Culture

The New York Times Honestly Just Discovered Tajín And Their Love For It Is Kind Of The Sweetest

Tajín is a special chile y limon spice mix that is as much a part of Mexican culture as elotes and paletas. You can use it on so many different foods and the most obvious choice is on fresh fruit. That brand of salty sweet crystals that you put on top of pieces of fruit is fast becoming the recognizable spice of choice for chefs and foodies around the U.S. It is just one way that Latino culture is permeating American culture.

The New York Times is finally giving Tajín, the most iconic Mexican kitchen staple, a moment to shine in the national spotlight.

Any Mexican and Mexican-American will swear by this seasoning. It is everywhere and on everything. The taste of the spicy-lime flavor amplifies the naturally sweet flavor of ripe fruit and gives a deep profile to frozen paletas on hot summer days. The aroma wafting out of a freshly opened bottle will change the world as you know it.

The New York Times recently published an article praising the bright red chile salt and, honestly, it’s about time.

Tajín has been around for over three decades, since 1985. However, the iconic concoction didn’t break into the U.S. market until 1993. It is literally as well-known and adored by Mexican families as Chamoy, a sauce created using fermented chiles and fruits also used on all kinds of foods.

Legit, people never leave their house without this seasoning because you never know when you’re going to need it.

Legions of ride-or-die Tajín fans have been sprinkling the seasoning since they were kids. It’s almost a rite of passage—start off with fruit and then as you get older, rims of margarita or cocktails get a dash of Tajín. It’s the cycle of life so many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have enjoyed.

The article, written by Daniela Galarza, gave people a look at the history of the incredible seasoning.

If sprinkling tajín is a lifestyle, then everyone from your corner bionicos shop that has just the right amount of red dusting on your spears of pepino and chunks of sandia, to Bon Appetit magazine’s recipe listings, are stanning tajín—just the way food royalty should be treated, tbh.

It’s one of the most spectacular fandoms known to the food world.

The article explains that even though the company was founded in Guadalajara in 1985, the U.S. has become a massive market. According to The New York Times, 40 percent of the market for Tajín is in the U.S. where Mexican-Americans make up 11.3 percent of the total U.S. population. Mexican-Americans also make up 63.2 percent of the Latino population in the U.S.

In case you weren’t sure, the love for Tajín is so strong and transcends man-made borders.

“I can’t even imagine a time before Tajín, or before salts flavored with lime and chile,” Mariana Gomez Rubio, a culinary consultant in Mexico City told The New York Times.

This social media user said the red seasoning was there for her when she had a health condition.

The popularity of this chile-flavored salt (its main ingredients include dried chiles de árbol, guajillo and pasilla, dehydrated lime and salt) that has its roots in Zapopan, Jalisco.

And it looks so good when it is used appropriately, which it is hard to use it inappropriately.

It is a great way to make sure that you are eating all of your fruits and veggies. After all, we could all be eating more of the heathy stuff and is this makes it easier, then why now.

Imagine coming across these spice and citrusy cucumbers in your house after a long day at work.

Grab a tissue so you don’t drool on your phone. We know you can’t get enough of Tajín and that is normal. We all have a love affair with this one-of-a-kind treat.

Recipes for everything from desserts (this innovative chef paired the chile-lime salt with chocolate and bananas to make fluffy banana bread) to NYT reader-suggested pineapple chunks have been making the Internet and social media rounds from true fans.

The sight of red chile sprinkled #TajinMoments is only going to increase. The brand has announced collabs with Pinkberry, On the Border spiced tortilla chips, and Snak Club for peach ring candy, peanuts and trail mix.

The company is betting on its continued success and is expanding into a larger facility in Jalisco later this year. It has also started looking into making a push into Pakistan, India, and Japan—countries that also like to use spices in their cooking.

Nice, nice—getting worldwide, Tajín!

Along with its buddies chamoy and Tapatio sauce, we see Tajín enjoying its golden days for years (and perhaps decades) to come around the world.

Are you a fan? Tell us your favorite tajín recipe in the comments and share this article with your friends!

READ: These 20 Delicious Latino Snacks You Need To Be In Your Life Permanently

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.

Street Vendors Left Confused As Los Angeles Changes Regulations On Street Vendors

Culture

Street Vendors Left Confused As Los Angeles Changes Regulations On Street Vendors

streetvendorsla / Instagram

On most city streets in Los Angeles, you’re never too far from the nearest taco cart or fruit stand. Whether it’s a vendor selling you al-pastor tacos or a paletero greeting you with an elote, street vending is as much a part of the city as the sunshine and palm trees. According to city officials, there are an estimated 50,000 vendors in Los Angeles county alone. For years, many of these vendors faced fines, harassment from police and no real way to regulate vending on city streets. 

All of that is about change as the city of Los Angeles has started to roll out its Sidewalk and Park Vending program that was unanimously passed last year by the Los Angeles City Council. As of Jan. 2, the city has begun accepting permits for legal street food vending that will require vendors to have proper business licenses, health permits, and a $291 fee to operate that will go up to $541 on July 1. Under these new rules, all L.A. street vendors will be required to buy a permit with the city, or ultimately face fines. 

While the new program is being praised, it seems that street vendors are getting the short end of the stick.

One week into the program rollout, many have no clue about the new fees and where to apply for them, let alone afford them.

This ordeal goes back years but street vending took a huge step forward in 2018 when the L.A. City Council approved an ordinance to fully legalize it, following California Gov. Jerry Brown signing bill SB946 to make it easier for sidewalk vendors to operate legally. While the bill was championed at first, what followed was confusion across the state about how to enforce laws when it came to street vendors. Brown left it to California cities to develop their own regulations and rules on how to properly enforce and regulate street vending laws.

The city of L.A. is considered a leader when it comes to street vending regulation so with this month’s new program rollout, other cities across the state are looking at it as an example. But the most obvious roadblock might be educating and informing vendors of their rights and what is needed for them to abide by the law.  

Rudy Espinoza, the Executive Director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network and an activist who has worked for years to legalize street vending in Los Angeles, agrees that L.A. street vendors have been left in the dark. 

 “The big takeaway is that there has been a huge lack of investment in education and that is a big concern of mine,” Espinoza told the Los Angeles Downtown News. “I think a lot of street vendors, many who are in Downtown, don’t know what the rules are and there has to be a serious investment to reach them.”

Community organizers have tried to their best to inform vendors of these changes but many in the city have yet to hear about them nor can many afford these new permits. 

One of biggest issues that has arisen in the rollout of the program is simply the cost of permits. According to Curbed LA, street vendors and community organizers made the case to city leaders to lower permit fees “from $50 to $200, depending on a vendor’s age or ability to pay,” but to no luck. There was also the issue of translation for non-English speaking vendors who attended city council meetings focusing on these permits. 

“We’d like to hear what the councilmembers are saying at the moment because it’s a decision that will affect our lives,” Mayra Hernandez, a street vendor who attended a meeting back in November, told Curbed LA. “And we don’t know if it’s good or bad because we can’t understand.”

This lack of fluid communication has seemed to follow into the new program rollout as many vendors have questions, mainly if they will be able to afford the $541 permit fee. According to a 2015 report by the Economic Roundtable, Sidewalk Stimulus: Economic and Geographic Impact of Los Angeles Street Vendors, LA street vendors “generate on average $204 a week or $10,098 a year in revenue.” This would essentially mean that vendors would have have to use almost three weeks of work to pay for the pricey $541 fee.

 “$541 is a huge part of the rent for people here,” Ramon Lopez, who lives in MacArthur Park, one of the most busiest street vending sections of LA, told the California Globe. “It’s what they make in nearly a month. It buys groceries for a long time.

This leaves a big question mark on the viability of the new street vending program and if the pricey fees will only encourage some vendors to not comply with regulations.  

Street vending plays a big role in the economy of L.A. outside of just vendors’ pockets. They help create foot traffic in city streets and other small businesses that creates a ripple economic effect on those local communities.

With these new regulations in place, the question is now if these businesses can afford to operate legally? That is a question on the minds of many community leaders and street vendors that fought for these regulations for years. 

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