On Sunday, it rained a ridiculous amount here in la la land. Thank goodness the rain-age kicked in later in the evening, and by later I mean, after we had our meal at Babalu Bakery and Restaurant. I was really craving black beans and plantains and Babalu was the closest go-to restaurant that had this combo to offer in their menu. Plus, my partner in crime was down to eat anything new, so we set off for Santa Monica.
They had a "Specials" menu in addition to their o.g. menu and I was almost side tracked to not order what I was craving, but in the end, the black beans and plantains won.
We ordered the calamari to start off with:
This was served with a regular cocktail sauce AND this delicious chipotle-basil aioli sauce. Mmm, this chipotle-basil sauce was delicious! I had to watch my friend enjoy its deliciousness, while I patiently waited for the server to confirm that there was in fact no dairy in the making of said sauce before diving in myself. Can't be too careful now. Man was this combo awesome! This was so good that even after all the calamari pieces had been consumed, my friend put all the deep fried batter pieces together, mixed it with the aioli and straight up ate it like that until no more fried deliciousness was to be seen on the platter. I. Was. Impressed!
Then the side of plantains came:
Ok, so this is considered part of the appetizer menu, but I treated it as part of my entrée AND my dessert.
My friend ordered from the "Specials" menu and had jerk chicken:
Isn't that pretty? So many colors! An A+ for plating fa sho! I can't recall what this dish encompassed, plus it's not on their webiste, but I can tell you it was amazingly flavorful! This chicken may have been marinated similar to the shrimp marinade because it had a hint of honey and ginger, but a bit of a kick to it. It was also paired with a cucumber slaw and steamed spinach.
I ordered the shrimp lumbego:
This dish had spiced shrimp marinated in ginger and honey, sautéed and served alongside a ginger-coco sauce, cucumber slaw and pineapple-coconut rice. Next time, no substitutions. I'm just going to order an extra SIDE of black beans to go with my dish instead of cutting out the slaw. This did not win for prettiest plating. No green whatsoever, but still very delicious nonetheless. To compensate, my friend placed sliver of his spinach on that upper left hand empty portion of my plate. No photo was available because I immediately devoured it, along with an appropriate portion of pineapple-coconut rice and black beans.
To be honest, I think the chicken was the best choice out of the two dishes because it was just so tender and moist, so full of flavor. The shrimp was a bit over cooked, so it wasn't as juicy as the chicken was. Overall, excellent dishes and we left very satisfied.
Unfortunately, there no room for dessert since we still pretty much licked our plates clean, so I guess it means a future trip has to be made. =)