Today is officially Paella Day. I don’t know why someone had to limit paella to just one day. Maybe it was the same fools who limited woman’s history to just one month. But if you need a day to celebrate this dish, make it today. Rather, make it tonight at Social Paella. Social Paella hosts a paella pop-up at Tested LA’s kitchen in northeast Los Angeles on Division Street on Friday nights.
For those not in the know, paella is a traditional Spanish dish, specifically from the Valencia region, made with rice, meat or seafood cooked in a delicious almost indescribable sauce. The best paella, in our humble opinion, is made by those who use traditional ingredients such as saffron and ”arroz de calasparra,” a short grain rice with amazing absorption capacity. Social Paella does just that and they do it with style.
Made in individual cast iron paella pans, the best part of Social Paella’s culinary skill comes in the form of the “socarrat,” the crispy portion of the rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan. The socarrat is the pudding, the sweet spot, the piece de resistance of paella. Social Paella excels at creating it for each and every individual customer.
Anytime a chef can surprise me with a new dish I’m happy. Social Paella's chef Jesus does not disappoint in offering “Arros negre,” a rice dish using squid ink. Also of Valencian origin, it is similar to seafood paella but the chefs will explain it is NOT paella. Just focus less on what it is not and rather on what it is ~ which is delicious. Also not to be missed while ordering is the assortment of Spanish olives, bread, cured meats and cheeses.
Tested LA’s back patio is intimately staged and lit.
It will feel you’re stopping by your new Spanish neighbor’s house for a party in the backyard. And you’re welcome to bring your own wine or beer, making the evening out affordable and fun.
You don’t have to be from northern Italy to make a good risotto or from Mexico to make a delicious enchilada. But we admit, it does help. Chef Jesus is actually from Valencia, Spain, where paella was created.
When he describes his childhood experiences savoring the socarrat from his mother’s paella you’re not just ordering a dish of rice. You’re experiencing culinary history and understanding a person's sense of place and home. It's the paella and the story which transports you allowing you to transcend beyond any typical LA restaurant experience. This is the experience we are searching for, the place we want to be, the dish we want to eat..