Have you ever wondered why Los Angeles has such a thriving Mexican culture?
The “sisterly DNA” of many Los Angelenos lies in the heart of Mexico City. In 1969 Los Angeles and Ciudad de México — the latter now known as the pretty bad-ass quartet “CDMX” — became sister cities and this week celebrated 50 years of interconnectedness. To show the impact this sisterhood has on the LA food scene, The Los Angeles Times launched 2019 LA Food Bowl Festival for the entire month of May.
What we picture inside LA Times editorial minds: “A week of celebration? Nah. Just make a month.”
This “bowl” — also no pun intended — features over 200 food-inspired events, including panel discussions, chef collaborations, volunteer projects and live entertainment. Some of the most notable events include Mesamérica LA, DFiesta, and Night Market. Designed to educate, inspire and feed the souls of all attendees, The Times represents what 50 years of unity looks and taste like.
For its opening night ceremony, Food Editor Peter Meehan and world renowned chef Enrique Olvera, teamed up to present the first incarnation of Olvera’s praised symposium outside of Mexico. Held at the Million Dollar Theatre, Mesamérica explored the meaning of tacos, through talks, video and song. Chefs Norma Listman, Carlos Salgado, and architect Javier Garciadiego added impressive commentary, further explaining the importance of the sister cities.
Did someone say tacos?
To continue the festivities, a DFiesta party proceeded at Grand Central Market for ticket holders. Guests enjoyed specialty drinks and Mexican cuisine, while mariachi bands filled the ambiance. One of the most notable elements of this event was the food collaboration with local LA restaurants.
Guerrilla Tacos, Tacos 1986, Horse Thief BBQ, Los Panchos, Petty Cash, Sari Sari Store, The Oyster Gourmet, China Café, and Enrique Olvera’s forthcoming taqueria, provided tacos throughout the night. A swarming crowd surrounded Olvera, demanding photos and autographs, while stuffing their mouths with delicious tacos.
All attendees were invited for a post celebration at LA Cita Bar just south of the market. Speciality drinks and food were provided, as Mexican inspired tunes filled the room.
LA Times’ take
LA Times senior food writer Jenn Harris told Grit Daily that her favorite thing about the Food Bowl is Night Market. “It really is at the heart of what we’re trying to do with this festival, as we take over Grand Park for five nights to celebrate the amazing food scene in Los Angeles,” she exclaimed.
“It’s free admission and we have food from restaurants and trucks all over the city. But what’s special about this year is that we created ticketed experiences each night and day,” she added. LA Times splitting up that night crowd.
Going on now, each day… err, night of Night Market — from May 8-12– features different themed foods, including tacos, fried chicken, and burgers of all sorts. Want to get in on the action at Night Market? Do yourself a favor and join the biggest food market to hit Los Angeles.
When I asked Harris about the impact that the Food Bowl has on the LA food culture, she said it shines a light on the LA dining experience but for a national audience. “My hope is that it has inspired chefs and restaurants to be even more creative and collaborative and that it has inspired diners to be more adventurous, while appreciating this city and its incredibly diverse food community.
Want to learn more about ways culture and food are impacting Los Angels? Check out Grit Daily’s latest coverage here.