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Sunday, October 30, 2011

First Bolivian Parade in NY

Hundreds of  Bolivians, some coming all the way from Virginia, went to support the first ever Bolivian parade in NY on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The floats and dancers demonstrated the very distinct dances of various areas in Bolivia - performing all along 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Where are the Latinos?

On Saturday, the Occupy Wall Street protesters moved from their home of almost a month, in Zuccotti Park, to Washington Square Park - but for just for the day.

I searched and searched for some Latino representatives of the 99 percent, who are supposedly the hardest hit in the recession, but was only able to find one in a multitude of approximately 2,000.

Julio Rolón doesn't even live in New York. He asked for two days off at his culinary arts instructor job and flew from his home in Puerto Rico to protest for us. He's going back on Monday he told me.

Rolón speaks perfect English and Spanish, as he says he used to live in the Lower East Side area of Manhattan. "There used to be a housing development, but now you go there and see it was taken down." He explains that it was taken over by banks and other large corporations.

He says that some protests have already started in Puerto Rico and that Occupy PR will officially begin on the 15th.

His message was, "Si los de abajo nos movemos, los de arriba se cayen."

So come out Latinos wherever you are hiding, and stick together like arroz pegao...

For updates on Occupy Wall Street events, go to or

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peruvian Cuisine Takes Over NYC

Just two weeks ago, world-famous culinary mogul, Gastón Acurio, opened his first restaurant in NYC. He handed the reigns of La Mar to executive chef, Victoriano López - his right-hand man for the past two decades.

Peruvian cuisine has been flooding NY this year with
Miguel Aguillar, Lima-born chef of Park Slope’s Surfish Peruvian Bistro, winning the Food Network’s cooking competition on Chopped, and the new pisco bar, Amaru, by the same owners of the uber-successful Pio Pio chain opening in Jackson Heights this July.

According to the Consulate General of Peru, the number of Peruvian restaurants in NY has grown significantly from approximately 20 to 50 in the past five years alone. Before we know it, Peruvian cuisine might be as readily available in NY as Chinese and Italian.

La Mar raises a notch in the Peruvian food ranks in NYC though. The interior of the restaurant, designed by famed Stephanie Goto, is an oasis from the city. She transformed the two-level space into a sea-haven of white walls and splashes of turquoise, and a not-to-miss chandelier spewing bluish transparent beads through the center of the two floors. A hanging mosaic made of Peruvian corn by Brent Kanbayashi adorns two of the walls.

López says he doesn’t have a favorite dish, while he demonstrates how he makes a traditional Chinese-influenced lomo saltado (juicy flame broiled hanger steak chunks stir fried in oyster sauce with onions and organic blue potatoes from the Union Square market) in a flaming wok in 1-minute, with precision, and most importantly, with potent flavor and color.

We make 10 of these every five minutes,” says López.

Besides the delicious food, one can choose from many cocktails made with 18 different pisco varieties, ranging in price from $12 - 15. Some options include Chicha Tu Ma, a combination of chicha morada (a Peruvian juice made with purple corn that is slow-cooked for eight hours on-site with pineapple skins, apples, quince, cinnamon, and spice), and then mixed with organic passionfruit, and pisco quebranta; and Pisco Punch which is made from a recipe from 1860 with La Mar's own twist - house-made punch syrup, fresh-squeezed lemon, and pisco acholado.

The head bartender, Saul Ranella, who has come to NY’s La Mar after bartending at the San Francisco location for the past three years, is now a pisco connoisseur who enjoys pairing pisco with Peruvian food. He says, “The kitchen to the bar is as authentic to Peru as possible.”

Read more of my coverage in the NY Daily News here to learn more about Chef
López, who says his wife originally was against him coming to NY and leaving her and his three kids behind in Peru. As he speaks though, you can almost hear his heartfelt smile as he raves humbly about his new project and how it all started.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chilean Independence Day Celebration in Williamsburg

Unlike what one girl thought when she walked in, this was not a Texas-themed party (she got confused by the similar flag). This Saturday, hundreds of Chileans gathered to celebrate their country's day of independence (which falls on September 18th), from 4pm to 4am Sunday at Gordon Bennett Pub & Grub in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Vinto tinto, piscoladas, and Chilean empanadas were sold for $5 each, and cueca and rock en español was danced and sung along to. Some Chilean celebrities were in attendance, including the actors Marcelo Alonso, Diego Muñoz, and Mane Swett. There were so many people, the party flowed out into the street!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ecuador in photos

One of the many waterfalls in Baños...

                                           ...the natural hot springs...

                                                                                                          ...the volcano

La Virgen de Quito by day...

                                             ....La Virgen de Quito by night...

                                                                             ...La Iglesia San Francisco...

...a little of Lima's taste in Quito

                                           Farewell from above...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Is There a Future for Vegan Latino Cuisine?

I have been wanting to write about this very topic, as Latinos/as are very passionate about their traditional recipes. I saw this piece today. What do you think? Is there a future for vegan Latino fare, and should they even attempt it for health/environmental reasons?

Read more here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rest of Summer "To Do" List

August is fast approaching, and the necessity to finish my summer "To Do" list is in order. In fact, I'm resuming what I didn't finish last summer...(NY summers are too short!)

Last summer, I read about a surfer who sleeps on a roof by night and makes tacos by day (when he's not surfing the waves of Rockaway Beach, of course).

His taco shack is a favorite of many locals and is located on 96th Street in Rockaway Beach. See video here.

While I'm at Rockaway Beach, I must also try some Venezuelan arepas at the new Caracas Arepa Bar boardwalk location on 106 Street. I heard that DJ Afro from Los Amigos Invisibles spins there on Wednesday evenings - so this is a must.

I also want to learn how to surf and tango. If I don't have time, with all the spontaneous and fun things that happen to pop up during the fleeting summers of NY, I guess there's always next year...