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…
The spirits of ancient Mexican deities may soon reside in Los Angeles, enticed across the border by chef Rocio Camacho.
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.
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.]
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.]
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…
Let’s count the reasons we love mole. It’s rich and intense. Warm and comforting. Spicy, yet sweet and often savory. A seamless blend of 20 to 40 (or more) ingredients that have been toasted, roasted, ground, blended and cooked. Radiant and colorful. A mix of Old World spices with New World chiles and chocolate. Mole, more than a mere sauce for chicken or enchiladas, is considered Mexico’s national dish — and it has traveled to L.A. restaurants with traditional recipes largely intact. Keep reading to learn more, and see 10 of our favorite mole spots in L.A.
Have you maxed out on al pastor or carne asada tacos from your local taco truck? Then you need a trip through Boyle Heights to remind yourself just how diverse and versatile tacos can be. That is what I did last week, along with professor Sarah Portnoy’s USC Spanish class on Latino food in L.A. We visited three terrific spots: Mariscos Jalisco, Santa Rita Jalisco, and Guisados.
Last year’s Feria de los Moles (or Mole Fair) at L.A.’s Olvera Street drew 30,000 people — and with good reason. The annual event, now in its fifth year and happening Sunday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., celebrates this classic Mexican dish with food, music, dance, workshops, and even a friendly competition. Admission is free.
Olvera St.: Authentic Mexican enclave? Whitewashed tourist attraction? Olvera St. is not one or the other. It is both, and in that mix represents a fascinating model of what it means to be at the center of such a pluralistic, multi-cultural city as Los Angeles, in the exact spot where its history, present and future intersect…. [read this post in both English and Spanish]