Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tacos Quetzalcoatl, a New Contender for the Top Taquero in Los Angeles--my Latest in Los Angeles Magazine

Chalmita, Estado de Mexico-style tacos

Tacos Quetzacoatl, East L.A.

I finally got around to trying Tacos Quetzacoatl in East L.A., and it was more than worth the wait. Tacos Quetzalcoatl is the best taco spot in L.A. for vegetarian, after Guerrilla Tacos, but it's entire Chalmita-style menu makes this one of the top 5 taco vendors in Los Angeles, for excellent barbacoa, cecina, adobo, chicharron prensado, pancita, and of course wild greens, like red amaranth and huauzontles. Check it out on Los Angeles Magazine's Digest blog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

LA Food and Wine 2014 Celebrates Los Angeles as Best Restaurant City in the U.S.

Tribute to a legend

From August I attended L.A. Food and Wine 2014 events in DTLA to celebrate L.A.'s status as the future top restaurant destination in the United States with a parade of celebrity chefs from all over the U.S., our local top chefs participating in Grand Tastings, and themed events the chef Morimoto's Night Market.

On Friday, August 22nd, Vibiana played host to a star studded tribute to chef Nancy Silverton, one of the many reasons why Los Angles is such a great restaurant city with Silverton's Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Short Order. Guests sat at elegant long dining tables while appetizers were passed on the floor and a multi-course tasting was served by chefs Michael Chiarello, Lissa Doumani, Roxana Jullapat, Dan Mattern, Richard Reddington, Hiro Sone, Joachim Splichal, Suzanne Tracht, Michael Tusk, and Jonathan Waxman.

Street food at Morimoto's Asian Night Market

Then it was off to chef Morimoto's Night Market, which is becoming a regular theme at many food events these days, which looked to the strong community of L.A. Asian chefs that has exploded in recent years. Chefs like Chris Oh, Jet Tila, Thi Tran, Tin Vuong, Yoya Takahashi, and Perry Cheung brought credibility to the event. There was plenty of great wine and spirits to pair with traditional and contemporary Asian street food favorites.

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth and bartender Julian Cox

On Sunday morning, August 24th, I listened intently as chef Timothy Hollingsworth and bartender Julian Cox talked about their upcoming collaboration at the Broad at L.A. Food and Wine's Cocktail Revolution. Hollingsworth spoke on how he chose Los Angeles after leaving the coveted chef de cuisine position at the French Laundry for its ingredients and progressive dining scene--Hollingsworth and Cox further talked about how they plan to work together as chef and bartender to make cocktails a big part of your dining experience at the Broad. One cocktail was paired with a pork belly macaron and another placed a skewer of sashimi across the top of the glass.  It was both delicious and inspiring, not to mention one of the better breakfasts I've enjoyed in a long time.

Breakfast with Hollingsworth and Cox at Cocktail Revolution

Cocktails, as it turns out, is a rather light breakfast, so I had plenty of an appetite for the Lexus Grand Tasting at L.A. Center Studios for a line-up of 25 celebrity chefs and over 300 wines. At the Grand Tasting I had a memorable bite from chef Morimoto, who stood out in front of his booth--ever the gracious host--passing out his noodle dish, instructing each guest to stir everything together before you eat. Chef Luigi Fineo of Riva Bella shaved an ample amour of black truffle on his pasta dish and there were also great bites by chefs Evan Funke, Christian Page, Kevin Luzande, Philip Pretty and John Sedlar. This event had a relaxed feel, lines weren't too bad, and once again there were plenty of summer wines to beat the heat.

It was great to see how popular our local food events have become, increasingly drawing a more eclectic crowd, and L.A. Food and Wine gave them what they wanted, star power and a focus on Los Angeles as a top destination in the U.S. for fine dining.        

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.