[LA Weekly] Best of Los Angeles 2013
*PUBLISHED / BOOKS & LITERATURE / Boyle Heights / Downtown / FOOD / LA Weekly / Latin American food / Little Tokyo / Mexican food

[LA Weekly] Best of Los Angeles 2013

Looking for more reasons to love L.A.? Just head to your local newsstand (or computer) to browse the latest “Best of L.A.” issue from the always eclectic L.A. Weekly. These are a few of my favorite things… well, eight favorites, from “Best Filipino Fried Chicken” to “Best Little Tokyo Bar” to “Best Japanese Bookstore.” Keep reading… Continue reading

[LA Weekly] Q & A With USC Professor Sarah Portnoy: On Latino Food in L.A
FOOD / LA Weekly / Latin American food / Mexican food

[LA Weekly] Q & A With USC Professor Sarah Portnoy: On Latino Food in L.A

We all eat for pleasure. Some of us also eat in pursuit of academic knowledge. “Food studies” is a burgeoning field where scholars consider food a potent tool for illuminating a vast range of topics and issues. Among L.A. colleges and universities, you’ll find classes on “Animal Ethics,” “Restaurant Culture,” “Food Politics,” and “Science and Food,” among others. One emphasizes L.A.’s Latino community — professor Sarah Portnoy’s “The Culture of Food in Hispanic Los Angeles” at the University of Southern California. As a class in the Spanish department, students spend ample time developing language skills. (Such as writing blogs in Spanish.) But the culinary twist means they also examine issues related to history, immigration, and cultural values. We spoke with Portnoy, a Houston native, over margaritas at Yxta Cocina Mexicana to hear her take on L.A.’s diverse and fascinating Latino food scene. Continue reading

[Blog] Tijuana Culinary Tour
*BLOG / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / FOOD / Latin American food / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / Mexican / Mexican food / Tijuana

[Blog] Tijuana Culinary Tour

Ever since the Mexican-American War split a chunk of Mexico’s west coast in 1848, Tijuana’s border existence between two major countries has made it unique. The position has made the city a hot spot for tourism, crime, drug trafficking, immigration, industrialization, art, music, and even “zonkeys.” But now there’s another reason for Tijuana’s singularity: the food. During three days last October, I sampled some of Tijuana’s finest food from taquerías to posh restaurants. Read about it here. [Post in both English and Spanish.] Continue reading

[USC] Miss Chiquita Banana: Here to Stay, for Better or Worse
COUNTRIES & CULTURES / FOOD / Immigration Issues / Latin American food / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / USC Annenberg School Projects

[USC] Miss Chiquita Banana: Here to Stay, for Better or Worse

Imagine a packed movie theater in 1950. An audience awaits Hollywood’s latest picture — but first, the commercials. An animated steamboat appears on the screen, chugging along to cheerful music. Then a beautiful woman alights. Or rather, a banana. She is “Miss Chiquita” representing prominent fruit company Chiquita Banana. By 1950, the filmgoers know her … Continue reading

[Blog] Making Panuchos at Chichen Itza (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / FOOD / Latin American food / Mexican food

[Blog] Making Panuchos at Chichen Itza (+ Video)

Looking for an introduction to Yucatecan cuisine? Try a panucho. Panuchos begin as traditional corn tortillas, but then are grilled to form crispy exteriors that shelter tender black beans that have been nudged inside. It is then topped with shredded turkey, pickled onions, and avocado. The dish is a staple at Chichen Itza – not the monumental Mayan pyramids of Mexico, but a quick-serve restaurant tucked inside Mercado la Paloma in South L.A. near USC. [keep reading…and check out the how-to video from one of Chichen Itza’s chefs.] Continue reading

[LA Weekly] Josef Centeno’s Bar Amá Opening Tomorrow
FOOD / LA Weekly / Latin American food / Mexican food

[LA Weekly] Josef Centeno’s Bar Amá Opening Tomorrow

Josef Centeno dubbed his new restaurant “Bar Amá” in homage to the foods his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother cooked in his native San Antonio, Texas. (Amá is short for mamá.) But don’t expect a replica of their kitchens. “It’s the food I grew up with, but my version,” says the chef.

Bar Amá, focusing on Tex-Mex, is slated to open Sat., Dec. 15, just down the street from Centeno’s Bäco Mercat in downtown’s Old Bank District. At first, hours will be 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday through Saturday.

Many scorn Tex-Mex for its “Macho Combos” and “Pancho Villa Platters.” But Centeno counters that the cuisine began simple and homey… Continue reading