Event Recap – East LA Meets Napa & Beyond presented by Altamed
Tyler Lackey | July 20, 2014
An electric night filled with authentic Latin food, Latin music, and amazing wines from Napa valley vineyards and beyond, captures the atmosphere at the appropriately titled East LA Meets Napa & Beyond – Altamed fundraiser that took place this past Friday, July 18, 2014. With 30 Latin inspired restaurant owners, 30 Latin owned and operated vintners, and a handful of other specialty beverage vendors in place, LA’s Union Station & Metropolitan Water District Courtyards was transformed into a marketplace for the palate, each station exploring a new and unique level to the tasting experience.
Guest were also introduced to the signature styles of renowned artists, Jaime “Vyal” Reyes and Patssi Valdez, both who offer colorful and vibrant interpretations of abstract and surreal imagery. The featured entertainment of the evening was Grammy nominated Jose Rizo’s Monogrma, an all-star Charanga/Jazz music ensemble that knows how to have fun.
East LA Meets Napa & Beyond is hosted by Altamed, a Los Angeles based non-profit that is devoted to delivering quality care to under served communities of Southern California and has been doing so for over 40 years. This being their 9th year hosting the fundraiser, the proceeds benefit Altamed’s health care and education programs ranging from HIV/AIDS care, substance abuse, obesity, disease management programs, care for the elderly, and a ton more.
With over 1500 guest in attendance, the event highlights successful and locally owned Latin restaurants and vintners who if nothing else, offer authentic and delicious interpretations of Latino culture. A few surprising favorites, a Hibiscus flower taco (vegetarian) served with a mole negra, and a grasshopper sauce (yes real grasshoppers) from Casa Oaxaca. Definitely not for any of those afraid of a little spice in their life, but it is packed with huge flavor, and a lot of love.
Another big win for the night goes to Pochteca, who for over 20 years, has perfected the art of tequila making, offering six unique flavors, pomegranate, mango, blackberry, coffee, chocolate, and almond. They mix your preferred tequila, (I chose the pomegranate) with a little ice cream and give you tequila and chocolate infused cupcake on the side and before you know it you’re back in line for seconds.
Guest also were able to sample wines from all over the California region. I had the chance to catch up with Agapito, wine maker from J. Lohr Vineyards & Wine, who gave me the rundown, from the dirt to the bottle, on how they create such flavorful, balanced and rich wines. Planting their first seeds in 1972, J.Lohr Vineyards and Wines prides themselves on technique and growing conditions. in which they grow their grapes. Jerry Lohr, owner and founder, and his family, take pride in sharing their wine with the world, whether in St. Helen – Napa Valley, Monterey, and Paso Roble, California.
All in all, the event offers a unique opportunity to submerse yourself in the diverse cultural interpretations of Latin foods and drinks from around the region. With an opportunity to give back rooting the purpose and mission, Altamed’s East LA Meets Napa & Beyond, is easily the event of the year that keeps on giving.
For More Information on Altamed’s Events, Services, and Fundraisers visit their website at: https://www.altamed.org