Culture

Facebook Forced A Mom-And-Pop Taco Restaurant To Change Its Name Because It Was Too Similar To The Social Media Network

There are countless of taco shops in the United States, which means most try to stand out from each other. Whether it’s a cheesy gimmick or cool name, it comes with the territory of operating a taco restaurant. For Tacobook, a small taco business in Everett, Washington, their name and brand inspiration came from one social media network that you may have heard of, Facebook.

Yes, that Facebook. Everything from the name, it’s blue color, lowercase font and logo bared a striking similarity to the social media giant. But three years after Tacobook opened it’s doors, Facebook finally came knocking and told the mom-and-pop restaurant that is must rebrand or face legal trouble.

Back in April, Tacobook received a legal notice from a Beverly Hills law firm citing the business for “unauthorized use of Facebook intellectual property.”

Credit:@thetakeout/Twitter

Rigoberto Bastida, 40 and his wife, Deisy Ramos, 31, both spent years saving up money to finally open up Tacobook. It was a dream come true and the restaurant quickly became a favorite among locals and college students for its authenticity and great prices. In the three years since it opened, Tacobook grew from five tables to 10.

Archie Catindig is such a huge fan of the tacos that he makes the 25-minute drive from Lake Stevens to Everett every weekend just to get some tacos.

“Oh, man, just the tenderness of the meat,” Catindig told local newspaper The Herald. “Especially the prices. You can’t beat the price and you can’t beat the tacos.”

In April, just as business was doing well, came a letter from a law firm claiming that Bastida had unauthorized use of Facebook’s intellectual property. “Facebook must take steps to protect consumers from confusion and prevent dilution of the Facebook Marks and brand,” the letter read.

At first, he didn’t even think the letter was real and considered it a scam. But when he asked a customer with legal experience to take a look at it, Bastida realized this could mean big trouble.

He quickly responded amidst fears that his business could face severe legal trouble. “I said, ‘I didn’t do this with a bad intention,’” he said he told the law firm. “I never thought you’d be offended by it.”

Bastida says there was never any intent to copy or profit off of the Facebook name, rather he just wanted a store name that customers could say in other languages and could be easily recognized.

“A simple name that everybody can read and remember,” Bastida told The Herald. “I got a lot of reviews and comments. A lot of people take pictures. They take their selfies with the logos.”

Tacobook would have to quickly rebrand itself to dissociate itself from Facebook.

Credit: Tacobook / Facebook

Bastida and Ramos quickly had to change everything about their restaurant. From restaurant sign in front to the menu board inside, he removed everything blue that could be associated with Facebook.

This also meant that Bastida has to dispose of the new restaurant gear that arrived just a week before he received the letter. He said that he had ordered shirts, hats and new menus that included the original Tacobook logo that had the blue-and-red color scheme on it.

“I spent good money doing the remodel. I tried to do it as fast as I could, and my budget let me,” he told The Herald. “I didn’t want to take the chance they’d get mad at me.”

Then came the big task of changing the restaurant’s name. Customers sent him some recommendations like “Taco-holic” and “TacoPolice” but none of them stuck. Nonetheless, with the law firm’s permission, Tacobook was allowed to keep its name if it included a hyphen, which in return, saved Bastida money from having to redo pricey business paperwork.

Today, TACO-BOOK has a new logo and design. Gone are the blue and the thumbs-up that had previously hung up. A neon red and black taco is now what customers see when entering the restaurant.

For Bastida, he’s just happy that the colors are the only thing he had to change. According to customers, the food still tastes great and the service is always five stars.

“I’m glad they let me keep the name,” Bastida said. “A lot of people said, ‘I don’t care what your name is. As long as you’re doing your food, I’ll still be here.”

READ: This Parody Music Video About Tacos Is The Only Music Video That You Should Be Watching Right Now

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

Culture

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

@datavizero / Twitter

One of the biggest changes that the so called digital revolution has brought to our lives is the capacity that today’s computer systems have to process huge amounts of data. Processors today are able to run algorithms that bring together millions of data entries to find trends, cluster groups of similar objects and generate visualizations that can help us understand even the most complex aspects of science and culture. This is known popularly as “big data” and has changed the ways in which governments and companies understand reality and make decisions. For example, before high speed processing mathematicians took literally years to make sense of census data and find correlations between factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age and literacy levels.

Guess what? This can be done today with a few clicks as computers bring together millions upon millions of data entries and make sense of it all. It all sounds very geeky, but big data is defining how we live our lives, from how traffic lights coordinate to how much tax you gotta pay each year.

So all this geeky, nerdy stuff should be put to good use, o no?

Enter Mexican geographer Baruch Sangines, a true wizard when it comes to generating great data visualizations.

Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

This young scientist is the Chief Data Scientist at a company called Jetty, and he does some pretty groundbreaking research on pressing social issues such as housing and poverty.

His LinkedIn profile is pretty impressive: “Experience in public and private sector with skills to analyze and visualize data related to: commuting, transit, housing, tourism, migration, security, and urban environment. Expert in territorial analysis and passionate about the cartography and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize small and big data”. Wow. hold your horses, Einstein! He is a proud graduate of Mexico’s National University and has Master’s Degree on Demographics and Statistics. 

So why did he go viral on Mexican social media in the past few days? We mean, science is sexy but not viral sexy (sadly!). All because of this map:

Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

No, it is not a visualization of WiFi points in Mexico. No, it is not a rendition of cartel activity. No, it is not a highlight of the areas in which development runs at a faster pace. It is about something much, much more relevant to everyday life in Mexico lindo y querido. Any guesses?

Nothing is more important than a delicious taco when you most need it! 

Credit: The Splendid Table

Just look at that tortilla, a bit crispy, a bit soft… and that perfectly marinated meat… 

Well, Baruch created a visualization of taco stands in Mexico and nos ponemos de pie ante tal maravilla! 

Baruch called this visualization Taco Universe, and it showcases all the registered taco stands and shops in the country. We can clearly see that there is a high concentration of taco shrines in the capital Mexico City, and that hotspots like Cancun and Cabo are also highlighted, perhaps thanks to gringo tourism craving fish tacos. The scientists used the database Directorio Estadístico Nacional de Unidades Económicas (Denue) (Statistical National Directory of Economic Units) from the federal census agency INEGI. The map highlights how taco culture is primarily based in the center of the country, with local varieties such as Puebla’s tacos arabes (a shawarma like type) increasing the traffic in that area. 

But it is important to note that many taco stands are not accounted for (and that is not this scientist’s fault).

Thousands of Mexicans subsist in an informal economy with businesses that are not registered and pay no taxes. Among these businesses, mobile taco stands reign supreme. There are hundreds of taco stands all around the country that are set up informally. Sometimes you can find the most delicious tacos there! You can also find informal vendors selling tacos de canasta, a variety that is literally carried in a basket. This map does not take these informal enterprises into account, even though they are key to Mexico’s taco culinary tradition. 

So you are curious about tacos de canasta now, aren’t you? 

Well, just look at these crispy, sweaty, fat-rich babes. Tacos de canasta are filled with guisados or stews, or with refried beans. We are almost sure that Baruch did not include them in his map, but we can forgive him for making us crave unos taquitos (we bet you are calling your comadres or compas right now to hit the taco stand) and showing us how Mexico is a country that despite its many challenges still finds time to live up to the old adage: barriga llena, corazon contento. 

The Mexican State Of Queretaro Just Made The World’s Biggest Taco De Carnitas —And Guinness Records Confirmed It

Culture

The Mexican State Of Queretaro Just Made The World’s Biggest Taco De Carnitas —And Guinness Records Confirmed It

@luisbnava / Twitter

Mexicans have been putting food inside a tortilla, folding it in half and calling it breakfast, lunch and dinner, since before the Popol Vuh came to be. Tacos are our love language, our most precious export to the world —ok maybe that’s an exaggeration… or is it? You could offer us caviar, pâté de foie gras, white truffles, oysters and we’d (rightly so) still choose a taco de carne asada. But there’s one Mexican among us all who loves tacos so much, he set out to make the world’s largest one. Stuffed with Carnitas, and weighing an exorbitant amount, Alejandro Paredes managed to produce the world’s biggest taco de carnitas. 

Queretaro is the record holder for the world’s largest taco de carnitas.

The state of Queretaro in Mexico earned the Guinness World Record for their gigantic taco de carnitas a few weeks ago. The monster-taco stretched to an entire city block, and measured 102 meters long (nearly 335 ft) and weighed 1,200 kilograms of tortillas (almost 3,000 lbs) and 1,507 kilograms of delicious carnitas (just over 3300 lbs).

Alejandro Paredes Resendiz is responsible for the carnitas-filled monstrosity. 

Credit: @luisbnava / Twitter

The organizer of the event came up with the idea in 2011, when he promised his uncle —the head of Queretaro’s gastronomical council— that he would make the world’s biggest carnitas taco. 

Apparently, the Guinness record committee declined several applications prior to Paredes’.

Alejandro Paredes said the Guinness organizing committee had already declined five previous applications for ‘the world’s biggest carnitas taco’, so he waited until he knew he could fulfill all the requirements necessary to qualify for a world record.  “We used certified workers with history in Querétaro,” said Paredes. “We complied with all the regulations of the Guinness contract. All of the carnitas were made today, everyone had the proper equipment and, most importantly, we shared the food with all who attended.”

Guinness World Records does not award prize money, but Paredes said that if they raise any money as a result of the record, it will be donated.

“If we earn even one peso, it will be donated to the DIF family services center, because Querétaro should be the best state in Latin America,” he said.

For Reséndiz, the achievement was not only a world record, but also a personal best.

“I broke my own record because the last taco I made was 75 meters long. It was registered, but not certified. I hope that all 1500 people can eat. We began at six in the morning and we won’t go home until the volunteers feed the visitors and the taco is gone,” he said.

The enormous taco fed 1500 attendees. It took more than 25 chefs and 150 gastronomy students to prepare the record-breaking feat. The huge team of cooks started preparing the food 12 hours prior to the assembly of the taco. 

Queretaro managed to take Guadalajara’s record. 

The 102 meter long taco, made in Queretaro, broke the record that had been set by Guadalajara with its 75 meter long taco a few years prior.

But why carnitas in Queretaro?

Credit: donmacizo / Instagram

In Mexico, each state has its own culinary traditions and local plates — ‘carnitas’ is not typical of Queretaro, so why did they decide to make this particular taco?

“I recognize that there are other states in the country, like Michoacán, where they make delicious carnitas, but here in Querétaro there are seven different styles,” Paredes said. Alejandro Paredes claims to have conducted a study to find our which food was most consumed in his state, and voila, he found out that the people of Queretaro love carnitas. 

Carnitas are made by cooking the different parts of the pig in giant copper or stainless steel pots. The meat is traditionally seasoned with a mineral salt called tequesquite, but there are many different regional variations.

Local tourist agencies, taqueros, and municipal authorities plan to share the news about the record-breaking event, to promote tourism in the area and to invite taco-lovers everywhere, from Mexico and the world, to visit Queretaro and try its delicious carnitas.