Friday, April 11, 2014

Chef Rick Bayless to Surrender the Chips and Salsa and Open a Modern Mexican Restaurant?

Chef Rick Bayless, feeling naked without the guacamole

During the Grand Cayman cookout back in January a rather giddy Rick Bayless was tight-lipped about a new concept he was working on which he called "a completely new concept that you've never seen before", as he told Eater(the original announcement was back in November of 2013), in the self-stimulating hyperbole we've come to expect from Bayless-- [there's]"virtually nothing like it in the United States." The Oklahoma native has been spending lots of time in the Modern Mexican restaurants of Mexico City and throughout the republic in the last couple of years, as opposed to the tourist friendly traditional restaurants he's favored in the past like El Bajio and El Cardenal

This will come as a shock to many Bayless devotees who for years have considered Baylesses' restaurants to be alta cocina (high cuisine), or Modern Mexican kitchens. This is due to the fact that few U.S. citizens have experienced Modern Mexican cuisine, including the ones who've traveled to Mexico City, preferring the mid-priced, commercial restaurants found in guide books like Contramar, Hacienda de Los Morales, or Cafe Tacuba. Bayless is exited about the advancements in Modern Mexican cuisine happening in Mexico right now, claiming that it "just emerged 5, 6, or 7 years ago"--once again, the anthropologist is way off--try about 18 years ago, Chef. Regardless, this will be the first real challenge for the most famous Chef cooking Mexican flavors in the U.S.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Food Truck Royalty to Headline the 1st Annual Ktown Night Market on April 18th-19th

Ever since the food truck craze of the years 2008-2010, the streets of L.A. have become a bit more calm and have fallen into a sustainable level of fancy food trucks. It’s clear that we love them and they are here to stay (we’re also glad that we no longer have a new food truck opening every week). Some of the veterans of the food truck wars will be serving up their signature dishes at the 1st Annual KTown Night Market alongside the winners of the first 3 seasons of the Great Food Truck Race on April 18th to 19th.

That’s right, the Great Food Truck Race champs, Grill ‘Em All (Season 1), The Lime Truck (Season 2), and KTown Night Market food truck curators, Seoul Sausage, will be bumper to bumper for the very first time.  They will be joined by old-timers—Coolhaus, India Jones, and the White Rabbit Truck, plus East LA Tacos, Fluff Ice, Jogasaki and Belly Bomz. Don’t see your favorite truck on the list?—well, you can vote for your truck to win the last spot at

The KTown Night Market is free to the public with over 100 food and merchandise stands, and 40 food vendors representing the multi-ethnic cuisines of the Los Angeles and Orange counties.   There will be live music to celebrate the special occasion, and with Seoul Sausage in the driver’s seat, L.A.’s newest night market experience promises to deliver the flavor.

KTown Night Market, April 18th-19th, Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. For more information go to

Monday, March 31, 2014

Club Tengo Hambre in the LA Weekly on Craft Beer and Tacos

Baja California Craft Beers in Tijuana 

Season 2 is off to a tremendous start--look for more of these original events in our 2014 calendar.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sedlar, Salgado, and Ruiz Serve up Modern Mexican at Los Angeles Magazine's Social Hour on 3/19

If you haven't heard, chefs Eduardo Ruiz(Corazon y Miel) and Carlos Salgado(Taco Maria) are a pretty big deal--no, you didn't hear? Well, then be sure to pick up the March issue of Los Angeles Magazine where L.A.'s best and most trustworthy critic, Patrick Kuh, talks about the quiet revolution happening at these two restaurants. Not to mention, you can read about my first Road Trip for the travel section in which I write about one of my recent Baja adventures.

The two young, trendsetting chefs will join chef John Sedlar tomorrow night (3/19), who was the first Latino chef in the U.S. to blaze these trails over 30 years ago at St. Estephe, and then did a historic repeat by opening the only Modern Latin cuisine restaurant--Rivera--in the U.S.

This story is just beginning, about Modern Mexican in the U.S. led by Mexican-American chefs--all three grew up with the matriarchal cooking of their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and cousins and have absorbed a lifetime of flavors, techniques, and cultural cues filtered through the practice of cooking in the best kitchens in the world.

You are invited to taste the future of Modern Mexican in the U.S. tomorrow night(3/19) at Rivera in 3 courses with Los Angeles Magazine Dine editor Lesley Barger Suter and I for only $40.00--it's a steal--exclusively for our Social Hour series. Viva la revolucion!

Modern Mexican Cuisine @ Rivera with chefs John Sedlar, Eduardo Ruiz, and Carlos Salgado
Wednesday, March 19 @ 7PM, $40 a person
Rivera1050 S Flower St #102, Downtown Los Angeles, call (213) 749-1460 for reservations

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We Fought the Law and the Foie Won, March 6th at 7PM--4 Courses of Foie Gras by chefs Javier Plascencia, Jason Knibb, Walter Manzke, and Ryan Steyn

This Thursday, March 6th at 7PM, Club Tengo Hambre will be escorting guests across to border for reasons that have historically defined Tijuana as a border town to get what you can't get in the States--for a 4-course foie gras (banned in California) dinner. Tijuana has always been Mexico's illicit playground--like Las Vegas but with teeth!

The foie gras dinner is almost sold out, so if you want to taste the forbidden offal as prepared by masters: chef Javier Plascencia (Mision 19), chef Walter Manzke (Republique and Petty Cash Taqueria), chef, Jason Knibb (Nine-Ten) , and chef Ryan Steyn (Latitud 32), you'd better hurry. At a mere $130, it's a crime(Elliot Ness might come a knocking).    

Burlesque Dancer, Rita Ravell ( Tijuana After Midnite-1954)

As Mexico's first "city of sin", Tijuana played host to gambling, dog and horse races, cabaret shows, prostitution, and any other vice that could bend the wills of norteamericanos. Celebrities like Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, the Marx Brothers, Bing Crosby, and Charlie Chaplin rubbed elbows with gangsters (even Al Capone himself) at the Agua Caliente Casino, and at Caesar's Restaurant, where Caesar Cardini himself made his signature salad to order. All made possible by the Volstead Act (1920-1933).

Tijuana's famous Long Bar, the Mexicali Beer Hall in the 50's

They went that-a-way

For 13 years, the U.S. Treasury Department waged a pointless war on alcohol in the United States that gave rise to an international criminal organization run by Al Capone.

 Captured shipment of alcohol being destroyed during prohibition--sound familiar?

During these years, Tijuana thrived by giving the people what they wanted--a stiff drink!

 Foie gras protestors

On this occasion, it's the California foie gras prohibition that is drawing diners to order the banned product in places like Las Vegas--any state but California, and now back to Tijuana. You won't find a better deal in the 2nd closest foie gras outpost--Las Vegas--where even a pair of bit-sized foie dishes will run you around $100 at a place like L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. The foie gras for this dinner comes from a farm in Guadalajara--chef Javier Plascencia says it's as good as the foie gras that was being produced up in Sonoma, CA.

If you live in north of the border--in the San Diego and Los Angeles metro areas--Tijuana once again is your ticket to satisfaction. Join us in Tijuana for foie gras prepared by an all-star line-up of chefs of the Californias.

We Fought the Law and the Foie Won, 4 Courses of Foie Gras at Mision 19, featuring Plascencia, Knibb, Steyn, and Manzke
Thursday, March 6 @ 7PM
Mision 19
Tijuana, B.C.
$130 person, includes dessert and 2 glasses of wine
For tickets, go click here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Mexico City Weekender in the February Issue of Los Angeles Magazine and Online

Mexico City's Angel of Independence at Night

I'm in love with Mexico City, and plan to always count Mexico's capitol as an annual travel destination for it's culture, night life, and unparalleled street food and mom and pop eateries. I had a blast working on this story, staying in the best hotels, eating at the latest hot spots, drinking mezcal, and running all over the city with friends. Pick up a copy of the February issue of Los Angeles Magazine or go to the link here and catch my latest for Los Angeles Magazine: Mexico City--A thoroughly modern metropolis brims with life--from street vendors to supper clubs.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Early Bird Special $9.99 Sunday Brunch at Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses in Los Angeles Magazine's Disgest

Behold the guisados at Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses

At $14.99, the Sunday Brunch at Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses is already a deal, but from 10AM to 11AM it's a steal at $9.99. Read about it in my latest for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest.

 Chiles rellenos en caldillo

Moles like manchamanteles are featured at every brunch at Rocio's  

A sweet finish

Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses, 8255 Sunland Blvd., Sun Valley, (818)252-6415 or

Also in Tarzana 19321 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818)457-4545