Culture

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

One of the most important things to plan for a trip, at least according to me, is where you are going to be eating. Sure, you can default to fast food or chain restaurants but you don’t really get the essence of a city that way. Instead, try seeking out smaller spots that are recommended to you by locals. They’ll point you to places you may have otherwise missed. That’s what I did for a recent trip to Washington D.C. and I was not disappointed. Here are some of the local-recommended restaurants I visited that are worth putting on your to-do list when you visit the nation’s capital.

1. Los Hermanos: Dominican

CREDIT: mitú

Everyone in Washington D.C. will tell you the same thing: if you want good Latino food you have to go to Los Hermanos. It is no lie. The restaurant feels like being in mami’s kitchen and the food is just as great. I recommend the carne guisada with arroz con gandules and platanos maduros. You won’t be disappointed.

Good arroz con gandules can drive someone crazy, and these did.

2. Arepa Zone: Venezuelan

CREDIT: mitú

The Venezuelan staple is alive and well in D.C. thanks to Arepa Zone. The restaurant has three locations. They have a permanent spot in Union Market but you can also find them posted up at the Georgetown University Farmers Market over the summer on Wednesdays, which is where we caught up with them. They also have a food truck to make their delicious food more accessible. I recommend the arepa pabellón. The mix of the shredded beef and platanos maduros is a delicious and worthwhile ride for your tastebuds.

Every bite is going to be a mouthful, guaranteed.

3. Mi Cuba Cafe: Cuban

CREDIT: mitú

Mi Cuba Cafe is located next door to Los Hermanos if you are looking to mix the two Caribbean cuisines. The Cuban eatery boasts some of Cuba’s more recognizable dishes including lechon asado (pictured above). Pairing that up with some congri and tostones is really the only way to do the meal justice. As a Cuban-American from Florida, I will admit that it was better than I was expecting. Definitely on the recommendation list if you’re in D.C.

The tostones tho. ??

4. El Rinconcito: Mexican/Salvadoran

CREDIT: mitú

El Rinconcito is a little slice of Central American heaven. The menu has several options. from Salvadoran tamales to chimichangas. There’s one dish all the employees recommend: the milanesa de pollo. The lightly breaded chicken filet is delicious as it is, no need to sauce or fuss. Just cut into that meat and enjoy. Topped with some platanos and a side of homemade tortillas, how can you say no?

Don’t be shy about digging right in.

5. Tortilla Cafe: Mexican/Salvadoran

CREDIT: mitú

If you are visiting Capitol Hill and get a hankering for some Salvadoran food, make your way to Tortilla Cafe. The restaurant, which was recommended several times, is known for its pupusas. Get them with cheese or cheese and pork. Either way, you can’t go wrong. The food here is exceptional.

These pupusas are absolutely mouthwatering.

What did we miss? What is your favorite Latino food spot in Washington D.C.?


READ: 14 Latino Owned Businesses Who Are Disrupting The Food Industry

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Food Crimes Committed In The Past Decade That Will Crack You Up

Culture

Food Crimes Committed In The Past Decade That Will Crack You Up

New Smyrna Police Department/Shutterstock

Ever crave a meal so bad you’d kill for it? 

When it comes to meals, some people literally don’t play. We learned that several times over in the past few years. Particularly this year when craze over Popeyes chicken sandwich sparked mayhem across the country. At the height of their craze, Popeyes stores routinely hit with long lines and sold out sandwiches which surprisingly unleashed a world of wild in various states. In fact, in November of last year, a man by the name of Ricoh McClaine fatally stabbed a customer in Maryland who had cut in front of the lines to purchase his sandwich. Fortunately, our list of food-related crimes are a bit lighter and funnier than cases of murder. Below, find a series of stories in which desperate food cravings led to desperate crimes. From a man who stole food from his own mama to to a woman who went ham at a taco store. We literally rounded up the best stories we could find online about food crimes. 

Check them out! 

That time a guy from New Mexico was arrested for stealing his mom’s pozole

mitú

It’s true. According to the Albuquerque Journal, a 23-year-old man texted his mother that he would drop by to eat. Ray’s mother told police she asked him not to go to the house. When she arrived, Ray entered through the back door, opened the fridge and ran off with a large pot of pozole. “He opened the door and grabbed that big pot of pozole I had made for my kids. He knew I had made it,” said Ray’s mother to the Albuquerque Journal.

When an Indiana woman was dining and dashing with chalupas and charged with felony theft.

Taco Bell

Los Amigos, an Indiana restaurant specializing in “authentic” Mexican food, took a woman named Jennifer Peru to court because she refused to pay for a chalupa that she claimed wasn’t a real chalupa.

On its surface, we can understand why Culver was confused. The chalupas that are sold at Taco Bell are described as  “a fried tortilla shell, in the shape of a small boat, filled with lots of flavorful ingredients”, and Culver may have been used to that version. But according to Los Amigos’s menu, their chalupa is “a flat tortilla with refried beans, topped with cheese and guacamole salad”. To no one’s suprrise, there is quite a stark contrast between the way a fast food joint approaches making Mexican food in comparison to the way a local, mom-and-pop store would make one. 

According to court records, Culver tried to sneak out of the restaurant by walking “briskly” past the cash register with her two children in tow. But the restaurant manager caught up to Culver in the parking lot before she could make her great escape. After being asked to pay her $11.73 bill, Culver responded that she’s “not paying for that [expletive]”. Because the manager wasn’t one to mess around with, he called the cops on the dine-and-dasher and reported her for theft.  Ultimately, a jury convicted Culver of a level 6 felony theft, resulting in 120 days on electronic monitoring, and 14 months of probation, and fined a cumulative total of $485.

When a Mexican man was caught stealing trompo Meat from a taco shop. 

Pinterest

One man’s hunger and deep love for tacos resulted in one of the best WTF?! moments caught on camera. Video footage recently surfaced of a man in Mexico City stealing, of all things, a trompo of el pastor meat from a small taco stand. Crazy right?

In the video, an unidentified man dressed in black clothing is seen slowly exiting a white car; he scouts the area and a few seconds later approaches the unattended taco stand, grabs the trompo, and drives away with the meaty bounty.

The case of the 14 meth burrito orders

Back on Feb. 3, 2018, Renteria was pulled over in the Angelino Heights neighborhood by Los Angeles Police officers after multiple witnesses reported a white Chevrolet Tahoe driving erratically. When police asked for his license, Renteria didn’t have it on him and was then allowed to search for his registration and insurance. While he couldn’t provide the correct paperwork, police determined the vehicle was registered to Renteria legally but found that his license was expired. That’s when Renteria let police search the vehicle. They would soon find a black garbage bag filled with 14 “foil-wrapped, burrito shaped” packages.

The woman who got her RV stuck in a Taco Bell drive-thru.

 Photo by Kennewick Police Department.

In Washington, Police arrested a woman after suspecting her of being under the influence while driving. According to the Kennewick Police Department, the woman drove her RV the wrong way into the Taco Bell’s drive-thru in December. When the RV couldn’t make the turn around the drive-thru’s corner it got stuck in the building’s corner. 

The drunk man who brought a knife fight to Taco Bell but did not deliver.

New Smyrna Police Department/Shutterstock

In 2014, a drunk man went to Taco Bell to attent to his munchies and got served with an order of handcuffs.  According to WFTV, Gabriel Harris rode his bicycle through the drive-thru of a Taco Bell in FloridaWhen he was told the restaurant was closing he refused to leave until he was served. It wasn’t until police showed up that he pulled out a knife and was ultimately arrested.

A Venezuelan Man Won Legal Protection From Deportation But ICE Still Deported Him To Mexico

Things That Matter

A Venezuelan Man Won Legal Protection From Deportation But ICE Still Deported Him To Mexico

Department of Homeland Security / ICE

Jesus spent three months awaiting his immigration case in Mexico thanks to the Migrant Protections Protocol (MPP) policy. “Remain in Mexico” is a fate that has left many migrants targets of cartel violence, but Jesus was a fortunate exception. After fleeing from Venezuela, then waiting in Mexico, he was able to win his court case without a lawyer and without being fluent in English. 

The judge granted him withholding of removal which would normally protect a migrant from deportation. Jesus seemed to have scored a win or at least that was how it seemed. Soon after, he was taken back to Mexico with no explanation as to what was happening. 

NPR featured Jesus’ story which proved to be a cascade of unanswered questions left by Customs and Border Protection — albeit with a hopeful ending. 

Jesus and immigration lawyers are now scrambling to figure out what is going on.

When Jesus became one of 55,000 migrants forced to await a court date in Mexico for the second time, things began to seem vexingly suspicious. Kennji Kizuka, a lawyer with Human Rights First, took on Jesus’ case after his win in court. 

“The proceedings in immigration court were finished. There were no more hearings to be held,” said Kizuka.

Kizuka told NPR that immigration officials put a false court date on Jesus’ paperwork, however, the date did not appear on any court docket. The court date is significant because migrants can only return to Mexico if they have a pending court appointment. 

“They put a fake date on a piece of paper that says you have an upcoming hearing. And there was no hearing,” Kizuka said. “They wanted to return him to Mexico again, and they needed to convince the Mexican officials to take him back.” 

CBP appears to be sending mixed signals to migrants. 

A spokesperson from CBP told NPR that they do not use fake court dates and said the date was legitimate. CBP also says that migrants who are granted a withholding of removal protection can still be deported if authorities are considering appealing the judge’s ruling. NPR found 17 instances where migrants who were granted the same protections were deported. 

“When an immigration judge’s decision is appealed or under consideration for appeal, immigration proceedings remain underway,” a CBP spokesman said.

However, Kizuka believes the documents that CBP gave to Jesus contained numerous false statements asserting that he had pending court dates when he does not. The government did not choose to appeal’s Jesus’ case either. To make matters more confusing. Acting Commissioner of CBP Mark Morgan says migrants who have won their cases should be able to stay in the U.S. 

“I don’t think that should be happening,” Morgan told NPR with regard to Jesus’ case. “If that’s happened the way you described that, then that’s an anomaly. It’s a mistake. But we’ll take a look at that.”

Jesus scores a second win — but it won’t help other migrants necessarily. 

Kizuka met Jesus in-person to help get him back into the United States using the judge’s court order. They were met with resistance. 

“They told us that Jesus was not going to be allowed into the United States,” Kizuka said. “One officer told me that by going back to Mexico, his deportation had already been carried out.”

Kizuka did not give up. He argued at the border for four hours. He had other staff members call the Department of Homeland Security. He had them call members of Congress. He contacted anyone who could help. Finally, they gave in with no explanation. 

Jesus is now living in Florida with his sister and mother. The three of them are fighting to receive asylum and become citizens. However, Jesus’ story highlights how much luck is necessary for any migrant to get the system to work properly for them even if they act lawfully throughout the process. 

In Venezuela, Jesus was a police officer but when government officials asked him to arrest members of the opposition party for crimes they did not commit, he refused. His family became targets of violence, resulting in the murder of his father. 

“They started to persecute me and my family,” he said. “They killed my father. My mother was followed. She was threatened with a pistol and beatings.”

When he was held in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico he narrowly escaped kidnappings and violence, much of which he witnessed himself. Jesus is content in Florida but he did not feel he was treated with dignity on his way to getting there. 

“I hoped the treatment would be warmer, more humane,” Jesus said. “But the officials are really harsh and insulting to migrants. And the system is really complicated.”