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Weekend Guide to Los Angeles

Weekend Guide to Los Angeles



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Chilling out is the norm for Angelenos — the city's warm and laidback year round. We've rounded up our picks to suit your every whim, whether it's the beach, city, or old-school Hollywood.

Sleep: Imagine 1,000-square foot suites that combine chic interiors with in-room laundry machines and gas ranges, and you have the The Redbury. This newest addition to the hotel scene mixes boho-glamour with spacious practicality and is a welcome break from the boutique hotel scene.

Private, seductive, and classic — what's not to love about Chateau Marmont? Beautiful grounds, an intimate restaurant, and unique rooms provide the ultimate rendezvous.

Rodeo Drive more your style? Check into the Beverly Hills Hotel and relive the glory days of Hollywood with today’s modern luxuries. For a more modest way to experience 90210 living, stay at Maison 140, where boutique meets 1920s Parisian chic.

The cosmopolitan beach bum will find solace at Shade. Sumptuous rooms (some with fireplaces), close proximity to the beach, and bicycles to get around make this the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

Eat & Drink: Hollywood’s Loteria Grill is the place to go for authentic Mexican (pictured). The modern décor,

refined food, and extensive tequila list will satisfy the senses. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/esimpraim)

It’s all about the meat at Animal. Follow the sound of the boisterous crowd to the unmarked door off Fairfax where décor is minimal but the food is bold and seasonal.

Combine the cozy feel of a tavern with cutting-edge patrons and you’ll find yourself at Lazy Ox. This downtown hot spot serves international dishes and has an excellent wine and beer list.

Need a rest from a hectic day shopping the streets of Beverly Hills? Take in the eye candy at The Ivy, the infamous celebrity hang out on Robertson Boulevard. Sit outside and sip on something refreshing.

Heading west, stop off at Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice and land a table at Gjelina. The rustic interior fits the diverse atmosphere of this high-energy eatery. Fresh, local ingredients will leave their mark on your taste buds.

Venturing further south along the coast, you'll find a gem of a restaurant that eludes the crowds of Manhattan Beach. Darren’s is a local favorite with consistently good food and a well thought out wine list.

Play: Wake up and head to one of the many canyons or parks for a morning hike. We like Runyon (pictured), Franklin, or Griffith, but all locations are beautiful and are a great way to get the day going. Be sure to check the levels of difficulty and distance before you set out.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr/afternoon)

Venture over the hills to the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena. Walk through miles of gardens exploring various themes from the desert to the rainforest and Japanese to Chinese. Don't leave without viewing the art, antiques, and rare book collection, including a first edition Shakespeare folio.

Check out the social art scene and gallery hop. You'll find pockets of galleries in and around LA such as Culver City, Beverly Hills, and Downtown. The Downtown Art Walk happens the second Thursday of each month and the free, self-guided tours are a great way to experience the growing downtown district.

Take time to explore the many diverse neighborhoods that span the city. Hang out in a Silver Lake café, shop the stalls of the Venice Farmers Market, do brunch on West Third Street, and be sure to catch the sunset in Malibu.

For more insiders tips on the best in modern travel, head to Area Daily.


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza


The Essential Guide to Regional Mexican Food in Los Angeles

As a documentarian of Latin American food for the past 15 years, I can say this with the utmost confidence: If Southern California is the most important hub for Mexican cuisine in the United States, then Los Angeles is its crown jewel.

Geographical proximity to Mexico, climate differences, and access to ingredients are some of the chief advantages L.A. has over many cities,਋ut it would also be remiss of me not to mention one other factor: diversity.

While statistics regarding its regional representation have been exaggerated grossly over the years, there is still a lot to admire. In addition to a few odd dishes from a handful of states and a modest scene from Michoacan, Colima, and Zacatecas, the majority of L.A.’s Mexican gastronomy hails from Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nayarit, D.F., and Oaxaca.

Thoseਏive states, however, give L.A. an unrivaled, broad range of Mexican cuisines from pre-Hispanic southern cooking, to Chilango (from D.F.) street food, to traditional Jalisco specialities.

“These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros.”

These communities have the sheer numbers to ensure that many of our Mexican restaurants have kitchen professionals, artisans, seasoned taqueros, and even franchises of fondas (traditional eateries)ਏrom Mexico like Gish Bac, Flor del Rio, or Burritos La Palma. L.A. stalwarts like Leo’s Taco Truck and Los Güichos both hire taqueros from Mexico City with years of experience we’ve got a carnitas artisan that’s been preparing porcine goodnessਏor 54 years and we have a third-generation Oaxacan goat-barbacoa vendor. These are just a fraction of the experienced, highly-skilled cooks making our Mexican cuisine here in L.A.

Crucially, L.A.’s only a two-hour drive from Tijuana, which means produce, seafood, and a range of specialty products are picked up each week by Mexican restaurateurs. Flour tortillas from Mexicali shrimp, fish, and blood clams from the Pacific Coast quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese)ਊnd chapulines (crickets) from Puebla.

And talent pool of Mexican chefs cannot be ignored either: Rocio Camacho (Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen), Jimmy Shaw (Loteria Grill), the father and son team of Gilberto Cetina and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza), and the Spanish-language television superstar chefs, Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo (La Casita Mexicana). This is the kind of elevated traditional cooking that’s done best here in Los Angeles.

But really—what else would you expect from the second most populous Mexican city in the world? Here we break down the regional styles of Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.

All photos by Bill Esparza