Paella for One

The Spanish dish paella takes its name from the paellera, the shallow, two-handled, iron pan in which it is both cooked and served. The Romans brought this utensil to Spain, while the Arabs brought the rice to go in it -- it's an early example of fusion cuisine. Paella is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to make, so it's hard to find a good example of the dish in Houston. It's even harder to find paella made for fewer than two people. But at Las Alamedas (8615 Katy Freeway, 713-461-1503), they make a single portion (albeit a large one) for $23, with all the traditional ingredients, such as shrimp, clams, mussels, pork, chicken and chorizo, bound together with lots of saffron-infused yellow rice, peas and pimientos. With every mouthful, there's a different taste, and you can take the leftovers home.

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Paul Galvani