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The Best Food, Wine, & Recipes from East LA Meets Napa 2017

A wine tasting journey without having to leave Los Angeles. On July 28th, 2017, another unforgettable East LA Meets Napa food & wine festival supporting AltaMed happened. It was The Hollywood Home’s second year attending the only festival, which celebrates the richness of Latin food and the success of Latino-owned vineyards in Napa, throughout California, and the quaint Spanish countrysides. Plus live performances from Pancho Sanchez, Ozomatli, Jose Rizo, and Boogaloo Assassins. Inside you’ll find all the best cuisine from 80+ local restaurants, plus your new favorite bottle of wine, a family paella recipe, and a recipe for ‘Pernil’ Mojo Marinated Pork Tenderloin that’s healthy as it is delicioso.

The always sold-out event draws 2,000+ people annually and proceeds benefit AltaMed’s initiatives and services that create access to health and dental care, senior and HIV services, teen mentoring programs, and more to undeserved families in LA and Orange counties. It’s the kind of event that’s an excellent way to eat amazing food, drink spectacular wine, and support a great local cause.

That translates to over 2000 take-home AltaMed wine glasses.

As soon as one enters their eyes immediately drift to the humungous paella pan. L.A. Paella Catering Company’s chef Benjamin Schuster is of German decent and was raised in Barcelona & Madrid where he was taught the trait of paella making by the local kitchen staff. In 2001, he immigrated to the United States to pursuit his university education, bringing along the family paella pan. LA Paella Catering is the most successful Paella and Tapas caterer in Los Angeles. Chef Ben was kind enough to provide his mouth-watering paella recipe. But, don’t worry, you won’t need a giant paella pan. Just a large cast iron skillet.

Chef Ben’s Paella Mixta
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch saffron threads (or paella spice mix)
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups medium grain rice (like Calrose
  • 12 little neck clams
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 2 chicken legs and thighs, skin on
  • 2 cups calimari, chopped
  • 2 cups SPanish chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 1 cup early peas
  • 1/2 pound medium prawns or shrimp, whole

Directions

  • Peel and chop the garlic, onions and julienne the red pepper. Preheat a paella pan, or large cast iron skillet, with the olive oil and add the chicken, chorizo, onions and peppers and sauté until soft. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add garlic. Take care not to burn the garlic and stir constantly until well incorporated and add the saffron and chicken stock. The longer the sofrito cooks, the darker and more intensely flavored the paella will be. Next add the calamari followed by the shrimp, clams, and mussels. Stir in the rice and chicken stock and simmer the paella for 20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all liquid.

Next up we greeted Chef Ronaldo Linares, the author of a must-have new cookbook ‘Sabores de Cuba: Diabetes Friendly Traditional and Nueva Cubano Cuisine.’ Chef Ronaldo is a leading expert on healthy Latino cooking. Yes, it can be done. He cooks heartfelt Cuban-inspired and passion infused food. Follow Chef Ronaldo on Intsagram here and purchase his book here. His recipe for ‘Pernil’ Mojo Marinated Pork Tenderloin is just one of many healthy and delicious recipes in the book.

‘Pernil’ Mojo Marinated Pork Tenderloin

  • Makes: 5 servings
  • Serving Size: 4 oz piece
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 naval oranges, peeled and halved
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 Tbsp. distilled vinegar
  • 2 stems fresh thyme
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 20 oz)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. avocado oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Grab your trusty blender to make the mojo. Add oranges, lemons, salt, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, vinegar, and fresh thyme leaves into the blender. Pulse the mixture four times, then purée for 1 minute. Set aside 4 oz of the mojo; place the remaining mojo mixture into a large, resealable plastic bag.
  3. Remove the silver skin from the pork tenderloin (this is the silver-looking skin at the fatter end of the pork). Add the pork tenderloin to the plastic bag with the mojo. Let the pork marinate for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  5. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the avocado oil and wait 10 seconds so the oil reaches cooking temperature. Place the pork tenderloin in the pan and brown both sides, then transfer the tenderloin to a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes. The pork is done when it reaches 145 F.
  6. Remove the pork tenderloin and let it sit for a few minutes, so the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Drizzle some of the reserved mojo marinade on the pork. Now eat!

Chef Joshua Gil served lovely and unique vegan tacos. You may recognize his name from Tacos Punta Cabras, which is luckily returning to Santa Monica very soon.

Cafe Gasolina‘s motto is “Stop in. Fuel up.” Executive Chef & Owner Sandra Cordero served a refreshing watermelon gazpacho. Gasolina is located in Woodland Hills and is open every day until 4pm. Their food is seasonally driven, sustainably raised and grown, and locally sourced. Their goal is to bring Spanish influenced food to the table in an entirely new way.

 

I foolishly didn’t catch the makers of these three incredible salsas. If any of you were at the festival and remember, please let me know in the comments! I’d love to bottle this up and take it home with me.

Salsa Grill Chef Marco Zapien served a Pozole Tostada – shredded pork, hominy, lime juice, picked onion, cilantro, and radishes served on crisp tostada shell. It seems simple enough to make at home, which is exactly what you should try. Salsa Grill is located in Pico Rivera and is definitely worth the trip for their affordable lunch specials.

Bistro Provincia is a new restaurant coming very soon. They’ve got new digs in Newport Beach, which will make an excellent beach day food destination.

Casa Oaxaca served hibiscus flower tacos, made with hibiscus sauce, squash blossom or mushroom, with grasshopper sauce. If you’re wondering what exactly grasshopper sauce entails take trip to their outpost on Venice Boulevard in Culver City.

I was thrilled to find Spana Life, a roaming and online pop up shop, and purveyors of fine food and goods and wines direct from Spain.Their delicious spread included Basque agina peppers, marcona almonds, Spanish-style potato chips, Manchengo cheese, and Spanish olives. And the best part is that you can get all that and more (wine) from their website.

La Monarca Bakery served a delectable fruit tart. La Monarca Bakery’s founders grew up enjoying the rich variety of cakes, pastries and breads, household staples in Mexico. They created La Monarca Bakery to bring The Sweet Flavor of Mexico™. They have several locations throughout Los Angeles and their party trays are a great last minute pickup on your way to the party.

Creator of “the BEST DAMN cheesecake that you’ll EVER try!” Chef Brian “Turok” Menendez has worked for some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, whom is now making some of the best cheesecakes being served around LA County. This cheesecake was made with goat’s milk caseta, txtura wine gelee, marcona almond crunch, edible flowers, and champagne espoma. It’s a must try. He called it his #redwinesublime cheesecake.

And let’s not forget about the wine. Mario Bazan Cellars was one of our first glasses and one of our definitive favorites. Owner (and wife of Mario) Gloria Bazan was as kind as knowledgable about her wine as possible. Mario and Gloria have their own estate vineyard in Napa. Their a boutique winery focused on a single varietal wine, an ultra premium quality 100% Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Smooth and silky, this wine is a true expression of its varietal.

Delgadillo Cellars is truly a family affair, run by father and son team Ignacio Delgadillo, Sr. and Ignacio Delgadillo Jr. Each Delgadillo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon spends several years in French oak and has been bottle aged for three years in ideal cellar conditions before release. We loved the cabernet with its lush fruit and deep, smooth finish and then were told it was a $105 dollar bottle. Another favorite was Justicia Wines, who chose the Goddess Themis to represent their first brand as “the protector of freedom, equality, and justice.” Their 2009 red and 2011 pinot noir had flavors of plum, chocolate, and vanilla.

And, as always, the music served not just as a backdrop to the food and wine, but as a truly special night in and of itself. Where else could you see Pancho Sanchez, Ozomatli, Jose Rizo, and Boogaloo Assassins all in one night?

And with drinks and great music, there must be dancing.

And a visit with the former mayor of Los Angeles (and future governor of California?) Antonio Villaraigosa.

And, finally, as a night cap, tequila from Pochteca Spirits. The incredible Mexican-inspired liqueurs made with agave tequila and all natural flavors such as pomegranate, coconut, lime, almond, and hibiscus.

Another incredible night with East LA Meets Napa. So many passionate individuals came together with their love of food and spirits. Their unique family stories and histories resonated nearly as much as their incredible foods and wines. You won’t want to miss this event next year!

Find out more about AltaMed’s East LA Meets Napa Festival here.

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