Friday, December 5, 2014

Tijuana After Dark, the Rebirth of Prohibition-Era Tijuana on Friday, December 12 with Club Tengo Hambre, Chef Javier Plascencia and Caesar's Restaurant

I'm thrilled to announce our first Repeal Day, Prohibition-themed event for Club Tengo Hambre in collaboration with chef Javier Plascencia, Caesar's Restaurant with live jazz and burlesque at an undisclosed location in Tijuana's Red Light District.

After many chats with Plascencia about the Golden Age of Tijuana we've turned this dream into reality. Tijuana's seedy past and present collide with the glamour and raciness of Hollywood during the 20's and 30's--hey Big Spendors, let's all go south of the border for a good time.

Tijuana After Dark by Club Tengo Hambre, Chef Javier Plascencia, and Caesar's Restaurant
Friday, December 12 @ 6:30pm
$110.00 a person
For tickets and more information go to this link.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vitamina T Alert! Chefs Wes Avila and Eduardo Ruiz are at Corazon y Miel This Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas is coming early this year. This Monday night, a monumental taco tasting will pair two of the rising stars of Alta California cuisine, chef Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos and chef Eduardo Ruiz of Corazon y Miel. This Taco Monday tasting will consist of 6 courses for $45, from 6pm to 10pm at Corazon y Miel in Bell, California.

This will be one of the most important events of the year for taco aficionados and will feature some surprise ingredients, and special tacos created just for this event. You'll not want to miss out on this street gourmet experience.

Taco Tasting with Chefs Wes Avila and Eduardo Ruiz
Monday, December 8. 2014
6pm to 10 pm
$45 for 6 courses, to get tickets click on this link.
Corazon y Miel, 6626 Atlantic Bl., Bell, (323) 560-1776

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's 4 Stars for Los Putos on YELP?

Update: as of 11/30/2014, Yelp has corrected the mistake and Los Putos is now listed as their real name, Los Poblanos. Great news for them.

Putos, a delicious Filipino treat

Bad form!

I don't think Yelp meant to call Los Poblanos, a cemitas poblanas truck in Boyle Heights, Los Putos, which while has wide acceptance in Mexico, is the Spanish word for a derogatory name used towards homosexuals.

I have no clue how Yelp operates nor how that happened but how could a popular website in Los Angeles not know what that word means?

Yelpers, you're an interesting bunch, from your Yelp Elite eating spree events, to Payola scams, to your ridiculous reviews but this is an all-time low.

Los Putos,
4 Stars on Yelp

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving in Baja with Club Tengo Hambre, Saturday, November 29th

Please join us at chef Javier Plascencia's Finca Altozano for a Baja wine country cook out with wines poured by Victor Segura of Las Nubes. For more information go to or click on this link

Thanksgiving in Baja
Saturday, November 29th
Finca Altozano

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Club Tengo Hambre, Mexico City for Street Food Essentials

Club Tengo Hambre, the roving supper club I founded with Jason Thomas Fritz (Tijuanalandia), Kristin Diaz de Sandi and Antonio Diaz de Sandi (Both of Life and Food Blog) has begun to offer our Street Food Essentials tour after months of test runs since our inaugural outing. This tour highlights the most delicious and sought after local street foods in Mexico's capitol. For those who've joined us over the past two seasons in Baja California, expect the same commitment to presenting the best local cuisine, chefs, cooks, and artisans; attentive service, and a fully curated experience that replicates our own personal adventures.

Join us for a taste of Street Food Essentials in Mexico City with a local, food loving chilango guide with the best tour company in Mexico's capitol--we capture the bold flavors of Mexico City like no other. Tours are available now at! See you in Mexico City.

Club Tengo Hambre

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mariscos El Cristalazo: The New L.A. Standard in Sinaloan Cuisine in Los Angeles Magazine

Tamales barbones at Mariscos El Cristalazo

Well, it's easier than you think to find great new spots in L.A. for street food and mom and pops given our limitless urban sprawl. South Central is particularly rich in Mexican street food during the weekend mornings and afternoons; East LA, Boyle Heights and South Central are also constantly losing and gaining food trucks, stands and casas (houses); and MacArthur Park has the same fluid motion in terms of Guatemalan and Salvadoran street food. But 2014 has yielded an even more substantial trio of exceptional finds: Carnitas El Momo, Tacos Quetzalcoatl and now Mariscos El Cristalazo.

Chilitos Cri Cri--bacon wrapped chile güeros stuffed with shrimp and cheese

Mariscos El Cristalazo is a traditional seafood vendor from Escuinapa, Sinaloa that bridges the gap between the conventional barra fria (cold bar) and barra caliente (hot bar) of our local Sinaloan seafood restaurants and the contemporary Mexican seafood practitioners like Guerrilla Tacos, Tacos Puntas Cabras, Bizarra Capital and Taco Maria.

Cocktails: the Cristalazo--shrimp ceviche, aguachile and call de hacha with a chabela, a super-sized michelada 

Ninive Vargas brings in fresh seafood products from Mexico just like Coni'Seafood from Sinaloa's southern neighbor, Nayarit, which shares a similar seafood tradition, but with both subtle and unmistakable differences. You can read more about this delicious find in Essential T: Tamales Barbones at Mariscos El Cristalazo and Mariscos El Cristalazo Sets the Standard for Sinaloan Seafood in L.A. in my latest posts for the Los Angeles Magazine Digest.

Tacos de marlin

 Best callo de hacha in L.A.

 Lemon pepper shrimp

Botana Reniz: callo de hacha, oysters, and a little spice

 Shrimp albondigas, grandmother's recipe 

Tlaxtihuille, a pre-Hispanic mole with shrimp, one of the best Mexican dishes to enjoy in Los Angeles

Follow Mariscos El Cristalazo on Instagram @el_critalazo

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tacos Quetzalcoatl, a New Contender for the Top Taquero in Los Angeles--my Latest in Los Angeles Magazine

Chalmita, Estado de Mexico-style tacos

Tacos Quetzacoatl, East L.A.

I finally got around to trying Tacos Quetzacoatl in East L.A., and it was more than worth the wait. Tacos Quetzalcoatl is the best taco spot in L.A. for vegetarian, after Guerrilla Tacos, but it's entire Chalmita-style menu makes this one of the top 5 taco vendors in Los Angeles, for excellent barbacoa, cecina, adobo, chicharron prensado, pancita, and of course wild greens, like red amaranth and huauzontles. Check it out on Los Angeles Magazine's Digest blog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

LA Food and Wine 2014 Celebrates Los Angeles as Best Restaurant City in the U.S.

Tribute to a legend

From August I attended L.A. Food and Wine 2014 events in DTLA to celebrate L.A.'s status as the future top restaurant destination in the United States with a parade of celebrity chefs from all over the U.S., our local top chefs participating in Grand Tastings, and themed events the chef Morimoto's Night Market.

On Friday, August 22nd, Vibiana played host to a star studded tribute to chef Nancy Silverton, one of the many reasons why Los Angles is such a great restaurant city with Silverton's Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Short Order. Guests sat at elegant long dining tables while appetizers were passed on the floor and a multi-course tasting was served by chefs Michael Chiarello, Lissa Doumani, Roxana Jullapat, Dan Mattern, Richard Reddington, Hiro Sone, Joachim Splichal, Suzanne Tracht, Michael Tusk, and Jonathan Waxman.

Street food at Morimoto's Asian Night Market

Then it was off to chef Morimoto's Night Market, which is becoming a regular theme at many food events these days, which looked to the strong community of L.A. Asian chefs that has exploded in recent years. Chefs like Chris Oh, Jet Tila, Thi Tran, Tin Vuong, Yoya Takahashi, and Perry Cheung brought credibility to the event. There was plenty of great wine and spirits to pair with traditional and contemporary Asian street food favorites.

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth and bartender Julian Cox

On Sunday morning, August 24th, I listened intently as chef Timothy Hollingsworth and bartender Julian Cox talked about their upcoming collaboration at the Broad at L.A. Food and Wine's Cocktail Revolution. Hollingsworth spoke on how he chose Los Angeles after leaving the coveted chef de cuisine position at the French Laundry for its ingredients and progressive dining scene--Hollingsworth and Cox further talked about how they plan to work together as chef and bartender to make cocktails a big part of your dining experience at the Broad. One cocktail was paired with a pork belly macaron and another placed a skewer of sashimi across the top of the glass.  It was both delicious and inspiring, not to mention one of the better breakfasts I've enjoyed in a long time.

Breakfast with Hollingsworth and Cox at Cocktail Revolution

Cocktails, as it turns out, is a rather light breakfast, so I had plenty of an appetite for the Lexus Grand Tasting at L.A. Center Studios for a line-up of 25 celebrity chefs and over 300 wines. At the Grand Tasting I had a memorable bite from chef Morimoto, who stood out in front of his booth--ever the gracious host--passing out his noodle dish, instructing each guest to stir everything together before you eat. Chef Luigi Fineo of Riva Bella shaved an ample amour of black truffle on his pasta dish and there were also great bites by chefs Evan Funke, Christian Page, Kevin Luzande, Philip Pretty and John Sedlar. This event had a relaxed feel, lines weren't too bad, and once again there were plenty of summer wines to beat the heat.

It was great to see how popular our local food events have become, increasingly drawing a more eclectic crowd, and L.A. Food and Wine gave them what they wanted, star power and a focus on Los Angeles as a top destination in the U.S. for fine dining.        

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Here you go New York City, L.A.'s own Tacopedia in Los Angeles Magazine Gives 45 Reasons Why L.A. is the Taco Capitol of the World

Do we need an excuse to show off our taco game here in L.A? Not at all--this is a post I've sat on for a long time and NYC food critic Robert Sietsema's odd NYC taco challenge aimed at L.A. was just the occasion to give everyone a real idea of how deep the L.A. taco scene goes.

In my latest for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest, Tacopedia: A Complete Taco Encyclopedia of L.A., I reveal for the very first time a comprehensive list of the common tacos you can find in Los Angeles. We actually have more regional varieties than anywhere in Mexico at our numerous taquerias, puestos, food trucks, and carretas.

Sietsema had a list with tacos that don't exist like a double tortilla taco(wtf!), Taco Bell items, and had lots of inaccuracies in his reporting. My list includes mostly established varieties that are recognized in Mexico and a few styles that are unique to Los Angeles. Take a look at the 45 amazing tacos you can have in L.A. and let this be the final word on the subject.

Friday, July 18, 2014

SGLA About Town: New Posts on LA Magazine's Digest and Dine LA Plus Club Tengo Hambre in Sunset Magazine

The hall of carnes asadas at the Tlacolula Market in Tlacolula, Oaxaca.

Los Angeles has the third largest Oaxacan restaurant scene in the world, and the Oaxacan carne asada tradition--yes, they do grilled meats, too--is alive and kindling at the tables of your local Oaxacan restaurants. Check out La Parrillada Oaxaquena in my latest Essential T for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest.    

Head down to the Pico Rivera Sports Arena this Sunday for the Festival Colombiano and find out where to get the best Colombian cuisine in L.A., also on Los Angeles Magazine's Digest.

My Roving Supper Club, Club Tengo Hambre, a partnership with Jason Fritz, and Antonio and Kristin Diaz de Sandi was mentioned in a Sunset Magazine article as one of the 8 best things to do in Tijuana. Take a food adventure with us to Baja California and with our new branch in Mexico City.    

It's Restaurant Week at Dine LA, so I hope you're out there supporting Los Angeles restaurants; while you're at it, here's my guide to the best lobster rolls in Los Angeles, and here's an oldie but a goodie for this hot weather, my Dine LA Ceviche Lover's Guide.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dine LA Restaurant Week, Summer 2014, July 14th-27th--Ready.Set. Dine!

The biggest and most delicious Dine LA began last night, so if you haven't made your reservations get on it! My last year's recommendations still stand for D=Date Night; I=Indulge; N=New; and E=Ethnic Dining, except for Spice Table which is closed until chef Bryant Ng relocates to his new restaurant--can't wait for that. And of course Paiche is no longer new but I still suggest a trip out to Marina del Rey to experience Peruvian cuisine from the leading Peruvian chef in the United States, or at chef Ricardo Zarate's other restaurants--Picca and Mo Chica.

This year, lunch and dinner menus range from $15-$45 for 3 course meals.

For Date Night, I'd strongly suggest the patio at chef Suzanne Goin's newly renovated A.O.C, an evening of the fresh seafood and creative plays on classic at the Hungry Cat, or some of the best Italian cuisine in town at Sotto.

Another place to Indulge?--the inspired cooking at Scratch Bar by chef Phillip Frankland Lee.

What's New? Faith and Flower in DTLA--it's beautiful and romantic with a smart menu that's attracting a young, and beautiful business crowd.

For Ethnic Dining, Night and Market is a must, matter-of-fact, their Dine LA menu was so successful last time around that they extended the menu beyond their Dine LA run.

Dine L.A. is a chance to try something new, or to dine somewhere true--most of all this is about promoting Los Angeles as the number one dine destination in the U.S.A. It already is, but the rest of the country is slowing catching on. Dine L.A. is your way to send a message, while doing what you love to do--og out on the town and save a few bucks. Ready.Set. Dine LA!

Dine L.A. Restaurant Week, Summer 2014, July 14th-July 27th

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Club Tengo Hambre, Mexico City is Now Open For Business--First Outing is Saturday July 5th

Club Tengo Hambre Mexico City from Club Tengo Hambre on Vimeo.

Club Tengo Hambre--a collaboration between Jason Thomas Fritz of Tijuanalandia,  Antonio and Kristen Diaz de Sandi of Life and Food Blog, and I--is coming to Mexico City to bring our roving supper club outings to the streets of Mexico's capitol. Join us for Street Food Essentials, or exploring the lesser known neighborhoods of the Centro Historico and the lesser known food havens like barrio Tepito--let's discover mezcal and pulque in the traditional and contemporary pubs known as mezcalerias and pulquerias respectively. Tienes hambre? (are you hungry?)

Our first run will be on July, 5th  for Street Food Essentials in Mexico City;  get your tickets here and join us for this ribbon cutting and street food feast, Club Tengo Hambre style.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LA Weekly's Tacolandia 2014 on 6/28 at Placita Olvera Goes Back to the Future of Tacos in L.A.

On 6/28, at Placita Olvera, the second annual LA Weekly's Tacolandia will take place to celebrate L.A.'s greatest obsession--the taco--on an unintended journey back to the street where the taco first aroused our curiosities, and where Los Angeles history began. It was hard losing last year's venue, the Palladium--I mean, Tacolandia was such a hit last year--sold out two weeks in advance--went off without a hitch, and it was just a short walk home to my place in Hollywood. But it wasn't meant to be--so when Placita Olvera was presented one late night, I eagerly got to the fun job of curating this event--that means eating lots of delicious tacos, but it wasn't until I approached Cielito Lindo (sweet little heaven) to participate that I realized the fortune of doing this event at Olvera St.

Since 1934, Cielito Lindo has been spreading the gospel of the taco to Angeleno's with their world famous beef taquitos drowning in avocado sauce--it all started here, on this street with these crunchy tacos created by Zacatecana, Aurora Guerrero. Her family spread these tacos all over the city and if you read Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, by one of our judges, Gustavo Arellano, you can learn more about how Cielito Lindo brought us here to this current national taco craze that will not let up--ever. I wonder what she'd think of this Tacolandia, which has now grown to 44 super star vendors.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

La Gran Parrillada on 5/17 at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes: Chefs Javier Plascencia, Carlos Valdez, Eloy Uribe, and Dante Neuquen Put the Spotlight on the Sonoran Grill

In Mexico, as in Italy, China, Japan, and France, every region have similar foods and dishes that are transformed and prioritized by local customs--every state has mole, but some states emphasize it, like Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Estado de Mexico. Every state prepares seafood, but Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Baja California take it to the next level with preparations that highlight the superior product. And every state grills but none like the northern state of Sonora where quality steers and a dedication to fire make carne asada a sacred tradition--Oaxaca has mole,  Hidalgo has barbacoa, Jalisco has birira and Sonora has the parrillada, or grill. Four chefs have journeyed north of the border to bring a true taste of the Sonoran grill.

This Saturday at the Hola Mexico Film Festival's Gran Parrillada at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, from 12pm-5pm, chefs Carlos Valdez (Buffalo BBQ, La Paz, B.C.S.), Eloy Uribe (sb2, Hermosillo, Sonora), Javier Plascencia (Mision 19, Tijuana, B.C. and Bermejo, Hermosillo, Sonora), and Dante Neuquen (Neuquen Restaurante, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon). Valdez and Uribe are from Sonora, Plascencia has recently opened a modern Sonoran restaurant in Hermosillo, and Neuquen cooks in another great northern state, Nuevo Leon, and comes from one of the top grilled meat countries, Argentina.  This is an Olympian grill team.

Each chef will prepare their own parrillada, or grill plates to be served with a sobaquera tortilla and Mexican wine from Baja California.

This is a once in a lifetime chance to experience top Mexican chefs on the Sonoran grill, and even more amazing is the addition of a traditional sobaquera artisan, making the famous giant, and thin flour tortillas from Sonora that are essential to the cuisine.  

If you hurry, you can get a discounted ticket on guilt city from now until May 14th at noon, and after that just go to the ticket link.

Gran Parrillada
Saturday May, 17, 2014
$45 per person

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Parts Unknown Mexico: Fear and Loathing or a Simple Misunderstanding?--Bourdain Indulges in the Worst Cliches

CNN's Part's Unknown paints a grimmer picture of Mexico than the Santa Muerte, or Lady Death herself

As a consultant, or source for Parts Unknown Mexico, I was of course eager to see how the episode turned out--that is to say I agreed to a phone conference with CNN's Mexico bureau to suggest where host Anthony Bourdain and ZPZ Productions should visit in Mexico, to reveal the unknown parts. In the half hour I spoke with CNN, I emphasized the importance of Tepito's food scene and about some other locations I feel have been underexposed that have tremendous cuisine. I was busy that Sunday and wouldn't see the episode 'til later that evening, but I saw a heartfelt blog written by Bourdain that made me feel very optimistic before I saw a tweet from Monterrey, Mexico's Chef Guillermo Gonzalez Berestain (Pangea), one of the founding fathers of Modern Mexican cuisine (No, he doesn't live in San Diego or vacation in Cabo, Mr. Bourdain), lamenting the shows content.

The episode was not the great show that had just done very food-centric programs in India, Las Vegas, and Lyon--perhaps the most food orientated show this season--instead it showed Mexico as a non-stop bloodbath, with everyone running for cover, and sort of glossed over the food. When it wasn't sensationalizing the drug war, it was doing ads for the Grey Goose of mezcal, Del Maguey, owned by a Texan, and doing the Fodor's guide tour of Oaxaca, visiting places that have appeared in practically every food show ever shot in Oaxaca. A viewing of your old episodes of Chef Rick Baylesses Mexico: One Plate at a Time would have done the trick. A surly Bourdain responded in the comments section to A Gringo in Mexico blogger Scott Koenig's Open Letter to Bourdain with a decisive dismissal of any concerns about Parts Unknown Mexico by San Diegans and Spring Breakers out to have Mexicans carry their golf clubs (the same ones that washed dishes at Les Halles). But why Mexico, at a time when the biased media has backed off of this story--was this an attempt to get ratings from low lying fruit, or was the show simply mistitled?              

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tepito: El Barrio de La Comida Brava

Vamos a Tepito!

Tepito, El Barrio Bravo, (fierce neighborhood) is a northern section of Mexico City less than a mile away from the Zócalo (town square) whose name instantly conjures up the sum of its notorious history, lore and mysticism. You can walk there from the historic center, but chilangos, expats, and anyone else that has heard of the place steers clear because of a reputation that no longer is valid--whenever I tell people I'm headed there to hang out they nervously chuckle, yet again, they've never been.

Since pre-hispanic times, Tepito has maintained a tianguis, or flea market for the poor, working class Tepiteños that are culturally, and economically landlocked. Today, the tianguis is Tepito's exoskeleton, an external maze of tarp covered apparel, pirated DVD's and CD's, luggage, electronics, shoes, and food stalls offering the best deals in town--this neighborhood does everything by its own rules from the products it sells, to the offal-rich cuisine, the public consumption of alcohol, the the Santa Muerte (Saint Death) religion. I was a location and food consultant for CNN's Parts Unknown Mexico, and when the Mexico bureau asked what was Mexico's best kept secret, I said the street food in Tepito. Although CNN's Parts Unknown Mexico was a terrible show for it's preoccupation with the drug war, and so many repetitive experiences, the world did get a glimpse of barrio tepito, a neighborhood I've been lovingly exploring for the past 2 years. Here's what you should have seen on the episode!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chef Rick Bayless to Surrender the Chips and Salsa and Open a Modern Mexican Restaurant?

Chef Rick Bayless, feeling naked without the guacamole

During the Grand Cayman cookout back in January a rather giddy Rick Bayless was tight-lipped about a new concept he was working on which he called "a completely new concept that you've never seen before", as he told Eater(the original announcement was back in November of 2013), in the self-stimulating hyperbole we've come to expect from Bayless-- [there's]"virtually nothing like it in the United States." The Oklahoma native has been spending lots of time in the Modern Mexican restaurants of Mexico City and throughout the republic in the last couple of years, as opposed to the tourist friendly traditional restaurants he's favored in the past like El Bajio and El Cardenal

This will come as a shock to many Bayless devotees who for years have considered Baylesses' restaurants to be alta cocina (high cuisine), or Modern Mexican kitchens. This is due to the fact that few U.S. citizens have experienced Modern Mexican cuisine, including the ones who've traveled to Mexico City, preferring the mid-priced, commercial restaurants found in guide books like Contramar, Hacienda de Los Morales, or Cafe Tacuba. Bayless is exited about the advancements in Modern Mexican cuisine happening in Mexico right now, claiming that it "just emerged 5, 6, or 7 years ago"--once again, the anthropologist is way off--try about 18 years ago, Chef. Regardless, this will be the first real challenge for the most famous Chef cooking Mexican flavors in the U.S.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Food Truck Royalty to Headline the 1st Annual Ktown Night Market on April 18th-19th

Ever since the food truck craze of the years 2008-2010, the streets of L.A. have become a bit more calm and have fallen into a sustainable level of fancy food trucks. It’s clear that we love them and they are here to stay (we’re also glad that we no longer have a new food truck opening every week). Some of the veterans of the food truck wars will be serving up their signature dishes at the 1st Annual KTown Night Market alongside the winners of the first 3 seasons of the Great Food Truck Race on April 18th to 19th.

That’s right, the Great Food Truck Race champs, Grill ‘Em All (Season 1), The Lime Truck (Season 2), and KTown Night Market food truck curators, Seoul Sausage, will be bumper to bumper for the very first time.  They will be joined by old-timers—Coolhaus, India Jones, and the White Rabbit Truck, plus East LA Tacos, Fluff Ice, Jogasaki and Belly Bomz. Don’t see your favorite truck on the list?—well, you can vote for your truck to win the last spot at

The KTown Night Market is free to the public with over 100 food and merchandise stands, and 40 food vendors representing the multi-ethnic cuisines of the Los Angeles and Orange counties.   There will be live music to celebrate the special occasion, and with Seoul Sausage in the driver’s seat, L.A.’s newest night market experience promises to deliver the flavor.

KTown Night Market, April 18th-19th, Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. For more information go to

Monday, March 31, 2014

Club Tengo Hambre in the LA Weekly on Craft Beer and Tacos

Baja California Craft Beers in Tijuana 

Season 2 is off to a tremendous start--look for more of these original events in our 2014 calendar.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sedlar, Salgado, and Ruiz Serve up Modern Mexican at Los Angeles Magazine's Social Hour on 3/19

If you haven't heard, chefs Eduardo Ruiz(Corazon y Miel) and Carlos Salgado(Taco Maria) are a pretty big deal--no, you didn't hear? Well, then be sure to pick up the March issue of Los Angeles Magazine where L.A.'s best and most trustworthy critic, Patrick Kuh, talks about the quiet revolution happening at these two restaurants. Not to mention, you can read about my first Road Trip for the travel section in which I write about one of my recent Baja adventures.

The two young, trendsetting chefs will join chef John Sedlar tomorrow night (3/19), who was the first Latino chef in the U.S. to blaze these trails over 30 years ago at St. Estephe, and then did a historic repeat by opening the only Modern Latin cuisine restaurant--Rivera--in the U.S.

This story is just beginning, about Modern Mexican in the U.S. led by Mexican-American chefs--all three grew up with the matriarchal cooking of their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and cousins and have absorbed a lifetime of flavors, techniques, and cultural cues filtered through the practice of cooking in the best kitchens in the world.

You are invited to taste the future of Modern Mexican in the U.S. tomorrow night(3/19) at Rivera in 3 courses with Los Angeles Magazine Dine editor Lesley Barger Suter and I for only $40.00--it's a steal--exclusively for our Social Hour series. Viva la revolucion!

Modern Mexican Cuisine @ Rivera with chefs John Sedlar, Eduardo Ruiz, and Carlos Salgado
Wednesday, March 19 @ 7PM, $40 a person
Rivera1050 S Flower St #102, Downtown Los Angeles, call (213) 749-1460 for reservations

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We Fought the Law and the Foie Won, March 6th at 7PM--4 Courses of Foie Gras by chefs Javier Plascencia, Jason Knibb, Walter Manzke, and Ryan Steyn

This Thursday, March 6th at 7PM, Club Tengo Hambre will be escorting guests across to border for reasons that have historically defined Tijuana as a border town to get what you can't get in the States--for a 4-course foie gras (banned in California) dinner. Tijuana has always been Mexico's illicit playground--like Las Vegas but with teeth!

The foie gras dinner is almost sold out, so if you want to taste the forbidden offal as prepared by masters: chef Javier Plascencia (Mision 19), chef Walter Manzke (Republique and Petty Cash Taqueria), chef, Jason Knibb (Nine-Ten) , and chef Ryan Steyn (Latitud 32), you'd better hurry. At a mere $130, it's a crime(Elliot Ness might come a knocking).    

Burlesque Dancer, Rita Ravell ( Tijuana After Midnite-1954)

As Mexico's first "city of sin", Tijuana played host to gambling, dog and horse races, cabaret shows, prostitution, and any other vice that could bend the wills of norteamericanos. Celebrities like Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, the Marx Brothers, Bing Crosby, and Charlie Chaplin rubbed elbows with gangsters (even Al Capone himself) at the Agua Caliente Casino, and at Caesar's Restaurant, where Caesar Cardini himself made his signature salad to order. All made possible by the Volstead Act (1920-1933).

Tijuana's famous Long Bar, the Mexicali Beer Hall in the 50's

They went that-a-way

For 13 years, the U.S. Treasury Department waged a pointless war on alcohol in the United States that gave rise to an international criminal organization run by Al Capone.

 Captured shipment of alcohol being destroyed during prohibition--sound familiar?

During these years, Tijuana thrived by giving the people what they wanted--a stiff drink!

 Foie gras protestors

On this occasion, it's the California foie gras prohibition that is drawing diners to order the banned product in places like Las Vegas--any state but California, and now back to Tijuana. You won't find a better deal in the 2nd closest foie gras outpost--Las Vegas--where even a pair of bit-sized foie dishes will run you around $100 at a place like L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. The foie gras for this dinner comes from a farm in Guadalajara--chef Javier Plascencia says it's as good as the foie gras that was being produced up in Sonoma, CA.

If you live in north of the border--in the San Diego and Los Angeles metro areas--Tijuana once again is your ticket to satisfaction. Join us in Tijuana for foie gras prepared by an all-star line-up of chefs of the Californias.

We Fought the Law and the Foie Won, 4 Courses of Foie Gras at Mision 19, featuring Plascencia, Knibb, Steyn, and Manzke
Thursday, March 6 @ 7PM
Mision 19
Tijuana, B.C.
$130 person, includes dessert and 2 glasses of wine
For tickets, go click here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Mexico City Weekender in the February Issue of Los Angeles Magazine and Online

Mexico City's Angel of Independence at Night

I'm in love with Mexico City, and plan to always count Mexico's capitol as an annual travel destination for it's culture, night life, and unparalleled street food and mom and pop eateries. I had a blast working on this story, staying in the best hotels, eating at the latest hot spots, drinking mezcal, and running all over the city with friends. Pick up a copy of the February issue of Los Angeles Magazine or go to the link here and catch my latest for Los Angeles Magazine: Mexico City--A thoroughly modern metropolis brims with life--from street vendors to supper clubs.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Early Bird Special $9.99 Sunday Brunch at Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses in Los Angeles Magazine's Disgest

Behold the guisados at Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses

At $14.99, the Sunday Brunch at Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses is already a deal, but from 10AM to 11AM it's a steal at $9.99. Read about it in my latest for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest.

 Chiles rellenos en caldillo

Moles like manchamanteles are featured at every brunch at Rocio's  

A sweet finish

Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses, 8255 Sunland Blvd., Sun Valley, (818)252-6415 or

Also in Tarzana 19321 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818)457-4545

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flight or Flight: Street Food Under Fire in my Latest for Los Angeles Magazine

The LAPD's Grinch who stole street food--Officer Torta Terrorista

"You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war"--Albert Einstein

A show of force by the LAPD to take from the poor

Everyone's singing the praises of councilmen Curren D. Price, Jr's and Jose Huizar's motion to legalize street food--photos are being taken, and speeches end in cheers and applause--meanwhile, the LAPD cases the Mercado Olympic and other street food havens around town issuing tickets to working families. 

Read Fight or Flight in my latest for the Los Angeles Magazine Digest!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Come Catch Me Cooking and Hosting Ensenada's La Guerrerense at the 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show, Jan. 18-19

I'm a travel show fiend--I love travel--it's the most important thing in my life, and in recent years I haven't missed this travel show. But, this year I'm proud to say I'm joining the list of esteemed guest speakers, and cooking on the Flavors of the World culinary stage.

On Saturday at 3p.m., I'll be preparing two types of chiles rellenos from a pair of recipes from my family in Aguascalientes, Mexico : chile relleno de queso con caldillo (cheese stuffed pepper with tomato soup), and chile ancho relleno de frijol (ancho chile stuffed with refried beans), and a Baja table accompaniment of chiles gueros, or blonde chiles. My demo will focus on chile as a staple food, and its unique place in Mexican cuisine.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, at 11a.m., it's La Guerrerense--yes the legendary Doña Sabina Bandera and her daughter Mariana Oviedo joining me on stage. They will be plating and serving their famous seafood tostadas, while I pour the tequila and join in the fun. You will be enjoying sea urchin tostadas, on the house.    

I look forward to sharing a taste of Aguascalientes and Ensenada with you, and hope we get to say hello.

16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show, Saturday and Sunday, January 18 – 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

My demo, Sat., January 18 @ 3p.m.
La Guerrerense, Sun., January 19 @ 11a.m. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Brazil is the Flavor in 2014, and Chef Alex Atala to Replace Redzepi as Top Dog

Carnaval 2014 in Brasil will highlight the beauty of Brazilian culture to the world

Times marches on..Just a few years ago Chef Ferran Adria was on the cover of every major and minor food medium, and the deconstructionist cuisine he pioneered, more commonly known as molecular gastronomy. In the post-Adria/decostructionist era, Chef Rene Redzepi's style of modern-Nordic cuisine has sent more chefs of the current generation foraging into the woods than college drama majors by Steven Sondheim.

Chef Alex Atala, bringing Brazilian ingredients and heritage to São Paulo's D.O.M.  

What's next? Well, let's all agree that there has to be a next, and I believe--reading the writing on the wall--that Brazilian cuisine, and Chef Alex Atala are the next thing. Adria had pegged Peruvian as the cuisine to watch along with his dreadful Lima Declaration speech (rightfully checked by sir Jay Rayner), and regional Mexican and Asian cuisines will continue to occupy our minds and dining experiences here in L.A., but Brasil--Brasil through the brilliant hands and products at Chef Alex Atala's D.O.M. in São Paulo!

Part of this focus will be because of World Cup(2014) and the Olympics(2016).

The next big thing will be ingredients--which is the one thing I hear most chefs talking about the most--it's the most important thing, and all chefs are highlighting their local treasures more than ever. Yet, the elite position of Pellegrino's No. 1 restaurant in the world hasn't been based on ingredients.

Brazil just happens to have some of the most interesting products in the world and Chef Alex Atala is heading to the reaches of the Amazon, working with indigenous communities to form cooperatives. That along with the undiscovered regional cuisines in Brasil--26 states have their own distinctive cuisines--and Atala is working hard in his kitchen(not all chefs on the circuit bother to be in their kitchens), and just as hard on the media circuit.

Moqueca de camarão, shrimp moqueca at Moqueca in Oxnard.

We'll all learn more about it as 2014 moves along; until then--check out one of the greatest regional Brazilian restaurants in the U.S., Oxnard's Moqueca, for Espiritu Santo cuisine, in my latest for Los Angeles Magazine Digest.