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Hanna’s Gourmet, on Adams Avenue in North Park, is one of those little gems that’s just wonderful to find. It’s cozy and delightfully feminine, featuring icy mint walls, curvy wrought iron fixtures and polished copper accents. So pretty and relaxing.

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Hanna’s Gourmet has been in the catering business for more than ten years, but has only recently opened as a restaurant too. The regular menu boasts salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts; a “World Tour” menu with soup and two entrée selections changes weekly. It featured Puerto Rican dishes when we visited, past stops have been Poland, Hawaii, Russia, Portugal and Cuba.

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John started out with Puerto Rican vegetable soup ($5.50/bowl), a thick, comforting bowl of tomatoey goodness, chock full of summer squash, beans, onions and garlic, a crispy-crusted bread stick, perfect for dipping, was on the side.

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For his entrée, John selected the Moroccan Chicken ($11.00) from the regular menu. A braised leg and thigh, tender and falling off the bone, in a richly flavored, warmly spiced, tomato, apricot and black olive sauce, perched atop perfectly cooked long grain white rice. Luscious.

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I chose the Pastelon de Plantano ($12.99), a baked, layered dish of ripe plantain slices, ground meat, a thick, bright tomato sauce and a shower of mild white shredded cheese. The plantain was sweet and buttery soft, playing nicely against the warmly spiced meat; the tart tomato sauce added a bit of acid to balance it. On the side, creamy smooth red kidney beans, long grain white rice, and sliced scallions tossed with butter, black pepper and cumin.

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For dessert, we split a goat cheese crème brûlée ($6). It was really more like a flan, as it had been covered over in plastic wrap, causing the crisp caramel crust to liquefy. But it hardly mattered, we were so enamored with the rich, smooth custard, redolent of cardamom, spooning up the toasty burnt caramel with each yummy bite.

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Hanna’s Gourmet also serves ready to go hot or cold dishes, and a full selection of cookies, cakes, and desserts. They are open on weekends for breakfast/brunch.

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Hanna's Gourmet

2864 Adams Ave

San Diego,CA 92116-1407

619-280-5600

Hours:

Wed- Fri 11:00 AM - 8:00PM

Saturday 8:00AM - 8:00PM

Sunday 8:00 AM - 3:00PM

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Comments

Twister Dec. 22, 2012 @ 9:47 a.m.

Good! Zero comments on this piece means that my secret may be kept just a little longer. I don't know all of Hannah's story, but it must be an interesting one. If I understood her correctly, she came to the USA from Ethiopia and Eritrea--a part of the world about which most of us know so little and the media leaves us with the impression that it is nothing but famine and war, and a beaten landscape. Any country that can produce a woman with this much talent is one which I regret I have never visited--except maybe through reading about the Blue Nile. It is true that this country has suffered, and has continued to suffer--at the hands of foreign exploiters like England and Italy. Like most true Africans, the people of this region, though quite different in some ways from those in southern Africa that can produce true and wise men like Mandela and Tutu, I have found to be quite gentle and possessed of an incredible capacity for enduring hardship without a whimper and coming out of it with their dignity intact. These, like some other immigrants in our history, can teach US so much, without lectures and with their quiet dignity, how to be better and better Americans. People like Hannah have made their "American Dream" the old-fashioned way--by EARNING it, and earning it by providing goods and services that provide VALUE for value (or money) received. In Hannah's case, she gives much more value for a relative pittance than the big, pretentious kitchens which get rich on at least as much publicity-agents as on the quality of their product.

While I wish Hannah success (she already is highly successful as a human being), but not so much that she is tempted to work harder and get bigger. She's my little secret, and I hope I'll still be able to find a parking place close enough (I failed in this effort recently) to continue to eat her wonderful food from around the world at least once a week. I hope she keeps her independent schedule that I hope gives her enough time off to enjoy that balance that most of us yearn for--work at something we love to do, treat others as we wish to be treated, and make enough money through honest toil to provide the basic necessities of life rather than believe the fiction that the "American Dream" is excessive possessions to brag about or winning the lottery. How much "immigrants" can teach us!

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