LOS ANGELES | It’s been over a year since the late, great food writer Johathan Gold passed away, and this post is not just a listing for a venue, but an ode to the influence that the man has had on me.
Gold was known for his love of Los Angeles’ small and immigrant food operators, and was one of the earliest food writers in the city to give their food the respect it deserved. Along with the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Gold inspired me to dig deeper when exploring a city’s food scene, and really get to know a city and its people from all walks of life, through food.
Carniceria Uruapan is one such place I visited when I was last in Los Angeles that I found by reading one of Gold’s LA Times articles, “Jonathan Gold goes on a holiday tamale crawl across L.A.”. It’s a family run hole in the wall butcher and grocery store in the mostly Latin American neighbourhood of Boyle Heights.
When I walked in I could see the butcher’s counter, some fresh fruit and vegetables, bags of house made tortillas piled high, and a few Mexican groceries, but no cooked food.
After walking around for a few minutes I went up to the counter and asked the woman working there if they sold tamales. Maybe I was in the wrong place? She gave me a smile and a look that said “yes you’re in the right place” and asked me if I wanted chicken or pork. I replied “pork please”, and the woman pulled a hot pork tamale out of a small insulated compartment under the counter. Success!
I went outside and sat at the bus stop and unwrapped my parcel of goodness. A dense, soft masa exterior (they make their own masa on site), which gave way to a moist pork and vibrant red chilli sauce inside. Simple, rustic, home style food designed to bring joy, not Instagram likes. I guess all that’s left for me is to return to Los Angeles and follow the rest of Gold’s holiday tamale crawl.
2100 E Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Telephone: 323 265 2474
Mon – Sun: 7:00am to 9:00pm