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Movie and a Taco: Three Guadalajara-Style Dishes in L.A. To Pair With These Three New Films by Latinx Filmmakers

1:42 PM PST on December 17, 2020

    [dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hen the opening credits start to flow through the screen during this year’s 100-percent virtual 10th annual GuadaLAjara Film Festival in Los Angeles tonight, you can reach for the reliable thrills of microwaved popcorn, or you can briefly pretend you’re in Jalisco and order our L.A.’s finest Guadalajara-style dishes. 

    Whether it’s a bowl of comforting tender birria made from stewed goat and chiles, an extremely satisfying crusty torta ahogada stuffed with carnitas, or the fortifying chilled masa limeade known as a tejuino, we have a plethora of Guadalara-style dishes in this city to transport you back to Tapatío land. If you miss the thrill of watching a new movie, this festival is for you. 

    This year’s online festival kicks off tonight and continues into the weekend; it seeks to amplify the diverse voices of Latin films. The festival aims to engage further second and third generations of Latin filmmakers whose stories are fundamental to understanding one of the largest minorities in the United States, thus preserving the roots and language. Its goal is to profile the experiences of those who have lived on both sides of the border, to share, conserve and entertain the different ethnicities of Los Angeles, reinforcing the festival’s mission to encourage greater inclusivity.

    Movie Schedule

    Photo via NO MAN'S LAND.

    Opening Night: NO MAN'S LAND from Director Conor Allyn, starring Frank Grillo, Andie MacDowell, George López, and Esmeralda Pimentel. Migration is an issue that will always be fundamental when we talk about the relationship between Latin America and the United States. No Man’s Land addresses this problem from a human perspective.

    Photo via Center Piece: 499.

    Center Piece: 499, from director Rodrigo Reyes and stars Eduardo San Juan Breña as a 16th-century conquistador who begins an epic journey, documents stories of how the Spanish dehumanized the societies they encountered.

    Photo via Summertime.


    Closing Night:  SUMMERTIME from Director Carlos López Estrada, starring Mila Cuda, Paolina Acuña-Gonzaléz, Tyris Winter, Gordon IP, Marquesha Babers, Austin Antoine and Bryce Banks.

    A film that tackles the theme of being an “Angeleno,” representing the diversity in a big city in the United States.

    L.A. Taco Approved Guadalajara-Style Dishes to Eat 

    Tejuino stand. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco.

    Tejuinos on Soto and Olympic

    Do you love masa-based things and a cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade on ice? A tejuino combines both these gustatory joys in one incredibly refreshing beverage. Imagine an atole over ice. If you’ve spent any amount of time in Guadalajara, you’ve probably at least seen the hundreds of vendors found selling this beverage in the streets. It is essentially a masa shake that stirred with chunky rock salt, freshly squeezed electrically tart lime juice, and piloncillo, and believe it or not, it hits the spot on a hot day. Guadalajara natives in their home away from home and fans of this fine beverage have flocked to this street vending stand in front of the Sears parking lot for the last 30 years. 

    2650 East Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023. Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM during Fall and Winter. 10 AM to 7 PM during Summer

    Birrieria Don Boni 

    Properly stewed goat meat in the spiced consomé it was gently cooked in is good for the soul, especially when L.A.’s Santa Ana winds roll in and the weather dips to the freezing 50s. While many other taqueros have started to offer birria in the streets, made with beef, Don Boni keeps it OG by focusing on the original protein for the dish: chivo, in all it’s full-flavored glory. The Jalisco-based recipe is over 100 years old, and the restaurant has withstood the test of time, serving the Boyle Heights community since 1972. We recommend ordering an extra order to have leftovers because birria reheats beautifully, and there is nothing like shredding leftover birria and lightly frying it in a corn tortilla in a pan the day after. 

    1845 East 1st Street. Los Angeles, CA, 90033. Hours: Mon-Thu, 8:30 AM ~ 8:00 PM and Fri-Sun 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM

    A torta ahogada from El Rey. Photo by Cesar Hernandez for L.A. Taco.

    Tortas Ahogadas El Rey

    Francisco “El Guero” Mota and his son Abraham run two of the best torta ahogadas establishments. Francisco was born in Guadalajara and started his business in Arizona. The preparation and execution of their torta are what sets them apart. Abraham, a culinary school graduate, is particular about the specifics of the torta. He makes sure that the salsa de tomate is not too hot because it breaks down the bread quicker. This is the way that tortas in Jalisco are served, body temperature. Another major key to the taste of the torta is the chile de árbol they import from Yahualica, Jalisco. It is a spicy and earthy chile that wonderfully compliments the torta. But the biggest key to the success of the torta is the sourdough, baguette-like birote salado bread. Their supply comes straight from GDL and they secretly store it for daily use.

    Extra credit: Get a taco dorado de barbacoa and the insanely flavorful carne en su jugo – another topic that Abraham will give you a TED Talk about.

    There are three Tortas Ahogadas El Rey locations.

    11537 Garvey Ave, El Monte, CA 91732

    3100 Imperial Hwy, Ste B1-3001, Lynwood, CA 90262

    6503 Pacific Blvd, Huntington Park, CA 90255

    For tickets to the GuadaLAjara Film Festival, click here


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