As Ozomatli has traveled, its members have gotten not only more adventurous in their eating but also healthier—only natural since they’re all in their late 30s and early 40s. Jiro carries raw almonds to munch on, Abers brings instant oatmeal, and they all avoid fast food as much as possible (although it’s hard to resist the siren song of an arepa burger). Sierra even sheepishly admits to enjoying a variation on chorizo with eggs—possibly the band’s favorite single dish—invented by his wife. “She makes me chorizo one morning, and I’m loving it, man, it’s just amazing stuff,” he recalls. “And for some reason it is not as greasy. I was like, ‘Wow, baby, this is awesome.’ And she goes, ‘I made it with egg whites.’ I go, ‘How is that going to help? It’s chorizo.’ So I’m laughing, and she goes, ‘That’s because it’s soy-rizo.’ I said, ‘What?’ It changed my life.”
And there you have Ozomatli’s culinary journey, from L.A. chorizo to Chinese pig heart and back again—though never quite the same.
Matt Gross writes frequently for the New York Times travel section, is a contributing writer at Afar magazine, appears regularly in Saveur, and blogs about parenting at DadWagon.com. His last piece for Gourmet Live was Eating by Taxi in Ho Chi Minh City. Follow him on Twitter @worldmattworld.