(credit: kats9lives.com)

We start of by slowly heating sweetened milk until it starts to caramelize and thicken to become an ambrosian delight.  Of course you can always cheat by using condensed milk to get similar results.  Either method will result in a wondrous concoction of milk and sugar. Imagine them encased inside two buttery cookies that crumble and melt in your mouth and meld with the dulce de leche.  That’s how an Alfajores should be!

(credit: kats9lives.com)

El Pollo Imperial

5991 Atlantic Ave
Long Beach, CA 90805
(562) 612-3315
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Open late and great for late night eats, finish off the night in Long Beach with the most sumptuous morsels, Alfajores.  Here, the cookies are bigger and pack just as much flavor.  After sinking your teeth into the first one, you can’t help but eat the entire box, so grab a couple more to take home with you.    The portion are great for the value and if you’re hungry for a main course, try their Roasted Chicken or the Lomo Saltado — sirloin marinated in vinegar, soy and spices, then stir fried with red onions, parsley and tomatoes and served over rice or with french fries.

(credit: kats9lives.com)

Renzo’s

2222 Michelson Dr
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 955-9053
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Come meet Renzo and his lovely wife Dawn, a masterful team who serve up Peruvian flair to Orange County.  Carefully crafted, the melt-in-your-mouth cookies, dusted with powdered sugar are simply divine and hold a magnificent treasure inside.  The sweet heavenly taste of dulce de leche ruminates in your mouth and blows your senses.  You can also choose an Inca Kola — the golden Peruvian cola flavored with lemon verbena — to drink.

(credit: kats9lives.com)

Porto’s Bakery

3614 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91504
(818) 846-9100

Feel like switching it up?  Well you have come to the right place! Porto’s have their own version of Alfajores called Dulce de Leche Kisses.  Their shortbread cookies are filled with smooth dulce de leche and shaped like a teardrop which is appropriate because they do bring tears to your eyes.  Zap them in the microwave or the oven to soften the dulce de leche center before you eat them; piping hot tastes best.

Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood Restaurant

5786 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 466-4181
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This place may look like a hole in the wall, but the wait tells another story.  Come in to cool off with a refreshing glass of their Chica Morada — purple corn drink that is similar to hard apple cider.  Grab a bottle of green sauce and drizzle it on your bread and dishes.  Warning, it may be spicy but it’s guaranteed to be full of flavor.   Top off the meal with a sweet Alfajores that is just as authentic as your meal.

(credit: Empanada's Place)

Empanada’s Place

3011 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 825-0100
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Traditional Alfajores were different in shape.  Instead of a cookie sandwich with dulce de leche inside, they were rolled and that’s how Empanada’s place makes them.  Typical in the Argentinean version are bits of coconut embedded in the center.  Here, they also sell the dulce de leche center separately, that you can bring home and smear on a croissant or even plane French bread.

(credit: Los Balcones De Peru)

Los Balcones Del Peru

1360 Vine St
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 871-9600
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Planning an evening out at the Arclight?  Start the night right by dropping into this local haunt  for a quick bite.  You can also sit outside if you have the time to people watch and enjoy the weather.  Munch on their delicious Plantain Chips as you wait for your Lomo Saltado and Ceviche to be made fresh.  Add the green sauce for that extra kick.  Order a few Alfajores to eat there and then order a few more to go and snack with during the movies!

(credit: Catalina's)

Catalina’s Market

1070 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 464-3595
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Argentinean Alfajores are a bit different from those found in Peruvian restaurants.   They are often dipped in chocolate and sweeter.  The filling inside is still dulce de leche but a different consistency.  Another popular feature is a coating of black or white chocolate (many Alfajores are sold in “black” and “white” flavors).  There’s also one variation, called “Alfajor de nieve“, that instead of having a white or black chocolate coating has a “snow” coating that consists of a mixture of egg whites and sugar.

Kathleen L. is a serious foodie with a “Katastrophic” Life. Check out her blog www.kats9lives.com.

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