Culture

21 Reasons Chipotle Is A Vegan Haven

Who remembers when the taquería people would look at you like you’re crazy when you asked if the rice had lard in it? Those days are over. Not only has Chipotle stepped up their game and created a vegan protein, but most Southwest Mexican joints know what a vegan is now. (But Chipotle wins.)

Vegans, rejoice.

1. Everything your eye can see is vegan.

CREDIT: @LodgeMich / Twitter

At least in this picture. Chipotle is an oasis–no hidden ingredients, no hidden pork lard in the beans, or french fries. What looks vegan, is vegan, praise Jesus.

2. Sofritas are everything.

CREDIT: @kvann / Twitter

Yeah, yeah, we can get all our protein from beans, but you can only get joy from tofu braised in sofrito. The Puerto Rican in me was screaming when this happened a couple years ago.

3. Soft Shell Tacos

CREDIT: @HandleDistrict / Twitter

You can order tacos a la carte, and they don’t play. Two tacos = one food baby.

4. Hard Shell Tacos

CREDIT: @vegfoodfest / Twitter

You’d be shocked to learn that some places don’t have vegan hard shell tacos. Taco Bell’s tostada shell is actually non-vegan.

5. Who says vegans eat veggies?

CREDIT: @dgrreen / Twitter

Yah. Veggies ain’t for all of us. Pero todos los frijoles son nuestros. You can always ask Chipotle to do half black and half pinto if you can’t decide.

6. Use nachos as utensils.

CREDIT: @trismac / Twitter

It’s for the environment, OK. Leave those plastic utensils behind. Pick up a bag of chips instead. 😉

7. Life hack: a side of tortillas is free.

CREDIT: @ordinaryvegan / Twitter

And you get way more food in a burrito bowl than you do in a burrito. Plus the tortilla. #PoorMansLife

8. Double life hack: bring vegan sour cream with you.

CREDIT: @BigTentVegan / Twitter

You’ll find this on my tombstone, but it’s a game changer. See that lil slice of Tofutti in the corner of that pic? It’s the money shot.

9. Vegan burritos stand like a Queen.

CREDIT: @IamAdamLamp / Twitter

I salute you, future food baby. Get in mah belly.

10. Let’s talk sides.

CREDIT: Chipotle

Chips + guacamole? It’s not optional, it’s a must. Be sure to get the little slices of lime by the straws and drizzle that ish.

11. When all her salsas are vegan. 😭

CREDIT: Chipotle

There’s no dairy-filled creamy cilantro dressing happening here like *cough* Pollo Loco *cough*.

12. Here’s how to build a vegan meal at Chipotle:

CREDIT: Chipotle

You start by ordering either tacos, burrito, burrito bowl or a salad. TBH, the only difference between the salad and burrito bowl is if you like your romaine on the bottom of your bowl or on top…

13. Either way, it all comes with your choice of rice.

CREDIT: Chipotle

You can go with a healthy cilantro-lime brown rice. I’m glued to this oily, drool-worthy masterpiece like brown on rice.

14. Or go for the comfort foods.

CREDIT: Chipotle

Let’s be honest, this is an emotional journey. Follow what your heart is telling you.

15. Pile on the beans, primo.

CREDIT: Chipotle

The Vegetarian special includes your choice of beans and fajitas. For just an extra dollar, you can get sofritas on top of that.

We call that an elevated vegan dish.

16. The pinto beans are new(ish)ly vegan, too!

CREDIT: Chipotle

It used to be that they used bacon fat in the beans, but a couple years ago, they made beans accessible to all. 😍

17. All the flavor lies here:

CREDIT: Chipotle

The vegetable fajitas are just the right balance of onion and peppers, and you won’t find a soggy or a crunchy bite. It’s just perfection.

18. We know, the guac is extra.

CREDIT: Chipotle

And forever worth it. Take my money, Chipotle. When I’m around guac, IDGAF.

19. Pile on the salsas, amiga.

CREDIT: Chipotle

You won’t find a salsa tainted with shredded mozzarella or cotija. But definitely avoid the shredded mozzarella and sour cream options.

20. Be sure to drink plenty of water.

CREDIT: Chipotle

Because, strangely, Chipotle’s fresh salsa is crazy high in sodium. Don’t ask me why I know this.

21. Do rehydrate on margaritas.

CREDIT: Chipotle

‘Cause they’re vegan, too. 😍 😜 🤪

Got any more fast food hacks? Dale, comment below. ⬇️

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

Culture

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

Melanie Roque / Tacobook / Facebook

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

LA’s Evil Cooks Has Introduced A Flan Taco And The Internet Definitely Has Some Feelings About It

Culture

LA’s Evil Cooks Has Introduced A Flan Taco And The Internet Definitely Has Some Feelings About It

@lataco / Twitter

The taco is such a beloved culinary treasure because of its versatility. The formula is pretty simple and straight-forward: tortilla, meat and toppings. You can eat it at any time of day; morning, noon and late night. And you can stuff anything in there. You have your fish tacos, your breakfast tacos, savory tacos and vegan tacos. Now without further ado, we present you with the dessert taco you didn’t know you needed, the sweet taco.

Yeah, yeah, the idea of a sweet version of the Mexican classic might make you cringe a little, but hear us out—this one’s worth it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re into carnitas, birria, suadero, or pastor, we promise you, if you love tacos and you love flan, this bad boy is all you need for dessert. 

The flan taco comes to you courtesy of Balam Kitchen a taco haven in Lynwood, and  Evil Cooks, an LA Chicano kitchen pop up duo by Alex Garcia aka Pobre Diablo and Elvia Huerta, La Bruja. Needless to say that the collaboration brought the big guns to Taco Madness—LA’s longest running Taco Festival—with their unconventional creation this year.

Taco lovers waited in long lines to try the best of all nine taquerías featured at the festival.

But all we keep hearing about, months after the debut of this creative invention in May, is the ‘flan taco’ and how obsessed everyone is with it.

Garcia, former chef at Pomona’s Mexican restaurant, Dia De Los Puercos, wanted to create a sweet taco, and what better Mexican dessert to use for his invention than the classic custard and caramel delight that everyone loves: flan. Sticking to the original recipe for the flan, he decided to use ‘tuile’ for the tortilla. Tuile is a baked wafer similar to that used for Chinese fortune cookies. He added corn masa to make it pliable like any good tortilla should be, and voila! The result was a sweet tortilla, similar to a pancake or a crepe. 

The classic milk-based flan was infused with citrus and coconut, and it sits atop the innovative fortune cookie-style tortilla. What about the toppings, you might ask? Nothing short of an explosion of flavor: mint, a twist of orange and, drumroll please, crushed Polvorones. Yes that’s right, the classic orange-flavored cookies abuelos all over Mexico have been dunking in their coffees since time immemorial. 

La Bruja’, the name they gave to their flan taco, embodies Huerta and Garcia’s rich yet opposing personalities.

Both sweet and savory, unexpected and provocative. Garcia was born into a family of bakers in Queretaro, Mexico. He moved to the US when he was 14 and has since held several jobs in the food industry, from dish washer to Chef. Huerta is originally from El Sereno and enrolled in culinary school at a young age. She has been a cook at UCLA for over a decade, where she’s gotten used to cooking with massive quantities. 

Despite their vastly different backgrounds and experiences with food, they agree that what they create at Evil Cooks is “the food of their childhoods”.

“We want people to taste our food and be reminded of home,” says Garcia. The sweet concoction had taco-lovers so impressed that Zach Brooks, general manager of Smorgasburg LA, called it “a plated dessert you’d find at the best Mexican restaurant in the city”, next thing you know, he offered Balam Taco x Evil Cooks, an eight week residency at the Smorg’s Ice Cream Alley. 

Keep up with the nomadic pop-up to try the flan taco and some of their other unique creations. Evil Cooks’ itinerant menu changes fairly often, and always includes innovative takes on Mexican classics, like a chilaquiles breakfast burrito, fideo taco (complete with queso fresco and crema), shell crab tacos and more, tortas, gorditas, and more.

Don’t miss Balam Kitchen’s chicano food in Lynwood. Evil Cooks pops up weekly at various spots in LA. Find them at Sara’s Market, El Café by Primera Taza and Smorgasburg. They also cater private events and gigs.