Part of the beauty of Thanksgiving in the U.S. is our evolving menu of must have side dishes from our multicultural backgrounds that add another delicious dimension of flavor to the classic plates. I’m not talking about made-for-food-TV recipes like wasabi mashed potatoes or a Cuban moros y cristianos (black beans and rice) stuffing soaked in a garlicky mojo (marinade) but a Thanksgiving table set with intersecting conventions.
Alongside roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie you’ll find dolma, lumpia, fried plantains, sticky rice with lap cheong sausage and challah. I checked in with a few chefs and cooks from L.A.’s Latin-American kitchens to find out what special dishes they will serve on Thanksgiving Day.
Mercado co-owner and executive chef, Jose Acevedo, will be working on Thanksgiving which means you’ll actually get to taste his holiday spread including turkey tamales, a yellow mole, and pumpkin flan.
Mercado, 7910 W 3rd St, Santa Monica, (323) 944-0947
Guanajuato native and chef de cuisine at chef Walter Manzke’s Petty Cash Taqueria, Fabian Gallardo is a newcomer to Thanksgiving but is warming up to the idea with turkey pibil tacos inspired by the flavors of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula that are coming on the menu for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Petty Cash Taqueria, 7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 933-5300
Raul Ortega, owner of Boyle Heights institution, Mariscos Jalisco always has pozole, “my wife makes the red pozole and we have some family members that will do green pozole”, “we also have red, green and sweet tamales that my wife makes”, says Ortega. “The rest of the food is American.”
Mariscos Jalisco, 3040 E Olympic Blvd., Boyle Heights, and 969 Stanford Ave., Downtown
Chef and owner of Panela’s Brazil Cuisine, Leticia Barth, also does an all American Thanksgiving but you’ll also find “Brazilian pot pies—chicken pot pie or hearts of palm or shrimp is also popular”, says Barth.
Panela’s Brazil Cuisine, 2808 Phelan Ln, Redondo Beach, 310-214-4148
Los Angeles culture has many expressions, and the Thanksgiving holiday mirrors our collective experience as we toss in the delicious celebratory foods that have become regular additions. Hopefully, some of these plates from our local Latino chefs and cooks will find their way on to your Thanksgiving table.