We found ourselves searching for a delicious meatless option in Buena Park one afternoon. Well, not one, but two restaurants within a mile of each other had what we needed. What made it better: we were familiar with both places already, yet had no idea they were offering Lent-friendly options.
Portillo’s is best known for meaty sandwiches. However, during this time of the year they go out of their way to accommodate restricted diets. A Tuna Salad Sandwich on dense pretzel roll (or croissant) is available throughout Lent. While nearly everything tastes better on pretzel bread, hints of relish in their salad blend gave it a distinct taste.
In addition to tuna, a generously-sized Pepper and Egg Sandwich was an even better alternative. Only available in Buena Park and only on Fridays (because of a special griddle used specifically for the eggs), we were surprised how tender sweet peppers enhanced our well-seasoned eggs. We opted for flaky croissant over French bread for the buttery flavor. 8390 La Palma Ave, (714) 220-6400; www.portillos.com.
Down the street in Anaheim, but also off La Palma, our friend Henry Pineda told us about Modern Filipino Kitchen’s special Friday menu for Lent. Served with either brown or white rice, options included Boneless Bangus Sisig, minced milk fish with shallots and calamansi aioli, topped with scallions. A deboned and deep fried bangus is also available.
Unavailable the night we were there was his Kinilaw, a Filipino ceviche of wild caught tuna, cooked in calamansi and lime with coconut milk, ginger, grape tomatoes and red onions. Instead, we took home an order of Sinigang Na Hipon, shrimp cooked in tamarind shrimp broth with baby bok choy and Chinese long beans. Pineda made sure to keep the broth in a separate container, so all the components would keep until we consumed them the next day. If you’re an adobo fan, order the Adobong Pusit for his take on squid. 2620 W La Palma Ave, (657) 337-5288; www.mfkaysee.com.