YorkBlvd’s Guide to an Authentic Cinco de Mayo

Ξ April 21st, 2010 | → 2 Comments | ∇ 90042, Beyond Northeast, Drinks, Food, Highland Park |

So you’ve decided to celebrate a Mexican holiday that most of Mexico doesn’t observe in the American tradition of appropriating foreign holidays as an excuse to drink? (See: St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest).  Before loading up your fridge with Trader Joe’s carne asada (which I love) and your cooler with Coronas (which I don’t), let the gringos at YorkBlvd add a dash of Poblano authenticity to your annual celebration of kicking French ass.  (Just don’t make mention of the subsequent French occupation of Puebla and Mexico City.)

1.  We’ve harped on this before, but Highland Park has its own cornerstone of Poblano cuisine near the corner of Avenue 50 and Monte Vista inside Eibis Restaurant.  The cemitas are good, but the tacos arabes will make for a unique appetizer and a history lesson on 19th Century Mexican immigration.

Taco Arabe

Taco Arabe

2.  Just 15 minutes away (on a weekend), El Mercado de Los Angeles in East L.A. carries more Mexican merchandise than you can shake a cesta at.  Specifically, the second floor boasts two shops that sell a variety of regional moles.  I prefer the mole oaxaceña, but since we’re celebrating the Battle of Puebla, we’ll go with the mole poblano.  The mole is sold as a concentrated paste that goes a long way.  Stir chicken broth in over a medium heat, and pour over chicken for a rich main course.  Again, there is a Mexican history lecture that can accompany this course if you like being the wisenheimer of the party.

Enchiladas with Mole Poblano

Enchiladas with Mole Poblano

3.  Our gift to you is the only English recipe on the internet for the Poblano menjul, a central Mexican version of the Mint Julep:

Place six mint leaves and one tablespoon sugar in an old fashioned glass.  (Instead of sugar, a simple syrup should also work nicely.)  Fill glass with crushed ice.  In a shaker, mix two ounces of Amontillado, two ounces dark rum, a few drops of creme de menthe, and a few drops of Angostura bitters.  Shake thoroughly and pour into glass.

Menjul and Michilada

Menjul and Michilada


YorkBlvd’s Media Watch Goes National

Ξ April 19th, 2010 | → Comments Off | ∇ Beyond Northeast, Press |

Normally, this blog is dedicated to local, or at best regional, issues.  When it comes to local media, the Boulevard Sentinel gives us so much ammunition, we usually don’t even bother to play watchdog for The LA Times.  However, Mr. Topping has been avoiding plagiarizing local blogs and Gwyneth Paltrow hasn’t relocated us “off the map” to Riverside county yet, so we’ve had to look for media miscreants elsewhere.

The local angle is pretty thin, but since we’ve been known to whip out our cameras and snap a few food photos from time to time, we though we could justify tweaking the Times for their recent mimicry of the Gray Lady’s article on the explosion of food photography.

On 4/6 the NYT ran an article titled, First Camera, Then Fork, which investigated the growing neurosis of people who have to photograph their meals.  The article is an interesting exploration of what motivates people to photograph so much of what they eat.  When I first read this, I wanted to roll my eyes at the moron photographing his grilled cheese sandwich, but realized I’ve certainly been guilty of this from time to time.

Today, The LA Times ran an eerily similar story titled, Dinner Is the Theater as Food Paparazzi Converge.  The mere fact that two newspapers are covering the same fad wouldn’t be worth mentioning were the articles not so similar.  For example, from the 4/6 NYT story:

Indeed, the number of pictures tagged “food” on the photo-sharing Web site Flickr has increased tenfold to more than six million in the last two years, according to Tara Kirchner, the company’s marketing director.  One of the largest and most active Flickr groups, called “I Ate This,” includes more than 300,000 photos that have been contributed by more than 19,000 members.

From today’s LA Times:

Flickr, the photo-sharing website, has seen the number of pictures tagged as “food” jump from about half a million in 2008 to more than 6 million today, according to company officials.  In the group “I Ate This” on Flickr’s site, nearly 20,000 people have uploaded more than 307,000 images of their latest meals, from a 7-Eleven hot dog smeared with mustard to the butter dish at the Michelin three-star restaurant French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.

Both articles make mention of camera companies capitalizing on the trend by adding settings for food photographs, but more disturbing is that both articles use the same out-of-town source for an anecdote:

From The NYT,

Joe Catterson, the general manager of Alinea restaurant in Chicago, said that, increasingly, people can’t [resist the urge to photograph their food].  “One guy arrived with the wrong lens or something on his camera and left his wife sitting at the table for an hour while he went home to get it,” he said.

From the LAT,

Chef Gran Achatz allows only non-flash photography in his tony Chicago restaurant, Alinea.  He, like many chefs, finds himself torn between being flattered by the public’s enthusiasm and aggravated over the effect the picture-taking is having on the restaurant’s operations.

They’ve paid for the meal, so they think they can do whatever they want with it,” he said.

Los Angeles deserves better than two-week-old recycled pop-culture stories.  The Times’ editors owe us a mea culpa on this one.



Ξ April 18th, 2010 | → Comments Off | ∇ 90042, Highland Park, Politics |

The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council’s annual election will be taking place next Thursday, April 29th at the Highland Park Recreation Center, 6150 Piedmont Avenue.  Janet Dodson, who is running for one of the eight At-Large Director positions, has asked us to spread the word about the election as well as her Nueva Vida slate of candidates. Ms. Dodson describes the group thusly:

This slate includes community veteranos, the as-yet-unjaded, business owners, and residents. We all share the understanding that only by organizing, does any community develop the political power needed to get attention from the City. We are all ready to work hard together to make sure Highland Park is not ignored, especially as we begin to face the coming financial cuts.

We have plans to be sleek and efficient, and we especially want to invite everybody, and groups, and organizations to come to the Neighborhood Council to tell us their plans and needs. We see ourselves as conduits to Huizar and Reyes.

Highland Park has begun to wake up. We have been under-represented for too long.

You can find their voter guide, but to make up your own mind, stop by the candidate forum this Thursday at 6:30 PM at the Franklin High cafeteria.  To read candidate statements, determine if you’re eligible to vote, and find out more about the election, check out the election website.


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