Those National Fill-in-the-Blank Days that get the most foodly love very often are about the easiest of eats and speediest of supping experiences. National Pancake Day gets the love, as does the one devoted to donuts, and burgers, too.
But those foods that take time, as in hours, to come together, don't often, if only because a day is short and we're forever busy. (When's the last time you told someone "I'm busy" as an automatic answer? Yeah, we all say it, by rote.)
There are slow-cooked meals that can simmer over a whole day, and chief among them is paella. The ingredients-marrying simmer, the pan rotation (and it should be an actual paella pan), the introduction of shrimp and mussels and fruits de mer isn't a quick job.
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So you best plan ahead for Thursday, March 27. That's National Spanish Paella Day, meaning fine rice-y wonders await you around Southern California. Nope, this isn't a lickety-split drive-through donut: It's slow-style sumptuous dining. Make for...
Fig & Olive: Paella del Mar is one of Chef Pascal Lorange's specialties, and paellans can find it at both the Melrose Place and newer Newport Beach locations. Saffron aioli and Hojiblanca olive oil are two flavorful features of the paella mixta (mixta meaning both seafood and chicken are in the dish).
Cafe del Rey: Quail Paella? It's a bit on the unusual side -- as in, you don't see it every day -- and you won't see it beyond National Paella Day, so make for the Marina del Rey eatery on March 27, either at lunch or dinner, if you're so intrigued. The quail's accompanied by artichoke hearts, fava beans, and more lusciousness.
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El Cid: The historic venue is famous for its flamenco, indeed, but guests who come to watch the dance frequently order an iconic rice dish. A lively twist on the saffron supper? Paella for breakfast. It contains bacon, bell peppers, and poached eggs (two of 'em). It's a Sunday brunch thing, so you won't find it on March 27, but, of course, you can visit the Silver Lake spot on that day for its Paella Valenciana.