Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wall-Las Memorias Project:Home Plate Restaurant Rewards

On September 17, at Cicada restaurant in beautiful downtown Los Angeles, I attended the Home Plate Restaurant Awards and fundraiser for The Wall - Las Memorias Project, which is dedicated to promoting wellness and preventing illness among Latino populations affected by HIV/AIDS by using the inspiration of The AIDS Monument as a catalyst for social change.

"The AIDS Monument was a vision of Richard Zaldivar, a local community activist. As the AIDS epidemic impacted families, Zaldivar believed that a public symbol would create a focal point for discussion and healing."

Richard gave a moving speech about the plight of AIDS impacted families before giving the night over to song and dance.

The night had begun with a friendly competition between Cicada Restaurant, Yxta, Frida Mexican Cuisine,Guelaguetza, Cemitas & Clayudas, Attila the Flan, and La Serenata de Garibaldi.

Yxta offered some small bites as each contender tried to hit one out of the park.

The crowd was filled with many local Latino businessmen and politicians, as well as lively Angelinos ready to support a worthy cause while enjoying some of the city's fine restaurants.

CBS anchor, Laura Diaz, gave a fitting introduction to the evening's purpose and was a great leadoff to Zaldivar's clean-up hitting speech.This event was a part of the 9th Annual Strike Out AIDS, which convened on September 18th at Dodger Stadium. A night of baseball and AIDS awareness.

Nevarez Vineyards and Alex Sotelo Cellars provided wines to pair with our mini food crawl.

I pretty much hit every spot;it was the responsible thing to do since I had to vote along with the other attendees on the best restaurant that night in three separate categories.

I was lucky enough to get the last cemita at Bricia Lopez's Cemitas y Clayudas , a cemita of Oaxacan string cheese.

Guelaguetza, the winner of two of three categories that night served one of their famous Oaxacan tamales, drenched in mole negro.

The alta cocina restaurant, Frida, went street and had three tacos de guisado(stews). The chicharron was impressive, and the carnitas a smack of savory goodness. Frida took the other honor left by Guelaguetza.

My favorites of the evening were Frida's taco of chicharron and the tamale with mole by Guelaguetza. Another standout was the fresh Pal Cabron's cemita of string cheese, nothing like a good Oaxacan cheese with fresh baked bread.

Following the eats and passionate words from Laura Diaz and Richard Zaldivar, a local group of Latino pop singers pumped up the crowd.

No one was in a rush to leave. Cicada restaurant was a lovely location for this event and the food was great. Thanks to Bricia Lopez for inviting me to this event and please check out The Wall-Las Memorias to learn more about their valiant effort in the fight against AIDS.

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