I take being a gringa in LA very seriously. How seriously, you ask? Check it out, this has primo-wallspace in my teeny kitchen:
One of the great benefits of living in San Francisco and Los Angeles has been my proximity to recent immigrant communities, an intriguing experience notably lacking in my pasty suburban upbringing. In SF I lived in the mid-Sunset, which was about 85% Chinese (Cantonese). It was awesome: the groceries were packed with fresh cheap produce and treats (most of it I'd never seen before and gradually learned to cook with), and the restaurants in my 'hood had the funk, that deep earthy Umami-ness frequently missing in spots that cater to the round eye crowd. There was also terrific Vietnamese food (thus began my love affair with pho), and perhaps best of all I learned that harrassing women on the street is not part of Chinese culture. I could walk anywhere and not be on high alert, it was awesome. Would that all men were so respectful.
In LA it doesn't matter so much where you live as where you drive. I've spent a lot of time eating real, delicious Mexican food with friends who are native Spanish-speakers and know where the good stuff is, which has inspired me to research and recreate the dishes at home. Here is today's lunch, the last of some excellent pork tacos I made. You know they're gringa-style because the cheese on top is feta, not queso fresca. Still, que rico! I'm sad they're all gone.
Hmmm, if I ever end up back in the 'burbs (Lord please no), I'd probably throw the best dinner parties in town.