Culture

Topo Chico Is Being Rolled Out Nationwide Because Coke Is Trying To Get Into The Sparkling Water Game

topochicousa / Instagram

It’s safe to say that sparkling water is having a moment. Whether it’s LaCroix or Pepsi’s new sparkling water, Bubly, it’s hard to miss the fizzy drink sensation that has taken over mini-fridges and supermarkets across the country. Now it seems that Coke wants to capitalize on the trend and cash in on fizzy drink craze.

Their secret weapon is Topo Chico, a drink that is sourced from a limestone spring concealed under a mountain in northeastern Mexico. The drink was built on a legend of the thermal waters of the Cerro del Topo Chico, which is where the drink got its name. The story goes that the hidden spring water cured an Aztec princess’ illness. While there’s no way to verify the myth, Topo Chico indeed does come from the same underground spring since 1895.

Coke is rolling out Topo Chico nationally. However, many are asking, will it lose its soul in the process?

Credit: @tictoc / Twitter

While the brand has been mostly known in northern Mexico and a handful of U.S. states, it’s already carved out a niche market that has made it a cult favorite in places like Austin, Texas. Popular for it’s “throwback image” and cool design, Topo Chico has seen massive growth, over the last year U.S. sales jumped 39 percent to nearly $130 million, according to data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

This could be credited to Coke’s $220 million purchase of the brand two years ago. While Topo Chico was originally owned by Arca, the second-biggest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America, it’s still in charge on bottling the drink in Mexico. The company has also invested close to $42 million into production and operation to satisfy growing customer demand since Coke acquired the brand. 

Many saw Coke’s purchase of the brand as a way for the beverage company to enter the growing sparkling water business or rather match up with Pepsi’s popular new drink, Bubly. Since being launched a little over a year ago, Bubly has been a leader in sales and in growth as the company has put the drink in vending machines across the country. It’s even taken on popular millennial brand, LaCroix. Yet, Coke entering the sparkling water game could change the playing field entirely. 

The purchase of Topo Chico didn’t come without a bit of resistance from long-time customers and locals who love the brand.

 Credit: @topochico / Twitter

Topo Chico has deep roots in the Southwest part of the U.S. and in Mexico. So when Coke got involved, things got a little personal between fans of the drink and the giant soda company. Whether that was due to the increased price of the drink or just simply not giving money to a giant corporate entity like Coke, there was boycotts and some anger from Texans. 

Ramon Maraboto, who oversees the Topo plant for Arca, told Bloomberg that Coke needs to be wary of rolling out the beloved drink and not losing sight of what makes it special. That uniqueness and the original look are what made the fizzy drink so beloved among fans.

“Coca-Cola is aware they’re buying a brand that needs to be taken care of,” Maraboto said. “This brand has its own fingerprint.”

Keeping that mystique and coolness with the drink is one of Coke’s biggest challenges. That’s why the company is doing a small national rollout of the beverage with efforts to preserve some of that Mexican background and nostalgia that many love about Topo Chico. 

“We don’t want to lose that by putting it everywhere,” Chaly Moyen, who oversees Coke’s strategy in the U.S. and Canada, told Bloomberg

Don’t be surprised if you see a pack of Topo Chico at a grocery market near you soon.

Credit: @business / Twitter

Coke sees Topo Chico becoming the new “it” brand when it comes to sparkling water. According to Maraboto, Topo Chico sales in the U.S. could pass it’s own in Mexico in the next year. This is an example of that quick growth and advancement the drink has had in the quick two years under new ownership. 

Even in Pahoa, a town with a population of about 1,000 people located in the southeast corner of Hawaii’s Big Island, the Island Naturals Market & Deli has sold the drink for the past three months. Kai Sorte, the store’s manager, told Bloomberg that the drink is already among its top sellers. People can’t get enough of it and there seem to be no signs of slowing down. 

“It’s definitely picking up speed,” Sorte said.

READ: A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

The Internet Sneaks Some Wacky Stuff Into Movie Theaters and It’s Giving Us Ideas for Our Next Movie Date

Culture

The Internet Sneaks Some Wacky Stuff Into Movie Theaters and It’s Giving Us Ideas for Our Next Movie Date

We love going to the movies. Whether going out with girlfriends or enjoying a classic date night, an evening at the theater is a winner. However, what we don’t like about the theater is the pricey concession prices. A night at the movies can easily break the bank if you give in to the expensive options at the snack bar which is why we don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about sneaking in the occasional soda can or bag of candy every once in a while. 

However, we were surprised to find that when it comes to sneaking things into the theater the Internet really does do the most. 

Instagram / @fiercebymitu

For example, this couple used a baby car seat in order to sneak snacks into their local theater. Talk about ingenious! We found even more impressive movie sneaks while looking around on Twitter and Instagram and we just had to share them with our readers. Here are some of the most outlandish things that people have admitted to smuggling into the movies. 

1. A snack more fit for a college dorm.

Instagram / @maruchan_inc

“A bowl of cooked 2 minute noodles.” wellibmt17 

2. A winning combination. 

Instagram / @julloa84

“Savages! I’ve had Wendy’s, wine and more 😬” @liz_laprieta 

3. Mini refreshment.

Instagram / @tnhillsdistillery

“😂😂 10lbs of airplane bottles” — @lagoss_

4. How did she even get this in?

Twitter / @illimattic408

Sneaking a watermelon into the theater would have taken a really big bag in order to go unnoticed. It’s more impressive because this melon isn’t even sliced into pieces. 

5. Pan = the perfect snack.

Twitter / @shitcoinmining

This isn’t just any bread, it’s the longest bread you can find. This Twitter user successfully slipped a baguette into the theater unnoticed and we’ve go to wonder where he hid it. Was it hidden up his sleeve? Down his pant leg? We want to know.

6. Just what the fanny pack was meant for.

Twitter / @fremlo_

We have questions. Was it cold pasta or warm? Are we talking spaghetti or more of a filled pasta? What’s the sauce situation like? Either way, this is a creative smuggle.  

7. A burrito baby was born.

Twitter / @mfrancook

Congrats, it’s a burrito! Sure, we’ve sneaked things into our bags before, but we’ve never gone full preggo belly just to smuggle in our snacks. This takes some real commitment.  

8. Another baby bump sneak.

Twitter / @jordynbink

If there’s one food worth getting caught with, it’s definitely tacos. This Twitter user implemented the old baby bump trick in order to get her Taco Bell into the theater. It even comes with a side of tortilla chips. 

9. A movie goer’s best friend.

Twitter / @xovaleriax0

It isn’t just food that people take into movie theaters. Man’s best friend has also been known to stow away and enjoy a film or two. This Twitter user was able to sneak her adorable Pomeranian into the movies. If we were in the same theater, we’d be too distracted by this puppy’s cuteness to enjoy the movie being played. 

10. We see your dog and raise you a cat. 

Twitter / @eric_young5

When we think about it, a dog isn’t such an out-there thing to see at the movies. A cat, though, is much more surprising. Cats often don’t like to do what they’re told but this cat is different. Mister Lewis was able to make it through an entire film. 

11. What’s impressive here is the number of nuggets that were snuck in. 

Twitter / @StrengthofFates

We can’t have just one nugget and, apparently, neither can this Twitter user. Check out how many she was able to smuggle in and we dare you not to be impressed. 

12. A snack perfect for a celebration.

Twitter / @rachharbin

We’d be afraid that this treat would melt on the way into the theater. Luckily for this Twitter user, the ice cream cake made it there in one piece. We hope they decided to skip the candles for this cake. 

13. A homemade treat.

Twitter / @atterbom_

Store-bought cupcakes are one thing, but have you ever brought your own homemade cupcakes to frost in theater? This Twitter user did. Buying candy may be easier but it’s much less memorable. 

14. Spaghetti O-M-G.

Twitter / @_bushybrows

The kids in us really appreciate this snack. The adults that we’ve become, however, are kind of grossed out at the thought of eating uncooked Spaghetti-O’s.  

15. The most important meal of the day.

Twitter / @fbhughes

Cereal isn’t the same without milk. Luckily, this Twitter user was able to sneak both into the movies. We wonder if it was an early morning matinee or a late-night film? Either way, great snack choice.  

Los Angeles Is Home To Some Of The Greatest Pupusas And Here’s Where You Can Find Them

Culture

Los Angeles Is Home To Some Of The Greatest Pupusas And Here’s Where You Can Find Them

At least once a month (the first of every month to be exact), Angelinos wonder why they’re paying $2,000 for a studio or sharing rooms with friends at the age of 28, and we will tell you why. La comida. The food in Los Angeles is abundant in Latinidad, and Salvadoreñas are only second to nearby México in repping Latin America in Los Angeles. 

Sure, you could move to  Denver and make a living wage, but you would be missing out on all these pupusas. Without further ado, here’s your guide to eating pupusas in Los Angeles, as told by the Latino people of Yelp.

1. La Pupusa Urban Eatery

Credit: lapupusadtla / Instagram

“Good Salvi food with a twist,” Carlos M. shared on Yelp. With 4.5 stars and over 200 Yelp reviews, La Pupusa’s Urban Eatery is most famous for their Pupusa Mexicana which is topped with steak and served with pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and cotija cheese.  

2. Sarita’s Pupuseria

Credit: saritas_pupuseria / Instagram

Jose Raul’s love for exclamation points is nothing in comparison to his love for Sarita’s: “This is one of those hidden gems! This place is awesome! Being in the central market, you can always find small places that pack a big punch! This is Sarita’s Pupuseria!” For him, it was the revuelta that “takes the win! It was super savory I can’t even explain!”

3. Drive Thru Pupusas

Credit: drivethrupupusas / Instagram

With over one hundred five star reviews, these pupusas are as authentic as it gets this far from El Salvador. You should be warned, Drive Thru Pupusas is a food truck, not a drive-thru eatery. 

Pro tip from Maryem C., “Very nice people and super delicious pupusas. You can even call to place an order and not wait the dinner rush.”

4. Atlacatl Restaurant

Credit: ulyrocks / Instagram

This East Hollywood joint is one of those “nice hole in the wall” types of places, according to its reviewers. Everyone also says that it doesn’t look like a restaurant from the outside. It looks like a home, and when you walk in, it feels like home, too. Be warned, their pupusas are as delicious as they are humongous.

5. Cafe La Praviana

Credit: hungrypandita / Instagram

While they’re not as good as his mom’s pupusas, Orlando M. says, “This place has the best pupusas in the neighborhood, hands down! Well.. they are second place after the ones my mom makes lol.”

6. Los Molcajetes

Credit: joey_anne / Instagram

A Salvadoreña took to Yelp with favor for Los Molcajetes, saying “their pupusas taste great; comparable to the ones you can eat in El Salvador. They especially remind me of a popular pupuseria in Santa Tecla.” Heads up though, with authenticity comes to a leisurely meal. Don’t expect a quick meal.

7. La Numero Uno

Credit: houstondjgabe / Instagram

This Hollywood spot is home to a delicious purple corn pupusa, and a Mexican-Salvadoran fusion. Enjoy both burritos and yucca alike!

8. Mi Bandera Pupusería

Credit: mibanderapupuseria / Instagram

South Central is also home to authentic Salvadoreña food that is easy to pick up and take home, as well. Tiana D. gave us all an inside scoop saying, “the pupusas a so good, not greasy at all, good size, and are full inside. All good for the price. They give you enough curtido and salsa too. They mark the containers so you can know what pupusas are inside.”

9. Gloría’s Cafe

Credit: altapeterson / Instagram

Before you even think anything of this Venice locale, listen up to Alicia: “I don’t normally like blended menus that feature more than one type of cuisine. Gloria’s does this (El Salvador and Mexican) but they’re both done well and authentically, so it’s chill.The most recent time I came here, I had the 7 Seas Soup. YOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Sooooo freakin good.” There you have it.

10. The Pupusa Stand

Credit: Luis D. / Yelp

Listen. This Van Nuys food truck is doing it right and Carolina E. is here with the pep talk: “These pupusas are the best I’ve tasted outside of El Salvador. The wait can be a little long, depending on what time you get there. The location is in a church parking lot; they set up a grill and hand make the pupusas to order. They do not skimp on the fillings. There are a few chairs but they’re usually taken up by regulars or large families, it’s cash only but you can place your order before finding an atm if you forget. The ladies are extremely friendly and helpful. The freshness and deliciousness are worth the wait.”

11. Es Con Sabor West

Credit: overoverunder / Instagram

Located in Palms, Jennifer O. gave it to us straight, “Food: this is the best place to buy pupusas on the west side PERIODT. They run about $3 a pop and are always fresh, bubbling over with cheese and goodness. My go to is pork and cheese which is fire, beans and cheese are a close second. The curtido is on point too.”

12. Jaragua

Credit: aveganandher / Instagram

Jerome W.’s solution to feeling overwhelmed with all the pupusa choices is to “order them ALL and chow down. They’re all good.” Plus, the meal you see above is all vegan!

13. Pupusas

Credit: Mayra F. / Yelp

We’re keeping names simple here in Northridge. You can get a pupusa grande for just $2. Do not expect social media or anything other than knowing they’re on the corner of Reseda Blvd and Rayen street, and that you’ll just have to go and try it for yourself.

14. Las Casitas Grill

Credit: Sofia A. / Yelp

Leticia C. is a regular at Las Casitas and here’s how we know: “I love this spot and all I ever get is that Papusas and rice! It’s so good ! On Mondays and tuesdays, they have a special for 99 cents and I’m in there like swimwear they are quick and fresh every time ! I’m sure I’ll make my way around the menu eventually but those have me coming back every time ! Very authentic and delicious as hell !”

15. Pupusería La Favorita

Credit: Nana M. / Yelp

This South Gate adjacent pupusería really is a fan favorite. Nana M. says the “pupusas are big and delicious. I didn’t know I live near a pretty good Salvadorean restaurant. I give it 5 stars for the good price.” That’s right, each pupusa is $1.50. 

Take that, landlords.

READ: These 5 Restaurants Prove Latinos Have Left Their Mark On Washington D.C.

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