Dine Latino Restaurant Week highlights Latin America’s foodie hotspots – Orange County Register

The Latino Restaurant Association is helping to highlight the flavors of Latin America with its DINE Latino Restaurant Week from May 14-19.

In its third year, the event is part of the Los Angeles-based association’s restaurant program, which aims to raise awareness about delicious foods from South America, Central America, Mexico, and the islands of the Caribbean. This week, more than 100 restaurants across the cities of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties are participating, with offerings including Nativo’s Plato De Milanesa and Chamo Venezuelan’s Pollo a la Plancha.

During a phone interview, Lilly Rocha, CEO of the Latino Restaurant Association, said that the idea of promoting Latino restaurant owners this way came during the coronavirus pandemic, which heavily impacted the hospitality industry.

“We’re doing it as a way to share our rich cultural food history and also to let the general public know that there’s lots of different amazing Latin cuisines,” Rocha said. “For example, Mexico has many different regions with different cuisines. Here in LA, we represent not just the states of Mexico but also other Latin countries like Colombia and Ecuador. As a community, we’re excited to work together and to promote each other.”

The restaurants featured in Latino Restaurant Week are not hand-picked or charged to participate. Instead, the group reaches out to its community members, inviting them to participate. The group’s mission as a nonprofit is to promote Latin eateries and get customers in their establishments by creating promotional graphics, special menus, and social media campaigns to prepare them for this week. Rocha said the promotions are also meant to get foodies out of their cultural comfort zones.

“I hope people try something new, maybe a different type of cuisine,” she said. “I know we all have our favorites, but we’re hoping people will go out and try something new and see how wonderful it is.”

Here are five restaurants participating in this year’s Latino Restaurant Week that showcase the different flavors of the Latin diaspora. To see all the eateries and get more information about each restaurant, visit latinorestaurantassociation.org.

Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen: This casual Latina-owned El Monte eatery gives health and wellness some flavor with its all-natural juice bar, coffee and healthy bites such as soyrizo breakfast bagels, smoked salmon wraps and chicken bowls. 3513 Johnson Ave., El Monte. andreashealthykitchen.com.

Chamo Venezuelan: The family operated casual restaurant offers Venezuelan food staples, like the empanadas and arepas, which are stuffed cornmeal cakes that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. 950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. chamovenezuelancuisine.com.

Chios Peruvian Grill: Led by chef Dante Balarezo, this Peruvian restaurant in the San Fernando Valley provides casual and affordable options for customers looking for an introduction to the country’s food with, offerings such as anticuchos, roasted chicken and ceviches. 7115 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. chiosperuvianla.com.

SaMo’s Oaxaca: If you for some reason haven’t tried Oaxacan Mexican food, you’ll want to grab a casual bite at SaMo’s in Santa Monica. Guests can try the eatery’s Oaxacan spin on mole, tortas, tacos, California burritos or taste more Oaxacan staples like Tlayudas. 1865 Lincoln Blvd. Ste 5, Santa Monica. somosoaxaca.com.

Nativo: While blending Southern California flavors and their parents’ Jalisco roots, this family-owned restaurant located in the hip enclaves of Highland Park serves a variety of tacos on blue corn tortillas and more wellorounded plates such as the alambres de res. You can also try some aesthetically pleasing cocktails like the Oaxacan Milk Punch and Goes to Condesa Once. 5137 York Blvd,. Los Angeles. nativohlp.com.

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