Mai Nhu Nguyen Gets 30 Months for Seeking Cash and Egg Rolls from Immigrant Applicants

Categories: Indigestion

OC Weekly archives
Bribery never tasted so good.
An immigration service officer who accepted bribes of thousands of dollars and hundreds of egg rolls from people seeking citizenship and resident status was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison, according to government officials.

United States District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton handed that term down to Mai Nhu Nguyen, 48, of Irvine, who worked eight years in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Santa Ana before she was placed on leave.

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Cal State Fullerton Sorority Dinged for "Taco Tuesday" Event Involving Sombreros, Cholo-Wear

Is the red cup part of the Mexi costume?
Not since 'Seniores and Señoritas' day at Canyon High School in 2012 had there been Mexi mocking at a school sanctioned event in OC, but it happened again. Back in August, the sisters of Cal State Fullerton sorority Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) held a Taco Tuesday recruitment party that went horribly wrong. As the Daily Titan reported earlier this week, the majority of Alphies dressed up as "Mexicans": sarapes, sombreros, and chola clothes, all things they'd never dare do down the street in Tokers Town!

"You can have a Taco Tuesday without being racist," says C@SA (Chicana Chicano Studies Alliance) Co-Chair Martha Contreras in the common-sense line of the century. "Just serve tacos."

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Company Recalls Nut Butters Sold at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Others Due to Salmonella

Categories: Indigestion

Photo by Cleo Tobbi

Careful before you snack everyone, there's another nut butter recall going on. nSpired Natural Foods, a food company that produces nut butters for Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Kroger, and a bunch of other stores issued a voluntary recall Tuesday over some salmonella concerns.

The recall affects peanut butter sold in the United States, as well as Canada, Hong Kong, the UAE, and the Dominican Republic. The nut butters were also available online.

Of note: Those of you with peanut allergies aren't safe. Multiple almond butters are also part of the recall.

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San Clemente Jarred Food Recalled After Two in Ohio Fall Ill with Botulism

Photo by Nan Palmero
Behold, the Mason jar menace!

Wuh-oh. VR Green Farms in San Clemente is recalling some of its jarred foods after two Ohio residents visited Orange County and then came down with botulism after they returned.

Specifically, VR Green Farms is voluntarily recalling its Pine Nut Basil Pesto, Pickled
Farm Mix, Old World Tomato Sauce, Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, Tuscan
Grilling Sauce and Pasta Sauce, reports the City News Service. The food was being sold in Mason-style glass jars with screw-on metal lids and has a VR Green Farms label, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

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OC Register Food Critic Brad A. Johnson is Obsessing About French Fries a Mexican Restaurant?!

Categories: Indigestion

Tortas Sinaloa web page
Dem fries!

Okay, I have a million other stories I have to get to before I go on vacation next week, and I should REALLY concentrate on them. But I nearly choked on my morning bourbon this morning when I saw Orange County Register food critic Brad A. Johnson's review of Tortas Sinaloa in SanTana, a place I reviewed way back in November.

First off, Johnson reviewing an OC restaurant? A rarity nowadays, ever since his corporate overlords asked him to focus more on the Los Angeles Register--so much for caring about OC, eh Aaron Kushner? Johnson couldn't even be bothered to do a full review of Tortas Sinaloa, devoting one of his Short Orders. The place definitely deserves a write-up--but then Johnson let the darker angels of his soul take over.

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Where Your "Craft" Whiskey Is Distilled Is Essentially Unimportant: A Rebuttal to The Daily Beast's Eric Felten

Colin Smith, CC-BY-SA 2.0
Stills at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland
Eric Felten, writing for the Daily Beast, has stumbled upon the worst-kept secret in the liquor industry: much of the craft whiskey, especially rye, that commands high prices comes from a giant, intensely ugly building ten miles west of the Cincinnati airport. Cue the clutching of pearls, the shattering of dropped tulip glasses, the rending of lapels, the wailing of women. How could we all fall for this?

He is correct on the facts: a former Seagram's distillery called MGP, located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, furnishes much of the American whiskey we see on our shelves. Bourbon and rye flow from the industrial stills. He is correct that when you see a whiskey older than the company selling it, those barrels were bought from elsewhere.

Here is the entire reason MGP exists, in ten words: Our thirst for whiskey has overwhelmed the number of distilleries.

Does it matter? Not really.

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[UPDATED with FDA Response] First Our Guns, Now Our Cheese: Is the FDA Cracking Down On Using Wood To Age Cheese?

Categories: Indigestion

Flickr user USDAgov--yes, that's right.
The best part about this photo of cheese aging on wood is that it's from the USDA, with a caption about how traditional it is.
UPDATED June 10, 2014, 3:15 p.m. The FDA responded to our questions. See the update at the end of the post.

Back in 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which aimed to make the government agencies proactive rather than reactive when it came to securing the United States' food supply. There have been many changes in the food production world since then, and the latest may be a direct assault on American artisanal cheese.

According to the Cheese Underground (which would be an outstanding name for a raw dairy cow share), the Food and Drug Administration has taken control of cheese inspection back from the states, and cited a New York dairy for using wooden boards to age their cheeses.

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Stop Over-Distilling Tequila, Or Why Ambhar Is The Worst Tequila To Enter The Market Since Cuervo Gold

Categories: Indigestion

Distilled an unnecessarily and arbitrarily high number of times.
Because I get so many pitches from public relations people whose approach to their career is to employ the steamroller approach to e-mail communication ("Dear Food Writer and/or Blogger"), it's hard to remember which clueless human megaphone sent me the e-mail about Ambhar tequila. I do know that, as with nearly all the non-targeted e-mail I get, I threw it out as soon as I glanced over it. It was the usual rah-rah spiel, this time about some new tequila.

New tequilas are about as newsworthy as the opening of a Starbucks. "It's distilled five times for exceptional purity and smoothness," crowed this particular press release.

Then I was walking through a liquor store and I saw it, so I--do I dare admit this to the ravening hordes of public relations people?--picked it up and looked at it. It is, indeed, distilled five times. It has a jewel-like clarity (and it had damn well better with a foofy name like "platinum"). It was in a very nice-looking, surprisingly heavy bottle.

So I bought it. I plunked down $35.99 of my corporate overlords' money and I took it home and I opened it and I drank some.

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Chipotle Now Says It Tried to Invite Latino Authors for Its "Cultivating Thought" Bag-and-Cup Series: UPDATE

Its self-importance spilleth over...
See update on the bottom of the second page...

ORIGINAL POST, MAY 16, 8:03 A.M.: An ex of mine used to love the works of Jonathan Safran Foer. She pushed me to read Everything is Illuminated, which I found too precious and twee and obviously the product of someone whose biggest problems are self-imagined. So it made sense that Foer, of all the people on Earth, would go to Chipotle one day and ask them to start printing short stories on its cups by famous authors because he needed something to read while gorging on a burrito and wanted the masses to have the same opportunity. "I really just wanted to die with frustration," Foer told Vanity Fair regarding his inspiration, and isn't it a blessed life when what makes you want to leave this vale of tears is the lack of literature at a feedbag factory?

So Chipotle granted Foer his wish, even allowing him to choose 10 authors to feature on cups and bags. It's a fine-enough list--Toni Morrison and Michael Lewis are great, Malcolm Gladwell is a hack, and I can't offer an opinion on George Saunders because I always mistake her him for George Eliot. The Internet, understandably, trampled over itself to praise Foer and Chipotle...and almost everyone gave the two a pass for the sin of not including a single Latino author. Not one. Bill Hader made the cut, but not a Latino--think about that.

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Restaurant Owner Sues Taco Bell over "Live Más" Campaign, Claiming Idea was His

Kevin McCarney, founder and president of Poquito Más: The Original Taco Stand in Los Angeles, prides himself on the quality of his food and so he's not happy that, in his view, fast-food giant Taco Bell illegally stole his "más" theme for its own advertising campaign.

McCarney claims Irvine-based Taco Bell officials sought permission in early 2012 to use his federally-registered "Más" trademarks, but he declined because he didn't want to harm his company's reputation, according to an ongoing lawsuit in Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.

Despite the rejection, Taco Bell officials nevertheless launched their "Live Más" (or, in English, "live more") advertising campaign in television, Internet and newspaper ads.

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