Pope Francis, the first-ever member of the Jesuit order to be elected pontiff, and first non-European Pope in thirteen centuries, is known as a man of simple tastes and humble habits. Consistent with traditional Jesuits, his dietary choices have also been simple: He favors plain, wholesome meals consisting of skinless chicken, salad, fruit, and bread - a prescript of the Jesuit order is to "fill up on bread because it avoids the 'disorder' that comes from being 'tempted' by other foods.”
Typically he prepares his own meals, brews his own mate (the earthy infused tea common in Argentina), dines alone in his own quarters, and pours his own goblets of Malbec. He chooses not to dine in restaurants.
His new role as a public luminary will undoubtedly propel him from this private life he's led as an archbishop and cardinal in Buenos Aires. A busy itinerary of global apostolic journeys will likely spice up Pope Francis's usual mundane dining routine.
When Francis visits Los Angeles (most modern-day popes have included Los Angeles on their papal world tours) he'll work up an appetite meeting the masses - 12 million Roman Catholics call California their home, most of any U.S. state.
If he's feeling homesick and longing for the flavors of Argentina, the Los Angeles area offers a short but solid list of notable Argentine dining options. A few of the best:
Carlitos Gardel Restaurant
7963 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles 90046
A delicious and romantic slice of a bygone era -1930's Buenos Aires. Meticulously prepared dishes served graciously by the Bozoghlian family. The live sounds of piano and string tango classics on weekends sweeten the experience.
Lala's Argentine Grill
7229 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles 90046
11935 Ventura Blvd
Studio City 91604
Seductive atmosphere, romantic patio, classic Argentine dishes. Established by two Buenos Aires expats. Free-flowing cups of rich mate nicely complement the soul-pleasing pitchers of lusty sangria.
1001 E Green St.
Pasadena, CA 91106
Gorgeous setting stealthily isolated on East Green Street, away from the herds in Old Pasadena. Wine list exclusively Argentine. Locals crave the juicy steaks prepared on a wood-fired grill and served with green peppercorn, Malbec, or chimichurri sauce.
El Morfi Grill
241 N. Brand Blvd.
Serving Glendale for 30 years. Cuisine is a copious meld of Argentina and Italy (reflecting the heritage of Argentina's European settlers, and fundamental Argentine cuisine), red-sauce and shellfish pastas, pizzas, grilled meats smothered in garlicky provenzal fries. The Parrillada for two is a nice sampler featuring most of their grilled specialties.
Buenos Aires Grill
8856 Corbin Ave
Don't let the strip mall location scare you. Valley devotees savor the parrila meat dishes served on a table-top grill - Parrilla Tango includes a filet mignon skewer, entraña skirt steak, lamb chops, and Argentine sausage. Parrilla Buenos Aires is beef short ribs, skirt steak, black sausage, and marinated sweetbreads. Weekends get busy, and service can be a bit sluggish, but just sit back, relax, and enjoy a bottle from a smart and reasonably priced list of Argentine wines.