“Anarchy in East L.A.” My First Print Feature For LA Weekly Out Today!

(photo credit: Jennie Warren)

Well ladies and gentlemen, here it it. It’s still a trip for me to be honest that I managed to pull this off. First of all, this was the hardest piece I have written to date. If it wasn’t as hard as my cover story for Saveur, “Mexico Feeds Me”, it was damn near close.

I don’t know if any of you know this but music was actually my first love, yes, before food and booze even! Thank god I took an A.P. Music Theory class to diffuse that one, huh? Haha. No, but seriously…to write this piece was like writing a piece of my life. Who would had thought that all that teenage angst and boozed-up neuroticism would come in handy one day?

This piece is dedicated to my old punk band, Bad Influence , RIP! Also, to my older brother Rojelio Cabral for supporting me through the years and feeding my punk-embers with his six milk crates of vintage 80’s punk vinyl. To Jimmy Alvarado for documenting the scene since then, to all my true homies, TRDK, Kiki and Josh for getting me drunk as fuck with two King Kobra’s for the first time on a school night when I was thirteen….and all the rest of you East L.A. drunk punks for making the scene what it is today.

Cheers, drink beer and fuck you…stay punk!


East L.A. Backyard Punk Scene Rages On As uninhibited and intoxicated as ever

By 10 p.m. there are 300 of them, mostly second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans, some with 4-inch-high bleached and spiked hair and some with skinned heads, not to mention piercings everywhere: septum, lips, cheeks. The girls’ faces are thick with makeup. They wear fishnets and band tees for Vice Squad, the Expelled or any other influential punk band from the late-’80s U.K. scene, altered to flaunt bra straps. Their pink Doc Martens have steel toes.

It’s Labor Day and they’ve come to see punk at a house in East L.A., near the City Terrace neighborhood between the territory of the Lopez and Lott gangs.

The three-story house — owned by a couple of dudes hoping to make a few bucks toward their rent — is full, more than full. It’s got a patio on the second floor and a small yard in the back, which is about to burst.

The mostly underage kids have paid $3 to get in, the ones who aren’t friends with the guys running the party anyway. But that doesn’t include refreshments, which explains why their backpacks are heavy with 40-ounce bottles of King Cobra and Miller High Life. They’re also smoking skunky weed from portable glass pipes and puffing grape-flavored Swisher Sweets blunts. Cocaine is trendy again, too, snorted off of CD cases or from the tips of car keys.

Word of the event was sent out to the faithful via mass text shortly before showtime. The best part is that most of the bands advertised have actually shown up; they tend to flake if they lack functional equipment or can’t get gas money. On the second floor, the Stomp Outz perform their British-working-class Oi! songs, uncomplicated repetitions of two-finger power chords at upbeat tempos. Then the frontmen of Corrupted Youth screech their throats out to “The Beer for Breakfast” and “Confusion.” The guitarist and rhythm section are playing so fast they can’t always keep up with each other.

To be honest, though, the sound doesn’t really matter, just so long as it’s danceable. A mosh pit erupts right in front of the Stomp Outz, causing the guitarist to nearly topple over his guitar amp. A small coed group goes around in circles, its members pushing everyone out of their way, using all their might. If someone falls out, someone else picks them up and throws them right back into the pit. It’s usually very friendly, believe it or not.

Unfortunately, just after 1 a.m., a couple of inebriated kids let their ghetto egos take over and start a fistfight out on the front lawn. Others quickly jump in and throw punches to impress their friends. The full-blown ruckus likely causes one of the neighbors to call the cops, and L.A.’s finest quickly roll up. (They always seem to make it to these get-togethers, sometimes wearing riot gear and shooting powder balls.) This time they give the members of one of the evening’s bands, Who Gives a Fuck, a $400 ticket for loud and unreasonable noise.

Making lemonade, party organizer Ignacio “Nacho Corrupted” Rodriguera immediately suggests throwing a fundraiser backyard party for the group, to be held the following week.

Every Friday and Saturday night in East Los Angeles, whether the weather is decent or not, you can usually find three or four backyard punk gigs, populated by the angrier demographic of Chicano adolescents who are too young to legally get fucked up at bars but harbor an innate passion for desmadre (chaos!).

There are no promoters, no contracts, no set times and no set lists, just an informal network of eager young artists ready to play at a moment’s notice. They tend not to care if they get paid, so long as they get to show off their stuff and score a few beers.

I grew up on the Eastside and discovered these DIY parties as a prepubescent. Despite its reputation, my end of town is not all bald dudes and gang warfare; being into punk rock, metal or skateboarding can help you escape that life. After all, as I discovered, if you have long hair or tight pants, you are considered a “rocker” and usually left alone.

“In backyards, it feels more at home. It’s way wilder and has bigger pits than at bars or venues,” says Edgar Fernandez, the drummer and lead singer for popular local band the Zoo, who play backyard shows every weekend. (Their members hail from Garfield High School, made famous by Stand and Deliver.)

The scene has been strong for decades. In the 1970s, Los Lobos made a name for themselves at residential ghetto venues. In the early ’80s, a faster and more raw sound was born, highlighted by bands like the Brat, Thee UndertakUers and the Stains. In the ’90s, Boyle Heights’ own Union 13 were signed to Epitaph.

Their sounds often reflected the angst and frustrations of Mexican-American residents, struggling with identity crises. (There are Guatemalans and Salvadorans in the mix as well.) As an L.A. native whose parents were born in Mexico, I can sympathize. In Mexico I’m sometimes called a Pocho — a derogatory term referring to American-born kids. Here in L.A. I’ve gotten plenty of strange looks in fancy Westside restaurants.

But back to punk: In recent years it has fragmented into multiple subgenres. There’s street punk, which is faster and more relentless than the traditional hardcore of groups like Black Flag. (You may have heard it in Larry Clark’s 2005 film Wassup Rockers, which is actually pretty decent.) Ska-core is a ska/punk hybrid, while grindcore and krust are probably the heaviest and most ear-damaging — something like a rusty car’s engine about to break down. DJ parties also have become very popular. But no matter the genre, the themes remain the same: anti-authoritarianism and teen angst.

In 2011 it’s fair to say the backyard scene is as strong as it’s ever been. “It waxes and wanes, but it never really dies out,” says Jimmy Alvarado, an East L.A. punk historian who is preparing a full-length documentary titled Eastside Punks.

The guy best known for keeping the movement vital nowadays is Rodriguera, who threw the Labor Day party and is also a singer in Corrupted Youth. “I love punk, there is a lot of unity, we treat each other like family,” he says. Born in L.A. and raised in Culiacan, Mexico, Rodriguera is tall and pale; he wears tight pants and porcupine-like spiked hair. He’s the type of guy who will call you in the middle of the night to ask if he can move the gig to your house.

He’s tried doing that with me — a couple of times, actually. But I’m finished as a host, ever since the bash I threw in my parents’ apartment parking lot for my 21st birthday party last year. Sure, it was a good time. About 200 friends showed up, including some I hadn’t seen in years. They brought weeks’ worth of booze.

Unfortunately I ended up gashing my head, due to the actions of some local gangbangers who didn’t understand the concept of friendly slamdancing. Instead, they used the opportunity to beat up on drunken kids (namely me).

But, to be honest, even though I found myself in the pit with blood dripping down my face and all over my shirt, I really didn’t care. It was fun. It was punk.

For an awesome slide-show of the backyard show I talk about on the story, check out the complete article on the LA Weekly Music website.

My First Music Review For LA Weekly Now Up!

Well, I finally made the freelancing leap over to LA Weekly.

This is kind of my be my dream freelancing job that I never thought I could accomplish. Who would of thought? Me? Writing professionally about punk rock? Well, dreams do come true I guess. Ok, it’s not as easy as it sounds…trust! I stayed up until 5 AM working on this sucker for you guys. And well, a show feels different when you are jotting down notes and snapping hundreds of pictures instead of getting drunk and crowd surfing in the pit. But nonetheless, I love every single thing about it and would not change anything about my current position in life. I am ready for anything and I am finally ready for this new responsibility.

Thank you to all my homies who supported me over the years and to the never ending cycles of rebellious youth who never fail to refresh my own pledge to stay punk.

Now, without further adieu, I present to you all my review for The Casualties, JFA and Angry Samoans show last night!


By Javier Cabral

The Casualties, Angry Samoans and JFA
House of Blues
8-28-2011

Better Than…staying home and getting ready for the first day of school.

What happens when you bring together the most fundamental old school and new school punk rock bands from both the East and West coast? World-class, rebellious fun! And one of the best venue-hosted punk shows I’ve been to in a while.

The lineup of bands seemed almost too good to be true. But The Casualties are an alternative music force to be reckoned with, often among the first bands a young punk falls in love with. Having them play a show with some of California’s top, integral ’80s hardcore bands was a great idea. This show had actually been sold out a week prior, but that didn’t stop many determined punks from still finding a way to get inside somehow. Everyone seemed to have a soft spot for the New York-born “street punk” band, a style known for its exceptionally fast, loud riffs and raw verbiage.



It’s technically on the LA Weekly music blog, West Coast Sound, so click on this sentence to read the rest of it.

Cheers!

Watch Me On Sundance Channel Tonight! (Ludobites America: Redondo Beach)

Give a chef some Mole Zacatecano and you feed him for a day. Teach a chef to make Mole Zacatecano and you feed him for a lifetime! Everyone remember “Mexican For A Day: Teaching Ludovic Lefebvre the Art of Mole Zacatecano”, that story I wrote two years ago telling the story of how my mama and I taught Chef Ludo how to make our ancestral mother sauce? Well, watch the next best thing to making that post into a feature-length movie tonight!

ludo and me
The French chef & I two years ago

Enjoy the debut of my dramatic acting career on Ludobites America! as I join Chef Ludo in the mean streets of East LA….nooooot!

Kidding, kidding! No but seriously, check out the episode if you have cable and get a chance. I got the opportunity to personally guide L.A’s, revered pop-up French Chef through an East Los Angeles Mexican landmark! For what? Well, watch it tonight and find out!

The episode airs on the Sundance channel tonight at 9 PM (regular cable) and 6 PM (satellite) in the west coast.

Cheers!

MoKo (Culver City): The Inevitable Post

Why “inevitable” you ask?

Well, this is the first comped (partially) meal review piece I decided to happily write since that whole LA Weekly “Meet your Blogger” drama that happened more than a year ago.

I like to think as that experience as my personal christening celebration into mature, realistic food writing actually. It opened my eyes to the capitalistic dangers of food blogging, well actually, it just taught me to be hell’a more careful with the words I choose to use during a recorded interview.

Naturally, it took me a while to deal with this. I decided to take a comped-meal sabbatical for about a year. I was traumatized, not even opening some of the many invites I would get daily. But I knew that I had to reflect deeply and establish my own very set of concrete writing ethics if I was going to get anywhere in this relentless career, ethics that I would follow for the rest of my life.

Well, I faced them, meditated on them and finally–found them.

As a budding, full-time student food writer that solely depends on financial aid and scarily haphazard freelancing stipends (yes, that still lives with his parents too) , sure a free feast sounds downright divine sometimes. But, recently, I have been learning to finally–prioritize my life. Well trying my hardest anyways (hey! I have a whiteboard now, ok?!). The more I do this, the more I realize, that a free meal with free expensive booze and luxury ingredients just isn’t worth it for me sometimes, especially as I dig my unique food writing niche deeper with every article I publish.

Don’t get me wrong, like the late DC 80’s Hardcore Punk band, Minor Threat sang, “[This} ain’t the first, I hope [this] ain’t the last, because I know we are all heading to that adult crash!!”

I will still do them. But, as with any other thing that you do too much and eventually becomes unhealthy–with moderation. After all, isn’t that the reason why food blogger’s continue dedicating hours and hours of their time to writing? To spread the news of good food? To bring appreciation to the proud, few, fierce people who work seven days a week sometimes, for the sake of good food and drink?

Thanks to Eddie Hah of Biergarten for pushing me until I finally tackled and assessed this personal conflict, and also for inviting me out to this. Now without further adieu, I give you my unabashed review of moKo in Culver City.

moko 1
moKo as you walk in

So, when a chef that names a burger after you invites you out to dinner, YOU SAY YES, no matter what. And because you are dining with a chef, you know that the dinner will not be a question of whether to indulgence or not but more a question of much indulgence will be partaken in that particular evening. I was excited–I had eaten fruit all day too–so was ready.

moKo (short and hip for Modern Korean) is pretty new but it is certainly not unpopular in the foodblogging circle of LA, it’s been a pretty hot topic actually amongst my colleagues. When it all boils down though, there really is only one way to truly find out if a restaurant is “worth it” or not, remember? Go find out for yourself!

So we all know that the space use to belong to the similarly themed Gyenari restaurant, and also that Culver City has become a pretty sweet dining destination and all that fluff stuff. So onwards, straight to the food!

moko ambiance

The place is nice, you’ll notice this immediately. The dining room is made up of a bunch of chic booth’s, black with cream-colored cushions and red outlines, a certain New York art party sense of coolness is established with the red brick foundation on the walls around you. The music was cool, from what I could remember. By cool, I mean Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam” being bumped at sometime through out the night.

Chef Gary Robins is the kitchen shotcaller, yes the same Robins that outdid himself on a recent post I wrote. After doing a brief pop up last year at Georgio’s Cucina, he was now here. Lucky for us that night.

Eddie Hah is a big fan of the guy. And I can see why as our first dish makes its way to the table.

moko 2

Banchan gets the cheffy treatment and is known as “Market Banchan” here. There is still kimchi but there are also things like Beets sautéed with jujubes and apple smoked bacon. Now, the fact that these are priced is probably the source of disarray for most people, especially with our Angeleno AYCE KBBQ habituated culture. If you are curious, it will cost you, three for $7.5, five for $12 and seven for $16. Get the first option and get the glossy dark, marinated lotus root. Crisp and sweet since its brined with honey.

Cocktails were to be had of course, even if I was the only one drinking that night.

moko cocktail
Thai Basil Cooler

I settled on the the cooler, which comprised of Thai basil, Damrak gin, St. Germain, lemon & agave ($11). It was subtle, refreshing and dangerously easy to drink, paired well with the food too.

moko first crudo
moko tuna crudo
moko last crudo

Now, if it’s one thing that I remember from Chef Robins, it is his take on crudo dishes. He seems to quite the deft hand with seafood. The Hamachi was particularly the most buttery, flavored with yuzu citrus jus with pickled, jalapenos and crisp garlic ($13). The server came out and told us that chef was breaking down a whole Tai Snapper for us too. And he prepared that sucker with some asian pear jus and pickled ginger ($12). Like I said, he is a bad ass with seafood. The last one was the most traditional of all, Ahi Tuna with yuzu and soy, but even then he souped it up a bit with some blood orange infused olive oil ($12).

moko baos

Next up were his own take on Ssam, the leaf-wrapped favorites of Korea. Although, here, Robins applied the Chinese Bao approach to them. The one with Sesame Duck Confit, slivered juicy mango, wild arugula with ginger aioli and chipotle jang ($6 each) was my favorite for sure. It doesn’t hurt that chef made the bao’s himself. Mmmm….edible clouds.

moko korean pancake-pizza
Jeon

Now, this particular dish was the one that swept me off my feet. Chef Robins is doing to Korean pancakes what Nancy Silverton did to Pizza’s in Los Angeles, redefining them and giving them the gourmet treatment. Actually, he is treating them like pizza’s too. He topped the zucchini and golden squash based one like you would a fine pizza with grilled shrimp and a zesty sesame tomato chutney ($13). Golden brown and crisp in the most delightful way humanly possible.

Next up was Robins rendition of the ultra-traditional dish of Bossam.

moko charcuterie

I forget the cut of pork it was and how it was prepared but I do remember an awesome shrimp and scallop flavored mustard that came along with it. He plated it like a charcuterie platter with some rosemary thick and tasty focaccia bread toast he baked himself too.

moko bomb foie gras dumplings
Foie Gras Mandoo

Another table favorite were the pan fried duck and foie gras Mandoo dumplings with sour cherry dipping sauce ($12). These were the Korean version of a perfect xia long bao dumpling. They were juicy as hell but there was very little actual foie gras in it if that was the only reason you ordered them for.

We got a couple more dishes after but that was it for the hosted part that chef Robins cooked us himself. But like I said, Eddie Hah REALLY admires the guy so we still ordered some more food. Food that he paid for. They also have these state-of-the-art tabletop grills with vacuum’s underneath them that suck up all the annoying smoke usually encountered at a KBBQ place. So, they offer souped up, premium Korean BBQ options as well.

moko kbbq
grilled prawns
Premium Korean BBQ at moKo

Eddie opted for the Giant Blue Prawns ($9 each), Marinated Kalbi ($18), Apricot-Marinated Duck ($18) and of course, in true hedonistic chef fashion…marrow ($8) !

I forget the name of the country where the prawns were flown in from but it was somewhere exotic-sounding I remember. Where ever they were from, the prawns flown in fresh and literally smelled like the ocean (not Long Beach type of ocean, more like Cancun ocean foo). They were delicious, they tasted really sweet, literally sweet, not metaphorically sweet. The duck was my second favorite, tender and steak-like.

moko bbq marrow
moko marrow on homemade toast

The luscious bone fat shimmered and curdled up as it stood on the grill plate waiting to get scraped out and eaten atop some more of that crispy homemade rosemary focaccia toast. By this point, I was beyond stuffed, which made the marrow’s distinctive flavors and textures all the more noticeable. Mmmm…marrow.

Finally, it was time for desserts.

lychee semifredo
Frozen lychee parfait

moko diy smores
moKo Housemade DIY S’mores

green tea shortcake
Green tea shortcake

The s’mores were the knockout of the sweet league, they utilized the tabletop grills even more beautifully. Chef Robins baked the graham crackers himself with almond flour, they were more of a shortbread than anything else and were amazing. Instead of Hershey’s, there was a pre-melted chocolate ganache to smear with, and the marshmallows were flavored. Of course, they were also made in house.

To this day, that meal holds the record for the longest dinner (and perhaps my most gluttonous one too), we got there a little after six in the afternoon and didn’t walk out until almost midnight. But when the food is as tantalizing and deftly executed as moKo’s, I didn’t mind. I am glad that Chef Robins has found a home for now.

Most of the meal was free, sure. But I wouldn’t had been able to afford it otherwise so, there you go, the inevitable post!

(Disclaimer: I ate this meal like three month’s ago.)

MoKo
9540 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Neighborhood: Culver City
(310) 838-3131
www.MokoSocial.com

The Glutster Burger Featured as Best “Fusion” Burger in Los Angeles Magazine!

best ethnic inflenced burger
Not a bad way to be welcomed back to your hometown, right?

Home, sweet home…kinda. Ok, so I left my heart in el rancho, drenched in freshly-extracted pulque along side thick, homemade tortillas. But until I man up and realize my subconscious dreams of moving to el rancho myself. Me tengare que aguantar! (I’ll bite my maseca-based tortilla tainted lips!)

In other news, I broke my five day internet fast to find out that the burger that has been cursed with my title actually won “best fusion burger” on LA Magazine!


Our favorite ethnic-influenced variation is The Glutster burger at Biergarten in Koreatown. Cocreated by blogger Javier Cabral (aka the Glutster), the all-pork slab is joined by guac, pickled onions, epazote aioli, chipotle black beans and fried green tomato slice on a King’s Hawaiian sweet roll.”

Yees! Pretty awesome right?

But none of this would had been possible without the excellent burger’ing skills of Eddie Hah, so a huge thank you to him!

Eddie and his Chosun One
Eddie Hah: The Burger Maniac

Now, to go celebrate by eating one, or two with a beer or five.

the glutster money shot
The Glutster Burger

The magazine is out now so go out and buy one! Or else, just wait until the internet version is available on the Los Angeles Magazine website

cheers!

Pulqueria “Las Duelistas”: Drinking it Old School in Mexico City

As soon as you step foot in any part of Mexico you will quickly realize that Mexicans love beer. A cold, frosty chela will be readily available at an airport sandwich shop before you hop on your flight as well as be given to you free of charge aboard a Mexican airline if you ask nicely enough. Furthermore, what we call a “40” oz, they call a “Caguama” and it actually has 22% (1.2 Liters of beer to be exact) more beer than any 40 oz in the U.S. But before there was beer, their was pulque, the ultra-viscous libation of my pre-hispanic ancestors made from the fermented sap of the Maguey plant (Century Plant).

As a coming-of-aging Mexican-American pocho on the quest to find his opposing dual self-identity, I have sought to imbibe this elusive drink voraciously. Perhaps because it is portrayed as the official drink of thick-moustache’d Mexican revolutionaries, the heroes of the modern day literate chicano. Or maybe because it conforms to my punk-rock way of living… an alternative option that a dedicated few choose to produce and drink? Sounds like the perfect alcohol correquesite for a latino that is into punk-rock to me! Whatever it is, I am fascinated with this drink and I treat it as French Romantics treated absinthe, drinking it for deep self-reflection but ultimately, as an homage to my pre-conquista roots.

Every time I am in the motherland of my parents, I make it a point to hunt and drink pulque at least once during my short visits. Last year, I was lucky enough to actually witness how it is produced while I stayed at my tio Aurelio’s rancho in Nopala, Hidalgo. I think it was a turning point in my adult life.

First, the maguey plants needs to be “castrated” before any pulque can be acquired, that is, the tall tree-like stalk that grows from the middle of the plant is chopped and pulled off. Where the stalk was, there is now the chamber where the illustrious “Aguamiel” sap water collects. According to my uncle’s friend who drinks pulque daily, the plant produces sap three times a day, perfect for the human dietary meal plan of three meals a day. Coincidence? I think not!

Fresh from the plant, the aguamiel it is not yet alcoholic, at this point it is considered medicinal and tastes similar to drinking fresh unsweetened aloe-vera juice. As bacteria are introduced to it, the fermentation begins. After a few hours it is finally pulque. Fresh, raw pulque is like yogurt and has probiotics actually!

The Modern Pulquero
The pulquero tools
La Aguamiel
Aguamiel chamber
La Resadura Del Maguey
Maguey shavings

Anyways, the pulquero uses what I can only explain as a big-ass pipette that he sticks under his armpit to squeeze and suck up the sap and then empty out in an old plastic bottle. The pulquero must be cautious and wear this leather forearm protector, as the maguey surface around the chamber is highly irritant to the skin. Like anything else a man treasures, he must groom and maintain the maguey. In this case, he uses a sharp wedge to shave the dried surface around the spherical sap chamber. But like everything else in this world, the Maguey does not live forever. After the plant is actually old enough to produce pulque (at about 8-9 years of age), the Maguey slowly dies after each offering of its elixir, lasting only about 1-2 years shortly thereafter. It is pretty sad too, the plant slowly droops and weathers, until its completely brown and decomposed.

Ok, ok enough with my chicano-pulque 101-Dissertation stuff, back to Los Duelistas!

pulqueria duelistas
Pulqueria Los Duelistas: Signage

So, somewhere along my three-year strong twitter neuroticism, I stumbled into the account for @LaPulqueria “Los Duelistas”. They post their flavors daily, one day it would be “Martes de Maracuya” (Passionfruit Tuesday) another day it would be Jueves de Tuna Roja (Cactus Fruit Thursday) and so on and so on. Day after day, I would be tempted by their pulques, only to realize I was thousands of miles away in LA. Well, not today!

The pulqueria is located just down the street from the “San Juan de Letran” metro stop on the green line. The Aztec-graffiti layered façade shows you the new school qualities of the place, while the Mexican saloon-style swinging doors demonstrate traditional Pulquete architecture.

pulqueria ambiance
Hey! Mexico has hipsters too!

At about five pm, the place was hella-cracking with local Mexican hipsters and rasta (dreadlocks) touting brown bohemians alike. Pulque attracts the roots-revering, conscious youth of Mexico. Nobody in the room was above 30 years old. Well, except for the seasoned old servers who hustled the drinks. But even then, the old man pictured on the facebook page sported his stud belt proudly as he reached over to take peoples orders promptly. Only two flavors (out of five) were left: a fluorescent green apio(celery) and a creamy avena (oatmeal). Late 90’s U.S alternative rock favorites were being bumped loudly. A pitcher of each please!

These flavored pulques are known as “curados” (cured) pulques. And they are made by blending the unsweetened sour-as-hell natural stuff with other pureed flavorings and then letting it rest for a couple of hours for the flavors to marry. The first pitcher to arrive was the avena flavored one. After pouring it out into the plastic cups used to drink it, I now knew why Anthony Bourdain best described it as “Ryan Seacrest’s love juice”.

oatmeal pulque
Cinnamon-sprinkled oat flavored pulque at Las Duelistas
pulque viscosity porn
Pulque viscosity porn

The cloudy liquid was as thick as the sickest loogie you ever coughed up in your life but yet tasted so heavenly. It was sprinkled with cinnamon and tasted like a sweet kefir-kombucha-yogurt-adult milkshake-super-drink hybrid. It is served at room temperature so its flavor and signature viscosity is wholly unabashed and thoroughly enjoyed. The celery cured one was a lot lighter and less sweet, I actually preferred it to the oat version for that reason.

I quickly guzzled mine and ended up drinking my friends leftovers of their’s too. Not to mention still ordered an uncured and unsweetened aka. ultra-sour “blanco” pulque to taste. They wanted to progress to the next bar already and drink beer already but I could care less. I ended up going with them and drinking three “Leon” caguamas through the evening. But even the dark, Mexico-only “Munich” style beer was no match for my pulque-lined stomach anymore…

otro pulkito?

Pulqueria Los Duelistas
Aranda 28, Col
Centro (entre Ayuntamiento y Puente Peredo)
Ciudad de México, Mexico
Tel: 5513940958
Twitter: @LaPulqueria

Finally Amongst My Own Kind! My First Group Scooter Ride and an Ode to My Bajaj (San Gabriel Valley Vintage: Pasadena)

Ok, so this post isn’t either food, alcohol or music related but its just as cooool!

So as many of you know, I chose the two-wheeled way of life instead of the conventional safety cage when I graduated High School. Just like pretty much every other aspect of my life, I decided to go counter-culture in my way of transportation too! Haha. Yup, no used, 90’s Honda for me! Instead, my heart fell in love with the scooter way of life. I bought my baby back in 08′, a pitch-black 06 Bajaj Chetak, off a craigslist and that was it, scooters and motorcycles it would be for the rest of my life!

l

Maybe it was my endless fascination with motocross growing up or maybe it was the U.K mod influence listening to British Punk Rock, whatever it was…I’ve just always wanted a motor bike of any kind. So, when push came to throttle and it was time for my dad to HELP me pay for a vehicle (I worked hard for it and paid most of it myself man!) I went for the Bajaj baby!

my baby back from the shop
my baby
my baby's behind

Bajaj isn’t technically a “Vespa” but it looks a lot like a P-Series one and much of the same parts are used and its still vintage-scooter-clutch style, so, it still gets some respect from the sometimes-snooty vintage scooter crowd. Bajaj is an Indian, 4-stroke scooter (no pre-mixing gas and oil for me thank you very much!) and its built like a freaking tank! Not to mention it requires very little maintenance, which is highly ideal for one, extremely busy and lazy me!

Of course my parents warmed me about the consequences of riding beforehand: “Y que cuando llueve?” (How about when it rains?) Or even the motorcyclist essential…”te vas a matar menso!” (you are going to kill yourself!) But if you are of the two-wheeled way of life, people and parents can try to stop you all they want but it won’t mean anything after you go on your first ride…

Anyways, this last weekend I partook in my first “group ride” through the San Gabriel Valley Vintage Scooter Club . The ride was themed “Here comes the summer!” and it was one of the best experiences in my life. They get together and ride on the first Sunday of every other month – meet at 11, ride at noon. My hardcore hangover didn’t stand a chance against the combined positive energy formed by a bunch of loud, two-stroke beautiful scooters. We met at Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena and rode to the Rose Bowl, down Colorado…all thirty of us!

backside
hang a left
fill her up
looking back
the last resort shirt wearing guy
I like your red vespa
scooters invade suburbia
posted on his lambaretta
photo opp!

By the end of the day, I realized I rode over 100 miles as I also use my scooter as my car, not just for leisure! My skin was left extra crispy by the sun and my left wrist hurt after holding the clutch all day. But I finally felt amongst my own kind. People that decide to ride a scooter in their life are unique individuals, in a geeky way but also a passionate way. Not really accepted by the majority of riders out there (Harley’s and Pocket Rockets) so to be amongst so many other like-minded people felt goooood.

There is a new awesome scooter exhibition and ride going on next weekend at the Petersen Auto Museum called “Scooters: Size Doesn’t Always Matter” on Wilshire and Fairfax. So check that out if you guys want to find out more about this powerful two-wheel phenomena.

Even if my bike wasn’t technically “vintage” or a Vespa, I didn’t really care. Like my very good friend from East LA Carlos “Pee-Wee” Escamilla–the only other guy amongst my group of friends who decided to buy a motorbike too (a sweet 250 Ninja) said, “It doesn’t really matter what you ride man….as long as you ride”

l-1
Me on My Bike the Very First Day I Bought It