangerous highway that cut through the rainforest, bands of men walking with machetes, kids playing way to close to the side of the road, the ruins at Copan, absolutely zero public safety presence for days, and wonderful food experiences along the way.

I had the rich sopa de caracol(conch soup) at Caribbean beach shacks, dined on the famous fried fish at Lago de Yojoa(lake Yojoa) where the fish are hauled up to rustic stands and deep fried and served with plantains. Several visits to the reknowned El Patio in Teguc gave me a glimpse of many typical Honduran foods.One evening we tipped a borracho(drunk) with a machete attached to his belt to watch our car while we had our way with a tasting of Honduran antojitos(little whims) at El Patio, at must try when in Teguc. Buying chirimoyas from chidren on the side of the road, and that young waitress on the way to San Pedro Sula that starred at us as we drove away from their lonely little restaurant in the middle of nowhere, as if she had never received a tip. Oh, and those were some damn good baleadas. I do miss Honduras.

There are several decent Honduran places in LA, but a recent visit to Antojitos Bibi has made it my current favorite. Barbara Hansen did a fantastic review of this place several years ago. The specialties at Antojitos Bibi are of course the antojitos, but the sopa de caracol makes a case for the best version in town. The caracol is imported from Honduras where many places around town use canned caracol.

I tried the baleadas(Honduran flour tortilla with filling) with beans and cream, very delicious and decadent. The pastelitos(meat stuffed turnovers) were nice but a tad salty, too bad, maybe I'll give these another whirl next time. The enchiladas appear to be a Honduran tostada, but lightly sauced with ample amounts of cabbage and cheese.The catrachitas are similar in construction, but are smaller and have a ground beef layer on the bottom. These were both a messy good time, the quintessential Honduran antojitos. My neighbors ordered the carne asada and the chuleta which both looked great.Honduran tamales stuffed with pork and rice begged for my attention, but I had the sopa de caracol to contend with.

The coconut dense and richness of the broth in Antojitos Bibi's soap de caracol taste of fresh ingredients and has a spectrum of aromatic sensations.The caracol, while not chewy like the other canned versions around town, were not all tender.About half of my caracol were a little tough.The caracol that were cooked to a supple texture were sensational when taken with the elegant broth, some yuca and green plantain.Oh, and the rice on the side?Just heave it in with the soup.

Antojitos Bibi has other fine soups, main dishes, and appetizers that remind me of the tastes from Tegucigalpa to La Ceiba.I don't suppose I can get one of those beautiful Lago de Yojoa fish from the MacArthur Park lake?Maybe not.
Antojitos Bibi
2400 W 7th St Ste 109
Los Angeles, CA 90057

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