How Buffalo Bill Opened New York's First-Ever Mexican Restaurant--And Invented Celebrity Mexican Food

Buffalo Bill, won't you come out tonight...
Among the many crazy facts I discovered for my 2012 book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, none were crazier than the discovery of Buffalo Bill getting into the Mexican-restaurant game. It happened only once, in 1886 at Madison Square Garden as part of his Wild West Show, but still: what the hell was the American West's most famous showman doing offering Mexican food in the 1880s, a time where virtually no one in los Estados Unidos outside of the American Southwest knew what a tortilla was?

That question led me last week to Denver, to an amazing evening of lectures and food hosted by Kevin Grossi of Lola Mexican Fish House. The young chef set out to modernize the dishes that Buffalo Bill offered in his pop-up, not just because Grossi cooks Mexican food and is a fan of Buffalo Bill, but also because the building that Lola occupies used to be a mortuary in which Bill's body was kept--CRAZY!!!

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The Playground Burger Is Going Away... For Now (They're Opening a Burger Place)

Photo by Niyaz Pirani
Pictured: The Hatch Version

We really enjoy the Playground's burger here at Weekly World, so imagine our fear when we heard over Instagram that the restaurant will no longer be offering it after this Saturday.

Shock, horror, grief.

And then I read another two sentences, and it turns out they're discontinuing it because they're opening a burger joint.. very soon.

Read on for details.

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Surge, Legendary Cult Soda from the 90s, is BACK!

Coca-Cola Company

From 1920 to 1933, America experienced the dark days of Prohibition. Apparently forgetting the lessons taught by those 13 grueling years, America endured a similar dry spell of the nation's lifeblood from 2001 until today, this most historic and glorious of days.

Surge is back, you guys.

The legendary super-soda with a cult following reigned supreme in the late 90s with it's "fully loaded" citrus taste that came with a buzz fit for a rabid monkey, much to the chagrin of parents everywhere.

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Retired Lafayette Cafe Chef Writing Cookbook

Chef Edmond Sarfati and Joyce Sarfati
Lafayette Cafe was a legend. It opened in 1972 at what is now the location of Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove and fed the county coq a vin, steak tartare and other French delicacies for 30 years, finally closing in 2002 when its chef and owner, Chef Edmond Sarfati, decided to retire at 71.

Chef Sarfati is now 83 and his grandson, Remy Velardez, is helping him write a "Secret Recipes of Lafayette Cafe" cookbook that will put to paper at least 50 of his recipes.

There's a Kickstarter page, of course, which gives you the book when it's completed at the $20 level. At the $380 level, you get an invite to a planned dinner that Chef Sarfati is hosting at the Anaheim White House, which is billed as his "one final public dinner party."

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A Defense of Dunkin' Donuts

Photo by Robert Banh
I miss you so much

If you've never had Dunkin Donuts before, I feel bad for you.

Dunkin Donuts makes me happy. It's been there for me since day one. It's seen me after late nights with friends when things have been rough. It's seen me after late nights with friends when things have been great. It's dealt with me without any makeup on first thing in the morning, and it doesn't even care. DD has accepted me at my worst and embraces me at my best.

Moving to California a year ago was one of the best decisions I've made both professionally and personally. But when I realized Dunkin Donuts wasn't out here, my heart broke. A void was created that no Coffee Bean could fill. I questioned the meaning of life, because was a life without Dunkin Donuts worth living? To this day, I'm still not sure.

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Long Beach's Giant Donut is Going Down.. For Now

Photo by Charles Lam

Today is the day that Long Beach's giant donut, the pink donut sign that stands over the former Daily Grind on 7th street, gets taken down. It's been standing there since the 50s, when it was erected by the now gone Angel Cake Donut.

Look at it, it's such a sad sight.

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The 10 Most Important Burritos in Burrito History

Thumbnail image for elpacificoburrito.jpg
Photo by Sarah Bennett
Cylindrical God
Burritos have been on my mind as of recent, and not just because of the whole pendejada involving Chipotle putting short stories by authors on its cups and bags...none of whom are Latinos. I'm doing something with burritos that will come out...soon, and I think I'm going to have one tonight at 2 a.m. just for the hell of it.

But back to the Chipotle mess: while America loves to gorge on the cylindrical gods, they seem to not care about its past, its history, its pioneers (a topic I cover ad nauseum in my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America). So let's rectify that, shall we? In no particular order, behold the 10 most important burritos in burrito history!

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Bed, Marry, Kill: Food Trends We'll Love Forever, and Trends We Can't Wait to Forget

Thumbnail image for pho86pho.JPG
Viet food might be on the up nationally, but it's always been an OC staple

Recently, we've seen the rise of everything from hyper veganism to cronuts and Sriracha-flavored everything, but not every trend can go the way of chicken and waffles or Asian Cajun shrimp boils. Some are destined to be married, some are meant to be beded and left, and the rest, well... they might not be the best to talk about.

These are the food trends that we'd love to take home to the parentals, the ones we'll always remember fondly and the ones we can't wait to forget.

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Man Who Conceptualized Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos Dies on Thanksgiving: Update

Photo by Gustavo Arellano
Not a bad legacy

UPDATE DEC. 4 4:27 P.M.: Check the end of the post for Taco Bell's official statement re: Todd Mills and the invention of the Doritos Locos Taco.


Todd Mills, the Arkansas man who helped create the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, passed away on Thanksgiving from brain cancer. He was 41. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and every single person who has ever eaten a Locos Taco.

As massive as the tacos have been (Taco Bell sold over $1 billion worth alone last year), Mills would have lived a very full life even without the tacos.

USA Today has the definitive obit, and you should read it, but here's a tl;dr and a few Mills Life Moments that didn't make the USA Today cut:

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10 Signs You Grew Up Eating Food in Southern California

The county we call home

If you grew up eating in SoCal, consider it something to pin on your "Awesome Things About My Life" board on Pinterest. It's a badge of honor; when non-natives ask me what Southern Californians do for fun, I list variations of "eat with friends" and "find new restaurants to try." I'm not a liar, so what makes SoCal food so great? Well...

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