VIDEO: ¡Ask a Mexican! on How REAL Mexicans Should Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Photo by Benjamin Leatherman
Celebrate like these fine young chavos

Decrying Cinco de Mayo has become one of my many stock trades for this infernal rag. I wrote about why I can't stand the holiday all the way back in 2003, did another video last year, and here's my latest video yet. This time, though, I give up and give advice on how REAL Mexicans should celebrate Drinko de Cinco.

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VIDEO: ¡Ask a Mexican! on Whether it's Now Safe to Visit Tijuana

Categories: Mexi Meals

Photo by The Mexican
Taqueria El Franc, home of holy adobada...

This past weekend, our own Bill Esparza took a group of us to Baja California--specifically, Tijuana, Ensenada, and the Valle de Guadalupe. I'm going to write about the experience in a couple of blog posts, but let's just say it was as magnificent as what Dave and Bill always write about in their award-winning Tijuana Sí! column. SO MUCH FOOD...and so much glory. So, in this week's video version of my ¡Ask a Mexican! column, I tackle the issue of whether it's safe to visit TJ.

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What Kind of "Best Tacos" List Bans Taco Trucks? Why, the OC Register's, of Course!

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Photo by The Mexican
Where real taco lovers eat, not pretenders

When I saw the headline last week that Orange County Register food critic Brad A. Johnson was offering readers his 10 best tacos in OC, I immediately chuckled. Would Brad offer tacos with French fries, given he's reviewed papas fritas at Mexican restaurants before? Would he manage to work in a hotel taco, given he's nowadays more prone to reviewing hotels outside of OC than doing his ostensible responsibilities?

Then I clicked on the link, and started to laugh. El Campeón? Roman's Taqueria? Getting carne asada at a birrieria? HA! But then I reread Brad's intro, in which he announced he excluded taco trucks from consideration, and began to fume.

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How an OC Food Blogger Is Bringing Back Naugles by Beating Del Taco

Brian Feinzimer/OC Weekly
Ziebarth: Saw the burrito for the beans

Noah Chillingworth must've figured that if the secret menus wouldn't stop Christian Ziebarth once and for all, then the Wayback Machine would.

For the past five years, Ziebarth has run an online campaign to bring back the legendary Mexican fast-food chain Naugles; the mere mention of it to anyone who came of age in Southern California during the 1980s provokes endless paeans (go ahead: try it!). Ziebarth--a web developer by day--has organized pop-up restaurants featuring entrées such as Naugles' beef-and-cheese burritos, a cup of beans and ramekins of the chain's Cal-Mex salsa; all of it was eagerly devoured by hundreds of eaters and drooled over by tens of thousands of fans online. He argues that Del Taco--which had acquired the company in 1988 and finally shut it down in 1995--had let their Naugles trademark claim lapse, leaving him free to bring it back from the dead. Del Taco, however, doesn't agree; it has not only sent Ziebarth cease-and-desist letters, but the company is also fighting him through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Eat This Now: El Desperado at Soho Taco

Photo by The Mexican
Shoot 'em up!

Every month, Soho Taco chef Gabriel Zambrano offers a new creation as part of his lonchera's taco of the month. Sometimes, he goes regional: the awesome chilorio taco from a couple of months back was a specialty from Sinaloa. This month, Chef Gabe has leapt into the chile world with the appropriately named El Desperado.

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El Patio, Legendary Anaheim Mexican Eatery, Closes This Month, Re-Opens in May!

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Goodbye ol' friend :-(

The day of reckoning is near for El Patio, Anaheim's beloved Mexican restaurant. With plans approved in January to demolish the shopping center where it stands, the hole-in-the-wall has to be out by April 26. But fret not, El Patio faithfuls: The Anaheim staple (since 1977) has found a new location just a half-mile down the street and will be reopening in May!

"It's going to be bittersweet," says Douglas Molina, vice president of El Patio. "We're going to move because we have to move. It's a sad day but we have to go forward regardless."

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Naugles Comeback Even Closer to Reality Thanks to Key Trademark Ruling

Photo by Brian Feinzimer
Naugles bean-and-cheese

Naugles--the legendary Mexican fast-food chain that for Southern Californians who grew up in the 1980s was their manna--is one step closer to returning thanks to a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

See, all those Naugles pop-up restaurants we wrote about were NOT endorsed by Del Taco, the company that bought out Naugles in the 1980s and technically had the copyright to the Naugles brand. Challenging their trademark with those restaurants was Christian Ziebarth, one of the first food bloggers in OC, and a Naugles fanatic. How fanatical? He challenged Del Taco's hold on Naugles copyright, arguing the fast-food giant let it lapse. And...Ziebarth won, meaning a Naugles comeback is closer than ever.


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Carlos Salgado of Taco María Named One of Food and Wine's Best New Chefs for 2015!!!

Categories: Mexi Meals

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Photo by some OC Weekly intern or other
Salgado: The chingón of all chingones

Carlos Salgado had a hell of a year in 2014 for his Taco María. Best restaurant for both OC Weekly and the Orange County Register, and maker of one of Jonathan Gold's 10 best meals of the year. Glowing reviews in Los Angeles and other regional publications. A hell of an Indie Chefs Week. Partially catered my wedding with his amazing aguachile (yes: I paid. Oh, I paid...). Ever-increasing lines. And all throughout, Salgado never compromised in his vision of offering Mexican food the way he envisioned it, moronic one-star-Yelp-reviews-'cause-he-doesn't-offer-nachos-or-combo-plates be damned.

Welp, Salgado is ushering in spring in a huge way. This morning, Food and Wine named Salgado one of its Best New Chefs of 2015. Let that sink in: a Mexican kid from Orange, from Orange County, has been named one of the best new chefs in America by one of the few institutions that offer such a recognition that people take seriously.


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Uh-Oh: Lime Prices Are Rising Again

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Photo by Das Ubergeek
Green gold

Around this time last year, this infernal rag was the first in the country to report that lime prices were rising, and were going to rise even more due to the drug wars in Mexico, specifically in the lime-growing regions of Michoacán. That particular group of narcos has largely been eradicated, but general unrest in the area means that lime prices are going to climb significantly again--not to the heights of last year, where cases were going for over $100, but still pretty expensive.

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Tea Party at Anepalco's at the Ayres, Our Drink of the Week!

Photo by The Mexican

Chingón bartender Joe Valdovinos has moved on from Playground, landing at Anepalco's at the Ayres in Orange and giving owner Danny Godínez a Latino Dream Team. Cesar Cerrudo still mans the bar here, but Valdovinos is now his back-up--the greatest pinch-hitter since Manny Mota.

He only started last week, but is already raising desmadre with his drinks, many using Ilegal Mezcal due to Valdovinos' association with the fine brand. Principal among them is a special he whipped up just the other night: the Tea Party.

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