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LA Cocina - Cookbooks


LA Plaza Cocina’s online book catalog is a place where one can find their perfect cookbook. With topics ranging from Northern Mexican cuisine, Southern Mexican cuisine and desserts, each book provides information and recipes for new and experienced cooks.

Each month, we will be featuring a book and recipe that highlights a unique aspect of Mexican cuisine, whether it be related to a historically significant Mesoamerican ingredient, or holiday favorites. Look out for potential cookbook author events and classes!

Cookbook of the Month

Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen

By Gonzalo Guzman with Stacy Adimando

Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen, narrates the experiences of Gonzalo Guzman’s culinary experience, where it began in his mother’s kitchen back in Veracruz, Mexico. Having learned from her and from his travels throughout the nation, his love for the artform, along with the land himself, led him to the development of his Bay Area restaurant in 2009. Through partnerships that helped to complete the dining experience of Nopalito, with the addition of vendors for tequila, mezcal, and agua frescas, it made Nopalito a location that truly cared about its ingredients, its artform and its people.

Challenges arose with the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic, leaving Guzman the only option to close his doors when the world closed theirs. Nevertheless, Guzman and his team rose and opened their doors once again, with a book that tells the story of not only Guzman’s experience in relation to the experience of owning a restaurant, but becoming a force of strength like the nopal itself. 

With recipes that showcase Guzman’s own explorations in Mexico, his love for the land, and the roots of his cooking experience that stemmed with his family, the cookbook is a humble work that illustrates the beauty, passion and resilience of Mexico and its cuisine. 

Cookbook of the Month: Review

The Resiliance and Legacy of the Nopal

About The Author

Gonzalo Guzman

Gonzalo Guzman at an early age learned how to cook from his mother. Learning first how to make beans, and later other dishes that later came to reflect his passion for cooking. At a young age, he was taught the need to care for the land, and through the firsthand experience of working the land, he grew ingredients that helped to feed himself and his family. 

As the oldest brother of three, he made the impossible decision that many make when they are forced to provide for their family–make their way across the Mexican Border into the United States. Upon his arrival, like many who descend upon American soil, worked tirelessly with multiple jobs to support and provide for his family back home. With passion and strength, he climbed the culinary ladder, beginning with washing dishes, and climbing up the ranks to learn the ways of hospitality and kitchen work in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

In 2009, with the assistance of many, he opened the doors of his own establishment, Nopalito. With much success, it was seen as a space to make Mexico’s food from scratch, in a way that does not cut corners, but rather, brings out the true colors and art of his motherland. 

In 2017, the publication of his cookbook Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen was published, later winning the James Beard Award in 2018 for Best International Cookbook of the Year.

He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.