Javier Cabral is a journalist and scout for L.A. Times food critic Jonathan Gold.
What was the food highlight of your year?
I just got back from visiting my girlfriend's family in Puerto Vallarta and I was absolutely mesmerized by the locally-caught, fresh yellow fin tuna available there. We picked up a couple of kilos for our Christmas dinner and enjoyed it simply sliced raw with soy sauce, scallions, avocado, lime and jalapeño, paired with an ice cold Chupacabra IPA (Mexican craft beer) as a starter. We seared the rest. Until that point, I had only been used to the mealy, previously frozen raw tuna available at most American sushi places (even at the most expensive places, most of the fish is previously frozen) and fish markets. But this fresh tuna, man it was something else. It dissolved in your mouth like caramel or something.
What was the music highlight of your year?
I think that would have to be that one time when I came out on Fusion network talking about the underground backyard punk rock scene raging in East LA and South Los Angeles. The show was Al Madrigal's one-hour-special called "Half Like Me" and it interviewed local bands like Skeptical Youth and Los Corruptos who don't get any love in the media for their hard-work, until now. The show even aired bits and pieces of their hit urban single "Mota-vation," "mota" as in the Spanish word for weed, haha.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Crispy sweet potato fries and Teenage Bottlerocket. Specifically, parmesan n' parsley dusted sweet potato fries and Teenage Bottlerocket at last year's Warped Tour. It was off this random food truck and it hit the spot because of course, I had royally pregamed before going in with lots of beer and had the beer munchies. And then I saw this year's lineup and I was like "yup, I probably went to the last warped tour that was at least a little cool."