Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I've Been Nominated for a James Beard Award!

Update: We won!

I had no idea the James Beard Awards for journalism would be announced today, but thanks to Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch fame, I learned I was nominated along with my editor, Lesley Bargar Suter, for our outstanding Taco City issue last summer in the category of Food Coverage in a General-Interest Publication. For the same issue we were also finalists at the Oscars of the magazine industry, the Ellies, which we didn't win, but were honored to be selected from the thousands of articles that were submitted.

For those that follow me here and don't know, I've been working for Los Angeles Magazine for several years as a contributor to the online Digest and in print, as a food writer, travel writer and as an editor with Lesley Bargar Suter for the Taco City issue.

I've become well known for the taco coverage with my weekly Essential T column (and for being the curator for LA Weekly's Tacolandia), but regular LA Magazine readers are aware that I cover all of Latin America and street food for this prestigious publication.

Wish us luck at the awards, and thanks for being a reader!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Maize Diversity from Crop Trust

                         #CropsInColor: maize diversity from Crop Trust on Vimeo.

I'd like you to check out this beautiful video on the diversity of corn in Mexico. In light of the recent attempts by Monsanto to destroy diversity and bring transgenic corn into the Mexican market, threatening corn diversity and purity, I'd like to share this video and ask that you encourage street vendors, restaurants and trucks to use better tortillas.

Let's let them know we'll pay a few cents more for corn tortillas made nixtamalized corn masa, and we'll pay even more for heirloom corn varietals.

Corn sustains life and culture.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Catch me With CNN's Nick Valencia Exploring the Outlaw Bacanora Trail

Backyard still used in the production of bacanora

This is my second segment with CNN's Nick Valencia; this time, we headed to the northern state of Sonora to eat some of the most flavorful food in Mexico before drinking outlaw Bacanora in the Rio Sonora. Here, oil drums and used out parts serve as makeshift stills to refine cooked agave Pacifica, foraged in the Rio Sonora region. Check our story out in CNN's The Search for Mexican Moonshine.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tacolandia 2016 Pre-Sale Opens This Tuesday, March 8th at 10AM

Today on Neal Saavedra's Fork Report (4:03 PM) I'll be announcing pre-sale ticket dates, which will begin this Tuesday, March 8th at 10AM and will run until Sunday, March 13th at 10PM. LA Weekly's 4th Annual Tacolandia, curated by me, will take place at  L.A.'s historic Olvera Street on Saturday, June 11th from 3PM to 7PM. This year, we'll be expanding to well over 100 of the best taco vendors in the U.S. and Mexico at the best and biggest taco festival in the U.S. with world class taqueros, carefully handpicked from Mexico, Arizona, San Diego, Orange County with the biggest group, of course, coming from Los Angeles, the Taco and Mexican food capitol of the USA.

If you haven't been, we put on an event that's inexpensive but brings the same level of chef talent found at the high end events around town, and we have the biggest participation of any event in the city of mom and pop restaurants and stands serving a range of tacos from regional Mexican, to Alta Californian, to Modern Mexican (Uh, hello, last year, we brought Pangea's Guillermo Gonzalez, the first chef in Mexico to open a Modern Mexican kitchen and a Latin America's 50 best best recipient) to pocho (Mexican-American) cuisine.

And, in order to avoid taco fatigue, we've added some other stellar vendors serving a few taco-like foods, savory and sweet, to add variety, and to maintain our high standards.

Starting Tuesday, March 8th, go to the Tacolandia micro-site and use the promotional code: TACOWHISPERER (that's me) to buy your discounted ticket, but more importantly, to secure your place. In the 3 years Tacolandia has been held, every single ticket has sold out in advance of the event; last year we were sold out a month in advance!

Tacolandia 2016, Saturday June 11th, 3PM-7PM, Olvera Street, http://microapp.laweekly.com/tacolandia/2016/

Pre-sale runs from March 8th at 10AM to March 13th at 10PM



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

King Taco Abdicates the Throne with Dreadful Tacos Only a Food Critic Could Love

King Taco, an institution, but I'd rather get my tacos elsewhere

My good friend, Gustavo Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, wrote in his authoritative treatise on Mexican food in the U.S.A., that King Taco is responsible for the taco truck revolution. It's true, and Arellano is correct in giving credit and respect to this successful chain of beloved taquerias, but Los Angeles Times critic and documentary subject, Jonathan Gold, who has been a huge supporter of the food at King Taco (recently giving their shitty tacos a B+ in his book), goes too far. 

I decided to stop by one last time; it'd been years since I had King Taco as I was never impressed with their tacos upon moving to Los Angeles back in '95. So I headed to the King Taco on Cesar Chavez, just east of Soto in Boyle Heights for what will definitely be my final visit to any King Taco, to dine anyway. Read all about my visit on my latest for Los Angeles Magazine's Digest: King Taco Is Not Worthy of the Crown. Guacala!

The patio at King Taco gives diners a more street experience

A trio of pitiful tacos, camouflaged in an excess of extra stinky onions, cilantro and a strong salsa