Culture

Forget Santa Monica And Beverly Hills, Here’s How You Can Experience LA Like A Latino Local

There are guides to experiencing Beverly Hills and the Santa Monica pier, and then there are guides that actually loops you into the good stuff. Guess which category this one falls into? Instead of spending your vacation time trying to beat the crowds at Runyon Canyon and watching white boys skateboard at Venice Beach, this guide will help direct you to the true culture of Los Angeles: Latino-style.

Try to stay on the East Side if you can.

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While Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica are the hot spots for most tourists, all the culture is on the East Side. Echo Park and Silver Lake have become more and more gentrified, but there are still Mexican-owned restaurants that could use your business. If you stay in the Echo Park / Boyle Heights area, enjoy some of the best tamales from Tamales Alberto.

Ride the swans at Echo Park Lake.

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While most of us locals have always wanted to ride the swans, you’re on vacation so enjoy it! Locals love to gather at Echo Park Lake to meet up for dog walks, picnics and to watch the quinceañera celebrations. You don’t even have to pack any food because the street vendors have all the fruta and esquites you could ask for.

You must go to Olvera Street.

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Olvera Street is the heart of Mexican culture and history in Los Angeles. You can visit the Avila Adobe, L.A.’s oldest, still-standing house, built in 1818 by Francisco José Avila when Los Angeles was still Mexican territory. You truly can’t go wrong with any food on that block, but La Noche Buena Restaurant is the most popular lunch spot.

Salvadoreños have a huge presence in Los Angeles, and you can’t leave until you sit down for a two-hour lunch at a pupusería.

Credit: drivethrupupusas / Instagram

Expect a lazy lunch because the best pupusas in Los Angeles are hand made from scratch. Expect the same kind of homemade meal from any food truck you order from as well. While you’re here, you haven’t experienced Los Angeles until you’ve eaten from a food truck. For a vegan take on tacos, you can’t go wrong with Cena Vegan or Plant Food for People.

The Grand Central Market has un poquito de todo for whatever you’re craving.

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Located in the heart of downtown, Grand Central Market is the place to go when nobody in your group can decide on what to eat. You can enjoy vegan ramen at Ramenhood, or plátanos and pupusas at Sarita’s Pupusería. Be sure to stop at Chiles Secos to bring back specialty mole for your mama.

Skip Pink’s Hot Dogs and go to the Latino drag club, Plaza, next door.

Credit: Plaza / Yelp

Pink’s Hot Dogs is a cult favorite hot dog stand in Los Angeles, with hour-long lines between you and dinner. If you have the time to go to say you did, go for it, but be sure you don’t miss the real gem down the street. Plaza has been open for over 40 years and remains the spot for Latinx queer folks looking for a great show. The venue is cash only, with drinks as expensive as $8. Show up with cash in hand and lose the disappointment to hear about the cash, and you’ll look like a local.

We’re not going to Runyon Canyon today.

Credit: Danny T / Yelp

Just a thirty-minute drive from the East Side of Los Angeles is Hermit Falls. It’s a relatively easy hike, at 2.5 miles with just 700 feet of elevation gain, but the rewards are endless. In the LA summer, even a mile-long hike will leave you yearning for a cold pool to plunge in, and Hermit Falls offers just that, plus enormous granite rocks to jump off from into the cold water. Hermit Falls isn’t maintained by a forest service, so the graffiti art is there to stay.

If you don’t have a car to get to Hermit Falls, try Griffith Park instead of Runyon. You get all the same views, with far fewer crowds. 

While you’re already out of town, stop at Mitla Café, the restaurant Taco Bell ripped off.

Credit: Netflix

Mitla opened in 1937 when Mexicans were still segregated from the newly settled white population of San Bernadino. The local activists who would gather at Mitla, their solitary safe space, would go on to form the Mexican Chamber of Commerce. Mitla is a keystone of the Mexican community in San Bernadino, and while Glen Bell ripped off the family recipes and turned it into a billion-dollar empire (Taco Bell), the family is still running the same taquería that’s been passed down for generations.

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

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New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Entertainment

New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

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Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. The Night Stalker, spent the summer of 1985 terrorizing Los Angeles. Ramirez murdered 13 people during his reign of terror in Southern California. Netflix’s new docuseries is exploring the crime by interviewing law enforcement and family of the victims.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial” killer is now streaming on Netflix.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is the latest Netflix docuseries diving into the true crimes that have shaped American society. Richard Ramirez is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time and single-handedly terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

Ramirez fundamentally changed Los Angeles and the people who live there. The serial killer was an opportunistic killer. He would break into homes using unlocked doors and opened windows. Once inside, he would rape, murder, rob, and assault the people inside the home.

The documentary series explores just how Ramirez was able to keep law enforcement at bay for so long. The killer did not have a standard modus operandi. His victims ran the gamut of gender, age, and race. There was no indicator as to who could be next. He also rarely used the same weapon when killing his victims. Some people were stabbed to death while others were strangled and others still were bludgeoned.

While not the first telling of Ramirez’s story, it is the most terrifying account to date.

“Victims ranged in age from 6 to 82,” director Tiller Russell told PEOPLE. “Men, women, and children. The murder weapons were wildly different. There were guns, knives, hammers, and tire irons. There was this sort of feeling that whoever you were, that anybody could be a victim and anybody could be next.”

Family members of the various victims speak in the documentary series about learning of the horror committed to them. People remember grandparents and neighbors killed by Ramirez. All the while, police followed every lead to make sure they left no stone unturned.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

READ: Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

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Video of an Anti-Mask Mob Storming a Los Angeles Grocery Store and Angrily Confronting Customers Goes Viral

Things That Matter

Video of an Anti-Mask Mob Storming a Los Angeles Grocery Store and Angrily Confronting Customers Goes Viral

Screenshot via SamBraslow/Twitter

We may have officially left 2020 behind us, but the drama surrounding the pandemic is still alive and well in 2021. As safety precautions like social distancing and masks remain in place in order to curb the spread of the virus, COVID-deniers and anti-maskers have become further emboldened.

But there hasn’t been such a blatant and obnoxious display of anti-masker activism as what happened recently in Los Angeles.

On Monday, a video went viral of an anti-mask woman screaming and appearing to attack a young man in the grocery store.

The video shows an anti-mask woman angrily running after a young man wearing a mask, at one point trying to plow him down with a shopping cart. As she charges towards him, she cusses at him and accuses him of having tried to hit her. There is no footage of the alleged hitting.

The woman follows the man throughout the grocery store as he tries to get away from her. She continues to strike at and scream at him. At one point, the young man tries to ask a security guard for help to no avail. More anti-mask protestors surround him and yell at him as he tries to distance himself from the situation.

The video was one of many incidents incited by an anti-mask mob in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The mob stormed Los Angeles’s Century City mall and nearby Ralph’s grocery store on Sunday. The group held pro-Trump and anti-mask signs, as well as signs that expressed doubt over the severity of the coronavirus.

In a Twitter thread, reporter Samuel Braslow documented the hours long “protest” of a group of anti-maskers. As the group swarmed the popular Los Angeles Century City mall, they were loud, relentless, and sometimes violent. They yelled inflammatory rhetoric such as “F–k communist China!”.

The Twitter thread also shows the mob storming into a Bloomingdales and chanting “No more masks!”. At one point, a few members of the group start performing a “MAGA” version of the YMCA.

The incident in the grocery store wasn’t the only time that the group had aggressive run-ins with onlookers.

Various videos show the group getting into various arguments, including with a food court worker, a shopper walking with his girlfriend, and an emotional woman who revealed to them that her mother was in the hospital with COVID-19. A male protestor responded: “A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father [sic] is not special.”

While the LAPD and mall security ended up closely monitoring the situation, they never tried to arrest the protestors or force them to leave. According to Braslow, they opted to instead only intervene “when necessary”.

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