East LA Meets Napa 2014

AltaMed held its 9th annual East LA Meets Napa fundraiser last Friday evening, and I was lucky enough to be invited.

Established over 40 years ago, AltaMed is Southern California’s leading non-profit health care system delivering integrated primary care services, senior care programs and health and human services for the entire family.

The theme of the event is to showcase Southern California’s best Mexican restaurants, and the best Latino-owned wineries. It’s an inspired combination, and everyone put their best foot forward. News is getting out, and the event was sold out early, as I’m sure it will be next year, judging by the happy faces of the attendees.

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The location couldn’t have been more perfect… or more unexpected. We’ve all been to Union Station, but everyone is so focused on catching a train that very few people notice the lovely outdoor courtyards of this historic building. It provided a free flow that allowed us to listen to the great live music, meet new friends and sample delicious food and wines.

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Each of the participating restaurants brought one or two of their signature dishes. Especially memorable were the chiles en nogada from La Huasteca, flautas de jamaica from Casa Oaxaca and the panuchos from Chichén Itzá. I was also delighted with dishes from La Parilla, Rivera Restaurant, Rocio’s Moles de los Dioses and several others. I even tried eating grasshopper for the first time… it was served in a salsa, so I could concentrate on the delicious flavor, and not the little beasts themselves.

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There were wonderful wines from Alex Sotelo Cellars, Gustavo Wines and Trujillo Wines. It was a temptation to visit Nevarez Vineyard, Luis Ochoa Family Vineyards, Delgadillo Cellars and others, but there was only one of me, and it was only one evening. I’ll be looking out for their wines in the future.

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The event was perfectly organized, and was a big success in all aspects. I was very fortunate to be a part of it. I have a list of restaurants that will keep me busy for months, and I’m already looking forward to next year.

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