Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup 2010 World Tour in Los Angeles: ESPN, La Guelaguetza, and Gaucho's Village

On June 11, World Cup 2010 in South Africa kicked off with an early morning match between Mexico and South Africa.

After stopping by to watch Mexico and South Africa come to a draw at La Guelaguetza in Koreatown, I headed over to Hollywwod and Highland for the launch of ESPN's Los Angeles Match Truck. There's also an ESPN truck in New York.

I was invited to sample the truck's international menu designed by 2010 Best New Chef for Food and Wine magazine recipient, Roy Choi.

The menu featured regional tastes from 9 diffent World Cup participating countries. But, I was still bummed about the tie between Mexico and South Africa, and demanded a clear winner. I'm rooting for the US, Mexico, and Brazil this year, that's my country, blood, and obsession respectivley.

I thought I'd have Roy settle this match my pitting the ESPN truck's huevos rancheros, representing Mexico, against bunny chow, representing South Africa.

Roy's huevos rancheros are substantial and layered with his signature style of flavors, always leaving a hint of Asian spice.

And, the bunny chow was the lighest item on the menu, well, if you're wanting something to stick to your ribs....Mexico...but, if you're thinking you'd rather eat something more healthy..Damn, it's a tie!

While I was trying to end this frustrating match, good friend Eddie Lin was taking down the balance of the menu. From bottom left, eating clockwise: Yaki Mandoo Dumplings(Japan),lamb gyros(Greece), and seared rice balls(Italy).

The ESPN truck is a fantastic way to catch World Cup, riffing on LA's love affair with the food truck. Check their website for the truck's schedule, catch a match, and enjoy an eclectic menu by chef Roy Choi.

For all of Mexico's matches, La Guelaguetza's 150 inch screen and complimentary pozole are impossible to beat.

The red pozole, served Oaxacan style, is just what you need for those 7AM start times, and an excellent foundation for some early morning boozing. Oh, yeah, after starting the noshing, beer guzzling, and Real de Mexico tequila shooting at 5AM, we are borrachos by 6:55AM.

Watching a soccer match in the Mexican community is infectious, chanting, yelling, hugging, and jumping out of your chair.

And, there are the muchachas, all dressed up with the Mexican flag on their cheeks.

It is this very setting that attracted chef Ludo Lefebvre of Ludo Bites to watch the match between France and Mexico, where the Battle of Puebla was re-enacted.

As France was embarrassed 2-0 by Mexico, a very gracious loser, Ludo, congratulated just about every Mexican at La Guelaguetza, personally. But, as Mrs. Lopez, co-owner of the popular Oaxacan chain fed Ludo her famous Oaxacan mole negro, life wasn't too bad for the French after all.

You can check La Guelaguetza's(Koreatown)website for Mexico's match dates and times.
La Guelaguetza(Koreatown)
Los Angeles, CA
Tel. (213) 427-0608

For Brazil's matches, Little Brazil is the place to be, and Cafe Brazil,Rio Brazil Cafe, Bella Vista pizzeria, and Zabumba all will be broadcasting Brazil's matches.

But if you live in the Valley, Gaucho's Village, which always has a great Brazilian vibe, will do just fine.

First off, they do what many bars around town still can't seem to do right, and that is to make an excellent caipirinha. This tall little country gal put me down for a mid-afternoon nap shortly after Brazil handled North Korea 2-1.

Brazilians only brake from dancing to watch World Cup, so as soon as the jumping up and down was through, a samba party ensued.

I say, samba dancers make everything better. And, a win for Brazil means happy sambistas! Most of the Brazil matches around town will have sambistas to celebrate Brazil's victories Carnaval style.

Now that's what I call a victory dance!!

Gauchos Village
411 N Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91203

Check the official FIFA website for match schedules, and get out to the ESPN truck, La Guelaguetza, Gaucho's Village, and the other ethnic restaurants around Los Angeles to participate in the biggest sporting event in the world, World Cup 2010.
World Cup 2010 schedule

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