We want to bring you a conversation we had a few months ago about Oaxacan food and the special relationship between California and that Mexican State. The connection is so deep that there is a thing, if you will, called Oaxacalifornia. Call it a state of being, a movement or just something that defines the many indigenous people who’ve come from Oaxaca to live, work and contribute to the golden state. In Los Angeles alone, there are some 200,000 people from Oaxaca living here with many settling in neighborhoods in Koreatown and West LA, near Palms and Mar Vista.
- Javier Cabral, editor of LA Taco and co-author of the new cookbook “Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico.”
- Elina Shatkin, LAist food editor
- Odilia Romero and Alfonso Martinez, husband and wife team. She runs the non-profit migrant group, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations in South LA. He operates the pop-up eatery Poncho’s Tlayudas, just behind her office.
Musso and Frank
Musso and Frank is about as vintage as a Los Angeles restaurant gets. At 100 years old, the nostalgic Hollywood joint still serves many of the same dishes it did in 1919, the year it opened. What goes well with late capitalism, environmental collapse and rising fascism? Maybe a side of creamed spinach. The legendary restaurant celebrated its 100th anniversary with the release of their first book
- Hadley Meares, historical journalist
- Mark Echeverria, the COO, CFO and proprietor of Musso & Frank Grill
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Soul Food in LA
Let’s talk about soul food. What exactly is “soul food”? It has become a blanket term to describe African-American cuisine although its origins pre-date slavery. It’s culled from European, indigenous and African influences but many of its key ingredients are rooted in the inhumane rations provided to African slaves by their masters. From the undesirable parts of pigs came neckbones, chitterlings, and other mainstays, while meager amounts of cornbread were used to bread and fry catfish and other meats. A quick web search turns up no less than 400 results in Los Angeles alone! With SO many choices, it might be hard to know where to go.
- Jay Connor, writer
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