L.A. Mexicano

May 29, 2017

Photography by Staci Valentine for L.A. Mexicano.

Pocho cooking is the original L.A. Mexicano, the food that many second- and third-generation Mexican Americans grew up eating, and the dishes that everyone in L.A. considered truly Mexican until we started knowing better in the 1990s: the enchiladas and tostadas that L.A.-born college kids craved when away at college, the trays of taquitos served at Cinco de Mayo parties, the huevos rancheros inhaled by surfers after an early morning session. Are these dishes authentic? Absolutely—they are authentically L.A., created in L.A. by Mexican-born cooks with the ingredients they had available to them from the 1920s through the 1970s.
—Bill Esparza, L.A. Mexicano




L.A. Mexicano is a glowing portrait of a city and the special relationship Angelenos have with Mexican food. It combines the stories behind beloved institutions with insights from cutting-edge chefs, plus all the recipes you’ve always wanted.”
— Patric Kuh, restaurant critic of Los Angeles Magazine and author of Finding the Flavors We Lost

L.A. Mexicano is Pasadena’s Prospect Park Books newest release and Bill Esparza is the man who Phil Rosenthal calls “the experts’ expert.” Alicia Maher attended Esparza’s cooking demo at last month’s L.A. Times Festival of Books. She writes that the venue was “packed” and calls Esparza “a Mexican food guru.”¹ In 2016, Esparza received a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for his writing in Los Angeles Magazine.


Photography by Staci Valentine for L.A. Mexicano.


In his forward, food critic and author Gustavo Arellano calls Esparza “America’s finest chronicler of Mexican food right now, the Livingstone of lengua, the Magellan of menudo, the Captain Cook of carnitas.” Rachel Jagareski, in her review at Foreword Magazine, writes: “The author champions the members of the LA food community who are reconquering their Mexican American culinary inheritance and forging a chef culture that elevates Mexican-American cooking to its rightful place in the pantheon of great world cuisines.”²

Enjoy some sampling at the L.A. Mexicano official launch party on June 10 at Vroman’s courtyard. Public Beer + Wine from Long Beach is bringing the libations and appetizers and small bites are thanks to El Tepeyac Cafe in Boyle Heights and Chichén Itzá near USC.


Bill Esparza; photo from (2013).


L.A. Mexicano Official Launch Party
Saturday, June 10th, 2-4 p.m.
Vroman’s courtyard, 693 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 91101
Tickets: $41.24 (incl. fee + sales tax); purchase at Eventbrite here
For more info, visit
Or call 1.626.449.5320


Photography by Staci Valentine for L.A. Mexicano.


From an interview with Esparza by Rico Gagliano at (the topic is birria):

Rico: This is a morning dish?

Bill: This is a morning dish.

Rico: Goat stew is a morning dish.

Bill: Yes. We take our hangover cures very seriously in Mexico, so, I mean, you know.

Rico: Maybe it’s more of a brunch dish then, you’re saying. You might not get up super bright and early to have this.

Bill: Oh, no, you haven’t gone to sleep. Yeah, it’s a weekend morning dish.


Birria; photo sourced from




¹ “L.A. Mexicano by Bill Esparza Celebrates Mexican Food History in Los Angeles” by Alicia Maher, April 29, 2017,

² “L.A. Mexicano” reviewed by Rachel Jagareski, May 9, 2017,





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