Culture

A Community In Oregon Showed A Taco Truck Owner That They Don’t Just Love Her Food

This is Pepe’s Tacos in Estacada, Oregon.

o
Credit: Angela W. / Yelp

Looks like a regular taco truck right? Well, it is, and it isn’t.

Pepe’s Tacos is one of the few Mexican food options in Estacada, a small town with a population of less than 3,ooo people. And the people of Estacada love Pepe’s Tacos.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 4.16.47 PM
Credit: Angela W. / Yelp

So when loyal customers found this message taped to Pepe’s truck…

pepes-tacos-message
Credit: Angela W. / Yelp

“Pepes tacos will be closed temporarily due to family medical issues, sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your support! Prayers are much needed… Sanchez Family.”

The people of Estacada opened up their hearts in support of the Sanchez family.

12321681_1360579607301656_6918535129611894311_n

Credit: City Of Estacada / Facebook

Jose Sanchez opened up Pepe’s Tacos with his wife, Lorena Serrano, more than 15 years ago. The two met in their native Jalisco, Mexico, and moved to Estacada after visiting a cousin who lived in Oregon. After noticing the lack of Mexican food in their neighborhood Sanchez and Serrano opened Pepe’s Tacos. Now their sons, Jose Jr. and Checho also work with their parents.

Not only did they wish Jose Sanchez a speedy recovery, they covered the Pepe’s Tacos truck with dollar bills.

buck-on-truck
Credit: KGW NBC News

Joe Schwab, who helped organize the donation drive, said the truck is iconic to the community.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.20.43 AM

Credit: KGW NBC News

He told KGW NBC News, “This is a tight community where people do know each other’s names and do know their neighbors and it’s no surprise to me at all that there’s this outpouring for a core member of our community.”

Here’s what it looked like when they were done:

12439288_1360579617301655_2381019191444106598_n
Credit: City of Estacada / Facebook

How much did they raise? According to Schwab, the community pitched in with around $3,000. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $6,000.

When the Sanchez siblings learned about the donation drive, they tricked their mother into visiting the truck. Once they pulled up to the lot, Lorena Serrano realized what was happening.

mom-crying-truck
Credit: KGW NBC News

Serrano couldn’t hold back her tears as she approached the truck.

mom-crying-2-truck
Credit: KGW NBC News

After several tearful hugs, Serrano thanked everyone for their generosity and support.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.22.20 AM
Credit: KGW NBC News

Serrano, who doesn’t speak much English, had one of her sons translate: “She loves you guys and wouldn’t want to be in any other community. You guys are the best.”

Watch KGW NBC’s report:

READ: A Pizza Shop In Mexico Is Feeding And Motivating The Homeless In The Simplest Way

Like this story? Click on the share button below to share with your friends!

Credit: KGW NBC News

READ: A Pizza Shop In Mexico Is Feeding And Motivating The Homeless In The Simplest Way

Like this story? Click on the share button below to send to your friends!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

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.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

Culture

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

@datavizero / Twitter

One of the biggest changes that the so called digital revolution has brought to our lives is the capacity that today’s computer systems have to process huge amounts of data. Processors today are able to run algorithms that bring together millions of data entries to find trends, cluster groups of similar objects and generate visualizations that can help us understand even the most complex aspects of science and culture. This is known popularly as “big data” and has changed the ways in which governments and companies understand reality and make decisions. For example, before high speed processing mathematicians took literally years to make sense of census data and find correlations between factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age and literacy levels.

Guess what? This can be done today with a few clicks as computers bring together millions upon millions of data entries and make sense of it all. It all sounds very geeky, but big data is defining how we live our lives, from how traffic lights coordinate to how much tax you gotta pay each year.

So all this geeky, nerdy stuff should be put to good use, o no?

Enter Mexican geographer Baruch Sangines, a true wizard when it comes to generating great data visualizations.

Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

This young scientist is the Chief Data Scientist at a company called Jetty, and he does some pretty groundbreaking research on pressing social issues such as housing and poverty.

His LinkedIn profile is pretty impressive: “Experience in public and private sector with skills to analyze and visualize data related to: commuting, transit, housing, tourism, migration, security, and urban environment. Expert in territorial analysis and passionate about the cartography and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize small and big data”. Wow. hold your horses, Einstein! He is a proud graduate of Mexico’s National University and has Master’s Degree on Demographics and Statistics. 

So why did he go viral on Mexican social media in the past few days? We mean, science is sexy but not viral sexy (sadly!). All because of this map:

Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

No, it is not a visualization of WiFi points in Mexico. No, it is not a rendition of cartel activity. No, it is not a highlight of the areas in which development runs at a faster pace. It is about something much, much more relevant to everyday life in Mexico lindo y querido. Any guesses?

Nothing is more important than a delicious taco when you most need it! 

Credit: The Splendid Table

Just look at that tortilla, a bit crispy, a bit soft… and that perfectly marinated meat… 

Well, Baruch created a visualization of taco stands in Mexico and nos ponemos de pie ante tal maravilla! 

Baruch called this visualization Taco Universe, and it showcases all the registered taco stands and shops in the country. We can clearly see that there is a high concentration of taco shrines in the capital Mexico City, and that hotspots like Cancun and Cabo are also highlighted, perhaps thanks to gringo tourism craving fish tacos. The scientists used the database Directorio Estadístico Nacional de Unidades Económicas (Denue) (Statistical National Directory of Economic Units) from the federal census agency INEGI. The map highlights how taco culture is primarily based in the center of the country, with local varieties such as Puebla’s tacos arabes (a shawarma like type) increasing the traffic in that area. 

But it is important to note that many taco stands are not accounted for (and that is not this scientist’s fault).

Thousands of Mexicans subsist in an informal economy with businesses that are not registered and pay no taxes. Among these businesses, mobile taco stands reign supreme. There are hundreds of taco stands all around the country that are set up informally. Sometimes you can find the most delicious tacos there! You can also find informal vendors selling tacos de canasta, a variety that is literally carried in a basket. This map does not take these informal enterprises into account, even though they are key to Mexico’s taco culinary tradition. 

So you are curious about tacos de canasta now, aren’t you? 

Well, just look at these crispy, sweaty, fat-rich babes. Tacos de canasta are filled with guisados or stews, or with refried beans. We are almost sure that Baruch did not include them in his map, but we can forgive him for making us crave unos taquitos (we bet you are calling your comadres or compas right now to hit the taco stand) and showing us how Mexico is a country that despite its many challenges still finds time to live up to the old adage: barriga llena, corazon contento. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com