Showing posts with label east LA meets Napa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label east LA meets Napa. Show all posts

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

East LA Meets Napa Returns Big

East LA Meets Napa, the annual fundraiser benefiting AltaMed, is a special event for Los Angeles. Not only does it raise money for free quality healthcare for those who need it the most, it is the only event of its caliber that gathers Latin restaurants around town and Latino-owned or operated wineries of California under the same roof.

Well, technically there's no roof.

East LA Meets Napa is held at the courtyards of Union Station
There are two connected courtyards at Union Station and while last year's event occupied only one of them, this year they expanded to both and even filling up the adjoining hallway.

There's even a mariachi band making its way around the event.
As wine kept flowing, people started to salsa on and in front of the stage.

The evening started with a VIP reception at Traxx, which had more wine tasting - some of which were also available at the main event. This year's event is also special since in accordance with Mexico's bicentennial anniversary, they also had wineries from Baja's Valle de Guadalupe participating, along with guest chef Patricia Quintana from restaurant Izote in Mexico City.

There were plenty of Napa cabs, but at the VIP reception we also got to try a sweet blend of late harvest grapes from Ceja.

I had my first tastes of Cook's Tortas. It's not the full experience but a great teaser, using the same bread they use in their regular tortas. I'll be making it out there soon.

It would be impossible to go through everything, but here are some highlights:

Wild boar & duck carnitas from Cacao Mexicatessen

Chapulines (grasshopper) tostada from La Huasteca

These weren't as good as Guelaguetza's chapulines but it was fun having my friends try them for the first time.

Golden gazpacho with poached shrimp and Israeli couscous from Setá

Various desserts from Porto's Bakery

There were more of course, here's a slideshow of the others:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Eastside of Food Events: East LA Meets Napa

One Friday evening, Union Station is transformed into a food and wine mecca. In its fourth year, East L.A. Meets Napa event, hosted by Altamed, gathered more than 1000 people on July 10 to taste the food of more than 40 Latino restaurants around town and the wines (and tequila) by Latino wineries or winemakers throughout the state.

Some of the notable participating wineries include Sequoia Grove, J. Lohr, Cobblestone Vineyards, El Centauro del Norte, and many many more.

With plenty of food to sample, I did not manage to try everything. The restaurants everyone seemed to enjoy but I missed included Cook's Tortas, Birrieria Chalio, and Moles La Tia, but here are some of the highlights for me:

Chicken tamale with black mole from Guelaguetza.
Mole from Guelaguetza - a staple of LA. There's a reason they are popular. Here they serve up delicious chicken tamales with their sweet mole and fragrant rice.

Florales Tortillas with shrimp salsa from Rivera
One of Rivera's signatures - housemade nixtamal tortillas that are crispy and gorgeous to look at at the same time.

Chiles en Nogada from La Casita Mexicana
This was better in the larger version you get at the actual restaurant due to the ratio, but still enjoyable with the sweet walnut sauce.

Castillas de Puerco en Chile Negro from Teresita
Very tender and flavorful. This was a find I would not have known were it not for this event! It's really for these lesser-known places that these food events are so great for - an exposure to over 1000 people.

There were some unique desserts to be found also, including this handmade 3-D jello from Attila the Flan.
(That just looks so cool!)

Chocolate dipped jalapenos from D's Delights
I did actually try a bite - spicy! Not for me, not for me. But fun nonetheless.

I unfortunately had to run out of there after an hour to make it to my Andrew Bird concert, but in that one hour I had a lot of great food, great wines, and met many of my foodie friends including Mattatouille, LA&OC Foodie, Food She Thought, Wandering Chopsticks, FoodGPS, and Choisauce.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Save the Date! East LA Meets Napa on July 10

On July 10, some of the top Latino restaurants in Los Angeles and Latino winemakers throughout Napa will gather at Union Station. What for, you ask? Why, to wine and dine you, of course!

This marks the fourth year of East Los Angeles Meets Napa, a Latino-culture-centric food and wine event benefitting AltaMed, a health organization reaching out to the poor and uninsured population of East LA.

Participating restaurants include some that I've been to and enjoyed such as Rivera, La Casita Mexicana, Palate, Porto's Bakery, and Guelaguetza.

The rest of the 40-something restaurants include Casa de Moles La Tia (food samples pictured below), Phlight, Frida Restaurant, El Portal, Cook's Tortas and many many others.

There will of course be tons of wine, from Napa just as the name of the event suggests. But being a Latino-centric event, we won't be having any old Napa wines. Latino winemakers/vineyard-owners throughout Napa will be featured front and center at this event.
Some of the featured wines will include Karl Lawrence with winemaker Michael Trujillo, Madrigal which is a small vineyard that has been family-run for three generations, and Sequoia Grove (which Choisauce absolutely loved).

During the Press Preview held at Rivera, we also tasted some creations to be looked forward to at the actual event. The previews included samples from Rivera, Casa de Moles La Tia, and Phlight.

Some highlights were Rivera's Kumamoto Oysters with Cucumber Caviar (top photo on the page), Shrimp with pineapple:

Kennebeck Potato Chips, Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Chipotle Crema

For the press preview, we ended with the Mexico City Sundae from Rivera - ice cream with habanero and caramel. Bold and delicious is how I would describe this spicy yet cool and refreshing dessert. One can only hope they will serve it at the event ... and at the restaurant.

The event will take place on Friday July 10, 6-9 PM at the Union Station (800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA)
Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.

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