East LA Meets Napa 2011

AltaMed presented their annual East LA Meets Napa fundraiser a few weeks ago at Union Station. I’ve heard about this event for the last few years from Street Gourmet LA and The Glutster who have covered the event extensively. I was excited to try wines from Latino-owned and/or operated wineries as well as try bites from local LA restaurants.

The fundraiser helps with AltaMed’s mission to provide quality and culturally relevant health and human services to underserved communities of Los Angeles.

duck taco from Guisados

chicken tinga from La Parilla

Chile verde from El Tepeyac

After getting a plate and a glass for wine, I headed into the throng and immediately snatched up a duck taco from Guisados. It turned out to be one of my favorite bites that night.

The ladies at the La Parilla booth were doing individual quesadillas and chicken tinga. I really enjoyed the tinga atop of a fried puffy tortilla. It was really great mole as well.

I also had the chile verde from El Tepeyac Cafe. The tender pork was great with the freshly fried chips and just perfect guacamole. I’ve always wanted to try El Tepeyac, hearing wondrous things about their enormous burritos.

aguachile from Dorados Ceviche Bar

Mole from Casa Oaxaca

aguachile from Malo/ Mas Malo

I tasted two aguachile bites that night. I prefered the whole shrimp from Malo/ Mas Malo over Dorado’s Ceviche Bar but both had that tart-spicy flavor I love.

Following the rule that the longest line must be the best food item, I hopped over to Casa Oaxaca but they had just ran out of rice when I got my mole. Bummer! But the mole was exactly how I like it- thick, not too sweet and the cute Mexican flag stuck in the pastry was fun.

Moles La Tia

Chicken and shrimp enchilada from Seta

I went for the pork mole at Moles La Tia. The pineapple balanced the meat very well and kept it juicy. Of course I liked the crispy shell.

I’ve been to Seta years ago when it first opened and didn’t have the greatest experience. But a friend who lives in the area has assured me it’s much better and is considered one of the premiere restaurants of Whittier. I have to say this rather saucy enchilada of chicken and shrimp was pretty good.

Carnitas from Birria Chalio

beef ceviche from Antojitos Sofiy

We ran into Bill of Street Gourmet LA and he advised us to try the beef ceviche from Antojoitos Sofiy. He phrased them as being the most interesting dish of the night. Antojitos Sofiy is a caterer and beef ceviche is rare and probably impossible to find stumbling around your local cevicheria.

We also got the carnitas from neighboring booth Birria Chalio. Ah, carnitas! This event was nicknamed the “Carnitas and Cabernet” event. Because it was a warm evening, I was veering toward rose and white wines. I did have a sip or two of pinot noirs and tasty cabernet.

Mi Sueno Wines

With over 25 wineries, I had to make my selections carefully. I started with a rose wine from Mi Sueno. The representative said rose was his favorite and matched his pink shirt. Ha! I thought it helped calm my mouth with some of the more spicy offerings. I also enjoyed the wines from Ceja Vinyards, J. Lohr and many more.

Scallop ceviche from Loteria Grill

flan de elote from Rivera

My final bites were scallop ceviche from Loteria Grill. I’ve had Loteria Grill a few times and I’ve always enjoyed it. I will have to remember it the next time I want Mexican food in Hollywood or at the Farmers’ Market on 3rd.

The first time I had the flan de elote from Rivera, I thought it was pretty amazing. It was the same delicate creation as I remembered and one of the best presentations of the night.

Mariachi band

I was starting to feel full so I finally had the Goodie Girls‘ PB&J cupcake I had snagged earlier in the evening. I was glad I did because later I heard they were out of the cute cupcakes.

PB&J cupcake from Goodie Girls

Isn’t it pretty? Stuffed with grape jelly, the vanilla cake is frosted with peanut butter frosting.

Trader Joe’s was also a sponsor of AltaMed and guests walked away with reusable Trader Joe’s bags that are great for frozen goods. I plan to use mine the next time I go to TJ’s!

I neglected to get the “In Their Own Words” book being offered for sale at the event. It’s a book of stories from some of the Latino vintners at the event.  However, it’s on sale online for $25.


East LA Meets Napa


*** I was invited to this event.