LA Street Food Fest 2012 Review

In 2010 LA Street Food Fest was on the field of the Rose Bowl and I ate a lot but didn’t take a lot of pictures.

In 2011 it was outside the Rose Bowl and I ate a lot, took a lot of pictures but didn’t write that much.

In 2012 the event was both on the field and around the stadium. I focused more on the dishes/vendors I’d never tried before so this isn’t the most thorough review. I ate a lot as usual.

The world needs more signs like this:

The reason the Baja chefs are the most exciting and best tasting part of LA Street Food Fest is not just because they come from the furthest location. It’s more about the ingredients and flavors in their dishes. I love LA’s Mexican food. I love carne asada and al pastor. The Baja chefs flip it though- they served lamb, pork shoulder, sea snail, abalone… Even their shrimp, which was the least exotic ingredient turned out to by my favorite.

This pot of shrimp from Mariscos el Mazateño was simple and outstanding.

Mariscos “La Guerrerense” is famous for ceviche. Last year I was enthralled by their habanero salsa with peanuts. It covered the Tostada Campechana (shrimp, abalone and octopus) and Sea Snail Tostada.

The variety of salsas can turn each bite into a totally different experience.

Tacos Kokopelli made their US debut serving Black Harder- ceviche marinated/cooked in lime juice and squid ink. You’ll see a lot more of these young culinary school trained chefs.

Bill from Street Gourmet LA introduced me to Chula Vista’s Aqui Es Texcoco. In addition to fantastic lamb tacos they had some secret pancita (chile rubbed  stomach stuffed with lungs, kidney, liver, heart and pit roasted with the rest of the lamb). Just for good measure there was cabeza as well.

The real secret ingredient really was the Papalo (short for papaloqulite or summer cilantro). It’s an ingredient in the famous cemita poblana from Puebla, which added an acridity that was another special element the Baja chefs brought to the event.

Another Bill referral was Antojitos Sofy. Again, bringing something I’ve never tried before they served Corundas. These small tamales aren’t filled with meat I’m used to. Instead the masa is mixed with cheese and wrapped with green corn leaves rather than dry husks. The result is an almost dumpling-like bite of brilliance.

One of the best surprises of the day was the late addition of Coni’Seafood (fka Mariscos Chentes). I recently visited their Inglewood location to try their Camarones a la Diabla and was impressed. The Aguachile they had at the event was enough reason to go back for another visit.

Mexicali Taco & Co was there with their Cachetada, a chorizo covered take on the classic tostada.

If for no other reason than the novelty factor, I had one of World Empanadas’s cricket empanadas.

They’re brand new, in business for only six weeks in their take-out only location in Burbank. Next time you go to a party be a a hit and bring a dozen cricket empanadas.

After effusing about The Park’s Finest BBQ in my last post I wanted to share some other Filipino food love. Isla Cocina Pilipina was serving barbecued pork over wild rice with sinamak sauce.

From the higher end restaurants, there was one notable debut. Bestia is soon to be the new hot spot downtown. If the grilled octopus and Calabrian sausage they served are any indication they will follow in the footsteps of popular places like Spice Table, Baco and Lazy Ox.

The Lazy Ox’s paella loving chef, Perfecto, brought the big guns, cooking in a kiddie-pool-sized pan.

The Spice Table was very impressive with their curry chicken wings. They won Best dish in the Chef category.

I was excited about The Churro Borough ever since I heard about their pop ups at Mexicali Taco.

The Mexican hot chocolate ice cream sandwich was my favorite dessert of the day. The churros were light and the chocolate had melted to a soft-serve consistency that made eating easy.

Last but not least was a surprise from Waffles de LiegeCRUNCHY SPECULOOS. Why Trader Joes sells creamy/smooth speculoos instead of crunchy is beyond me.

And one more thing. I want to plug Food is the New Rock because food and music go together like pork and shrimp. Their podcasts are burning up the iTunes charts. Check them out.

And here are some of my old food/music posts:

My first Food/Music post in December 2006:

Taco Bell Biv Devoe, combining two of my favorite things:

The 2008 Grammy Food Marathon:

Hot Chip vs hot chips

The Fratellis vs Frittelli’s

Mashup Meals

Alex from Franz Ferdinand’s food book:

The Best Meal at Coachella


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