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Spot Check: Colombian Desgranados In Echo Park, Mexican Wine Festival At Mírate, and Perverted Waffles in DTLA

Plus, a party highlighting pan-African cuisine, a new Taiwanese cookbook by an awarded local from the San Gabriel Valley, and a Little Saigon food festival that starts tonight! Welcome back to Spot Check!

11:41 AM PDT on September 22, 2023

Spot Check! Welcome to L.A. TACO's weekly food column, where we bring you the latest and most exciting openings, pop-ups, and food events around all of Los Angeles to check out.  

Look for Encaletaos Colombian Food truck in Echo Park, which serves butifarra soledeña-and-smoked cheese-topped La Costeña burgers, and chorizo-and-egg-topped Pasia burgers on pan artesenal, along with Colombian-style hot dogs, picadas, and Baranquilla's famous desgranados, a mash-up of potato sticks or tamales, cheese, sauces, lettuce, and other ingredients topped with multiple grilled meats and sweet corn. Owners plan to introduce more Colombian classics to their menu, shying away from what's typically served in Los Angeles to concentrate on the cooking of Colombia's coastal regions like Baranquilla, Santa Marta, and Cartagena.

1230 W. Sunset Blvd. Echo Park, CA 90026. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 4 - “Sunset/Marion.”

Omar's Ethiopian Cuisine is now serving Hollywood, available at frequent pop-ups, events, and for catering parties. If you want it right now, you can place your orders for chef Omar Adem's injera, berbere-spiced beef, chicken, or mushroom tibs, kik, shiro, collards, and tikil gomen right here for pickup.

The first-ever Taste of Westminster kicks off this evening in Orange County at the "Little Saigon" city's Civic Center. Admission and "specialty food items" are free, food booths from local restaurants will sell their cooking, and a full bar is available for those 21 and older. See the full lineup of vendors, including Long Phuong Bakery, La Carreta Lonchera, and Hong Phat Deli.

Today, 5:00-9:00 PM, 8200 Westminster Blvd. Westminster, CA 92683

If waffles' wholesome image and morning person vibes are ruining your scene, pay attention to Naughtyland Waffles, the Latina-owned pop-up making waffles in the shape of boobies, nanas, wee-wees, and other things you probably never specifically asked a waffle to resemble. The genital-shaped sweets come on a stick, with your choice of drizzles like Nutella or lechera, or toppings like Oreo crumbles and Fruity Pebbles. At least now you'll know what you're getting when you order a "concha."

Friday 6:30-10:30 PM and Sat-Sun 4:30- 10:30 PM, 2300 E. 15th St. Los Angeles, CA 90021. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 60 - “Santa Fe/15th.”

Tickets are now available to L.A.'s first Festival de Vino Mexicano (Festival of Mexican Wine) at Mirate, planned for October 13 to 15. Over three days, there will be tastings, collaborations with chefs and wineries, and seminars on wines from Baja California and mainland Mexico. A portion of ticket sale proceeds will go to This Is About Humanity, a non-profit helping families separated and reunited at the U.S.-Mexico border. Events include Saturday's "Tacos y Vino" and Sunday's "Wine Festival and Barbacoa."

Afro Chef Club is organizing an upscale lunch this Sunday, Sept. 24, in Downtown's Arts District. Founder and Peppered Goat owner/chef John Paul will speak and offer three African dishes, including pepper soup, Nigerian goat with ewedu leaves, and East African mandazi with zobo juice, while a DJ spins. Tickets here.

Crazy Smash Burger puts its money where its name is, creating monstrously double burgers loaded with things like Cheetos, fresh jalapenos, chopped chilies, marinara, and ranch dressing, often at the same time. The truck's sides include onion rings and loaded fries, and they'll also bust out the occasional donut burger.

12729 Sherman Way North Hollywood, CA 91605. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 162 - “Sherman Way/Bellaire” or Bus Line 167 - "Coldwater Canyon/Sherman Way."

A new dance party is going down this Saturday on La Brea. This Goes! Will offer disco dancing lessons, a drag show, and live beats by DJ Pleasure Party, along with fun, drinks, and dancing in an inclusive environment.

8 PM, 739 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 10 or 212 - “La Brea/Melrose.”

Family-owned Pobres Tacos, known for its sushi chef-turned-taquera owner and their crucial quesabirias, tuna handrolls, complimentary consome, and luscious tacos gobernadores, can now be found in North Hollywood, as construction at its Beverlywood location has given it cause to move.

2 PM, 12764 Strathern St., North Hollywood, CA 91605. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 167 - “Coldwater Canyon/Strathern.”

L.A.-born-and-raised author Clarissa Wei's "Made In Taiwan: Recipes and Stories From the Island Nation" cookbook is now available, with over 100 recipes and rich essays about the country, its history, people, and cultures, including insights from a heavily awarded expert in beef noodle soup, and recipes for braised, minced pork belly, and oyster and pork intestine vermicelli stew.

If you loved L.A. TACO's TACO MADNESS event last spring, here's an L.A. TACO celebration you can bring the whole family to! L.A. TACO and Santa Anita Park will celebrate the taco lifestyle and the opening day of racing with the best birria taco vendors in Los Angeles on Sept. 30 at Birriamania! There will be both birria de chivo and birria de res in abundance from 8 excellent L.A. vendors, as well as lucha libre wrestling. Get your tickets now and we can party together next weekend. And remember, LA TACO members get in free!

September 30th, 12:00 to 5:00 PM, 285 W. Huntington Dr. Arcadia, CA 91007. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 179 - “Huntington/Holly.”

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