Culture

LA’s Evil Cooks Has Introduced A Flan Taco And The Internet Definitely Has Some Feelings About It

The taco is such a beloved culinary treasure because of its versatility. The formula is pretty simple and straight-forward: tortilla, meat and toppings. You can eat it at any time of day; morning, noon and late night. And you can stuff anything in there. You have your fish tacos, your breakfast tacos, savory tacos and vegan tacos. Now without further ado, we present you with the dessert taco you didn’t know you needed, the sweet taco.

Yeah, yeah, the idea of a sweet version of the Mexican classic might make you cringe a little, but hear us out—this one’s worth it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re into carnitas, birria, suadero, or pastor, we promise you, if you love tacos and you love flan, this bad boy is all you need for dessert. 

The flan taco comes to you courtesy of Balam Kitchen a taco haven in Lynwood, and  Evil Cooks, an LA Chicano kitchen pop up duo by Alex Garcia aka Pobre Diablo and Elvia Huerta, La Bruja. Needless to say that the collaboration brought the big guns to Taco Madness—LA’s longest running Taco Festival—with their unconventional creation this year.

Taco lovers waited in long lines to try the best of all nine taquerías featured at the festival.

But all we keep hearing about, months after the debut of this creative invention in May, is the ‘flan taco’ and how obsessed everyone is with it.

Garcia, former chef at Pomona’s Mexican restaurant, Dia De Los Puercos, wanted to create a sweet taco, and what better Mexican dessert to use for his invention than the classic custard and caramel delight that everyone loves: flan. Sticking to the original recipe for the flan, he decided to use ‘tuile’ for the tortilla. Tuile is a baked wafer similar to that used for Chinese fortune cookies. He added corn masa to make it pliable like any good tortilla should be, and voila! The result was a sweet tortilla, similar to a pancake or a crepe. 

The classic milk-based flan was infused with citrus and coconut, and it sits atop the innovative fortune cookie-style tortilla. What about the toppings, you might ask? Nothing short of an explosion of flavor: mint, a twist of orange and, drumroll please, crushed Polvorones. Yes that’s right, the classic orange-flavored cookies abuelos all over Mexico have been dunking in their coffees since time immemorial. 

La Bruja’, the name they gave to their flan taco, embodies Huerta and Garcia’s rich yet opposing personalities.

Both sweet and savory, unexpected and provocative. Garcia was born into a family of bakers in Queretaro, Mexico. He moved to the US when he was 14 and has since held several jobs in the food industry, from dish washer to Chef. Huerta is originally from El Sereno and enrolled in culinary school at a young age. She has been a cook at UCLA for over a decade, where she’s gotten used to cooking with massive quantities. 

Despite their vastly different backgrounds and experiences with food, they agree that what they create at Evil Cooks is “the food of their childhoods”.

“We want people to taste our food and be reminded of home,” says Garcia. The sweet concoction had taco-lovers so impressed that Zach Brooks, general manager of Smorgasburg LA, called it “a plated dessert you’d find at the best Mexican restaurant in the city”, next thing you know, he offered Balam Taco x Evil Cooks, an eight week residency at the Smorg’s Ice Cream Alley. 

Keep up with the nomadic pop-up to try the flan taco and some of their other unique creations. Evil Cooks’ itinerant menu changes fairly often, and always includes innovative takes on Mexican classics, like a chilaquiles breakfast burrito, fideo taco (complete with queso fresco and crema), shell crab tacos and more, tortas, gorditas, and more.

Don’t miss Balam Kitchen’s chicano food in Lynwood. Evil Cooks pops up weekly at various spots in LA. Find them at Sara’s Market, El Café by Primera Taza and Smorgasburg. They also cater private events and gigs.

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This Mexican Mom Has Gone Viral On TikTok For Her Recipe Videos Showing You How Easy It Is To Be A Cook

Culture

This Mexican Mom Has Gone Viral On TikTok For Her Recipe Videos Showing You How Easy It Is To Be A Cook

@JennyMartinezzz / TikTok

Look, it’s no secret that cooking isn’t for everyone. It can be tiring, time-consuming, and sometimes downright difficult. Even if we’re learning from our abuelos or tíos, who are passing down a generation’s worth of recipes, the idea of cooking can be intimidating.

But one woman has taken to TikTok to demystify Mexican cooking and she’s making it look super easy in the process. And as someone who’s actually tried out several of her quick TikTok recipe videos, I can tell you, it is as easy as it looks.

Jenny Martinez has quickly become TikTok’s favorite Latina mom.

In her videos on TikTok, Jenny Martinez shares her traditional Mexican recipient with more than 1.5 million followers – and everything from her dad’s famous shrimp cocktail to her easy churros is on the menu.

Martinez got the idea to create recipe videos for TikTok from her daughter, who herself is an avid TikTok user. The duo shot a few short videos and from their things quickly escalated.

“The following morning my phone was blowing up and we couldn’t believe it that one of my videos had gone viral,” Martinez told In The Know.

Although creating video content, especially cooking content, is a lot of work, Martinez sees it as a chance to do what she already loves – to cook. For her, it’s not just about making mouthwatering meals, like conchas con nieve or chuletas abobadasit’s about preserving Mexican culture.

She learned traditional cooking from her mother growing up.

Like so many of us, Martinez grew up learning how to cook with her mother.

“For me, it’s not — it’s not that I’m giving away my secrets,” Martinez told In The Know. “To me, it’s just sharing my knowledge to the younger community so we can continue our culture, the authentic Mexican recipes that our grandmas, our mothers passed down to us.”

Food is one of the greatest bonds between a community. It helps shape traditions, events, ceremonies, and entire cultures. Martinez knows this and believes that food can unite the people within a culture while educating those outside of it. Some of her followers haven’t heard of the ingredients she uses but her explainers in English make such barriers fade away.

“The whole Mexican cooking, it’s just something that connects us together as a community and as Mexicans,” Martinez told In The Know. “Now that I see that in social media that everybody wants to learn and everybody wants to keep on the traditions, that’s what I like. That’s what I want to see.”

The mom’s recipes are great for budding chefs at all levels.

Martinez tells her followers not to get so hung up on trying something new and just attempt to do what you want with the recipe.

“You don’t have to be an expert in cooking. Just open the fridge and start following my recipes. I try to make them as easy as possible,” she said.

But at the heart of it all, Martinez is really passionate about her craft.

“I honestly see the beauty in food and in the cooking,” Martinez told In The Know. “I mean, it’s kind of like an art at the end of the day. When you’re plating it and when you see everything just combining. When you see all of those ingredients, that aroma coming out, to me it’s just beautiful.”

One of her most popular recipe videos are her sandia paletas!

Sure, summer may be over but it’s still forever sandia season in my mind. Especially the version Martinez does on her TikTok. Lathered in chamo y and tajin, you’ll never look at sandia paletas the same.

And you’re not the only one – this video has been viewed more than 1.2 million times!

This is the one that I tried to make and it turned out soooo good.

Carne asada nachos are the ultimate cure for la cruda and every time I was out at bar hoping (pre-Covid obviously), I’d almost always end up at a truck by my house for these guys. But doing them at home is just as easy and mil veces mas delicious!

Martinez teaches you how to make these bomb nachos in less than 30 seconds so it’s worth your investment. The result is everything!

Which recipes are you most excited to try out? Or h

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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