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 Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

Culture

This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Let’s face it: our community knows how to do street food like no other place on Earth. From the humble Mexican taco to Argentina’s choripan and Peru’s world-famous ceviche, Latin America is a street food lover’s paradise.

So it’s no surprise that Netflix launched an entire show about our comida callejera called Street Food: LatinoAmerica. The series focuses on street food staples from around Latin America and in order to find out which street food reigns supreme, Netflix launched an online campaign to declare a winner.

In an online tournament organized by Netflix to decide the best street food in Latin America, thousands of users voted for Oaxaca’s tlayuda.

If you had to pick your favorite street food, what would it be? Could you even pick just one? Well, that’s exactly what Netflix forced people to do with a new poll to determine the best street food in Latin America, and the competition was tough. But in the end, with 46.6% of the votes, the tlayuda, that giant tortilla served with a seat of beans, tasajo (beef jerky), chorizo, chapulines, and quesillo, won the Street Food Latin America championship.

The contest was part of a promotional campaign coinciding with the July 21 launch of the Netflix series Street Food: Latin America, which takes viewers on a gastronomical tour of six countries, exploring their cultures through traditional dishes.

The tlayuda went up against choripán (Buenos Aires, Argentina), acarajé (Salvador, Brazil), ajiaco (Bogotá, Colombia), ceviche (Lima, Peru), and rellenas de papa (La Paz, Bolivia). Conspicuously missing from the list were tacos, elote, quesadillas, plátanos fritos, pupusas, and so much more.

Several major figures joined in on the campaign to ensure Mexico’s win with the tlayuda.

The competition was heated and not one country was taking any chances. In fact, the Mexican government’s official Twitter weighed in on the contest, urging its citizens to vote in the poll. Also, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico took to Twitter urging his followers to vote for the tlayuda.

Mexico is known to celebrate big wins with big parties, and some nearly expected a crowd of revelers to form at Mexico City’s famed El Angel statue, where many big celebrations are held. Though thanks to social distancing, that didn’t happen this time.

Not everyone was happy with tlayuda taking the top spot – including some very angry Peruvians.

Mexico’s tlayuda beat Peru’s ceviche fair and square: with 46.6% of the vote vs. Peru’s 45.8%. It was a close race to be sure, but the tlayuda won. And it deserved it if you ask me. However, many took to social media to express their outrage at the results.

In fact, Peruvians helped get Amazon Prime to trend on Peruvian Twitter when they decried their followers to cancel their Netflix subscription and instead sign up for Amazon Prime, as a sort of revenge against the network.

For those of you not familiar, what exactly is a tlayuda?

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

Mexico’s famed tlayuda is most popular in the state of Oaxaca, where it’s said to have originated. But you can find it on the streets in any major Mexican city (as well as cities in the U.S. with large Mexican communities) as well as in upscale restaurants giving the dish a twist.

But what makes the tlayuda so special? Chef and culinary historian Rodrigo Llanes told the newspaper El País that the tlayuda is a bridge between pre-Hispanic and European culture, calling it a “magical” culinary creation.

“I do not disqualify the other candidates, but I maintain my preference for the Oaxacan entry for its historical tradition that does justice to native peoples, for its flavor that is emblematic of mestizo cooking, and for its size, which makes it a dish to share,” he said. 

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This Abuelita Has Been Named One Of Mexico’s Most Powerful Women

Things That Matter

This Abuelita Has Been Named One Of Mexico’s Most Powerful Women

Remember Doña Angelita, the adorable Mexican abuelita who became internet famous by sharing her traditional recipes online? Well, she was recently recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful women in Mexico. And we can’t celebrate this enough! One of the things we love about online cultures when they are at their best is how everyday people who have extraordinary talents can share their uniqueness with the world. 

This amazing woman is now loved and respected by literally millions, as she has provided access to life in rural Mexico. Rural and indigenous Mexicans (and Latin Americans in general) are marginalized when it comes to sharing their lives on social media and becoming mainstream. So this case has helped spread the word on the awesomeness of traditional food and rustic cooking methods. 

She has also helped in the preservation of traditional recipes that can get lost if they are not properly archived: with her YouTube videos, she has made sure that the methods, ingredients and human touch of dishes that have been passed down generations of Mexicans are kept alive in the digital era. And we cannot thank her enough. La queremos mucho, Doña Angelita!

In its annual roundup, Forbes named Doña Angela as one of Mexico’s most influential women and we couldn’t agree more.

Last year, Doña Angela launched a wildly successful YouTube channel – De Mi Rancho a Tu Cocina – that brought rural Mexican cooking to viewers across the world. In just two months, her channel had been viewed more than 7 million times and she quickly gained millions of subscribers.

Now, the world-famous abuelita is being recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the most influential women in Mexico, for her work in bringing Mexican culture to her audience.

“I’m already everyone’s aunt and everyone’s grandmother” said Doña Angela when she shared with her then million followers that YouTube had awarded her two plaques: the silver for having exceeded 100,000 and the gold for exceeding a million subscriptions to her channel.

Doña Angela joins a list of 100 other Mexican women who received the honor this year, including: actress Yalitza Aparicio, the famous chef, Daniela Soto-Innes, and Mexico City Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum.

Her recognition from Forbes, comes shortly after being recognized by YouTube for her online success.

Credit: De Mi Rancho A Tu Cocina / Facebook

In a photo that Doña Angelita shared in her official Facebook page we can see her holding two plaques with one of her granddaughters. The golden plaque is a real achievement: it states that her YouTube channel has surpassed 1,000,000 subscribers, not an easy feat at all! Just look at her proud smile, the product of many years of perfecting her culinary skills in silence and the pride of finally being able to share it with the help of her family. This is as authentic as it gets. And for those hipsters who love organic…. just look at the beautiful produce she uses in her food. 

Because we can all remember an abuelita that looks like the sweet Doña Angelita.

Credit: De Mi Rancho A Tu Cocina / YouTube

One of the reasons why she has become such a star is that her charisma and tenderness reminds us of our own abuelitas or aunties who spent hours cleaning frijoles while chatting to us. Many of us remember the endless afternoons we spent watching our abuelitas stir a pot. For many Latinos, the first forays into the kitchen had to do with private cooking lessons from those strong, beautiful souls called abuelitas. These private lessons are a treasure that even Chef Gordon Ramsey would envy! 

Fame has also allowed her to fulfil some of her dreams!

Credit: De Mi Rancho A Tu Cocina / Facebook

And of course all this fame has come with some much deserved perks! Our favorite online celebrity was able to take her husband and her family to a beach holiday thanks to the support her YouTube channel has gotten. She had never been to the beach, and the photos she shared on her official Facebook page are beautiful, so joyous. It is things like this that make us believe in humanity again! 

And she gets her viejo to help with the cooking too! Her success is a communal, family effort.

Credit: De Mi Rancho A Tu Cocina / Facebook

Just look at this adorable moment. In her Facebook page, Doña Angelita makes it clear that her success is not a one-woman-show. Her success is also a testament of the support and solidarity that many Latinos find in their immediate family. We also love how her success story counters gender stereotypes. Her story also defies the notion that once you are over 50 your working life, particularly if you are a woman, is over. Her success story also makes us wonder how many people with hidden talents are out there. We hope for many more of these viral personalities to emerge, as they are nice change considering the huge amount of empty and narcissistic messages floating around in the influencer industry.

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