Culture

When The Twin Towers Fell Blocks From Her Place Of Work, This Jefa Became Inspired To Turn Her Love For Cooking Tamales Into A Business

Evelia Coyotzi is up and on her way to work before 4 A.M. seven days a week to sell her homemade tamales out of her pushcart parked at the corner of Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, Queens.

For 18 years now she’s been serving up a variety of tamales to New Yorkers from 4 A.M. to noon, many lining up to get them before they sell out. Even famed foodie, chef, and TV host Anthony Bourdain included her in an episode of his series Parts Unknown. But it wasn’t just about her food, it was her captivating story as a Mexican immigrant struggling to succeed as a street vendor that makes her an inspiring jefa and hustler.

She grew up in Tlaxcala, Mexico with a single mom and took on the role of caretaker for her siblings.

When her own son was two-years-old she decided to move to the U.S. to try and make more money to support her family. With the help of her brother, who already lived in the States, she was able to become a resident and later her husband joined her. 

She worked for McDonald’s and recalls being two blocks from the Twin Towers on 9/11. The location closed after the attacks and she decided to start selling tamales to make a living. 

She joined the thousands of street vendors that line the streets of NYC to sell her handmade tamales.

Though there are roughly 20,000 street vendors in NYC and it requires food vendors to have a permit, new permits haven’t been issued since a cap placed in 1983. As a result, there are only 3,100 permits available for city-wide food vending carts forcing thousands of street vendors to turn to the black market. Whereas before the cap vendors could get a two-year permit for $200, now vendors like Coyotzi lease them from previous vendors for upwards of $20,000. 

Coyotzi paid $8,000 for a licensed cart which turned out to be fake and told VICE that “she suffered a lot” after more than 15 arrests

She recalls police officers throwing her tamales away because she didn’t have a permit, a common occurrence for street vendors who are fined $1,000 if they don’t have a permit. 

In 2008, then-mayor Michael Bloomberg established 1,000 new permits for Green Carts selling fruits and vegetables but otherwise, no improvements have been made. 

The Street Vending Modernization Act was introduced in 2016 and proposed to double the number of permits over a seven-year span but the momentum waned by the end of 2017. In 2016, the New York Times reported that approximately 2,500 people are currently on the list for full-time permits.

Coyotzi pays $18,000 in the black market for a permit and sells her tamales for $1, working long hours every day to turn a profit and cover the cost of the permit.

In the meantime, Coyotzi and her husband Delfino Garcias, continue the hustle, now with six employees.

The “workday” actually begins at 9 p.m. when one of their employees cleans and prepares the chicken and tortas and then another employee makes the tamales, placing about 150 per bin for steaming for two hours. She also prepares the champurrado, atole, and Arroz con leche. 

They use a makeshift mixer using a drill to mix the masa for the base of the tamale and the fillings are a variety of seven flavors: roasted pepper and chicken, mole and chicken, green salsa and chicken, adobo with pork, pineapple with coconut, sweet tamales with raisins, and Oaxacan tamales. 

She’s barely finished setting up her pushcart before people begin to eagerly line up waiting for her now famous tamales, often selling 2000 every weekend.

Seeing the success she’s achieved and now that her son is already in college studying to become an engineer, she shares that she actually enjoys the work and hopes to one day open a tamale shop. 

“In the future, I want to give other women a chance to become a bigger part of the company if they want to. Because there are women who have been working with me for a while now,” she told VICE in Spanish.  

Watch the full video below!

Moms Are Sharing Videos Of How To Make Their Comida For Their College-Bound Kids After A Mom’s Burrito-Folding Video Went Viral

Culture

Moms Are Sharing Videos Of How To Make Their Comida For Their College-Bound Kids After A Mom’s Burrito-Folding Video Went Viral

Michelle Gonzaes / YouTube

Last week, California Polytechnic State University student, April Olvera posted a video sent to her by her mamá, and the video went viral, already wracking up nearly ten million views, and nearly one million likes in less than seven days.

Olvera, away at college, texted her mom, Silvia Dominguez, to say that she didn’t know how to fold a burrito, and her mom sent her a video that contained a soothing video-folding lesson.

While some couldn’t help but wonder why Olvera didn’t know how to fold a burro, her mamí’s special brand of cariño shown in the forty-second burrito-folding lesson was the focus of the comments that followed.

Other Latinas needed the lesson too!

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Another Latina Twitter user, couldn’t get over the way Olvera’s mother, Silvia, repeated the lesson.

Twitter

Two guys commented on Olvera’s mom’s soothing voice, but we think @carys_arsenic nailed it.

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And this guy too who points out Ms. Dominguez’s calm in the face of a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams.

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When Olvera told her mother that her video went viral and inspired so many positive comments, Dominguez said, “Maybe it’s not the burrito. Maybe it’s about family and love.”

Burrito-folding-lesson mom, Silvia Dominguez, speaks Spanish in the video, smiling the whole time, clearly happy to be able to help her daughter away at college with anything, using her own phone propped up on the counter to capture the lesson.

“Okay,” she says in Spanish, holding up a corn tortilla, “Imagine that this is my flour tortilla. Add what you’re going to use, fold it from this side, fold it from that side, and roll it. Did you see that?

And then she unrolls the burro and repeats the steps: It’s a circle. Fold it here, fold it here, and roll it. Nice! Okay, bye. I love you.”

We also like how Burrito-Folding-Lesson Mom is even helping grown-ass men.

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@rsencion
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And because imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, here’s a video made by the author for her son on his way to college in the fall.

Watch the video below.

READ: Yalitza Aparicio Brought Her Mother To The Oscars And Other Incredible Things Latinas Did Last Night

McDonald’s Now Has Quarter Pounder Scented Candles That You Definitely Didn’t Ask For

Culture

McDonald’s Now Has Quarter Pounder Scented Candles That You Definitely Didn’t Ask For

Celin/ Pinterest

You know that friend whose car always smells like the food they ate the night before? You know the one, it’s the same friend who also has a collection of takeout Wendy’s, Taco Bell and McDonald bags shoved into the pocket of their backseats. Well now, you too can be that friend. Thanks to McDonald’s you can make literally anywhere smell like oily takeout.

McDonald’s announced this week that it will make a six-pack of scented candles that will smell like your favorite Quarter Pounder ingredients.

McDonald's six candles come in all the scents you'd expect.

Anyone familiar with the key ingredients in the beloved QP knows these scents include bun, ketchup, pickles, cheese, beef, and ooh baby onions. In honor of the Quarter Pounder’s 50th birthday, McDonald’s is also releasing a line of merchandise that includes calendars, lockets, mittens, shirts, and pins.

Draw up a romantic bath for you and yours that smells like an oily stove and pickles by getting the items here on the McDonald’s fan club website.