Monday, July 2, 2012

East LA Meets Napa Returns July 20! A Preview, and Last Year's Recap

East LA Meets Napa is a unique event in Los Angeles. This event showcases some of the best Mexican restaurants in the city, along with some of the best wines either owned or operated by Hispanics in Napa Valley. The proceeds go to benefit AltaMed, which provides free health services to those in need, and support for single teenage mothers in East LA. What was at first a small event has grown to one of the biggest and most anticipated event of the year, and there's now less than 300 tickets left for this year's event!

They held a press preview at John Sedlar's Playa Restaurant and featured food and wine from a few of the event participants.
Chef Rocio Camacho of Rocio's Moles de los Dioses served a Chapulines and avocado taco

This taco was my favorite of the day. If you can get past your reservations about eating grasshoppers, this is a simple but amazing taco.
Empanadas tres soles: huitlacoche, flor de calabaza (squash blossoms), y potosina

Hongo relleno de finas hierbas y queso (mushroom stuffed with fine gerbs and cheese) - "mancha manteles" mole, literally "tablecloth stainer"
From Chef Hugo Molina of Seta Restaurant:
Gambas al ajillo dulce con pimiento rojo (prawns in sweet garlic with red bell pepper, on top of nopales)
Empanadas filled with beef and manchego cheese. I loved that the empanada shell was made of corn, giving it a really nice unique taste and texture.

Chef John Sedlar of Playa and Rivera will be doing his signature Tortilla Florales again, but this time topped with Greens and Herbs from his new rooftop garden, Cielo Verde

We tasted wines from three different wineries. The Big A (Cabernet Sauvignon) from Alex Sotelo Cellars was my favorite red of the day. It's big and bold, just my type of wine. Black Coyote is a newcomer in LA and produces a great, crisp sauvignon blanc. Gustavo Thrace (whom you may recall from the Bottleshock movie) served a white table blend that is crisp and refreshing.

As in the past couple of years, the event will be outdoors at Union Station, which is great when it's a nice summer evening. A mariachi band made the rounds last year (dancing allowed!)

Some of the notable dishes from last year were the corn flan with quinoa from Rivera, the duck taco from Cacao Mexicatessen, Mas Malo, and more. One of the wines that stood out last year was Rolando Herrera's Mi Sueno Winery in Napa.
The event will be held on July 20, 6pm, at Union Station. Tickets are $200 each, benefitting AltaMed and can be purchased here.


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