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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Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event at Saddlerock Ranch: Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arroz Con Marisco | Mo-Chica

It’s that time of year, again. Last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality showing of chefs at The Food Event. In this fifth installment, the line-up looks pretty solid. I also just checked the weather, and it looks like this rain will pass a couple days clear of Sunday (phew).

I can imagine that Malibu will be beautiful and green by the time The Food Event rolls around. It aims to be the perfect backdrop against which renowned restaurants, brands and their headlining chefs will glisten. I’m especially excited about Akasha, Barbrix, Bulgarini, Eva, The Foundry on Melrose, La Mill Coffee, The Lobster, Loteria!, Magnolia Bakery, Mo-Chica, Palate Food & Wine, The Penthouse at The Huntley Hotel, Sweet Rose Creamery and Westside Tavern. Chefs such as Helene An (The An Group), Mark Gold (Eva), Neal Fraser (Grace), Rory Hermann (Bouchon) and Laurent Quenioux (Bistro LQ) and mixologist Julian Cox (Rivera, Test Kitchen) will be presenting live demonstrations on the stage. Carrie Kommers (Dine LA) and Leslie Bargar Suter (Los Angeles Magazine) will be modering panels.

Of course, you’ll have mostly California wines closeby, along with Anheuser’s sponsored beer garden (serving Hoegaarden, Leffe and Stella), Karma Tequila and Veev to help you sip your way through the afternoon. And what’s even better, some research on my end yielded a discount code for $25 off the ticket price – so whether or not you decide to tether it to a $5 yearly subscription to Los Angeles Magazine – that’s a good quarter off the $95 advance ticket price. Take a look below for the code, get your tickets and I’ll see you there!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

1 – 4 PM

Advance tickets: $95, or w/subscription: $100
At-the-door: $110

Parking included
Must be 21+
Use code “FRIENDS” for $25 off

The Food Event
Saddlerock Ranch
31727 Mulholland Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265

LA Magazine’s The Food Event Lives Up To Hype

The thing about these food extravaganzas is sometimes you can expect a lot of piecemeal efforts from restaurants who run the gambit of quality and notoriety and are there to garner publicity because they need it. Not so with Los Angeles Magazine‘s The Food Event – held at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu last Sunday and which featured a ton of power players in the L.A. scene. First of all, the setting was beautiful and couldn’t be more fairy tale. Imagine food and wine in a bowl set inside rolling hills with rows of grape vines and a clear blue sky above. Second, I actually regretted not having enough capacity to try everything. If I knew what everyone was serving ahead of time as I perused stand to stand, I could prioritize the space in my stomach somehow. Then again, that would have taken oodles of self-control that – let’s face it – I frankly don’t have.

Highlights that I was actually able to digest included a steak sandwich from Dakota (above), three different tacos including a potato variety from Loteria! Grill, an interesting foie gras-eel sushi roll (yes, the magic was in the foie gras) as well as an astounding lettuce wrap (below) from Wilshire Restaurant, and – I’m sure – tons of other things I eyed with a look only a diner with an overwhelmed yet yearning palate could exude.

Oh – and how nice it was to see the newly-expanded Petrossian in my neighborhood, in Malibu. Their blinis and borscht was one of the smallest bites there but also the most delectable and luxurious. And you’d think I’d never be so excited to see so many sliders, which I’d normally view as fillers. There were so many varieties of meats and perfect buns to accompany them, including Westside Tavern‘s lamb dip.

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This Weekend: Beach Cleanup, BevMo!, Beer…and Kitty. And Food.

Americans on a non-American beach (autumn in Italy)

Wow. There is so much going on this weekend – I can’t wait to tell all of them to you because I won’t be in town to enjoy hardly any of them! (I also can’t wait to be done with the press releases that are coming out of my ears!!) Too bad I can’t pull my weight at the Blogger Beach Cleanup – put on by Siel of Green LA Girl and Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean! 🙁 The cleanup fun starts at 4 PM on Saturday between lifeguard stations 26 and 27 in Santa Monica – and the best part is, you don’t even have to be a blogger to participate. Also, afterwards you’ll even reap rewards beyond your eco-conscience and get to enjoy an awesome happy hour at Pourtal. I mean, who wouldn’t get a chance to hang out with Siel and Caroline on Crack?!?!?!?!?! (You’re crazy.)

I’ll be at a wedding, which is a welcome obligation (yeah – I guess you could call him a “Good friend”) much aided by the fact that it’s at a winery in Paso Robles. That’s north, which means that I will be able to catch The Food Event in Malibu on my way back to LA. Super excited about that! In the meantime, here are the plethora of things to choose from this weekend…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

BevMo! Torrance Grand Opening

There’s a new BevMo! opening in Torrance and the launch party is on Saturday. You’ll have the opportunity to donate $15 to The Boys & Girls Club of South Bay, plus take home a 100th store commemorative wine glass and a goody bag full of miscellaneous … goodies. Complimentary hors d’ouerves will be served as well as Jim Beam BBQ. BevMo! will also be hosting a silent auction and live entertainment. I think it’s a good day to make it to the South Bay as any – especially with a chance to taste $6,000 cognac!

11 – 5 PM

BevMo!
2533 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite A
Torrance, CA 90505

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Tasting Asia in L.A. Mag’s Culinary College

Upon arrival, other bloggers and I were greeted by Ian Blackburn – founder of LearnAboutWine.com – and the first of five wines we would try that night. Also there were Fiona of Gourmet Pigs, Wandering Chopsticks, Maya of ShopEatSleep, Shelly of FauxLAHipster and Caroline on Crack so I was in good company.

I am partial to cabernets so one of my favorite wines of the night was a Semler from Malibu Family Wines – the vineyard of which is located at the top of Mulholland. The other was a very impressive Sweeney Canyon pinot noir made from single clone grapes in Santa Barbara County. We were told there were only 700 cases of this pinot made.

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LA Mag Culinary College: A Taste of Asia

clinarycollege

Wednesday, July 15th
7 -9 PM

Presenting their second of three classes in their Culinary College series, Los Angeles Magazine will be featuring Wilshire Restaurant’s Executive Chef Andrew Kirschner at Snyder Diamond in Santa Monica. This class, “A Taste of Asia,” will teach us “students” how to recreate the following menu:

  • Steamed Carlsbad Mussels with Red Coconut Curry Broth
  • Vietnamese Summer Shrimp Rolls

As in all classes in the series, Sub-Zero/Wolf Executive Chef Bridget Bueche will be cooking food grown locally from the Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market. Also, Ian Blackburn from LearnAboutWine will also be on hand for wine tasting.

Caroline on Crack, Maya of ShopEatSleep and I will see you there!

“A Taste of Asia” class info

Snyder Diamond
1399 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310.450.100

Tickets are $50. Please call Estrellita Dacanay 323-801-0034 to purchase.

Payment by credit card only.