Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Mexican Invasion at Test Kitchen, November 1-4: Molina, Salas, Téllez, and Plascencia

(Clock wise from top left) 
Chef Pablo Salas (Amaranta/Toluca), Chef Benito Molina (Manzanilla/Ensenada), Chef Javier Plascencia (Mision 19/Tijuana), and Chef Jair Téllez (MeroToro/Mexico City)

To celebrate Day of the Dead in high fashion, I've curated 4 unprecedented nights at Test Kitchen for a Test Kitchen Latino series that will feature more chefs from around Latin America in the future. This first series highlights 4 major heavyweight chefs that represent the au courant of modern cuisine--a Mexican chef event of this caliber is a first in Los Angeles.

Mexican cuisine was designated as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2010, at a time when a next wave global fascination with Mexican gastronomy and Latin-American cuisines was beginning its surge.

Come to Test Kitchen for this special series and find out why the world is buzzing about the vanguard chefs of Mexico--this is an event not to be missed.

About the chefs:

Chef Benito Molina, Thursday, November 1 at Test Kitchen
Molina is a pioneer of the Baja culinary movement ever since he relocated from Mexico City to Ensenada where he took full advantage of the high quality seafood items that weren't be used by the locals(all their best products were exclusively shipped to Japan at the time), and created a minimalist cuisine that lets the products speak for themselves. Molina is star of the hit food television series, Benito y Solange, has cooked all over the world--even for Arzak by special request--and is a top chef in Mexico. Look for creative uses of exquisite Baja ingredients presented with an international flare, yet 100% Ensenada.      

Chef Pablo Salas, Friday, November 2 at Test Kitchen
Salas is part of the next generation of Mexican chefs, and is the leading figure as representative of the State of Mexico, which has an extraordinary cuisine. Salas has worked in the best kitchens in Mexico, with the best chefs, and follows the new breed of Mexican chef in favoring a study of national techniques and cuisine over the European experience of the previous generation of Mexican chefs. This Toluca native will be elevating the dishes of the State of Mexico on this night, maybe if we're lucky, his hometown's green chorizo will find its way on the menu.         

Chef Jair Téllez, Saturday, November 3 at Test Kitchen
Téllez set up his now legendary country restaurant--Laja--in the Valle de Guadalupe at a time when the only cuisine was huevos rancheros paired with a scoop of Nescafe in hot water. He grew his own vegetables because he couldn't afford to buy produce that could go to waste if no one showed up. Farm to table wasn't a pretense, it was a means for survival. Now that the Valle has grown into Téllez's vision, he's moved on to open one of the hottest restaurants in Mexico City: MeroToro. Téllez has impeccable technique and precision while always bringing exciting flavors to the table. His seafood cocktail with gooseneck barnacles and sea urchin is one of the best things I ever ate.  

Chef Javier Plascencia, Sunday, November 4 at Test Kitchen
Hot off the heels of winning Best New Restaurant from Travel and Leisure Mexico, Plascencia's star continues to rise on both sides of the border. Plascencia is leading Tijuana's charge into the international theater with his advocacy and singular Mision--Mision 19 that is. Plascencia is a champion of Mexico's northern cuisines: Baja California, Sinaloa, and Sonora. Regardless of innovation, Plascencia consistently brings hearty flavors to delicate plates. His night at Test Kitchen is sure to blend a bit of northern land and sea cuisines.       

Test Kitchen Latino, November 1-4, 2012
Test Kitchen 2012 at Bestia
2121 E. 7th Place
Los Angeles, CA 90021
For reservations, click here


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Baja Culinary Fest 2012: Judging the Ultimate Batalla Culinaria

Tomorrow begins the second annual Baja Culinary Fest with the Night of Stars and goes all day and night until Sunday, October 14th. You can check out this Mexperts guide to the Fest in LA Magazine's Digest, and also find out where to get Baja cuisine right here in LA.

I will be arriving the BCCF on Friday night, diving right into the action, and on Saturday morning I'm proud to announce that I'll be among an esteemed panel of judges for the Batalla Culinaria in a cross border showdown between Baja chefs and their northern counterparts hosted by Baja's ingénue, Chef Marcela Valladolid and Zam Zien. Just look at that line-up!--it's an all-star cast of chefs.  

The Iron Chef-style competition begins at 9AM in the Gran Hotel Tijuana, and wraps up about 2PM. May the best Californio win!

Baja Culinary Fest 2012
Batalla Culinaria, October 13, 2012
9AM at the Gran Hotel Tijuana
Admission is $25 per person

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My First Story For Dine LA--A Ceviche Lover's Guide to Los Angeles

Aguachile at Coniseafood

I have been on a ceviche terror this past summer from, devouring raw seafood from Ensenada's finest practitioners,  to the stands at Popotla; to the trucks, carts, and gastronomic palaces of Tijuana, to the streets and casual restaurants right here in Los Angeles. While we don't have the access to the fine seafood products of Baja California--especially at those prices--but LA has the most diverse Latino dining scene in the US, and that is good news for fans of ceviche.

Check out a recent story I did for Dine LA--it's a 10-stop pan-Latino tour through the tasty world of ceviches, aguachiles, and seafood cocktails. Here are 10 cool and refreshing reasons to come and visit Los Angeles.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Popotla and El Poblano on Tijuana Si in the OC Weekly

Spider crabs a plenty in Popotla

Check out my recent posts in the OC Weekly on one of my latest obsessions--the seafood paradise that us Popotla. It's what Puerto Nuevo used to be, a place where your every seafood whim is just a fisherman or a cocktailer away.

Carne asada taco from El Poblano, Tijuana

And, in case you missed it, I shared the story of the famous taqueros from Puebla that have carved themselves a slice of Baja culture in the form of carne asada tacos that are 100% Tijuanense, yet inseparable from the Poblanos that prepare them. Read Tacos El Poblano in the OC Weekly