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LA’s Best Latino Foods, and They’re Not Mexican

Los Angeles knows how to do Mexican food, no doubt about it. But L.A. is home to so much more: there’s Colombian, Cuban, Peruvian, Salvadoran and Brazilian spots are all over town. And they’re GOOD. Here’s where to find ‘em.

Atlacatl

Salvadoran

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Credit: Jessica M. / Yelp

Visiting Atlacatl is like eating pupusas at a friend’s house. The loroco (edible flower) and cheese pupusa is the best you’ll ever have. Don’t miss the yuca frita, it’s got a satisfying crunch you can’t get from french fries.

301 N Berendo St, Los Angeles, CA 90004  (323) 663-1404

Porto’s Bakery

Cuban

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Credit: Porto’s Bakery / Facebook

Don’t be overwhelmed by the long lines, it’s worth the wait once you try their refugiados (guava and cheese pastries), fruit tarts, meat pies and potato balls. If you’re in the mood for lunch, order a media noche sandwich and a guava smoothie.

315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203  (818) 956-5996

La Fonda Antioquena

Colombian

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Credit: Jennica R. / Yelp

Hungry? Try a Bandeja Paisa or Ave Maria plate. You’ll have your fill of beef, chicharrón, beans and plantains. Wash it down with una Colombiana (https://www.sodapopstop.com/products/detail.cfm?link=332). They’ve also got empanadas, pasteles de yucca and Colombian staples like pandebonos. Get some to go and have them con un cafecito.

5125 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004  (323) 957-5164

El Gaucho Meat Market

Argentinian

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Credit: Edvinas V. / Yelp

Along with a variety of products from South America, El Gaucho Meat Market sells authentic Argentinian grub: empanadas, sandwiches and sweets such as alfajores. The lomito sandwich – don’t forget to add chimichurri – is a favorite with customers who show up to watch soccer on weekends.

2715 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278  (310) 297-2617

Mario’s Peruvian

Peruvian

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Credit: Mary O. / Yelp

Start off with fresh oysters as an appetizer. Then go for the lomo saltado con papas fritas. The staff isn’t exactly known for its family vibe, but the food will keep you coming back. Insider tip: bring your own beer.

5786 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038  (323) 466-4181

READ: Latino Dishes That’ll Cure Anything

Don Felix

Peruvian

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Credit: Chris G. / Yelp

Don Felix is on the other side of town from Mario’s. Calamares fritos or fresh ceviche de mariscos are always a good start. Don’t forget to order a sweet, sweet Inca Kola with your meal.

305 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004  (323) 663-1088

Sarita’s Pupuseria

Salvadoran

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Credit: Jessica B./Yelp

Located inside the bustling Grand Central Market, Sarita’s does pupusas right. Take your pick from stuffing options such as loroco, mushrooms, beans, beef, pork, chicken, chicharron, and zucchini. Of course, they’ve all got a little cheese inside. Make it official by topping ‘em with curtido – fresh pickled cabbage and carrots with a hint of spice.

317 S Broadway #41, Los Angeles, CA 90013  (213) 626-6320

Tropicalia

Brazilian

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Credit: Mary O./Yelp

It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Portuguese, porque también hablan Español. One of the few Brazilian restaurants that serves moqueca de peixe – a seafood stew with garlic, pepper and coconut milk – Tropicalia also serves flaky meat empanadas. Their sangria is dangerously delicious, so be careful.

1966 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027  (323) 644-1798

Mambo’s Café

Cuban

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Credit: Hannie S. / Yelp

A former car garage, Mambo’s Café’s tostones are a must try. Whether you order ropa vieja or Mambo’s chicken, you’ll also get platanos fritos, rice and black beans. Don’t leave until you try their Latin version of Bananas Foster with caramelized plantains.

1701 Victory Blvd, Glendale, CA 91201  (818) 545-8613

El Molinito

Colombian

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Credit: Lili H./Yelp

Located on the outskirts of L.A., El Molinito is a hidden treasure. La picada, their appetizer dish, has bite-size versions of Colombian finger foods. What do you get? Cheese arepas, patacones, chicharrones, empanadas, fried plantains and pieces of pork. The guava juice is creamy, but it’ll help wash it all down.

8535 Washington Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660  (562) 948-1828

READ: What Would Mama Cook? Latino Comfort Food

Bossa Nova

Brazilian

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Credit: Marjorie U. / Yelp

Their pão de queijo (cheese bread) will melt in your mouth, but save your appetite because the portions are GENEROUS. It may feel more L.A. than Brazilian with the stylish crowd clamoring for tables, but you can make yourself feel like you’re in Rio with some camarão à Brasileira.

7181 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046  (323) 436-7999

Versailles

Cuban

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Credit: Ed K. / Yelp

Versailles is known for its traditional Cuban pork and roasted garlic chicken. If you’re up for something new, try the beef tongue stew or the liver steak plate. Finish things off with a guava and coconut flan.

10319 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034  (310) 558-3168

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Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

Culture

Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

mitocaya / Instagram

Undocumented communities are being left out of Covid relief plans. Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya in Chicago is working to help undocumented restaurant worker in the time of Covid. Abuse of undocumented workers is rampant in certain industries and Chef Dávila hopes to offer some kind of help.

Mi Tocaya is a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square that wants to help the community.

Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality industry with restaurants being hit exceptionally hard. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors for good as the virus dragged on with no decent relief plan from the federal government. As several countries financially support citizens to avoid economic disaster, the U.S. government has given citizens $1,800 total to cover 10 months of isolating and business closures.

Namely, Mi Tocaya is working to help the undocumented community.

Mi Tocaya, a family-run restaurant, is teaming up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits Dishroulette Kitchen and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. The goal is to highlight the issues facing the undocumented community during the pandemic.

The initiative called Todos Ponen, is all about uplifting members of our community in a time of severe need. The restaurant is creating healthy Mexican family meals for those in need.

”We asked ourselves; How can we keep our doors open, provide a true service to the community, maintain and create jobs, and keep the supply chain intact by supporting local farmers and vendors. This is the answer,” Chef Dávila said in a statement. “I confidently believe The TODOS PONEN Logan Square Project addresses all of the above and can very well be easily implemented in any community. Our goal is to bring awareness to the lack of resources available to the undocumented workforce- the backbone of our industry.”

The initiative starts in February.

Mi Tocaya is offering 1000 free meals for local farmers and undocumented restaurant workers. The meals are available for pickup Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647. to make this happen, Mi Tocaya also needs your help.

The restaurant has teamed up with two nonprofits to make sure that they can scale their operation to fulfill their commitment. They are also asking for donations to make sure they can do what they can to help undocumented restaurant workers.

According to Eater LA, 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off since the pandemic started. Some restaurants have had to lay off up to 91 percent of their staff because of Covid, about 10 percent of those are undocumented. In the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent of the laid-off restaurant staff are undocumented.

“People don’t want to talk about the undocumented workforce, but they’re part of our daily routine in most restaurants,” Jackson Flores, who manages the operations of Mi Tocaya, said in a statement. “They are in the toughest position in the whole economy because they’re an invisible part of it. Restaurant worker advocacy groups have added the creation of relief funds to their agendas, but there have yet to be long-term changes in protections for undocumented workers. Without access to unemployment benefits and other government resources, this group is especially vulnerable.”

READ: Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

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New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Entertainment

New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Bettmann / Getty Images

Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. The Night Stalker, spent the summer of 1985 terrorizing Los Angeles. Ramirez murdered 13 people during his reign of terror in Southern California. Netflix’s new docuseries is exploring the crime by interviewing law enforcement and family of the victims.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial” killer is now streaming on Netflix.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is the latest Netflix docuseries diving into the true crimes that have shaped American society. Richard Ramirez is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time and single-handedly terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

Ramirez fundamentally changed Los Angeles and the people who live there. The serial killer was an opportunistic killer. He would break into homes using unlocked doors and opened windows. Once inside, he would rape, murder, rob, and assault the people inside the home.

The documentary series explores just how Ramirez was able to keep law enforcement at bay for so long. The killer did not have a standard modus operandi. His victims ran the gamut of gender, age, and race. There was no indicator as to who could be next. He also rarely used the same weapon when killing his victims. Some people were stabbed to death while others were strangled and others still were bludgeoned.

While not the first telling of Ramirez’s story, it is the most terrifying account to date.

“Victims ranged in age from 6 to 82,” director Tiller Russell told PEOPLE. “Men, women, and children. The murder weapons were wildly different. There were guns, knives, hammers, and tire irons. There was this sort of feeling that whoever you were, that anybody could be a victim and anybody could be next.”

Family members of the various victims speak in the documentary series about learning of the horror committed to them. People remember grandparents and neighbors killed by Ramirez. All the while, police followed every lead to make sure they left no stone unturned.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

READ: Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

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