Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Playa Azul

Playa Azul is a casual, Latin American restaurant in Bernal Heights.  Not a neighborhood I normally frequent, but I was nearby, and wanted a snack.  I quickly pulled up my favorite new restaurant discovery tool, LevelUp, and cross-referenced the nearby locations with Yelp reviews.  Playa Azul quickly rose to the top, so I checked it out.

It was a friendly place, with bar seating and standard tables.  I got my food to go however, so I didn't get to check out the establishment much.  I'd love to go back and try some of their other food, particularly the seafood that everyone raves about.
Ensalada De Papas.  $2.40.
I've been eating a lot of potato salad lately.  I'm getting a little sick of it, but I'm also having fun comparing so many different styles of potato salad, so I keep getting it when I see it, so I can add more data points to my collection.  The variety is really somewhat amazing - does it contain egg?  Lots of mayo? How are the potatoes cooked?  What else is in the mix?  So many variations!

I read good things about Playa Azul's potato salad.  People repeatedly mention it on Yelp, surprised that a Latin American restaurant would have good potato salad.  So I obviously had to try it.  They were right, this was good.  Not earth shattering, nor the best I've had, but certainly in the top tier.

I got it to go, and it came with the strangest accompaniments!  I opened my take out bag to find ... an entire bag full of Saltines.  I really don't know how Saltines and potato salad go together at all.  So random.  And then, in with the potato salad, was an orange slice and a lime wedge.  I'm guessing that they normally use these as garnish when plated in the restaurant, and so they included them for me too.  The orange was strange, but I actually squeezed some of the lime juice into the potato salad and liked the zing it added.

The potato salad was a fairly classic mayonaise based recipe, with no egg.  Also in the mix were  shreds of carrots and tiny bits of bell peppers, both red and green, along with a bunch of herbs.  The potatoes were the highlight: definitely al dente.  Probably the crunchiest potato salad I've found.  I'm sure some people would say it was undercooked, but I liked it.  I also liked the small cube size.

This was a very generous sized serving.  It was listed on the menu as a side, and I expected something much smaller.  A rather insane amount for the price as well.  Definitely high value.  I'd get it again.
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