The progressive northward expansion of Baja’s culinary influence has already landed on the shores of L.A. This year’s Tacolandia hosted a handful of Baja legends, including La Guerrerense and Tacos Kokopelli, while plenty of L.A. chefs have made their way south to learn and collaborate with luminaries named Javier Plascencia, Juantxo Sanchez and Jorge Vallejo.
There’s something undeniably exciting about the growing availability of Baja cuisine in Los Angeles — the way it’s changing our own perceptions of Mexican food, the way it highlights little-seen ingredients while co-mingling tradition and modern techniques. Maybe you’re one of those in-the-know souls who’ve been driving to the Valle de Guadalupe for years now; for everyone else, now there’s scarcely a need to drive further than Long Beach.
Running on back-to-back nights next week, acclaimed Baja chef Roberto Alcocer of Malva Cocina de Baja California will be hosting a seven-course dinner at a secret space somewhere in Long Beach.
The $100 suggested donation price covers the seven regionally-specific plates, plus wine and craft beer pairings from — where else — the Valle de Guadalupe. There’s even going to be some tequila tasting, though bringing a bottle of something to share is certainly encouraged.
As Bill Esparza notes at sister pub the OC Weekly, Alcocer is already well-known in his native region for creative takes on things like grilled beef hearts and birria. His restaurant Malva was even recently nominated as one of Travel + Leisure’s best new Mexican restaurants, which is saying something, given the country’s culinary explosion.
Tuesday and Wednesday night’s dinners are flying under the banner Alta Cocina, a new dinner series aimed at further strengthening the link between Baja and Los Angeles. Other chefs and interesting opportunities are in the works, assures Erin-lee Skilton, who oversees the dinner series. That’s good news for just about everyone.
Reservations for the Tuesday, Sept. 23 and Wednesday, Sept. 24 can be made here. If you’re not able to make this, don’t worry — Alta Cocina has roots throughout mainland Mexico and Baja, meaning many more dinners are already in the works. Worst case scenario: The Valle de Guadalupe is only a few hours away.
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