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Pineapple

September 07, 2000|JESSICA STRAND

Pineapple's tangy flavor once made it the symbol of hospitality. It works in savory or sweet dishes, as well as being hard to beat by itself.

* Bamboo: Here you can get either chicken breast or shrimp in mango curry, flavored with raisins and chunks of pineapple. It's served with fried plantains, black beans and vegetable rice. There are also good-sized crab cakes in a sauce made from chopped pineapple, red onions, fresh mint, serrano peppers and a little orange juice. (Chicken breast with mango curry, $10.75; shrimp with mango curry, $12.75; crab cakes: appetizer, $6.75, main dish, $14.75.) Bamboo, 10835 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 788-0668.

* Porto's Bakery: This is the place for pineapple pastries. The pineapple empanada is a homemade jelly-like pineapple confection in semisweet dough; the pineapple rum cake is layers of yellow sponge cake soaked in rum held together by a very sweet pineapple and vanilla custard filling. There's also a pineapple cheese Danish--flaky pastry topped with cream cheese and fresh pineapple. (Pineapple empanada, 55 cents; pineapple rum cake, 90 cents; pineapple cheese Danish, 70 cents.) Porto's Bakery, 315 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 956-5996.

* Pshaw's Bistro: Here's an old-fashioned Southern pineapple cake--yellow sponge cake brushed with syrup and Grand Marnier and filled with a vanilla cream cheese custard. It's topped with crushed pineapple, freshly whipped cream and coarsely chopped walnuts. (Pineapple cake, $5.) Pshaw's Bistro, 6099 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 871-2546.

* Cha Cha Cha: St. Bart's curried shrimp is baked in a subtle curry filled with pineapple chunks; it comes with saffron rice, plantains, black beans and sauteed tomatoes and onions. (St. Bart's curried shrimp, $16.50.) Cha Cha Cha, 762 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, (562) 436-3900; 656 N. Virgil Ave., Silver Lake, (323) 664-7723.

* La Isla Del Mambo: Lo, a tower of seafood and tropical fruit: layers of grilled mahi mahi, grilled pineapple and sauteed shrimp in garlic and olive oil. It's garnished with toasted coconut and dressed with a very lemony hollandaise. This Cuban-inspired dish is served with fried plantains, rice and black beans. (Mahi mahi mambo, $12.95.) La Isla Del Mambo, 7174 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 937-7346.

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