Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Authentic Cuisine Debate is Dead--Long Live the Authentic Cuisine Debate in 2013!

Claudio Azevedo of Escola da Samba Vai Vai with the drum line, São Paulo, Brasil

There is a reluctance out there to discuss authentic cuisine--mostly out of self-interest. Many thriving restaurateurs that want to capitalize on the rise of Latin-American and Asian cuisines want to throw a wrench into the engine of debate to insulate themselves from this discussion. Lazy journalists, too--I'm talking the whole lot: bloggers, writers, or whatever they prefer to call themselves. Titles don't matter, it's what you know. I learned this as a young musician coming to L.A.--it doesn't matter who you've played with when the band leader kicks off Cherokee, or All The Things You Are, or even Pick up the Pieces. You stand on your abilities in the world of music, and you will be judged, by critics, by the audience, and mostly by other musicians--it's an extreme form of social criticism. It's this type of criticism that keeps even the best tenor men from recording Coletrane's, A Love Supreme--you just don't do that.

Even big name writers out there play the "oh what's authentic anyway", again just to cover up their own inexperience. I do support what Eddie Huang is saying--even if it's from the perspective of 30-somethings that grew up on Jackass, base hip-hop culture, and hyper-exposure to porn--that only people from within the culture should be the voices of that cuisine, or tradition--or they should have at least been out in the field. Eddie is an authentic voice. Andrew Zimmern is about the most credible individual I know, who has put a tremendous amount of time on the ground, and truly wants to get to the essence of a people. His knowledge and experience are unrivaled--right behind him is Anthony Bourdain. I would listen to either of these guys talk about Latin America. There is such thing as authentic cuisine, as there is authentic jazz--Kenny G is not jazz--or authentic samba.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Street Gourmet L.A. About Town: Latino Holiday Spirits, Where to Get Your Tamales For the Holidays, Tlacoyos, and Santa Rosalia

Volcan de Mi Tierra tequila añejo

Check out my latest stories around L.A. and the O.C. covering the Latin beat!

Los Angeles Magazine

I lay down an expert's guide to Latin American spirits in 7 Delicious Latin-American Spirits that Won't Break the Bank on the Los Angeles Magazine Digest. 

Tamales Vallecaucanos at Sabor Colombiano

Tamales, tamales, tamales--get you tamales here for the holidays in Vitamina T: Tamales for the Holidays, where I tell you where to score and introduce a few lesser known tamale traditions from Central and South America.    

Tlacoyos at the Mercado Olympic

All Hail the mighty tlacoyo, Mexico's OG antojitos for a taste of the empire in Vitamina T: Tlacoyos(aka, the Mother of all Antojitos) at the Mercado Olympic.  

OC Weekly

El Boleo, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur 

Get out of the cold as we head south to Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur for some soul warming fish tacos and pan dulce from El Boleo in my latest column for Tijuana Si!