By Andy J. Gordon
On a balmy summer evening in July, Altamed hosted a themed food and wine event at the beautiful outdoor courtyards of downtown Los Angeles’ Union Station. Altamed has been delivering quality medical care to the underserved communities of Southern California for more than 40 years. Their fundraising event brought together some of the finest Latino owned restaurants and wineries from the greater LA area as well as elsewhere along the west coast. Guests enjoyed unlimited food and wine in addition to dancing to the music of some talented live acts.
Food and beverage booths were spread throughout the courtyards. Guests enjoyed many tasty treats but there were a few that stood out from the crowd. The juicy and delicious Cochinitas Pibil from La Huesteca featured succulent pork on fresh flour tortillas. Zapiens served a complex dark mole with chicken. Teresitas offered a complex chile negro salsa served over mildly spicy carnitas. The line at the Chichen Itza booth was quite long as word spread about their amazing haberero infused BBQ shrimp. El Cholo also had long lines for their famous green chili tamales. Seta served a great white fish and scallop ceviche with just the right amount of citrus and heat.
There were also many vendors serving wines and tasty cocktails to help wash down the food. Conga Room created a tasty margarita inspired tuna tartare with an avocado base that they complemented with a duo of Tributo tequila cocktails. The extremely talented chef/owner of Rivera and Playa, John Sedler, went rogue by choosing not to serve any food. Instead he whipped up a special piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar) and vanilla infused reposado tequila that was served in shot glasses. The events’ organizers were not thrilled but it certainly seemed that the throng of attendees surrounding the Rivera booth were quite pleased as they greedily sucked down Sedler’s tasty concoction. Wines that made a favourable impression included a nice 2008 Napa valley cabernet from Honrama Cellars. Pina served a 2009 Howell Mountain cabernet, also from Napa. It had big flavor, soft tannins and hints of dark fruits like plum and blackberry.
After a few hours of decadent consumption, the crowd gradually exited the courtyard area. Altamed put on another successful event as guests left with a long list of new restaurants to try and wineries to visit.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon