Enjoy a fresh, citrusy well-spiced ceviche? How about a thick, earthy molé sauce? Maybe you’re thirsty, and a smoky mezcal cocktail is more up your alley.
Learn about Latin flavors and their local history on the WYES program “Latino Cuisine in New Orleans,” showing on Channel 12 at 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26, and 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28.
Filmed by Lenny Delbert, narrated by Peggy Scott Laborde and produced and written by Suzanne Pfefferle, the hourlong program discusses the many restaurants that produce Latin foods in the New Orleans area.
It’s not the first film project for Pfefferle, who also is an occasional contributor to The New Orleans Advocate. She and Delbert collaborated on a similar program about Vietnamese cuisine in New Orleans. But this piece grows from Pfefferle’s personal connection to Latin American food.
Her fiancé is Colombian, and he provided her important insights into the Latino foodways in New Orleans, Pfefferle said. And she wanted to highlight the importance of the Latino population to New Orleans.
Pfefferle picked a good time to make a film about the budding trend in restaurant cuisines. “The Latino population was growing” when she started the project about a year and a half ago, she said. “More Latino restaurants were popping up, and this is before the spring of 2014 when you had all these Mexican restaurants opening.”
During the film, The New Orleans Advocate’s own food writer Ian McNulty gets into the nitty gritty of Mexican and Peruvian food. Brazilian Market and Café owner Greyze Vieria shares his insights about New Orleans’ Brazilian transplants, and John Besh and Aarón Sanchez discuss what’s behind their newest restaurant, Johnny Sanchez, and how it links to great Mexican foodways and New Orleans.
Pfefferle still sees roadblocks for those wanting to enjoy the cuisines of Central America, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean in the New Orleans area.
“A lot of the places that we filmed in are on Williams Boulevard, or Loyola and West Loyola Drive out in Kenner and the Westbank,” Pfefferle said. “They’re not easy to get to, and then you get to these places and there’s a language barrier. The person who works there doesn’t speak English, and so it’s difficult to order food. I think that’s maybe why people haven’t sought it out.”
But she doesn’t see it staying that way.
“I think that’s changing,” Pfefferle said. “I think that has to do that with a recent surge in popularity in Mexican food, and people are starting to be a little more adventurous and explore these other places.”
The film is intended to encourage diners to be adventurous as it shines a light on contemporary New Orleans Latino cuisine.
“There are a lot of great personalities in there that make it a vibrant film,” Pfefferle said. “I think documentaries have a tendency to be a little bit slow, and I think this one is lively and fast-paced and there’s a lot of information and imagery packed into 57 minutes.”