Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Here you go New York City, L.A.'s own Tacopedia in Los Angeles Magazine Gives 45 Reasons Why L.A. is the Taco Capitol of the World

Do we need an excuse to show off our taco game here in L.A? Not at all--this is a post I've sat on for a long time and NYC food critic Robert Sietsema's odd NYC taco challenge aimed at L.A. was just the occasion to give everyone a real idea of how deep the L.A. taco scene goes.

In my latest for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest, Tacopedia: A Complete Taco Encyclopedia of L.A., I reveal for the very first time a comprehensive list of the common tacos you can find in Los Angeles. We actually have more regional varieties than anywhere in Mexico at our numerous taquerias, puestos, food trucks, and carretas.

Sietsema had a list with tacos that don't exist like a double tortilla taco(wtf!), Taco Bell items, and had lots of inaccuracies in his reporting. My list includes mostly established varieties that are recognized in Mexico and a few styles that are unique to Los Angeles. Take a look at the 45 amazing tacos you can have in L.A. and let this be the final word on the subject.

Friday, July 18, 2014

SGLA About Town: New Posts on LA Magazine's Digest and Dine LA Plus Club Tengo Hambre in Sunset Magazine

The hall of carnes asadas at the Tlacolula Market in Tlacolula, Oaxaca.

Los Angeles has the third largest Oaxacan restaurant scene in the world, and the Oaxacan carne asada tradition--yes, they do grilled meats, too--is alive and kindling at the tables of your local Oaxacan restaurants. Check out La Parrillada Oaxaquena in my latest Essential T for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest.    

Head down to the Pico Rivera Sports Arena this Sunday for the Festival Colombiano and find out where to get the best Colombian cuisine in L.A., also on Los Angeles Magazine's Digest.

My Roving Supper Club, Club Tengo Hambre, a partnership with Jason Fritz, and Antonio and Kristin Diaz de Sandi was mentioned in a Sunset Magazine article as one of the 8 best things to do in Tijuana. Take a food adventure with us to Baja California and with our new branch in Mexico City.    

It's Restaurant Week at Dine LA, so I hope you're out there supporting Los Angeles restaurants; while you're at it, here's my guide to the best lobster rolls in Los Angeles, and here's an oldie but a goodie for this hot weather, my Dine LA Ceviche Lover's Guide.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dine LA Restaurant Week, Summer 2014, July 14th-27th--Ready.Set. Dine!

The biggest and most delicious Dine LA began last night, so if you haven't made your reservations get on it! My last year's recommendations still stand for D=Date Night; I=Indulge; N=New; and E=Ethnic Dining, except for Spice Table which is closed until chef Bryant Ng relocates to his new restaurant--can't wait for that. And of course Paiche is no longer new but I still suggest a trip out to Marina del Rey to experience Peruvian cuisine from the leading Peruvian chef in the United States, or at chef Ricardo Zarate's other restaurants--Picca and Mo Chica.

This year, lunch and dinner menus range from $15-$45 for 3 course meals.

For Date Night, I'd strongly suggest the patio at chef Suzanne Goin's newly renovated A.O.C, an evening of the fresh seafood and creative plays on classic at the Hungry Cat, or some of the best Italian cuisine in town at Sotto.

Another place to Indulge?--the inspired cooking at Scratch Bar by chef Phillip Frankland Lee.

What's New? Faith and Flower in DTLA--it's beautiful and romantic with a smart menu that's attracting a young, and beautiful business crowd.

For Ethnic Dining, Night and Market is a must, matter-of-fact, their Dine LA menu was so successful last time around that they extended the menu beyond their Dine LA run.

Dine L.A. is a chance to try something new, or to dine somewhere true--most of all this is about promoting Los Angeles as the number one dine destination in the U.S.A. It already is, but the rest of the country is slowing catching on. Dine L.A. is your way to send a message, while doing what you love to do--og out on the town and save a few bucks. Ready.Set. Dine LA!

Dine L.A. Restaurant Week, Summer 2014, July 14th-July 27th

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Club Tengo Hambre, Mexico City is Now Open For Business--First Outing is Saturday July 5th

Club Tengo Hambre Mexico City from Club Tengo Hambre on Vimeo.

Club Tengo Hambre--a collaboration between Jason Thomas Fritz of Tijuanalandia,  Antonio and Kristen Diaz de Sandi of Life and Food Blog, and I--is coming to Mexico City to bring our roving supper club outings to the streets of Mexico's capitol. Join us for Street Food Essentials, or exploring the lesser known neighborhoods of the Centro Historico and the lesser known food havens like barrio Tepito--let's discover mezcal and pulque in the traditional and contemporary pubs known as mezcalerias and pulquerias respectively. Tienes hambre? (are you hungry?)

Our first run will be on July, 5th  for Street Food Essentials in Mexico City;  get your tickets here and join us for this ribbon cutting and street food feast, Club Tengo Hambre style.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LA Weekly's Tacolandia 2014 on 6/28 at Placita Olvera Goes Back to the Future of Tacos in L.A.

On 6/28, at Placita Olvera, the second annual LA Weekly's Tacolandia will take place to celebrate L.A.'s greatest obsession--the taco--on an unintended journey back to the street where the taco first aroused our curiosities, and where Los Angeles history began. It was hard losing last year's venue, the Palladium--I mean, Tacolandia was such a hit last year--sold out two weeks in advance--went off without a hitch, and it was just a short walk home to my place in Hollywood. But it wasn't meant to be--so when Placita Olvera was presented one late night, I eagerly got to the fun job of curating this event--that means eating lots of delicious tacos, but it wasn't until I approached Cielito Lindo (sweet little heaven) to participate that I realized the fortune of doing this event at Olvera St.

Since 1934, Cielito Lindo has been spreading the gospel of the taco to Angeleno's with their world famous beef taquitos drowning in avocado sauce--it all started here, on this street with these crunchy tacos created by Zacatecana, Aurora Guerrero. Her family spread these tacos all over the city and if you read Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, by one of our judges, Gustavo Arellano, you can learn more about how Cielito Lindo brought us here to this current national taco craze that will not let up--ever. I wonder what she'd think of this Tacolandia, which has now grown to 44 super star vendors.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

La Gran Parrillada on 5/17 at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes: Chefs Javier Plascencia, Carlos Valdez, Eloy Uribe, and Dante Neuquen Put the Spotlight on the Sonoran Grill

In Mexico, as in Italy, China, Japan, and France, every region have similar foods and dishes that are transformed and prioritized by local customs--every state has mole, but some states emphasize it, like Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Estado de Mexico. Every state prepares seafood, but Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Baja California take it to the next level with preparations that highlight the superior product. And every state grills but none like the northern state of Sonora where quality steers and a dedication to fire make carne asada a sacred tradition--Oaxaca has mole,  Hidalgo has barbacoa, Jalisco has birira and Sonora has the parrillada, or grill. Four chefs have journeyed north of the border to bring a true taste of the Sonoran grill.

This Saturday at the Hola Mexico Film Festival's Gran Parrillada at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, from 12pm-5pm, chefs Carlos Valdez (Buffalo BBQ, La Paz, B.C.S.), Eloy Uribe (sb2, Hermosillo, Sonora), Javier Plascencia (Mision 19, Tijuana, B.C. and Bermejo, Hermosillo, Sonora), and Dante Neuquen (Neuquen Restaurante, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon). Valdez and Uribe are from Sonora, Plascencia has recently opened a modern Sonoran restaurant in Hermosillo, and Neuquen cooks in another great northern state, Nuevo Leon, and comes from one of the top grilled meat countries, Argentina.  This is an Olympian grill team.

Each chef will prepare their own parrillada, or grill plates to be served with a sobaquera tortilla and Mexican wine from Baja California.

This is a once in a lifetime chance to experience top Mexican chefs on the Sonoran grill, and even more amazing is the addition of a traditional sobaquera artisan, making the famous giant, and thin flour tortillas from Sonora that are essential to the cuisine.  

If you hurry, you can get a discounted ticket on guilt city from now until May 14th at noon, and after that just go to the ticket link.

Gran Parrillada
Saturday May, 17, 2014
$45 per person

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Parts Unknown Mexico: Fear and Loathing or a Simple Misunderstanding?--Bourdain Indulges in the Worst Cliches

CNN's Part's Unknown paints a grimmer picture of Mexico than the Santa Muerte, or Lady Death herself

As a consultant, or source for Parts Unknown Mexico, I was of course eager to see how the episode turned out--that is to say I agreed to a phone conference with CNN's Mexico bureau to suggest where host Anthony Bourdain and ZPZ Productions should visit in Mexico, to reveal the unknown parts. In the half hour I spoke with CNN, I emphasized the importance of Tepito's food scene and about some other locations I feel have been underexposed that have tremendous cuisine. I was busy that Sunday and wouldn't see the episode 'til later that evening, but I saw a heartfelt blog written by Bourdain that made me feel very optimistic before I saw a tweet from Monterrey, Mexico's Chef Guillermo Gonzalez Berestain (Pangea), one of the founding fathers of Modern Mexican cuisine (No, he doesn't live in San Diego or vacation in Cabo, Mr. Bourdain), lamenting the shows content.

The episode was not the great show that had just done very food-centric programs in India, Las Vegas, and Lyon--perhaps the most food orientated show this season--instead it showed Mexico as a non-stop bloodbath, with everyone running for cover, and sort of glossed over the food. When it wasn't sensationalizing the drug war, it was doing ads for the Grey Goose of mezcal, Del Maguey, owned by a Texan, and doing the Fodor's guide tour of Oaxaca, visiting places that have appeared in practically every food show ever shot in Oaxaca. A viewing of your old episodes of Chef Rick Baylesses Mexico: One Plate at a Time would have done the trick. A surly Bourdain responded in the comments section to A Gringo in Mexico blogger Scott Koenig's Open Letter to Bourdain with a decisive dismissal of any concerns about Parts Unknown Mexico by San Diegans and Spring Breakers out to have Mexicans carry their golf clubs (the same ones that washed dishes at Les Halles). But why Mexico, at a time when the biased media has backed off of this story--was this an attempt to get ratings from low lying fruit, or was the show simply mistitled?