Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cuisine of Michoacan: Carnitas and Cabernet please...

Fundraiser to benefit AltaMed's mission to provide access to quality health care in underserved communities.

-- AltaMed hosted the sixth annual East LA Meets Napa, one of the nation's most unique festivals that celebrates the Latino community's contributions to California's multi-billion dollar food and wine industry. The event pairs Latino- owned or operated wineries from the Napa Valley with Latino-owned or operated restaurants from the greater Los Angeles area.

The event was attended by more than 1,400 wine and culinary enthusiasts who enjoyed 60 plus pairing stations and live music by Jose Rizo's Mongorama. This year's event featured the flavors of Michoacan, considered by some to be Mexico's soul food.

"We are proud to showcase the regional cuisine of Michoacan, which played a major role in UNESCO's decision to place Mexican cuisine on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2010," said Castulo de la Rocha, AltaMed's President and CEO. "In addition many of our event's vintners hail from the state."

The event also launched AltaMed's publication In Their Own Words, which chronicles Latino's contributions to the U.S. wine industry. The book features the stories of 17 wine makers from the Napa Valley, some of whom began their careers as farm workers and have gone on to own or operate important wineries. Copies of the book were made available at the event and can be purchased at

President and CEO Castulo de la Rocha's passion for good Latin Cuisine and fine wine inspired AltaMed's East LA Meets Napa, which has become an event that truly showcases the variety that exists within Latino gastronomy and viticulture. "We are proud that East LA Meets Napa has evolved into one of the most popular food events in Southern California," said de la Rocha, "we owe a great deal of thanks to our sponsors particularly Ken Jackson of Camfield Partners who was our Title Sponsor this year." Other sponsors included Richard Gomez of Total Corporate Solutions, Jack Cline Jr. of Lee & Associates, Ricardo Robles of La Reina, Hector Barreto of Barreto Rezinas (who will debut Tributo A Mi Padre a new tequila) and Robin and Jaime Guentert of Trader Joe's.

In addition, wineries, restaurants and chefs who donated their talent and fare included Alex Sotelo Cellars, Ceja Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wine, Sequoia Grove Vineyards, Madrigal Vineyards, Robledo Family Winery Inc., Quintessa, Bodegas San Rafael, Cavas Valmar, and Vinisterra Winery, Chef Hugo Molina of Seta, Chef Daniel Salcido of Cities, Chef Alfonso Ramirez of Luna Restaurant and Lounge, Chef John Rivera Sedlar of Rivera Restaurant, Chef Jim Shaw of Loteria Grill, and new to this year's event Chef Robert Luna of Mas Malo, and Annette Starbuck of The Goodie Girls and winner of The Food Network show "Cupcake Wars".

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 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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