Nation's Most Unique Food and Wine Festival to Toast Mexico's Bicentennial

Saturday, July 10, 2010 General News
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LOS ANGELES, July 9 AltaMed hosted its 5th annual wine and food celebration, East LA Meets Napa, featuring acclaimed Chef Patricia Quintana and an expanded courtyard in Los Angeles' historic Union Station. In commemoration of Mexico's Bicentennial, the event presented some of Baja California's best vintners from the Valle de Guadalupe region along with fine wine from Latino-owned or operated Napa wineries and a diversity of Latin cuisine from Los Angeles area restaurants.

The event was attended by more than 1,400 wine and culinary enthusiasts who enjoyed over 60 pairing stations and live music by Jose Rizo's Mongorama. East LA Meets Napa, traditionally a showcase for emerging wineries and culinary talents, addresses the growing trend of pairing fine wine with Latin fare.

"Every year, the event grows and features new restaurants and wineries," said Castulo de la Rocha, AltaMed's president and CEO. "We are thankful for their generous donations of food and wine. Their support helps to raise funds that allow AltaMed to provide quality care without exception to Los Angeles and Orange Counties' most underserved communities."

While the Latino influence has always been present in Californian popular culture, there is a growing trend of Latin cuisine emerging in sophistication among the culinary world. Chef Patricia Quintana, Mexico's official culinary ambassador, has devoted her career to researching and teaching about the range and complexity of Mexican gastronomy.

Chef Quintana's presence at this year's event showcases how Mexican cuisine is beginning to receive the appreciation it deserves. Events such as East LA Meets Napa help display the creativity, imagination and skill of Latin chefs. AltaMed has built an event that truly showcases the variety in Latin gastronomy and influence of Latinos in the wine industry.

The participation of the Mexican Consulate and commemoration of the Mexican Bicentennial during the event speaks to the close ties in culture, history and cuisine that Los Angeles shares with Mexico. For the first time Baja California vintners from the Valle de Guadalupe region participated in the event, adding to the diversity of fine wine that was offered.

Participating wineries included Alex Sotelo Cellars, Ceja Vineyards, Elements of Sonoma, Gustavo Thrace Wines, J. Lohr Vineyards, Sequoia Grove, Madrigal, Robledo Vineyards, Quintessa, J.C. Bravo, Adobe Guadalupe, Bodegas San Rafael, Cavas Valmar and Vinisterra.

Several wonderful restaurants provided food samplings including East LA mainstays like Tila's Kitchen, Homegirl Cafe and Cook's Tortas. Rounding out the list were Rivera Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, Phlight and Seta in Whittier, El Tepeyac Cafe, Tamayo, Loteria Grill and an exclusive peak of not yet opened Esquela by Chef Steven Arroyo.

President and CEO Castulo de la Rocha's passion for good Latin Cuisine and fine wine inspired AltaMed's East LA Meets Napa. All proceeds from the event benefit AltaMed, which provides critical services including primary medical care, dental clinics, comprehensive senior services, disease management programs, health education, youth programs, HIV/AIDS care and substance abuse prevention and treatment.

AltaMed, a private nonprofit organization, is a major provider of health and human services in the Los Angeles and Orange Counties. AltaMed is the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the State of California. The mission of AltaMed is to eliminate disparities in health care access and outcomes by providing superior quality health and human services through an integrated world-class delivery system for Latino, multi-ethnic and underserved communities. AltaMed began as the East Los Angeles Barrio Free Clinic in 1969, a volunteer-staffed storefront providing basic medical services. Currently, AltaMed provides more than 650,000 patient visits annually through its 43 sites in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.


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