Favorites from LA Times’ The Taste: Sunday Block Party

Salibutes from Chichen Itza (All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat)

Salibutes from Chichen Itza (All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat)

The Taste’s Sunday Block Party was an informal event full of So Cal sunshine, tacos and fun demos. The strong influence of international food on LA cuisine was in full force at the Sunday event, especially Mexican food. Once again, El Coraloense delighted us with their Mariquita and Changoneada seafood tostadas and tacos a la Monroe while Con’i Seafood scored a three-peat with their shrimp and octopus tostaditas. Aqui es Texcoco brought back the lamb barbacoa tacos they are famous for.

Chef Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campos of La Casita Mexicana and Mexico served the best taco of the day with chicharrones con carne. They also serves a hefty barbacoa de res taco. Chichen Itza had an interesting puffy tortilla called a salbute that were like sopapillas with taco fillings. Even better than Indian tacos. Trejo’s Tacos introduced itself with carnitas tacos with pineapple and vegan rainbow cauliflower tacos. There were also vegan jackfruit pibil tacos from Pinches Tacos.

Another interesting vegetable dish was kung pao shiitake mushrooms with smashed cucumber, coriander and Kogi rice from Goldenboys Chinese, whose handwritten note sported a pentagram. A definite favorite was the sambusa, a triangular shaped pastry filled with lentils, grilled onions, jalapenos, and herbs from Lalibela Ethiopian on Fairfax.

The Blvd went Greek with generous lamb koftas with piquillo hummus and crumbled feta. Michael’s on Naples served a rich and delicate coppa di testa. The Italian version of head cheese was not as unpleasant as head cheese sounds. It’s really good. Another one of the more delicate plates was a thinly-sliced chipotle-braised lamb belly with onion puree and crispy shallots from The Guild. Finally, delicious pizza from 800 Degrees rounded out the day. Oh, and I can’t forget the make-your-own sundae cart from Dandy Don’s.

The big white tents hosted some fantastic panels and demos throughout the day. Chef Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campos of La Casita Mexicana prepared several salsas and gave the audience inside info on guessing the heat of a chile by the bend in its stem. Japanese Celebrity Chef Rika Yukimasa from NHK World from Japan performed a demo on skewered meats. Her new show, Dining wit the Chef will air on KCET on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes is already a big star in America and his cooking demo was standing room only.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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