John Walquist took his love of travel, food and surfing and combined it into one small, but mighty surprise in Canoga Park in the form of Johnny Pacific Eats. Located in a run down strip mall on Winnetka and Saticoy, the rather hip frontage makes you want to stop in. The banner declaring it as having the #1 Empanadas in Los Angeles doesn’t hurt either.
A tiny eatery with a handful of tables and a couple booth areas with soft throw pillows, it has that kind of groovy vibe you’d find in Silverlake, so discovering it on a mid-valley street was quite a pleasant surprise. It’s counter service only with the menu written on a large chalkboard. Walquist calls his cuisine street food with his influences coming from street food found in such countries as South America, the Philippines, Central America, Mexico , the Carribean and the West Indies.
The menu is brief, but well thought out. Empanadas, the specialty of the house, are made from dough shaped like a half moon, stuffed with various fillings and lightly fried. Both savory and sweet, there’s nearly 20 choices of meat, vegetable and dessert empanadas with specials made daily. Signature sauces are prepared in house with such flavors as chimchurri, chipolte, bbq and caramel. Favorites include ham and cheese, kailua pig, ground beef and the chicken al pastor.
Entrees are three types of skewers — Island style with grilled Korean style flatiron beef, Chimmi-churri with grilled angus flat iron steak and Chicken Satay with Asian peanut sauce. The skewer dishes come with variations of rice or french fries, an empanada and a side salad with guava red wine vinagarette ($8.95). The Signature Salad is composed of mixed baby greens tops with blackberries or raspberries, mango, honey roasted pecans and goat cheese with balsamic dressing on the side ($6.95).
The lunch special at $6.95 is a great deal with the 1/2 salad, two empanadas and a can of soda.
Special drinks include refrescos, which are flavored water with the essence of various juices freshly prepared, as well as Coca-Cola from Mexico which is made from cane sugar instead of corn syrup.
The tag line at Johnny Pacific is Good Eats on Street. Wish we could find it on more streets in the 818.
Johnny Pacific Eats 7574 Winnetka (at Saticoy), Canoga Park, CA 818.885.6927 www.johnnypacificeats.com
Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find. Email: Karen@mydailyfind.com