Gustavo On the Bankruptcy of El Torito and the Death of Cal-Mex Cuisine

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Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times published my op-ed piece on the bankruptcy of Cypress-based Real Mex, the parent company of El Torito, Acapulco, Chevys and other places we Mexis love to deride as inauthentic. I used that business story to not only write a eulogy for Cal-Mex cuisine, the food that most of you SoCal gabachos and Chicanos grew up considering as Mexican but in reality is a mishmash of different Mexican traditions, but to also defend the historical worth of the food.

One thing I couldn't work into my piece but that we understand: The only place Cal-Mex has a future in Southern California in is our Bro-Mex cuisine, which is really Cal-Mex mixed with fresh-Mex mixed with regular ol' tacos.

Here's my piece again. Enjoy! And watch for more shameless plugs in other papers for my Taco USA book as the months pass. . . .

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6 comments
Val
Val

Great article, and nice to see you give them props - I grew up I New England where, sadly, most people thought El Torito was good, traditional Mexican food....

Billg
Billg

Gustavo shamelessly continuing self-spanking and promotion ritual any chance he gets.What else is new?

Jandra
Jandra

One of my favorite  Cal-Mex cuisine memories was going an Acapulco in Hollywood. The lady at the next table drenched her chicken tacos in ketchup and happily devoured  them. I'll miss Torito; they had the best birthday dining gift.

JB
JB

I also want to add how much I concur with the perspective of commenter Edwardskizer (9:07 a.m., Oct. 16).

A few times a year, I eat a hamburger at McDonalds...not because I want a hamburger, but because I want the familiar taste of that mushy, ketchup and pickle concoction on a limp bun.  If I want a real burger, I'll go to TK Burgers.  As Mr. Skizer stated: "So what's the big deal? It all tastes good!"

JB
JB

The LA Times piece was very well-detailed and well-written.  My favorite line (among many): "And the atmosphere, of course, was Olvera Street writ large..."

I may not only buy that book, but actually read it, too.  ;-)

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