Culture

In All Of California Only One Mexican Restaurant Made Michelin’s Best Restaurant List And How Is That Possible

This is what food critics were all afraid of–that Michelin would bypass Los Angeles’ food diversity and stick to the Euro-centric options. Not a single taquería or Mexican restaurant was given a star in all of Los Angeles. The only Mexican restaurant to receive a star in all of California is called Taco María.

While this is problematic, we’d also like to remind everyone that Michelin is a tire company. The fact that Latin food was effectively ignored just makes the food guide lose even more credibility.

The ratings are given a range of one to three stars.

@LAist / Twitter

Twitter user @KylePlantEmoji explains what the Michelin Guide is all about: “The Michelin Guide was originally intended as a way for motorists travelling around europe to decide where to eat! 1 star meant you should go if it’s on the way, 2 meant you should go out of your way to eat there, and 3 meant it was a destination in and of itself”

Los Angeles certainly has beef with Michelin.

@EvilOhm / Twitter

Every year, it grants the bulk of its stars to Bay area eateries, completely ignoring the Latin and Korean restaurants that makes up the vast majority of Los Angeles’ cuisine. Every year, LA becomes more and more unwelcoming to the seemingly racist food guide.

Nonetheless, let us introduce you to Taco María.

@tacomaria / Twitter

Michelin mostly focuses on fine cuisine, though they have a separate list called “Bib Gourmand,” which focuses on more affordable dining experiences. The “Bib Gourmand” is where you’d find more Latin restaurants.

“We don’t believe in borders between people or ideas.”

@tacomaria / Twitter

Taco María may be high end, but they’re staying true to their roots. In a political statement, the taquería shared on Instagram, “We don’t believe in borders between people or ideas. Thank you for helping us celebrate three years of @tacomaria.”

You can choose from prixe fixe, a la carte or brunch menu options.

@tacomaria / Twitter

Expect American classics like buttermilk pancakes alongside classic chilaquiles for breakfast. Lunch and dinner are where the magic happens.

This mole de pollo tamal is even available for bulk order.

@tacomaria / Twitter

Because everyone knows tamales are best enjoyed at the family dinner table. General pricing ranges from $11 for taquitos de papa to $18 for a pescado frito.

Don’t assume this is dessert–its a garlic crema, lavender onion covered enfrijolada.

@tacomaria / Twitter

“Enfrijolada,” @tacomaria captions, “black beans, queso fresco, lavender onions, garlic crema”

This is a “Frozen Lime Marshmallow.”

@tacomaria / Twitter

“Frozen Lime Marshmallow, coal-toasted meringue, star anise,” the restaurant shared on Twitter. “One last photo from our dinner with guest chef Daniel Patterson. ????”

Finish off a beautiful meal with this churro.

@tacomaria / Twitter

Taco María is located in Costa Mesa, California. From the looks of it, it deserved more than one star. Felicidades, Taco María! May many more Mexican restaurants make the list next year.

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A Pre-Hispanic Restaurant In Mexico Has Been Named One Of The World’s Best

Culture

A Pre-Hispanic Restaurant In Mexico Has Been Named One Of The World’s Best

Cocina Chontal / Facebook

Latin America has quickly moved up the ranks when it comes to fine dining – especially as much of the world finally catches on to the many treasures across the region.

For several years, high-end dining featuring fusions from Japanese and French mixed in with typical Mexican or Colombian or Peruvian cuisines have been recognized. Case in point: a Mexican woman was recognized as the world’s top chef in 2019.

But more recently, Indigenous flavors have started to get the recognition they deserve.

A Mexican restaurant has been named among the world’s greatest thanks to its Indigenous roots.

The world’s top 20 restaurants – as selected by Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine – finally features an Indigenous restaurant, and from Mexico’s Tabasco state no less.

A culinary critic cited the mole poblano with turkey, scarlet shrimp and the ambience among the reasons the restaurant was chosen to join the rankings of the world’s best.

Cocina Chontal is an intimate restaurant situated in a small house with brick floors and wooden tables where dishes are cooked on an outdoor comal and dogs hang out waiting for scraps. It may seem out of place compared to some of the more ‘high-end’ restaurants on the list. might seem an unlikely place to find one of the world’s best foodie haunts.

Cocina Chontal sits amid the jungle and is bringing Pre-Hispanic flavors to Mexico’s foodie crowd.

Credit: Cocina Chontal / Facebook

Sitting in the middle of the San Isidro de Comalcalco jungle in Tabasco, Mexico, is a restaurant that’s heart is the wood-field comal just outside the front door. The restaurant is on he outskirts of the Zona Arqueológica de Comalcalco, a Chontal Mayan site containing the remains of the westernmost city of the Mayan civilization.

Chef Nelly Córdova Morillo is a former lawyer who grew up eating traditional Chontal cooking on her grandparents’ farm. Her restaurant celebrates the pre-Hispanic cuisine of the region, serving traditional dishes made with traditional ingredients cooked over wood harvested from the surrounding landscape. She’s in touch with her roots and aims to share them with the rest of the world.

Popular dishes include “tortilla Chontal,” a type of fresh-masa quesadilla served with a dark green salsa that tastes of the forest, alongside frothy pineapple agua fresca.

Nevertheless, chef Nelly Córdova Murillo said ending up on the travel magazine’s list was a total surprise.

“Truly it’s incredible,” she told Travel + Leisure. “I was calmly baking some cinnamon rolls with my daughter, and suddenly it occurred to me to get my telephone. I found all these people congratulating me, and I didn’t know for what.” 

Córdova is among chefs in major world cities like Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Bogotá, and Santiago, Chile. But she hasn’t let it go to her head. The award, she said, goes to all tabasqueños.

“It’s their culture, their traditions, their customs, their men and women, their products, and their artisans,” she said. “Cocina Chontal is that. It’s Tabasco in a small place.” 

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Uber Says It May Shutdown In California As It Fights Against Gig Worker Law

Things That Matter

Uber Says It May Shutdown In California As It Fights Against Gig Worker Law

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Is it possible that you won’t be able to get an Uber or Lyft in California? Well, it’s actually very likely that your apps won’t work much longer. The two companies are threatening to go dark in the Golden State as the two fight back against AB5 – a state law that offers protections to gig economy workers.

Uber says that they’ll need to rethink their entire business model if forced to follow AB5, hence the likely shutdown. But many find it suspicious that the company will be shutting down through the November election, when voters will be asked to vote on Prop 22, a ballot measure that would exempt Lyft and Uber from the new regulations.

An Uber shutdown is looking more likely in California as the company plans its response to new state laws.

All the drama started when California (among some other states) started enacting ‘gig worker’ protection laws that were meant to force companies like Uber to reclassify drivers as employees. Currently, drivers are classified as ‘independent contractors’ and are not eligible to receive any benefits, such as healthcare, retirement plans, and overtime.

Uber moved to limit the impact of that law while also admitting that change was needed to better protect their drivers. Not too long after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi published an op-ed in The New York Times with the headline “Gig Workers Deserve Better,” a San Francisco judge ruled that Uber and Lyft had to reclassify their drivers as employees within 10 days.

In his ruling, Schulman wrote of Uber and Lyft, “It is high time that they face up to their responsibilities to their workers and to the public.” He rejected the argument that Uber and Lyft are simply technology companies, asserting “drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft’s entire ride-hailing business.”

Two days later, Khosrowshahi responded with an ultimatum: If Uber had to abide by California labor law, it would require a business model change so extreme the entire company would have to pull out of the state until November. Which is convenient, since California has an initiative in the November election that would overturn much of the state’s gig economy law.

The shutdown would be used to fight back against a recent gig economy law that Uber says would eat away at profits.

Over the last five years, several states have enacted legislation against Uber and Lyft’s operating methods. The companies have come to rely on a tried and tested playbook: threaten to suspend service in the area. The threat, which the companies would sometimes follow through on, appeared designed to rile up customers and drivers, and put more pressure on lawmakers. And it often worked: look at Austin, TX.

Now, both Uber and Lyft say they are once again considering suspending service to get what they want. They say they may suspend their operations in California as soon as this week while simultaneously pushing for a referendum in November to exempt them from the law, known as AB-5.

Although the pandemic has reduced demand, a shutdown would largely impact Black and Brown communities.

Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Although the companies are planning on going dark in the next week or so, many industry experts don’t think the shutdown will have the impact they hope for. The pandemic has greatly reduced demand for ride sharing as people are staying at home and many more are working from home.

However, much like the pandemic itself, the shutdown would likely have an outsized impact on Black and Latino communities – two groups who have largely come to reply on the companies for commuting to and from work or school. Several studies have shown that Black and Brown workers make up the majority of ‘essential workers’ – so many don’t enjoy the privilege of working from home.

An Uber or Lyft shutdown would force many of these workers back on to buses and trains, further putting already impacted communities under increased risk for contagion of the virus.

The companies are betting on a November ballot initiative to help bail them out from new regulations.

Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Although a judge has tried to force the companies to follow the law – the legal system may not have the last word. Uber and Lyft are counting on California’s voters to help them circumvent AB5, which went into effect in January and makes it more difficult for companies to use independent contractors. Uber and Lyft built their respective businesses on the concept of using freelance drivers who aren’t eligible for traditional benefits like health insurance and paid leave. 

Earlier this year, the companies, along with DoorDash, raised nearly $100 million to place a question on the November ballot. They succeeded, and this fall, voters will be asked to permanently classify ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors. The measure, called Proposition 22, also directs the companies to adopt certain labor and wage policies that fall short of traditional employment.

To help build support, the companies are turning to their customers. Lyft has taken a very active approach with urging its customers to vote yes on Prop 22 – they’ve emailed them and added pro-Prop 22 messages to the app. Meanwhile, Uber is considering similar tactics to ones the company used in 2015 in New York, when the company added a pop-up feature in its app to troll the mayor of New York City and encourage the company’s customers to pressure him to back off on proposed legislation that could seriously hamper Uber’s growth efforts in the city. It worked, and Mayor Bill de Blasio relented.

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