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Move Over Margarita! Mexican Food has a New Dinner Partner
Date:7/18/2008

Fine Wine and Mexican Cuisine are Featured at East LA Meets Napa - a

Celebration Benefiting AltaMed Health Services Corporation

LOS ANGELES, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- AltaMed Health Services hosted its third annual East LA Meets Napa celebration featuring more than 20 Latino owned/managed wineries, Latino wine makers and 20 Los Angeles area Mexican restaurants. The event was attended by more than 1,000 wine and culinary enthusiasts who enjoyed great music, food from some of the best Mexican/Latin restaurants in the city and wonderful conversation in one of Los Angeles' most historic venues -- Union Station. The celebration speaks to a trend among aficionados of Mexican cuisine to choose wine over beer or margaritas to accompany their meal.

Many of the business owners that showcased their products share an immigrant experience, with some of the winemakers working their way up from the fields. The event provided these entrepreneurs with the opportunity to come together to support AltaMed's mission of providing quality, culturally relevant health care to underserved populations throughout Southern California.

"This year's event has been the most successful yet and we expect the attendance to keep growing," said Castulo De La Rocha, AltaMed CEO. "These Latino entrepreneurs and event sponsors are not only here to showcase their products, they are supporting our organization's programs and our mission to provide quality health care to underserved communities in the Southern California region."

In 1990 there were just a few Latino-owned vineyards and today there are well over 15 and growing each year. One such success story is that of Ceja Vineyards. In 1983 Pedro and Amelia Ceja with other family members, pooled their resources and invested in fifteen acres in Carneros. Coming to the United States as farm workers, the family has worked hard over the years for Ceja's stellar reputation.

"Robledo Family Winery is a strong supporter of AltaMed and this event," said Vanessa Robledo, spokesperson for Robledo Family Winery. "We believe in what they are doing for Latino families and other diverse communities by providing critical health services."

In addition to Robledo Family Winery, other participating wineries were Alex Sotelo Cellars, Carneros della Notte, El Centauro del Norte, Frias Family Vineyard, J Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Karl Lawrence Cellars, Mi Sueno Winery, Renteria Wines, Ceja Vineyards, Sequoia Grove Vineyard and Two Wives.

"We are presenting guests an opportunity to try something that they perhaps have not tried before," said event co-chair Ricardo Robles, President of La Reina Inc. a manufacturer of Mexican food products. "Wine can be fantastic with traditional favorites such as ceviche and even tacos. We are trying to introduce people to something new, elevating great Mexican food so that it is on par with great French or Italian cuisine."

Several wonderful restaurants provided food samplings including East LA mainstays like Tila's Kitchen, Tacos Baja, Homegirl Cafe and El Siete Mares. Rounding out the list are the soon to open Rivera Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles by renowned Chef John Rivera Sedlar, La Casita Mexicana in the city of Bell, Phlight in Whittier, palate food + wine by Chef Octavio Becerra, Cook's Tortas, El Portal Yucatan cuisine in Pasadena, and chocolates by D's Delights.

Proceeds from the event benefit AltaMed Health Services. AltaMed Health Services, a private nonprofit organization, is a major provider of health and human services in the Greater Los Angeles area and the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the State of California. The mission of AltaMed is to provide high quality, coordinated, comprehensive health and human services to the underserved in Southern California, with particular attention to Latino and multi-ethnic populations. AltaMed began as the East Los Angeles Barrio Free Clinic in 1969, a volunteer-staff storefront providing basic medical services. Today AltaMed's service area extends beyond the immediately surrounding East Los Angeles area to the Southern California region.


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SOURCE AltaMed Health Services
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