By Andy J. Gordon
LA Plaza, the historic site of Mexican-American culture and heritage in Downtown Los Angeles was an appropriate location for the 2013 Taste of Mexico event. Authentic Mexican cuisine, fine booze and live music could be found at the open air site. On this beautiful night, hundreds of attendees enjoyed a diverse array of bite size treats from a who’s who list of Los Angeles restaurants. A number of fine tequila, mezcal and beer companies were also offering cocktails and tastings of their products. The Taste of Mexico Association, whose goal is to enhance and promote Mexican cuisine, put on a fine culinary evening that showcased some of the best Mexican food and drink in Los Angeles.
Frida owner Vicente Del Rio, one of the founders of the Association was all smiles as guests greedily enjoyed some of his delicious ceviches. The tropical ceviche with shrimp, mango, pineapple and a touch of habanero was particularly tasty. Another founding restaurant, La Casita Mexicana, was serving excellent soft tacos. Both the chicken and pork complemented by flavorful salsas were big hits. Ricky’s Fish Tacos served their signature Baja style fried catfish tacos that were as good as any south of the border. Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill churned out some decadent pork soft tacos with a sprinkle of bacon bits. Loteria also presented a choice of tasty mini-margaritas; a watermelon one made with Corzo tequila and a pineapple ginger flavored one made with Casadores. Pop up restaurant Ceviche Project served amazing kampachi and red snapper treats. Mexicali Taco & Co. served tender, char-grilled carne asada on a plate with queso cheese, beans and guacamole.
There were two distinct areas set up for tequila and mezcal tastings. One was a large tent crowded with guests that featured a bar, lounge area and flat screen TV showing Mexico’s national team competing against Panama for entry into the World Cup competition. At the bar, a long line of anxious people watched as Marco Ramos and Gilbert Marquez created a custom cocktail made with Ilegal mezcal and Don Julio Blanco tequila. Right next to the bar, guests could sample shots of some of the other fine Don Julio tequilas. Also in the tent was the super premium Casa Dragones tequila. Their joven is a blend of blanco and anejo tequilas specially selected to bring out the finest qualities of the blue agave plants.
Several additional liquor vendors were set up near the music stage. Sacrificio mezcal is a new player among premium brands and their product was excellent both neat and mixed with tamarind water. Another tasty mezcal was being served at the Wahaka booth. They are a small batch provider that is certified organic. Victoria was handing out generous pours of their beer and making Micheladas from the mix provided by Guelagetza restaurant.
The Taste of Mexico Association strives to promote authentic Mexican cuisine in the Los Angeles area. Their third annual showcase event was a huge success in meeting that goal. Patrons left with full stomachs, big smiles and the knowledge that great food and drink from several regions of Mexico can be found throughout Los Angeles.
[Andy J. Gordon, a Los Angeles-based marketing and strategy consultant, made his writing debut in “Brentwood” Magazine in 2007. His interests include music, sports, consumer electronics, premium libations, fine dining, travel, fast cars, and enjoying life.]