Guest Editor | Bricia Lopez
Photo Credit: Daniel Robles Cruz
This weeks Guest Editor is none-other than Bricia Lopez | Oaxacan Native and Los Angeles local. Currently running her families restaurant - Guelaguetza (an ode to Oaxacan cooking founded by her father in 1994) - Bricia is an influencer in the Los Angeles gastronomic culture.
You were born in Mitla, Mexico but a tremendous amount of your upbringing was in Los Angeles. Now, overseeing operations at your family’s restaurant, Guelaguetza, do you see the two sensibilities melding in anyway?
I am very blessed to be living in a city like Los Angeles. I am currently living in koreatown, an area that some might also call Oaxacatown. You walk down this neighborhood and may not only find the most legit kimchi, but also a supermarket bearing the name of Mexico’s first Oaxacan President- Benito Juarez. To this day it blows my mind to see how both of these cultures have created one of LA’s most exciting neighborhoods. Because I grew up in LA, my love for that city is rooted way deep in my heart. And that’s really what Guelaguetza is today. It's the LA and Oaxaca love colliding together to bring a new culture and experience to California… We like to call it, Oaxacalifornia love. It's the LA upbringing with a Oaxaca heart.
It’s officially summer! What are some of your favorite seasonal ingredients and preparations?
Oh, I LOVE picnicking! So any fresh salad tossed with a citrus vinaigrette (brownie points if there is Valencia oranges in the recipe) that can keep me cool under the Californian sun will do for me. Oh, and lets not forget the wonder of a good California heirloom tomato salad tossed with an artisanal olive oil… YUM
You’ve had countless mezcal cocktails named after you throughout LA’s bar scene (lucky!). What are some of the best flavors to complement the spirit’s smoky nature? Any recipes you can
share for a great and simple summer cocktail?
Hehe..thanks! Yes, I LOVE mezcal and that is no secret. Citrus and berries are always a friend of your's when mixing a mezcal cocktail, specially during the summer when you can get the best of the best.
1oz – mole infused orange liqueur
1oz – Lime
dash – agave
shaken. Served over ice… sooo good
My friend Gilbert Marquez made this for me once and it was just perfect…
3/4oz simple syrup
shaken. served On rocks or martini. If you want to add a kick to it, rim your glass with chili powder or salt.
Congratulations, you were recently sworn in as a Commissioner to the LA Central City Planning Commission! What are some of the duties you’ll have? Will your role allow you to focus on solidifying the presence of traditional and family-owned eateries in the area?
Thank you! Yes, I am very exciting and loving my role in the city. Our main duty as commissioners is to listen to the need of the community and business owners in our area of service. We get to be part of the business and urban planning landscape of Los Angeles, and that is always very exciting. I am always supportive and a proponent of all family-owned business, and will do anything I can do to always support the community to the best of my ability.
What are the essential ingredients to Oaxacan cooking and culture?
There are five things that must be in every Oaxacan Pantry: Oaxacan Cheese, Tlayudas, Chiles Pasilla, Chiles de Agua, and chapulines!
It’s Happy Hour. What’s your drink of choice?
Do you have a favorite local artisanal treat?
They vary, but most recently my friend sent over a box of Mcconnell's Ice Cream and I’ve been in heaven ever since.
Name 3 of your favorite LA restaurants and the one thing at each you must order.
- Guelaguetza – Taco de Barbacoa
1.5 Bäco Mercat– lace battered squash blossoms
- Stocking Frame – Octopus and Shrimp Tacos (salt and hot sauce on the side please)
- Sunday Supper at Luques – anything they serve
If you could choose one of July’s featured ingredients to cook with, what would you choose and what would you make?
M. Greenwood Peach & Bourbon Jam - I would use it as the sweet component for a killer mezcal sour.
If you could cook for one person, living or dead, who would it be and why? What would you make?
I am going to have to say for my mom, her Estofado de Lengua recipe, because to this day I’m still waiting for the day she says, “wow, that tastes just like the one I make”
What’s up next for you? Any exciting culinary travels?
Right now my brother and I are in the middle of launching our Michelada Mix as well as our MicheMobil. The response from the public has been incredible and we can’t wait to see where this new project takes us so we are both totally obsessed with Micheladas at the moment. I’m also super excited to be this years Taste Of Mexico’s president. Our 4th annual Food Festival is just around the corner and I cannot wait to see it come alive. It is for sure going to be the best one to date.
I’ll be visiting my parents in Oaxaca this early September and attending a few dinners for this years El Saber del Sabor food festival, a gathering of the best of the best in Mexican chefs in Oaxaca so stay tuned on my instagram page!