Thursday, August 27, 2015

5th Los Angeles Food and Wine, August 27-30 Brings Top Chefs, Wine and the Roots to Downtown LA

The 5th Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival begins this afternoon through Sunday with 2 dozen food events featuring the best chefs in town and some top chefs from around the country thrown in, plus plenty of seasonal wines to toast to the end of summer the start of the big event season. This year     has a few surprises in store to add a little funk and spice in the mix.

The Roots will be featured this year as the marquee musical act and I'm happy to report that we're going to see participation this year by a pair of Alta California chefs, Ray Garcia and Carlos Salgado, to properly represent L.A.'s top Latino chefs. The Night Market, a popular event at LA Food and Wine will showcase the who's who of our young Asian-American chef scene with chefs like Perry Cheung, Jet Tila, Alvin Cailan, Chris Oh and Tin Vuong.

It's the most star studded food event in Los Angeles and always a great time to get to know some of the restaurants you've not visited--Union, Alimento, Slapfish and Birch are on my short list--while sipping white wine in the heart of the city's restaurant scene--Downtown LA.

Los Angeles Food and Wine, Downtown LA, August 27-30, for tickets and event information

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Weekend Seafood Tower of Power at Vertical Wine Bistro

The ultimate seafood tower at Vertical Wine Bistro by chef Laurent Quenioux

There's no shortage these days in L.A. of fantastic raw bars and extravagant seafood towers; for me I'm more than content to stick with my go to neighborhood option: The Hungry Cat. What lured me to Pasadena was chef Laurent Quenioux's addition of a pair of my favorite Mexican clams, pata de mula (bloody clams) and chocolatas (chocolate clams) at his weekend raw bar menu at the Vertical Wine Bistro.

The products that Quenioux is plating for his seafood towers are impressive but there's so much more going on here--it simply is the bet seafood tower in town.

From quality oysters and whelks to abalone and crevette grise, all seafood items are as fresh as they can be, and thankfully delicacies like lobster and crab are cooked just right to preserve their delicate texture and flavor.

Spot prawns with fried heads

The spot prawns are served with deep fried shrimp heads to follow the cool soft flesh of Santa Barbara's finest catch with a savory crunch from the heads and antennae.  

Sea urchin from the raw bar at Vertical Wine Bistro

Of course we're adding on the sea urchin, and for dullards who think that sea urchin is too trendy, do shut up; sea urchin is a local seafood product and belongs on the menu of any self respecting chef.

Go all in with the Tier #3 for $150

As for the pata de mula and the chocolata clams, Quenioux leaves everyone in the dust on both sides of the border. Other high end seafood restaurants have served these prized products naturally with standard condiments, in Mexico they are fresh as can be but adhere to a limited number of preparations. I love having these clams any way I can but Quenioux does adds his own flavors that are the best compliments to these clams I've experienced, adding balance to the strong flavored pata de mula and teasing up the flavors of the chocolata and the abalone. I was too distracted with claw crackers, great wine, company and making sure I tried everything to ask about the preparation.

Get the top tier, order some uni, ask if there are any specials and bring some friends to get to work on L.A.'s best and most dynamic seafood tower.

Vertical Wine Bistro, 70 N Raymond Ave., Pasadena, (626) 795-3999, Seafood towers are only available Thursday thru Saturday, 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Los Angeles Magazine's Big Taco Issue is Online and the L.A. Tacopedia Grows to 47 Tacos

We now have 47 reasons to love the taco scene here in Los Angeles with updated L.A. Tacopedia, a run down of the L.A. taco styles you can easily find around the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. If you missed the July taco issue you can discover the 25 best tacos in L.A. on the Los Angeles magazine website, along with other articles from our epic taco issue. The 25 best tacos aren't in any real order, as they are all so different, but just know that these are currently the best 25 tacos you can have in L.A. Let me know what you think, and provecho!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

LA Weekly's Tacolandia 2015 Video Recap


Close to 5000 people attended and 80 vendors served amazing tacos at the 2015 LA Weekly Tacolandia event, curated by myself, at the greatest taco show on the planet. It's hard to believe we're just 2 years out from our inaugural event, which featured just 25 vendors and 1500 people, rather intimate in comparison.

If you haven't been yet, Tacolandia 2016 is right around the corner, but do enjoy this video recap of the wonderful vendors and taco aficionados that make this such a special day in L.A.

See you in 2016.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Join Cookbook Author Lesley Téllez, OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano and I This Sunday for an Epic Taco Crawl

My good friend Lesley Téllez of the Mija Chronicles, Eat Mexico tours is in town to celebrate the release of her new cookbook, Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City's Streets, Markets and Fondas. This Sunday, Lesley will join OC Weekly editor and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America and I for an Epic tacos crawl from Los Angeles to the OC featuring handpicked spots by Gustavo and myself that reflect the recipes in Lesley's new cookbook.

For the price of $125.00, you'll be well fed and receive a signed copy of Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City's Streets, Markets and Fondas. Only a few tickets remain--who's hungry for street tacos?

Epic Taco Crawl with Bill Esparza, Gustavo Arellano and Lesley Téllez
Sunday June 28, 11am to 5pm
$125 a person for food, transportation and an autographed cookbook are available here on Eventbrite

Monday, June 1, 2015

Broken Spanish Hosts Tacolandia's Night of Modern Mexican Cuisine, This Friday June 5th with DeLeon Tequila

Pictured from top left (clockwise): Chef Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish), Chef guillermo Gonzalez (Pangea), Chef Solange Muris (Manzanilla), Chef Diego Hernandez (Corazon de Tierra), Chef Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos)

Modern Mexican cuisine has been a hot topic this last year with the arrival of chef Enrique Olvera's Cosme in NYC, chef Javier Plascencia's Bracero, which opens in San Diego next month, and the recent announcement that chef Diego Hernandez will be opening +52 in the Fall, right here in L.A. Local chefs like Wes Avila and hosting chef Ray Garcia--along with others here in town--have begun to define a homegrown style of Modern Mexican here in Southern California, known as Alta California cuisine.

Chef Ray Garcia has seized the opportunity of having some of the best Mexican chefs in the world here in town for LA Weekly's sold-out Tacolandia (6/6), to put on a pre-Tacolandia, 6-course dinner, sponsored by DeLeon tequila, who will be pouring their tequila at the cocktail reception.

Garcia will be joined by 3 chefs from the San Pellegrino Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants: Guillermo Gonzalez (Pangea), Solange Muris (Manzanilla), and Diego Hernandez (Corazon de Tierra) and chef Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos) for a special Modern Mexican dinner at Broken Spanish, in the former Rivera space. Sergio Gutierrez of Monterrey's Bocanegra beer will pair up with chef Gonzalez on his course.

This dinner represents where Modern Mexican began, with pioneering restaurants Pangea (1998) and Manzanilla (2000), to the current generation of contemporary Mexican restaurants on both sides of the border, Corazon de Tierra, Broken Spanish and Guerrilla Tacos.

Tacolandia has been sold out for 7 weeks, so here's a chance to get in on the festivities, or make it a Tacolandia weekend if you've already got your golden tickets. Tickets are $107.95 each on Eventbrite for rare chance to catch this Modern Mexican line-up in Los Angeles.

Broken Spanish Hosts Tacolandia's Night of Modern Mexican Cuisine
Friday June 5 @Broken Spanish; $107.95 per person
6pm to 10pm
Tickets are available here on Eventbrite.
1050 S. Flower St.
Downtown Los Angeles

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Work for Tacos? Volunteer to Eat Tacos with Boobs 4 Food at LA Weekly's Sold Out Tacolandia, 6/6/15

By now you've heard the news, that LA Weekly's Tacolandia 2015 is sold out, and did so 7 weeks ahead of the much anticipated event. Well, taco lovers, there's still a chance to enjoy tacos from 80 different vendors, from L.A., the O.C., San Diego and from 3 different states in Mexico as a volunteer with my dear friends at Boobs 4 Food. As a volunteer, you get full access to a place where all your taco dreams come true--yes, you can proudly share with your friends with certainty that "Will Work for Tacos" is actually a thing.

Go to the Boobs 4 Food Facebook page to sign up as a volunteer for Tacolandia 2015 on June 6th at Olvera St., but hurry because participation is on a first serve basis.

Boobs 4 Food founders, Katherine, Liberty and Jessica Chen.

About Boobs 4 Food (courtesy of their website)

Founded in July of 2009, Boobs4Food is a volunteer supported organization committed to bridging passion for food & the passion to feed the hungry. We organize monthly volunteer events, open to the public, at local hunger awareness organizations, agencies and hunger related special events (currently in San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and in NYC).

Recognizing that food is a necessity that unites us all, Boobs4Food strives to unite the food-loving community with those for whom the next meal is an uncertainty.

Since 2009, together with our volunteers, we have contributed over thousands of volunteer hours to hunger agencies & organizations including San Francisco Food Bank, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Glide Memorial, The Midnight Mission, Share Our Strength, Taste of The Nation, Second Harvest Food Bank, Project Open Hand, FoodForward, Project Angel Food, Food Runners, Hawaii Food Bank, Food Bank for NYC, Taste of the Nation NYC.

Boobs 4 Food volunteers happy to give back to their community

OG Boob, Christina Abellera, and another volunteer preparing meals at a Boobs 4 Food event

There's no job too big or too small for the women and men of Boobs 4 Food.

If you're not able to volunteer for Tacolandia 2015, Boobs 4 Food serves the communities of Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco year round, just go to for more information about upcoming opportunities to make a difference, or visit their Facebook page.