Santa Ana, California’s loncheras aren’t just food trucks. Whether they’re serving a bowl of belly-warming pozole, or selling plastic toys and Takis for the children (or those young at heart), the loncheras are an extension of the community they serve. Tourists and regulars alike photograph their time at the loncheras, sharing them on their social media accounts. Each snapshot capturing the charm and smiles that can only come after enjoying the experience these trucks provide.
Unfortunately, as OC WEEKLY points out, Santa Ana’s city council has its regulatory targets set directly on the community of food trucks in the Santa Ana area.
For now, the loncheras remain, but if these strict regulations are handed down, the days of these trucks are likely numbered. This will put at risk the income of a large section of the local population in Santa Ana and it will remove a crucial part of the culture and community as well.
The OC Weekly has a great slide show featuring photos of the hardworking men and women who make the loncheras possible. Check out the the link below.
Dispensaries, especially unlicensed shops, are not known to be the friendliest of places. For first timers, it can be quite intimidating to go into one and be presented with a plethora of products, where do you even begin? As you stand there trying to figure out what everything means, the pressure grows as fast as the line behind you and the budtender gives you simple responses that don’t even answer your inquiries. You probably ended up leaving with more questions than you went in with and picked the best sounding products, but don’t really know what you got or what to do with it.
Tropicanna is here to change that narrative.
The dispensary, which is located in Santa Ana, serves and delivers to the greater Orange County area, including Anaheim, Irvine, and all the way to San Clemente. You can spot the shop from blocks away, the bright turquoise and pink building is easily discernible among the surrounding storefronts. The inspiration for the decor and color scheme is tied back to the original Tropicana Club in Havana Cuba, mixed with Miami vibes and culture for a modern and Instagrammable experience.
“At Tropicanna, we want people to have fun and feel at home,” co-owner JP told mitú. “When people walk into the shop, we want them to forget about all the other bad experiences they’ve had. We’re here to help, whether it be with medicinal or recreational cannabis, we want everyone to feel comfortable enough to ask all the questions they have and leave our store confident with their choices.”
Having been to various dispensaries, I can confidently attest to the fact that their customer service team is unparalleled. Seriously. At no point in time did I feel rushed, and when I talked to the reps it was like I was talking with a friend. The shop is well stocked in all types of products, and the customer service reps were able to help me figure out which ones were right for me based on the experience I wanted to have. I even ended up leaving with a couple of products for my mom (she needs her chocolatitos to help her go to sleep).
Not only is Tropicanna changing the customer experience game, they are also inviting the community to get involved and participate in the various events they host, the most recent of which was for Dia De Los Muertos.
“We would be nothing without our community,” continued JP, “so we wanted to let them know that we appreciate them and are proud to be a part of it. That was where the inspiration for the event came in. At the end of the day, at Tropicanna we want to stand out in the experience we provide but also community presence.”
The main event setup was in the parking lot, but there was plenty to see inside the shop. As soon as you walked in you were able to sign up for a giveaway, which was complete with products from the vendors stationed outside. Cempasuchil flowers and calaveras were everywhere, most of the staff was in full calavera makeup, and there was even an altar!
If you purchased any products from the companies that were sponsoring the event, you got some free treats from the vendors outside. 👀
Food was provided by @chef_flip_fantabulas
Chef Rudy, the founder of @cannabiscateredevents, has figured out how to take delicious food and elevate it. He’s at Tropicanna every Tuesday with a weekly rotating menu. This time he made carne asada esquites that were so good, just thinking about them is making me hungry. The meal was not infused, but Chef Rudy encourages customers to season and infuse their food at home with products you can purchase inside Tropicanna! Check out his IG for more info.
Nomad Cocktail Co.
I needed something to wash down my esquites, so I went over to @nomadcocktailco and got a mocktail. Maddi, the business owner and former bartender, works with products from @kan_ade_ and Cannabis Quenchers to create specialty drinks that are as delicious and potent as they are pretty. My favorites were the piña drink with the chamoy rim and the blueberry pomegranate, complete with a cempasuchil flower 😋 Check out @nomadcocktailco and @kan_ade_ for more!
By far one of my favorite brands, La Familia is Los Angeles based and Latino owned and operated, which is rare in the cannabis industry. I first discovered them when they launched their infused chocolates, which come in flavors like Mazapan, Fresas con Crema, and Cajeta, just to name a few. This time Tania Noyola, the brand ambassador, introduced me to some of their newer products such as their Chocolate Abuelita cookies and their Churro Rice Krispie (both super yum), and their aguas frescas, which come in flavors such as Horchata, Mango, Fresa, and even Limón con Pepino! Rumor has it they even have some chile covered gummies dropping in the next few months. @lafamiliachocolate is definitely a brand you’re going to want to keep tabs on.
Wonderbrett is another Los Angeles local vendor and they brought with them artist @eternallovetribe, well known for collaborating with BJ The Chicago Kid and bringing his design to life. The design is now the packaging for one of Wonderbrett’s most popular strains, “Black Orchid,” which is “perfect for relieving stress, anxiety, insomnia, and pain.” It was really cool to watch @eternallovetribe’s art process as they created a custom piece for the event. Check out Wonderbrett’s website here.
Humboldt’s Finest Farms
What makes Humboldt’s Finest Farms different from all the other brands? For starters, they are a co-op of 3 farmers who are all about sustainability and giving back to the community. From the way they grow their plants to the biodegradable packaging, everything that Humboldt Farms does is with intention. Their goal is to produce the highest quality products in the most natural way. Click this link to check out their website.
Another minority owned business! Created by Latina scientist, Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, Dreamt Products began when the founder started suffering from insomnia. Dr. Vazquez Mitchell had been working with cannabis since she was 17 years old, and decided to take her experience and combine it with her education to find a natural solution to her problem. Today, Dreamt Products has tinctures and vapes designed to help you get the sleep you need. Click here to find out more!
If you still had room for dessert, Afters Ice Cream was there to satisfy your craving.
Naturally, I went with their mango sorbet and added tajin and chamoy. Not available infused, but still delicious 😉
If you missed the event, don’t fret! Tropicanna told mitú they’re planning on having at least one event every month. As far as what else we have to look forward to in November, they’re having major markdowns for Black Friday and will be having even more for delivery on Cyber Monday. Check out Tropicanna’s website for more info!
Tropicanna can be found at 1628 S. Grand Ave, Santa Ana CA 92705
Questions? Call (714)701-8186 for more information.
Every morning on my way to work, I pass through Los Angeles’s Skid Row, the 4-square-mile area that separates the trendy Arts District and Downtown LA neighborhoods. It’s a humbling experience, a reminder of how easy I have it despite my many, many complaints. Mostly, though, I think of how the city has failed these thousands of people –something officials are keenly aware of and are finally working on — and how in the world they survive.
Enter Share A Meal. Every night, from Monday to Friday, volunteers make 200 burritos in a food truck and then distribute them to those who need them the most. The food truck is the brainchild of Ravi and Jacquie Singh, who started feeding the hungry after making a Sikh pilgrimage.
Beyond providing a hot meal to LA’s homeless, Share A Meal volunteers also give those they serve hope and dignity.
“When we go out and serve the community, the reception you get and how thankful and welcoming they are is so rewarding,” Alejandro Garcia, a volunteer, told NBC Los Angeles. “If you ask about them, they get excited because people forget that these are human beings who want human interaction, too.”
You can find out more about Share A Meal, including how you can help, here.