In L.A., we have our own breed of Mexican food, inspired by the farmers’ markets and with just the right amount of heat.
California is home to all kinds of Mexican food, from traditional Oaxacan moles to haute-vegan Mexican, even Mexican-Korean hybrids. And tacos are practically the official state food, found in both the fanciest and most modest restaurants, all with their own fiercely loyal followings. Ask an Angeleno to name the best taco truck and you’ll get a different answer every time. For the record, mine (right now) is Roy Choi’s Kogi.
There are plenty of places to get authentic Mexican fare, but recently another kind of Mexican cuisine has been gaining traction with diners. As so often happens with neighbors, California chefs have been influenced by the foods and recipes of Mexico, putting their own stamp on south-of-the-border fare. Call it Mexican-by-way-of- California. It tends to be a bit healthier, with whole beans instead of refried, more fish and produce, and of course, we like to put avocado on everything! It’s clean and fresh, but with the flavor notes (and spicy heat) that made us all fall in love with Mexican food in the first place. With Cinco de Mayo coming up, what better time to enjoy some Cali- style Mexican fare?
Like everyone else in Southern California, I have a weakness for tacos (hello, Taco Tuesdays!), so I’ve come up with a recipe for super-tender pulled-pork tacos, which get a bright kick from an orange-and-grapefruit salsa. And to round out the menu, my fresh pico de gallo, tequila ceviche with citrus and fennel salad, and my crispy chicken taquitos– a favorite of Jade’s!