Platanos con Dulce de Leche @ Tacos La Playita, Napa

The definition of golden brown, and obviously not from a bag: Platanos con Dulce de Leche (Plantains with Sweetened Condensed Milk) @ Tacos La Playita, Napa.

Sometimes simplicity is the best, but only if the ingredients can stand alone. Based upon its ripeness, the humble plantain will usually fall into two distinct categories: Starchy and bland, or sweet and delicious. At Tacos La Playita in Napa, the platanos definitely fall into the latter category, especially when dressed with dulce de leche. These plantains, pictured above, are actually a recent discovery to me, even though Tacos La Playita had ranked as my favorite for Mexican food when I first moved to the Napa Valley six years ago. I’ve since switched allegiances, although I do return to TLP every now and then with certain friends, or just for the familiar taste of their enchilada plate. The thing that began to bother me about TLP — the reason why it’s fallen lower on my list over the years — is that they stopped frying their tortilla chips in-house. It’s just a bit disappointing. Even though the chips and salsa at TLP are free, I still view store-bought chips as culinary sacrilege, at least within a restaurant setting. Frying chips is incredibly simple, and yet the character difference between a fresh chip and a bagged chip is enormous (in theory, I ‘d probably prefer a fresh chip and a jar of salsa, over a bagged chip and a house-made salsa). Even when I worked as a short order cook in a low-rent Los Angeles dive bar, we still fried our own chips for the nachos. Plenty of other Mexican restaurants in Napa also fry their own chips. And they also serve them for free. More than anything, the extra effort of frying chips demonstrates a level of craftsmanship and concern that, as a cook, I feel is important. So much so, that whenever I make guacamole, I always buy the freshly-fried tortilla chips from Rutherford’s La Luna Market as the accompaniment. I’m sure as hell not serving my guacamole with a damned Tostito. Maybe that’s just me.

3 comments to Platanos con Dulce de Leche @ Tacos La Playita, Napa

  • Janet Hale

    Right on!! I so love me some freshly fried tortilla chips. Even better….freshly fried tortillas chips in “Fresh” oil. There is nothing worse than bad oil fried food…yuck-o!!
    I am not against paying for this service either.

  • ElGordo

    So who’s got your favorite Mexican in the Valley now?

  • The Accidental Wino

    I lean towards Tacos Garcia and La Morenita in Napa.

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