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Move Over Margarita! Mexican Food has a New Dinner Partner

Saturday, July 19, 2008 General News J E 4
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LOS ANGELES, July 18 AltaMed Health Services hosted itsthird annual East LA Meets Napa celebration featuring more than 20 Latinoowned/managed wineries, Latino wine makers and 20 Los Angeles area Mexicanrestaurants. The event was attended by more than 1,000 wine and culinaryenthusiasts who enjoyed great music, food from some of the best Mexican/Latinrestaurants in the city and wonderful conversation in one of Los Angeles' mosthistoric venues -- Union Station. The celebration speaks to a trend amongaficionados of Mexican cuisine to choose wine over beer or margaritas toaccompany their meal.

Many of the business owners that showcased their products share animmigrant experience, with some of the winemakers working their way up fromthe fields. The event provided these entrepreneurs with the opportunity tocome together to support AltaMed's mission of providing quality, culturallyrelevant health care to underserved populations throughout SouthernCalifornia.

"This year's event has been the most successful yet and we expect theattendance to keep growing," said Castulo De La Rocha, AltaMed CEO. "TheseLatino entrepreneurs and event sponsors are not only here to showcase theirproducts, they are supporting our organization's programs and our mission toprovide quality health care to underserved communities in the SouthernCalifornia region."

In 1990 there were just a few Latino-owned vineyards and today there arewell over 15 and growing each year. One such success story is that of CejaVineyards. In 1983 Pedro and Amelia Ceja with other family members, pooledtheir resources and invested in fifteen acres in Carneros. Coming to theUnited States as farm workers, the family has worked hard over the years forCeja's stellar reputation.

"Robledo Family Winery is a strong supporter of AltaMed and this event,"said Vanessa Robledo, spokesperson for Robledo Family Winery. "We believe inwhat they are doing for Latino families and other diverse communities byproviding critical health services."

In addition to Robledo Family Winery, other participating wineries wereAlex Sotelo Cellars, Carneros della Notte, El Centauro del Norte, Frias FamilyVineyard, J Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Karl Lawrence Cellars, Mi Sueno Winery,Renteria Wines, Ceja Vineyards, Sequoia Grove Vineyard and Two Wives.

"We are presenting guests an opportunity to try something that theyperhaps have not tried before," said event co-chair Ricardo Robles, Presidentof La Reina Inc. a manufacturer of Mexican food products. "Wine can befantastic with traditional favorites such as ceviche and even tacos. We aretrying to introduce people to something new, elevating great Mexican food sothat it is on par with great French or Italian cuisine."

Several wonderful restaurants provided food samplings including East LAmainstays like Tila's Kitchen, Tacos Baja, Homegirl Cafe and El Siete Mares.Rounding out the list are the soon to open Rivera Restaurant in downtown LosAngeles by renowned Chef John Rivera Sedlar, La Casita Mexicana in the city ofBell, Phlight in Whittier, palate food + wine by Chef Octavio Becerra, Cook'sTortas, El Portal Yucatan cuisine in Pasadena, and chocolates by D's Delights.

Proceeds from the event benefit AltaMed Health Services. AltaMed HealthServices, a private nonprofit organization, is a major provider of health andhuman services in the Greater Los Angeles area and the largest FederallyQualified Health Center (FQHC) in the State of California. The mission ofAltaMed is to provide high quality, coordinated, comprehensive health andhuman services to the underserved in Southern California, with particularattention to Latino and multi-ethnic populations. AltaMed began as the EastLos Angeles Barrio Free Clinic in 1969, a volunteer-staff storefront providingbasic medical services. Today AltaMed's service area extends beyond theimmediately surrounding
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