Heads up: Aquí no hay ventanitas.
In L.A., restaurants do not have walk-up windows, which means there’s no such thing as having to elbow through a wall of viejos cagalitrosos who are arguing about politics to ask for a colada.
Again, let that settle in your psyche for a moment: No ventanitas. No coladas.
While driving down Ventura, I noticed a food truck parked in front of a CVS. Havana Herbs Cuban Cuisine was painted on the side and I immediately pulled over because food trucks have ventanitas and if there’s a ventanita there’s a chance for a colada.
When I walked up, Herb was sitting in his red chair, and although coladas, cortaditos and café con leches are not on the menu, he was happy to offer a range of Cuban sodas. I took him up on a Jupiña and asked him to make me a Frita to go with it.
While I waited, two more patrons walked up to Herb’s window (he was now inside his truck). One ordered un Cubano and the other just wanted a bag of mariquitas. But I surmise that if he had a commercial espresso machine and a barrel of Bustelo, the line would be around the block. Nonetheless, I ate my lunch, but I will continue my relentless search for a proper ventanita.
If you go: Havana Herbs is normally parked on Ventura Blvd. between Cedros and Willis in Sherman Oaks.
What to have: The mariquitas are on point. All of Herbs sandwiches are served with un puñado de mariquitas, but I think it’s worth it to get it by the bag-full.