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.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Donde Comer, May 8, 2015: Bill Esparza's Weekend Restaurant Picks, Los Angeles

In order to be of better service you readers, I'm starting this weekly series of restaurant picks. Some will be links from my blog here; some will be from my posts in Los Angeles Magazine, and whatever else comes across my desk at the Street Gourmet LA headquarters here in Hollywood, CA. Here are three spots I recommend for you to try this weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

OC Register's Anti-Taco Critic, Brad Johnson Strikes Out Again

The best tacos come with comfy chairs and Kenny G

The problem with Mexican cuisine in the United States--outside of Los Angeles, and the OC Weekly--is an unprepared group of bloggers and writers--the national trend is towards Asian and Latin-American cuisine, and it's either get informed or come off sounding like a Brad Johnson, the food critic of the OC Register. In Los Angeles, even your basic blogger can put together a pretty damn good taco list--all the major publications, the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Eater LA, and the publication I write for, Los Angeles Magazine, have credible taco coverage. Hell, even Zagat can crank out a solid taco list--take that Brad Johnson!

OC Register critic, Brad Johnson's ideal taco lounge

In the OC, editor and compa, Gustavo Arellano, and his band of crack food reporters are sharp shooters in all cuisines, and have doctorates in taco journalism. San Diego pubs are doing a good job, mostly. Out there in NYC, the fine dining critics are scrambling to hit the streets and taquerias, but are they're clueless and inexperienced when it comes to Mexican cuisine (just like Johnson), aside from table side guacamole--something that would be right up Brad Johnson's alley. Johnson has showed his lack of knowledge and respect for Mexican cuisine since day one. I remember the idiotic ideal he put out there when he first started at the Register, that he'd be judging Mexican restaurants by their chips and salsa? Estupidez!

As Gustavo Arellano pointed out in his OC Weekly post titled, What Kind of "Best Tacos" List Bans Food Trucks? Why, the OC Register's, of Course, Johnson set down a narrow criteria specifying that tacos on his list would only be from places where he could sit down. It's anti-taco culture, lazy and makes no sense. Taco culture and tradition has its strongest expressions at the street stands, fondas and carts in Mexico; in L.A. it's a combination of street stands and food trucks. If Johnson were here, Guerrilla Tacos wouldn't be on his list, even though the ingredients are plenty fancy enough for the OC's lead hotel restaurant critic. We enjoy sitting down, too, but the tacos should be exceptional for a taco quest for the best taco.

What's even more shoddy is Johnson's poorly researched treatment of each vendor, the odd categories he created for the list, and complete ignorance of Mexican cuisine. In the 80's, there were other cuisines for a good critic to know: French, Italian, and California's emerging cuisine. Times have changed, and if you can't vet the Googled sources you find, Mr. Johnson, you'd best get some help--try Zagat, and then go from there.

The taco categories of chicken, lengua (lengua is a category?), seafood and barbacoa de res aren't categories--there are no chicken tacos in Mexican cuisine (they are common in Mexican-American cuisine, but unremarkable), outside of Mexicali; tongue is served at tacos de fritanga vendors at their steam stations, and at steamed beef head specialists--barbacoa de res is a guisado. The carne asada on Johnson's list isn't cooked over mesquite and therefore isn't even carne asada. Seafood tacos at a carnitas joint--who does that? Real carnitas vendors should only do regional carnitas; they're not competent when it comes to seafood. And those al vapor tacos from La Especial aren't Mexico City style tacos de canasta; the fillings are different, there's no lettuce used in D.F., and they wouldn't be called tacos al vapor.

Not to mention, these taquerias aren't the best of what the OC has to offer and they're not likely the best tacos you can eat while sitting down in a hotel courtyard listening to Kenny G, either. Ultimately, it exposes a lack of conviction by Johnson, at least when it comes to Mexican cuisine, and  a failure to serve OC readers, not to mention the restaurants and people working hard to make great tacos, whether in a truck, a stand or taqueria.

But it's not their fault, the restaurants--that would be dilettante critic Brad Johnson, who takes tacos and Mexican cuisine about as serious Dick Cheney regards civil rights and international law. Stick to the papas francesas (try some salchipulpos, though, you're going to love 'em) and the Fairmont Hotel brunch, comepapas. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Latinoamérica en Manzanilla on March 28 in my Latest for OC Weekly Food's Tijuana Si!

This is where I will be on Saturday, Latinoamérica en Manzanilla for the opportunity to dine at Colombia's Criterion; Argentina's Pura Tierra, Cafe San Juan and Floreria Atlantico; Guatemala's 7 Caldos in one place, along with host chefs Benito Molina and Solange Muris. Read more about the event on my post here at OC Weekly Food's Stick a Fork in It.

Latinoamérica en Mazanilla, Saturday March 28, 8p.m. @ Manzanilla, Recinto Portuario, Teniente Azueta 139, Ensenada, $1600.00 MXP ($105.00 USD), for reservations call 011-52-646-175-7073 or email:,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What The Economist Got Wrong About Latinos and Chilies in This Week's Los Angeles Magazine's Digest Blog

While maybe were offended, I just found the recent cover of the Economist just plain ridiculous, and another sign that we need other voices up in the mix at publications like this misguided magazine. All those muy, muy caliente Latinos and their hot peppers! But, it gave me an opportunity to share the truth about chiles and Latinos--check out my latest post for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest and find out which Latinos like it hot.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cuy Alert! Chef Walther Adrianzen's "Fried Peruvian Cuy" Pop-Up is Tomorrow, Sunday, March 15 in Rosemead

Andrew Zimmern is always ready for some cuy

Cuy (guinea pig) was a ceremonial Andean dish that's now available for the common folk of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia--tomorrow it will be in Rosemead for a special Fried Peruvian Cuy pop-up by Chef Walther Adrianzen of C-v-chē Restaurant.

You'd have to head to South America, or jackass all over the Ecuadorean community haunts in New York to find this, but it's a rare treat in Los Angeles--something you'll not want to miss.

The details

Cuy is a cultural dish in Peru, Ecuador too, and it's fine dining at Astrid y Gaston by chef Gaston Acurio

Cuy in Peru, and on Sunday, March 15, 2015, it's coming to Rosemead, CA

Cuy Pop-Up with Chef Walther Adrianzen of C-V-CHE, Sunday March 15, 9061 Marshall St., Rosemead, Starts at 2pm, reservations:, prices: $25-$60 cash only

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tacolandia Pre-Sale Starts Now Until March 8--Get Your Tickets Now!

I'm happy to announce L.A. Weekly's the 3rd Annual Tacolandia on June, 16, 2015 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles (Olvera Street), to you all,  and I even have a pre-sale code to share with you that you can use now until March 8th. This year we'll feature 80 of the best taco and street food vendors in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and 3 states in Mexico: Baja California, Sonora and Nuevo Leon. 

This year, the Vendy's Cup will be at Tacolandia, and yes, lot's of great tequila, beer and more to enjoy with your tacos.

Go to this TicketFly link and use the code: TACOBILL to unlock the ticket types, yes, that's right, TACOBILL.  

We've sold out our previous 2 years a week before the event, so, I recommend striking while the plancha is hot. Can't wait to taco with you on June, 6th.