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Nina Garcia is L.A.'s top street food chef

May 15, 2010 |  9:54 pm

Nina Garcia, who for the last two decades has served up Mexico City-style delicacies on street corners in Boyle Heights, took home top honors at the first-ever L.A. Vendy Awards on Saturday. 

Judges said it was her supple quesadillas and spicy pambazos that did the trick.

Nina's Food beat out street vendor newcomers such as the Grilled Cheese Truck along with old favorites, including East L.A.’s Tacos el Galuzo.

The cook-off was held at MacArthur Park. A cumbia band played, and the hundred or so people who paid the $50 entry fee ate their fill of food from the six street vendors who were chosen as finalists. 

The first Vendy Awards were held six years ago in New York City, in a garage in the East Village. The competition quickly become a cult event, catching the attention of food-world stars like Mario Batali, who called the awards “the Oscars of food for the real New York.”

Organizers decided to bring the Vendy Awards to L.A. after they saw an explosion of interest in street food in this city. The event raised money for local vendor-rights groups like the Los Loncheros Assn.

Check Monday's newspaper for more on the Vendys.

-- Kate Linthicum