This Ambitious Long Beach Restaurant Keeps LA’s Southwestern Food Scene Alive

A feature article by Eater LA's Sarah Bennett on how "Panxa Cocina continues a long tradition of New Mexican cuisine in LA"

Despite being the western terminus of the Southwest, Southwestern food has remained elusive in Los Angeles. For nearly four decades, chef John Sedlar infused French cooking with New Mexican flavors at his high-end restaurants like Sainte-Estèphe and Abiquiu, moving into broader Latin American territory in his final years with Rivera and Playa (he moved back to Santa Fe and opened a restaurant there in 2015).
In the late ’90s, LA and Orange County had a handful of restaurants dedicated to America’s most historically Spanish-influenced regional cuisine, but in the time since, all except one brand has closed. The Green Chile in La Mirada still subsists on its many variations of sopaipillas — a light, puffy fried dough native to New Mexico — and makes a mean Hatch chile sauce for its enchiladas. There’s also the 505 Food Truck, which launched a few years back with decent red and green sauce and ground beef that would need more seasoning to be up to Santa Fe snuff.
Panxa is the first kitchen in local history to launch a midrange Southwestern-inspired kitchen that pulls as much from tradition as it does from fine dining, offering familiar New Mexican meals crafted from ingredients both imported and grown exclusively for Gonzalez by local urban farms.
Michael Kirkpatrick