Nine Noteworthy Upcoming Los Angeles Food & Drink Events

Glimpses of Unmissable Upcoming Events

Let me take this first post in almost one month to deliver some pertinent upcoming event news. It’s now summer and thus, event season, here in sunny Southern California. Now that I’ve somewhat psychologically recovered from a huge picture-data dump from spilling a homemade cocktail all over my non-backed-up laptop, I’m finally ready to move into this crazy part of the year.

So here’s a rebirth of sorts; it’s an intentional start to the summer by tallying up the essential food events continuing into the fall (L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade is in September). One focuses on cocktails. One focuses on tacos. One focuses on ribs. Three are on the same day; thus, yes – I do wish that these were spread out, more. But practically all of them feature world-class chefs. So without further adieu, here’s where you need to be this summer:

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Baja California, Mexico: The Valle de Guadelupe Paella Festival

Javier Plascencia and Margarita Prieto

When one gets a last-minute, impromptu call from “reverse coyote” Bill Esparza to go down to Baja California for a sold-out paella festival in Valle de Guadelupe on a day trip, one drops everything and goes. Even if she’s supposed to be moving out of her apartment within the week.

And that’s what I did.

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Petty Cash Taqueria Bolsters Baja on Beverly

Aguachile en Molcajete

If the former Playa Rivera, as it stood on Beverly Boulevard, offered a somewhat intimidating Mexi-China concept for the price point at which it met its clientele, then perhaps Petty Cash Taqueria will benefit from all the lessons learnt. The menu is streamlined straight toward Baja, peppered with a beverage selection fit to satisfy the fussiest drinkers in LA. While quality ingredients are in the picture, that doesn’t begin to describe how well the tacos and flavor combinations are executed.

After all, who else would show the people of Hancock Park that a charred octopus taco is always what they’ve wanted?

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Recap: L.A. Weekly and Bill Esparza’s Inaugural Tacolandia

Sabina’s sea urchin & clam, smoked fish pate and scallop tostadas from La Guerrerense

The food festival circuit is a doozy, these days. And with how exhausting each event is, it’s easy to fatigue early on. There’s dealing with the line wait in front of the popular stands, but there’s also the prioritizing that goes on to ensure you’re getting the good stuff before you get full. The sold-out Tacolandia stood to be no different.

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Four Los Angeles Food Events in June You Won’t Want to Miss

Picture credits: TOTNLA, @LA_Chefs

Now that it’s summer in Los Angeles, there’s a ton going on all over town. And when it comes to food events, it’s enough to make your head spin. But you want to play it smart with your time and funds, because no one’s got patience for fluff.

Fortunately, I’ve narrowed it down to the best four events you’ll want to attend this month. They’re all on the weekend, so you’ll have enough time to make your trek. Whether it’s raising money to combat childhood hunger, celebrating Fatherhood the best way possible, eating the best tacos in the city or carousing the famous Rose Bowl for the best bites in Los Angeles, June is shaping up to be an exciting time to be in L.A. Let’s get started. Continue reading

Two Food Truck Events You Should Know About: Antojitos de mi Abuelita at Street Food Mondays, Cast Iron Gourmet & Frysmith at Black Boar Bar

Antojitos de mi Abuelita

Everyone knows Los Angeles is a wonderful place to eat, with unmatched culinary diversity – and mobility – found anywhere else in the world. Fortunately, there are two food events happening today and tomorrow with focuses on food trucks – O.G. and nouveau – that bring you their goods in a special setting for one night only. If I weren’t out of town, I’d personally attend these two events. Instead, you’ll have to go in my place, represent and see what they’re all about.

One is brought to you by the celebrated return of Street Food Mondays, curated by Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet LA) and Evan Kleiman (owner of Angeli Caffe). Antojitos de mi Abuelita, a food truck representing Mexico City-style antojitos, or masa-based “little whims,” will be serving up “Comida corrida,” or a 3-course meal for only $28.

The other is a collaboration between Cast Iron Gourmet and Frysmith food truck – more on that after the jump.

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Celebrating Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles

Credit to Bowerboy on Flickr

I have to say, I’m burnt out on Halloween. I buckle under the pressure of coming up with The Most Original Costume in the World. It stresses me out. My most original and relevant costume to date (an underaged Chinese gymnast) is two years old and even survived my recent move as a souvenir of brilliance, but alas, its 2008 Olympics relevance has ceded long ago. It’s not a costume you can “raise from the dead,” or the confines of my closet.

Costume stresses are cause to look at a different holiday to celebrate – one, perhaps, that entails one theme. Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that occurs on November 2nd every year, the day after Day of the Innocents. Look at it this way: There are less grueling (i.e. not dressing up as a sexy something) ways to celebrate the end of October while honoring our ancestors – and do how Mexicans and Mexican Americans do.

You can start by picking up the November Los Angeles Magazine issue, or The Ultimate Guide to Mexican Food in L.A., featuring the expertise of baja tours extraordinaire Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet LA), L.A. Mag editor Leslie Bargar Suter and critic Patrick Kuh.

And after you emerge from those pages with a new “To Eat” memo in your BlackBerry, you may as well add to that a “To Attend” memo with these Día de los Muertos events happening around town over the weekend and thereafter. Dress code? Calaca, if you dare. (See – I need these things decided for me.) 

  • Novenario Processions (Night Processions) on Olvera Street – Nightly, now through Tuesday, November 2, 2010: 7 PM

Catch the nightly, sightly pre-Columbian parade starting at Olvera Street Gallery entrance. After each procession, free Pan du Muerto (bread of the dead) and Champurrado (warm, thick chocolate drink with masa) will be served. Free. Metro stop: Union Station. Website

  • Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Saturday, October 30, 2010: 12 PM – 2 AM

Enjoy altar exhibits, processionals, Aztec Dancers, art, Ballet Folklorico performances, live music and more in the most appropriate site for a celebration honoring the dead. Guelaguetza will be on-site with their awesome Oaxacan food. La Monarca Bakery will be selling their specialty Pan du Muerto Metro as well as organic Oaxacan coffee, Mexican cookies, and bunuelos (Spanish fritters). $10 admission. Metro stop: Red Line – Hollywood/Vine. Website

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Street Food Mondays at Test Kitchen Features Mariscos Chente’s

Pescado Zarandeado (Snook)

Street Food Monday is back. And for tonight’s installment, it has relocated to Test Kitchen in West LA. This one is especially exciting because contemporary Sinaloan and Nayaritan cuisine from Mariscos Chente’s will be served in anticipation of the opening of a future location. Sergio Penuelas, who was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa has over 15 years experience cooking Nayaritan cuisine.

Tonight’s guests will get to enjoy his Pescado Zarandeado. Snook is butterflied and cooked over a mesquite grill. It’s a deliciously tender preparation incorporating chile and garlic. And here’s the full menu of what you can be expecting tonight – all for $35:

Ceviche de Cameron
  1. Tostaditas(3): Ceviche de Camaron, Pate de Marlin, Aguachile Rojo
  2. Albondigas de Camaron: Soup with shrimp balls
  3. Taco Gobernador: Shrimp taco with cheese
  4. Mignon de Camaron: Grilled shrimp fillet
  5. Pescado Zarandeado: Grilled whole fish served family style
  6. Capirotada: Mexican bread pudding

So be sure to make your online reservation ASAP. Tonight is a great chance to get a real taste of Sinaloan and Nayaritan food. I had a visit recently to their Inglewood location, which is owned by Connie Cossio and which I can’t sing enough praises about. I would definitely attend tonight if I weren’t out of town right now!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

6 – 10:30 PM

Reservations available online only

Test Kitchen
9575 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Street Food Monday Returns: Sri Lankan Priyani Ceylon Café Presents Hoppers

String Hoppers With Pork Curry, Coconut Sambola and Dal Curry | Photo credit to PleasurePalate.com

Bill Esparza and Evan Kleiman’s Street Food Mondays at Angeli Caffe are back with a vengeance. And next Monday, they’ll be presenting Priyani Ceylon Cafe’s string hoppers. This is a limited engagement, unfortunately because Priyani has actually shut down recently due to bad location and unfavorable lease terms.

Never had Sri Lankan food? Wondering what to expect in a hopper? String hoppers are paddies made of rice noodles while hoppers are thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour. Egg hoppers instead are made with the same rice flour, however with the addition of egg in the batter. Other items from the former Priyani Cafe will also be featured.

Menu

Appetizer
$4 One fish cutlet (croquette) and a beef roll

Hoppers
$5.50 Five String Hoppers (rice noodle patties) with sime sambal (spicy condiment)
$3 Plain Hopper (thin fermented pancake) with choice of sime sambal or a *curry
$3.50 Egg Hopper (fermented pancake with egg) with choice of sime sambal or a
*curry

*Curries: choice of mutton or chicken

Priyani Favorites
$6.50 Chicken Biryani( Rice mold with chicken, eggplant, hard-boiled egg, and
cashews)
$8 Lampreis (chicken curry,shrimp sambal, fish cutlet, sime sambal, and a green
banana curry wrapped in a banana leaf)

Dessert
$4 Wattalapam (Sri Lankan flan)

Extras
$1.50 Additional condiment of a curry or sambal

Beer and wine will be available for sale

Fortunately, if you’ve never had Sri Lankan food, this will be your chance. Hop on over to Angeli Caffe for your taste of the action. It’s extremely affordable and much of the street food community will be in tow to support.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

5 PM – 10 PM

Angeli Caffé
7274 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323.936.9086

Street Food Mondays: Ricky’s Fish Tacos at Angeli Caffe

Ricky's Fish Tacos | Photo credit: Cathy Danh of GastronomyBlog.com

I can get behind a series that features a different street food every week. Thankfully, Evan Kleiman and Bill Esparza of StreetGourmetLA are bringing exactly that to Evan’s Angeli Caffe on Melrose every Monday. Next Monday kicks off with Ricky Piña of Ricky’s Fish Tacos. His tacos and his stand set-up have been notorious for being delicious and available only at Sunset Junction on the weekends.

The story of Ricky himself is remarkable in that he’s from a family of mechanics who have serviced the cars of Baja fishermen – with payment coming in the form of abalone, oysters, pismo clams and fish. True Baja flavors will be yours to the tune of $3 per shrimp or fish taco on Monday night at Angeli – and you’d be remiss to pass this opportunity up!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

6 – 10 PM

$3 per taco

Ricky’s Fish Tacos at Angeli Caffe
7274 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323.936.9086