L. A. Mexicano - Review, recipe and giveaway

L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places by Bill Esparza is far more than a cookbook - it is an study of the Mexican culture of Los Angeles - including recipes, profiles of chefs, bakers, cocktail makers and vendors; along with neighborhood guides that point readers to the best markets, taco trucks, restaurants, bars and more.

100 stunning photographs of the people and food of Los Angeles are also included making this a book for cooks as well as those who want to explore the city's offerings . Profiles of chefs and directories of resources including taco truck and restaurant addresses, phone numbers and recommendations of what to try at each vendor, makes this the ultimate guide book and cookbook. Examples of recipes include Chicken relleno negro, Chirmole stuffing, and Isthmus-style cornbread.

Special thanks to the publisher, Prospect Park Books, and the author for sharing a recipe with our members today as well as providing two copies of L. A. Mexicano in our contest open to US members. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter. 


Steak fajitas

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This dish goes back to Josef's childhood, reflecting the multicultural flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine - fajitas, a beloved and oft-ridiculed dish that is not much different from its Mexican relatives, the discada and the alambre. The main difference is that fajitas are more about fine cuts of steak than the bacon, hot dogs, chopped meat, and chorizos you'll see in Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo León, and the alambres of Central and Southern Mexico are mixed with melted cheese. Discadas and alambres are served in tacos, but fajitas are a big Texas meal served on sizzling hot skillets. This is Josef's L.A. version of the dish, served on a regular plate - no pyrotechnics here.

Serves 2 to 3

  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coffee grounds (preferably fresh)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound skirt steak, trimmed
  • ¼ cabbage (wedge)
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • ½ white onion, julienned
  • 2 poblano chiles, stemmed, membranes removed, seeded (seeds reserved), and julienned
  • 6 flour tortillas

At least 2 hours before cooking, place Worcestershire, chile powder, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, coffee grounds, brown sugar, and salt in container with a lid. Stir to mix well. Add steak to the container and make sure marinade coats the meat evenly. Seal container and set aside in the refrigerator to marinate.

Prepare a grill or cast iron skillet set to high heat and cook steak for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove to a cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes. If using a barbecue grill, lay down a piece of aluminum foil so the cabbage doesn't fall through the grates. Rub cabbage wedge with oil and grill until it gets good grill marks, about 5 minutes. Move to cooler side of grill and continue cooking cabbage until it is cooked through, about another 5 minutes.

Put a skillet over high heat, pour in about 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, and sauté the onions, chiles, and a pinch of the chile seeds, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat.

Slice steak in thin strips, cutting against the grain. Toss steak in the skillet with the sautéed vegetables and give the mixture a quick stir. Arrange immediately on a plate with the grilled cabbage wedge and warmed flour tortillas. Serve with Mexican rice and beans if you like.

Recipe courtesy of Bill Esparza adapated from Chef Josef Centeno, Bäco Mercat & Bar Amá from L. A. Mexicano, 2017, Prospect Park Books.  Photo credit: Staci Valentine.

The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on November 10th, 2017.


  • RichardMosse  on  10/4/2017 at 6:45 AM

    Chile rojo

  • sarahawker  on  10/4/2017 at 8:04 AM


  • Siegal  on  10/4/2017 at 8:15 AM

    I want to try tinga

  • kmn4  on  10/4/2017 at 10:16 AM

    Chicken with red pumpkin-seed mole (pipán rojo)

  • matag  on  10/4/2017 at 10:25 AM


  • djmoss  on  10/4/2017 at 10:31 AM

    Papaya Cream Soup

  • lgroom  on  10/4/2017 at 11:21 AM

    Those steak fajitas might just be tonight's supper.

  • lpatterson412  on  10/4/2017 at 12:08 PM

    Steak Fajitas!

  • ravensfan  on  10/4/2017 at 8:49 PM


  • ladybrooke  on  10/4/2017 at 10:23 PM

    Steak picado Ciro's [Oscar Gonzalez, Ciro's]

  • DarcyVaughn  on  10/4/2017 at 11:22 PM

    Pozole blanco buerrero style

  • mjes  on  10/5/2017 at 3:24 AM

    Huevos divorciados - I need to try more morning recipes to keep a balance.

  • motherofpearl81  on  10/5/2017 at 7:35 AM

    Tinga (chicken chipotle) burritos [Alberto Bañuelos, Burritos La Palma]

  • vickster  on  10/5/2017 at 8:48 AM

    Enchilada Sauce. I want to learn how to make my own and not use canned.

  • patioweather  on  10/5/2017 at 9:53 AM

    I like to try new salsa verde recipes, so definitely that.

  • ktwalla  on  10/5/2017 at 1:27 PM

    carne asada vampiros

  • lhudson  on  10/5/2017 at 3:45 PM

    Steak picado Ciro's [Oscar Gonzalez, Ciro's]

  • Rinshin  on  10/5/2017 at 3:50 PM


  • skipeterson  on  10/5/2017 at 3:57 PM

    Carne asada vampiros [Esdras Ochoa, Mexicali Taco, Salazar]

  • sgump  on  10/6/2017 at 9:15 AM

    The papaya cream soup sounds fascinating!

  • alex888  on  10/6/2017 at 12:50 PM

    Salsa verde. Versatile as both a sauce to dip in chips or in cooking with pork or chicken.

  • Gneissspice  on  10/6/2017 at 7:08 PM

    Pickles onions or drunken salsa! But, curious about the achiote paste. We selle annatto (achiote), but I haven’t cooked with it much! (Gasp).

  • robynsanyal  on  10/6/2017 at 9:36 PM

    Papaya Cream Soup

  • Larkspur  on  10/6/2017 at 11:27 PM

    Roasted tomatillo salsa

  • alemily  on  10/7/2017 at 12:34 PM

    Cochinita pibil tacos

  • Scotsman61  on  10/7/2017 at 10:51 PM

    Steak Fajitas

  • PennyG  on  10/8/2017 at 2:02 PM

    I am always trying to perfect my Mexican Rice.

  • LaurenE  on  10/8/2017 at 3:18 PM


  • bstewart  on  10/10/2017 at 12:51 PM

    The taquitos with avocado sauce!

  • Karla123  on  10/11/2017 at 9:01 AM

    I have so many tomatillos from this year's harvest it's just amazing. So far I've been making salsa, but this variation for Roasted tomatillo salsa sounds like a winner.

  • laffersk  on  10/12/2017 at 7:51 AM

    Mole negro Oaxaqueño [Rocio Camacho, Rocio's Mexican Kitchen]

  • horselady57  on  10/12/2017 at 11:01 PM

    The taquitos with avocado sauce sound delicious!

  • Maaseelulu  on  10/13/2017 at 12:55 AM

    Squash tacos with pumpkin seeds & avocado-tomatillo salsa (Tacos de calabacitas cacao) [Andrew Lujan, Cacao Mexicatessen]. This cookbook is after my own heart as I grew up going to my Mexican grandmother's house in Echo Park and West Covina every Wednesday night. There are so many good dinner memories!

  • SnarkyLarane  on  10/13/2017 at 4:25 PM

    drunken salsa

  • slimmer  on  10/13/2017 at 9:03 PM

    Those fajitas -- the marinade intrigues me.

  • Peirsd60  on  10/14/2017 at 11:28 AM

    Wanna try the Fish tacos

  • Dmartin997  on  10/14/2017 at 11:43 AM

    Scallops in aguachile

  • gravesgoetz  on  10/14/2017 at 11:52 AM

    Definitely Rocio's mole. I live near the Rocio's that closed. We used to go all of the time. I miss it!

  • roxlet  on  10/14/2017 at 12:05 PM

    Chicken tinga or the fajitas. I love the Mexican food I used to get in LA!

  • rachael_mc  on  10/14/2017 at 2:33 PM

    shrimp ceviche

  • Kelos  on  10/14/2017 at 2:45 PM

    Tinga Burritos :)

  • RickPearson54  on  10/14/2017 at 3:29 PM

    Shrimp ceviche

  • lisambb  on  10/14/2017 at 3:39 PM

    Taquitos with avocado sauce.

  • sequoia55  on  10/14/2017 at 8:32 PM

    Carne asada vampiros

  • kalex426  on  10/15/2017 at 11:14 AM

    Shrimp ceviche

  • JenJoLa  on  10/15/2017 at 12:37 PM

    Papaya cream soup [Roberto Berrelleza, Babita Mexicuisine]

  • lean1  on  10/16/2017 at 8:38 AM

    Mole Negro Please

  • thewoobdog  on  10/16/2017 at 8:53 AM

    I'd love the Corn and Summer Squash Tamales. Yum!

  • tararr  on  10/16/2017 at 3:25 PM

    Papaya Cream Soup

  • rivergait  on  10/16/2017 at 3:29 PM

    Roasted tomatillo salsa, because who knew that a few missed tomatillos from last year would grow into HUGE plants with HUGE harvests.

  • Sfgordon  on  10/16/2017 at 5:32 PM

    The Vampiro sauce from Mexicali and the Fish Taco's from Ricky's are so amazing and I would love to know how to make them at home!

  • zarprey  on  10/17/2017 at 7:33 AM

    The chicken and pumpkin seed mole sounds delicious!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  10/18/2017 at 2:07 PM

    steak fajitas!

  • fbrunetti  on  10/18/2017 at 8:15 PM


  • RSW  on  10/21/2017 at 11:25 AM

    Mole negro Oaxaqueño [Rocio Camacho, Rocio's Mexican Kitchen]

  • Jenamarie  on  10/22/2017 at 3:44 PM

    Shrimp ceviche!

  • rglo820  on  10/23/2017 at 12:05 PM

    Shrimp ceviche!

  • Julia  on  10/25/2017 at 9:27 PM

    Seafood cocktail.

  • Katiefayhutson  on  10/25/2017 at 9:39 PM

    Chicken and pumpkin seed mole

  • t.t  on  10/25/2017 at 11:36 PM

    Steak picado Ciro's

  • Uhmandanicole  on  10/30/2017 at 4:02 AM

    Taquitos with avocado sauce

  • verorenee  on  10/30/2017 at 10:49 PM

    Tinga burritos

  • fiarose  on  10/31/2017 at 8:35 PM

    ooo, mole negro. i've always wanted to learn!

  • orchidlady01  on  11/1/2017 at 6:35 AM

    Hollenbeck burrito and Chile relleno burrito, LA Azteca style

  • Amandaspamanda  on  11/1/2017 at 2:41 PM

    Taquitos with avocado sauce - I'm a HUGE fan of avocado sauce!

  • contest718  on  11/1/2017 at 5:11 PM

    Steak picado Ciro's

  • sipa  on  11/2/2017 at 9:24 AM

    Squash tacos with pumpkin seeds & avocado-tomatillo salsa

  • RoseMGenuine  on  11/3/2017 at 9:56 PM

    Corn and summer squash tamales

  • AnnaZed  on  11/7/2017 at 2:49 AM

    Chile de árbol salsa

  • notstarvingyet  on  11/7/2017 at 10:10 AM

    chile relleno burrito

  • bibliophile02  on  11/7/2017 at 1:24 PM

    Salsa ranchera

  • Vspriestersbach  on  11/10/2017 at 5:51 AM

    Steak fajitas!

  • jterry  on  11/10/2017 at 3:13 PM

    Drunken salsa

  • jmay42066  on  11/10/2017 at 10:22 PM

    Steak Fajitas, my favorite!

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