Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Latino event brings out flavors

Sabor Latino offers a taste of restaurants' fare Saturday in Plainfield
By MARK SPIVEY • Staff Writer • April 8, 2009

PLAINFIELD — Some of the city's many Hispanic restaurants will feature their fare at "Sabor Latino: A Taste of Latin Plainfield," an event scheduled for this weekend that was organized to benefit two city nonprofit organizations and memorialize a beloved activist.

The city's downtown is home to dozens of Hispanic eateries ranging from small bakeries and cafes to sit-down restaurants, and at least eight such establishments will be featured, serving up native dishes of Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, according to event coordinator Alma Cruz. Cruz also is the director of Latinas En Accion, a downtown Hispanic advocacy organization that will benefit from event proceeds along with Venture and Venture, a skills management organization serving young disadvantaged people. The two nonprofit groups, which will split the proceeds evenly, share the same East Front Street office building.

The four-hour food exhibit, which will include live entertainment, music and vendors, is expected to be the pilot for an annual series and is being held in memory of Pepsi Charles, a beloved city activist who died in 2002 at the age of 53. Charles headed the Plainfield Coalition, a network of 26 city health, human service and education agencies, and founded the "Plainfield Cooks!" fundraiser that annually showcased the top recipes of local chefs.

Cruz said that aside from featuring some of the city's tastiest recipes, the afternoon will center on celebrating Hispanic and African culture and heritage, a cause Charles championed tirelessly.

"It's not only eating and dancing, but it's also teaching kids about their cultures," Cruz said.

"It's really a very interesting thing," agreed John Downs, Sr., president of Venture and Venture, "because our kids can understand all about multiethnic backgrounds."

Tickets for the event will be available in advance or at the door.

Mark Spivey: 908-243-6607; mspivey@MyCentralJersey.com.

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