Right smack dab in the middle of Filipinotown there exists a Cuban joint that has some of the most soulful food I've had in LA in quite some time. Ricardo took me there for the first time a few weeks ago then I went back again with a different Rick the following week.
La Caridad looks like just another spot to get some grub from the exterior. Once you walk inside...it still feels the same. Couple of tables, menu on a board behind the counter with the requisite amount of stools. Map and flag of Cuba hanging on the walls...everything leading you to believe the next hour to two of your life will be spent in the eat to live category.
But then you're greeted by Minerva and from there on out, you being to understand what life should be about. Let's start with that Minerva...she was there both times and I have a feeling she's there all the time. A constant smile on your face, Minerva is the example of what everyone who works in the food service business should aspire to. A deep understanding of the food that comes out of her kitchen, a warmness and friendliness that never approaches annoying and just a general joy to be around, this broad has got it down.
Then there's the food. A consistent menu is buoyed by daily specials which are usually some type of roasted meats. When I was there it was Pierna de Puerca Asada (roasted pork leg) and it was pretty damn tasty. It was served with perfectly cooked yucca. The next time I went I asked Minerva what to order and she led me to the Camarones Enchilados. I'm trying not to be hyperbolic but these were some of the best shrimp I've ever had the pleasure of stuffing in my gob. I was particularly surprised by the quality and size of the shrimp coming out of this divey Cuban joint and combined with a sauce that three weeks later while writing this is thoroughly activating my salivary gland produced an epic dish. Minerva also threw me some freshly made tostones (twice fried unripe plantains). Rick informed me that the flan was more than serviceable.
Borderline heaven off Alvarado on Temple. Go.
2137 W. Temple St.