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.

Facebook Forced A Mom-And-Pop Taco Restaurant To Change Its Name Because It Was Too Similar To The Social Media Network

Culture

Facebook Forced A Mom-And-Pop Taco Restaurant To Change Its Name Because It Was Too Similar To The Social Media Network

Melanie Roque / Tacobook / Facebook

There are countless of taco shops in the United States, which means most try to stand out from each other. Whether it’s a cheesy gimmick or cool name, it comes with the territory of operating a taco restaurant. For Tacobook, a small taco business in Everett, Washington, their name and brand inspiration came from one social media network that you may have heard of, Facebook.

Yes, that Facebook. Everything from the name, it’s blue color, lowercase font and logo bared a striking similarity to the social media giant. But three years after Tacobook opened it’s doors, Facebook finally came knocking and told the mom-and-pop restaurant that is must rebrand or face legal trouble.

Back in April, Tacobook received a legal notice from a Beverly Hills law firm citing the business for “unauthorized use of Facebook intellectual property.”

Credit:@thetakeout/Twitter

Rigoberto Bastida, 40 and his wife, Deisy Ramos, 31, both spent years saving up money to finally open up Tacobook. It was a dream come true and the restaurant quickly became a favorite among locals and college students for its authenticity and great prices. In the three years since it opened, Tacobook grew from five tables to 10.

Archie Catindig is such a huge fan of the tacos that he makes the 25-minute drive from Lake Stevens to Everett every weekend just to get some tacos.

“Oh, man, just the tenderness of the meat,” Catindig told local newspaper The Herald. “Especially the prices. You can’t beat the price and you can’t beat the tacos.”

In April, just as business was doing well, came a letter from a law firm claiming that Bastida had unauthorized use of Facebook’s intellectual property. “Facebook must take steps to protect consumers from confusion and prevent dilution of the Facebook Marks and brand,” the letter read.

At first, he didn’t even think the letter was real and considered it a scam. But when he asked a customer with legal experience to take a look at it, Bastida realized this could mean big trouble.

He quickly responded amidst fears that his business could face severe legal trouble. “I said, ‘I didn’t do this with a bad intention,’” he said he told the law firm. “I never thought you’d be offended by it.”

Bastida says there was never any intent to copy or profit off of the Facebook name, rather he just wanted a store name that customers could say in other languages and could be easily recognized.

“A simple name that everybody can read and remember,” Bastida told The Herald. “I got a lot of reviews and comments. A lot of people take pictures. They take their selfies with the logos.”

Tacobook would have to quickly rebrand itself to dissociate itself from Facebook.

Credit: Tacobook / Facebook

Bastida and Ramos quickly had to change everything about their restaurant. From restaurant sign in front to the menu board inside, he removed everything blue that could be associated with Facebook.

This also meant that Bastida has to dispose of the new restaurant gear that arrived just a week before he received the letter. He said that he had ordered shirts, hats and new menus that included the original Tacobook logo that had the blue-and-red color scheme on it.

“I spent good money doing the remodel. I tried to do it as fast as I could, and my budget let me,” he told The Herald. “I didn’t want to take the chance they’d get mad at me.”

Then came the big task of changing the restaurant’s name. Customers sent him some recommendations like “Taco-holic” and “TacoPolice” but none of them stuck. Nonetheless, with the law firm’s permission, Tacobook was allowed to keep its name if it included a hyphen, which in return, saved Bastida money from having to redo pricey business paperwork.

Today, TACO-BOOK has a new logo and design. Gone are the blue and the thumbs-up that had previously hung up. A neon red and black taco is now what customers see when entering the restaurant.

For Bastida, he’s just happy that the colors are the only thing he had to change. According to customers, the food still tastes great and the service is always five stars.

“I’m glad they let me keep the name,” Bastida said. “A lot of people said, ‘I don’t care what your name is. As long as you’re doing your food, I’ll still be here.”

READ: This Parody Music Video About Tacos Is The Only Music Video That You Should Be Watching Right Now

Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide

Culture

Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide

Chipotle / Instagram

Word on the street is that Chipotle has added a new source of protein to its menu for the first time in a year. According to CNN Business, Chipotle is rolling out carne asada for a limited time at its more than 2,000 stores in the United States. 

The real question here is, however, is it better than the carne asada at your tio’s BBQ on Sunday’s? Guess we’ll have to read the reviews and try it out for ourselves.

According to CNN Business, the carne asada option was tested in three American cities over the past year and the company states that it was received “incredibly well.” Chipotle also said that it approved the new addition to steak for three popular diets that you might have heard of recently — ketogenic, Paleo, and Whole 30. 

Here we thought Chipotle was simply trying to cater more to their Latinx consumers, but alright, we see you. 

Since news broke that Chipotle would now be serving carne asada, Twitter had some thoughts. Some positive, some negative, and others downright hilarious.

If you’re a member of Chipotle’s app-based rewards program then you were most likely one of the first to receive notification about the new menu item, and if you’re not — don’t worry, because carne asada is already available for you to order.

However, before we dive in @VidaByJen on Twitter is asking the REAL question on our minds.

Can guac just be free now? Please. Thanks.

Twitter users were also quick to publicize their own personal reviews of what the carne asada was like.

One Twitter user said that “upon first bite the difference in flavor from the regular steak is noticeable.” But in the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t have a noticeably significant effect on taste. The reviewer then went on to say that the carne asada “comes in bigger pieces than the regular steak” making it “difficult to bite into and chew.” Well, the Latino community is used to that, but fair point. 

The bottom line? The carne asada “is tasty but not a huge game changer especially if you typically order steak.” The price point is also a bit higher, so she said she would “not recommend it to a friend.” Welp, there you have it. 

Another Twitter user pointed out the obvious, the carne asada is just steak cut into long strips but go off Chipotle.

Don’t @ us!

One Twitter user said that Chipotle was playing y’all, “you know they already had steak. They’re just adding a lil lime and calling it carne asada.” 

Hmmm, where’s the lie? 

However, these facts still didn’t dissuade anyone from being excited. 

We’ll let them have this one. But y’all should get invited to a BBQ instead of spending your coins at Chipotle, tbh.

Chipotle also spoke up when asked exactly what the difference is between carne asada and steak.

A twitter user asked “what’s the difference between this and regular steak?” To which Chipotle replied, “The original steak is marinated in adobo sauce so this lime and cilantro Carne Asada recipe adds a whole new flavor profile to the protein.” See, the previous Twitter user was onto something. 

Even with Chipotle’s transparency, people are still not believing it.

We’ve been led astray! Carne asada IS steak. 

Someone who may or may not be a Chipotle employee also tweeted that “the amount of times we’re all gonna have to explain the difference” is going to be tired.

We feel ya, but good luck girl! 

Kat Thompson of Thrillist also reviewed Chipotle’s new carne asada addition. Here’s what she had to say: 

Did the carne asada turn out to be better than the steak? “This is something I’ve been going back and forth on. Would this new version of steak replace my beloved cubes? And the conclusion I’ve come to… is no,” Thompson wrote. Although the carne asada was delicious, she still found herself craving and thinking about the steak cubes. 

Despite the steak cubes fairing better in her experience, she still thought the carne asada addition was a great idea. “The acidity of the lime is welcomed, and perhaps the protein would function better in a taco — where it wouldn’t be lost amongst the pool of rice, beans, and salsas,” Thompson wrote. 

Will you be trying Chipotle’s new carne asada? Let us know in the comments below!