McDonald's Apologizes to Mexicans for Calling Tamales "A Thing of the Past"

McDonald's Mexico Facebook page
The ad that started it all...

As if McDonald's bad news can't get any worse--from plummeting sales to lame ad campaigns to their creepy newish mascot to everything--now comes this: they just apologized to Mexico and Mexicans everywhere for insulting the tamale, that most essential of Mexican meals.

The above ad was placed earlier this week, telling people that tamales are a "thing of the past" and for Mexicans to try the McBurrito, which is another wrapped meal. And, of course, Mexicans went nuts.

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Jason Quinn's Dough Exchange Sucked at First. Now? Much Better

Dave Lieberman
Dough Exchange, or D'oh! Exchange?

The first time I went to Dough Exchange, the Playground-affiliated bakery in Santa Ana's East End Marketplace, was a week or so after it opened, and it was absolutely execrable. Jason Quinn had contacted me asking me to let him know when I came in, and being the contrary bastard I am, I snuck in without telling him. I went with a friend who is extremely knowledgeable about food, and we sat down with the four items we purchased.

It was as though the basic concept of gluten formation had escaped the bakers. The cinnamon roll was bread; the empanada was bread; the doughnut was bread; the croissant was bread. All four were tough and chewy, obviously overworked.

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Chipotle Finally Gets Hispanic Authors for their Stories-on-a-Cup Series...and None are Mexican

No nopales yet

Okay, haters: go for it. Go on and rant that the anger that Chicano authors and I have for Chipotle after they announced the latest batch of authors for their "Cultivating Thought" series is laughable. That we should rejoice that the series included Hispanic authors this time, from Brazilian self-empowerment guru Paulo Coelho to Dominican writer Julia Alvarez to Spaniard Carlos Ruíz Zafón. That we should thank Chipotle for including diverse voices after the travesty of last time, shut up, and get on with our lives. Actually, that we should get lives, period, and go bend a taco or something.

But the fact remains: when curating author Jonathan Safran Foer had another chance to expose hipster America to Chicano or Mexican authors, he chose not to. And the question must be asked: why?

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In Defense of Writing About Street Vendors--And Non-Mexicans Writing About Them

From Sigmund Krausz's 1896 Street Types of Great American Cities
The OG tamalero, now and forever

SO...there was a bit of controversy in the food world last week after an Eater LA critic reviewed a elotero in Lincoln Heights. Instead of focusing on the actual execution of the article, though, nearly all the criticism focused on the very act of the article--that is, on Eater's reporter even doing the piece in the first place. Oh, how the accusations flew--that writer Lucas Peterson was columbusing, that he was exposing the poor elotero to retribution from the health department (or worse), that Peterson was a dumb hipster gabacho who was adding to the gentrification of LA's Eastside by doing his story.

Oh, it got nasty. And critics--some in the foodie world, others in Chicano yaktivist circles--got it all wrong.

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This is What a Burrito Looks Like in Mississippi

Photo by The Mexican

I'm not the kind of writer who'll craft whole blog posts about a single Instagram picture, but the above photo--not the greatest, I admit--led to so much outrage on my IG page that I felt I had to come to the poor thing's defense.

So, yes: this is how a burrito looks like in Mississippi. And not just anywhere in Mississippi, but in Corinth, at the extreme northeast section of the state, just outside Tennessee and Alabama and on what was formerly known as the Robert E. Lee Highway but is now federally designated as U.S. Route 72--but which Corinth still calls the Lee Highway. YIKES!

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Synthetic Marijuana Found in Rosca de Reyes Bread That Poisoned Dozens: UPDATE

Wikimedia Commons
A type of rosca de reyes--but not the poisoned one in question

SECOND UPDATE, JAN. 16, 7:17 A.M.: A Santa Police Department investigation determined that the drug used in a rosca de reyes cake that poisoned at least 40 people across Orange County was synthetic pot. So you've heard of pot brownies--now pot pan dulce?

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First-Ever Taco Bell Location May Be Demolished in Downey--DAMNIT!

Thumbnail image for TacoBell_crimes_logo.jpg
The oldie-but-goodie returns!

Preservationists across Southern California are upset over plans to demolish a building in Downey that was the site of the original Taco Bell. The tiny ol' Downey Patriot broke the news, adding that saving the building would be appropriate given the city also hosts the world's oldest continuously operating McDonald's.

I'm actually surprised the multi-billion dollar Bell hasn't bought up this building and turned it into a museum, ala the original Mickey D's in San Bernardino (although that spot is as sad a memorial as you'll ever find). But those preservationists should really be paying attention to San Bernardino and its many Taco Bell treasures.

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Five Restaurant Trends We Can Live Without, 2014 Edition

Thumbnail image for BosscatBrunchPoutine.jpg
Photos by Dustin Ames

This needs nearly no introduction: food trends evolve. A while back, it was cupcakes and stuff stirred into mac 'n cheese; before that, it was reinvented comfort food and moonshine. Many of the items on this list appeared years ago in Los Angeles. As with many things, it took a while and now it's started to appear in the desolate stretches of South Orange County.

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An Open Letter To Chefs Who Update Comfort Food

Categories: Indigestion

Photo by some OC Weekly intern or other
And let's not even get into meatloaf...

Dear chefs who keep reinventing comfort food:

Twenty years ago, the idea that a restaurant would cook things you could make at home was novel; we were fresh out of the horror show known as nouvelle cuisine, where tiny bites of food were presented on table-sized white plates, and the other horror show known as fusion, where chefs suddenly discovered Asian flavors. "Comfort food" was a return to things Americans could pronounce, with the deft hand of a professional chef making up for Mom's kitchen shortcuts like bouillon cubes and saltine crackers. Lines were out the door at places like Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills.

Flash forward to 2014, and now "updated comfort food", which is still all over fully half the menus in the country apparently means adding bacon and braised short ribs to everything. Braised short ribs used to be a meal all their own, and they overwhelm absolutely everything they touch. Bacon ends up everywhere, including on dessert and in places where it has no business. I kind of blame Animal, the meat-centric restaurant in Los Angeles, for this obsession with the enmeatening of restaurant food. Every chef in the country is copying their menu, except most of you can't cook like Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo can.

The rule for updating classic comfort foods ought to be simple: if you can't make an absolutely flawless version of the classic, don't claim to "update" it. An ounce of braised short ribs covers a myriad of you-can't-actually-cook sins.

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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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