It gives Melting Pot Food Tours great pride and joy to play a role in the ongoing development of the 1st Street Corridor in Boyle Heights, right at the Mariachi Plaza Metro Gold Line station. This neighborhood is the centerpiece of our LA Latin Spice Tour, and for most of this last year, we’ve loved celebrating the renewal of this site as an up-and-coming center of Arts and Culture.
This last Sunday was the unveiling of the Un Solo Sol mural, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Un Solo Sol Kitchen, owned by Carlos Ortez, a native of El Salvador. On behalf of Lisa, I joyfully attended the event with my friend Tina Masiak (who gets credit for the photo).
Even before the unveiling actually took place, as soon as Carlos began speaking, I felt blessed beyond measure to be there.
After he introduced the VIPs present ~ Councilman Jose Huizar, Consulate General of El Salvador Walter Duran, and Ricardo Mendoza on behalf of US Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and, myself (very humbling, I promise) ~ he spoke of how he met Rafael Escamilla, the artist of the mural about to be unveiled.
In 1983, the two gentlemen met at a refugee home in Hollywood where many from El Salvador lived temporarily. Carlos helped at the home, and Rafael had recently arrived in Los Angeles; they have been friends ever since. With much emotion, Carlos spoke about how moved they were as young men, by the generous hands and hearts of Americans that helped them acclimate to life in their new homeland.
Without further ado
Without further ado, he unveiled the spectacular 5×5 square canvas, adorned with spectacular, colorful images, depicting the story of our planet’s evolution. The key message is about the nourishment of both the soil and humanity (to include body, mind, and spirit), and “points the way toward the utopia we must consider toward the sustainabiity of life on Earth.” There’s even an image of a woman (far left, about “9:00”) who represents Mother Earth, guiding us toward a thriving, abundant experience as we all do our part to care for our planet.
The plant, animal, and culinary kingdoms are all represented in amazingly brilliant, heartfelt hues. To experience the passion that inspired this story-on-canvas, brought tears to my eyes. The glorious butterflies at various points and at the top of the mural are said to be “us”, according to our lovely host. They represent transformation, beauty, short life span, and perhaps my interpretation ~ as the metaphoric “end of the story”, they also equal hope.
This beautiful Sunday afternoon continued with a generous buffet lunch of eclectic cuisine, which is the signature of Carlos’ Un Solo Sol Kitchen, one of the famed stops on our East LA Latin Flavors Tour. The colorful fragrant offerings included Cholay, an Indian stew with garbanzo beans complimented with yogurt raita; tamales; Greek salad; pupusas of many varieties; chips and salsa; fruit drinks. All of these delicious selections on one plate resembled the fabulous diversity of our City of Angels, and ideally, everyone playing nicely.
"Open mic" and poetry readings
“Open mic” and poetry readings, a native American dance performance, and the flamenco and classic guitar of Gerardo Morales were all part of the festivities. This event is one that is destined to earn a place in Boyle Heights history.
Councilman Jose Huizar announced that this 1st Street Corridor has been granted a sizable sum of money to assist in its development as a thriving center of Arts and Culture, which is tremendously good news. We have faith that these humble, incredibly lovely people will work tirelessly to bring “home” the music, art, literature, and especially the beauty that is alive and unique within the glorious Latin culture. We are continually honored to host our East LA Latin Flavors Tour and extol the virtues of one of LA’s finest communities!
Carlos promises, “the artists will come”.
We so very much look forward to seeing this 21st-century “Field of Dreams” evolve before our very eyes.
For more information, visit Twiiight Serenades and Boyle Heights Farmers Market, on Facebook! And, while you seek out all that, may I also gently suggest your consideration of our East LA Latin Flavors Tour?
Until next time, I remain ~
Your Chef and Tour Maestra