A Defense of Dunkin' Donuts

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

ORIGINAL POST DEC. 4 6:30 A.M.:

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

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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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KCRW's Good Food Devotes Cinco de Mayo Show to History of Mexican Food in Southern California, With Gustavo as Co-Host!

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Photo by the chingona Carolina A. Miranda
Taquitos at Cielito Lindo

Nearly a year ago, I pitched the KCRW-FM 89.9 brass with a bold idea: give me an hour to turn my then-rough Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, into a one-hour special about the history of Mexican food in the United States. They not only liked the idea, they one-upped me: they allowed me to sit in alongside food goddess Evan Kleiman on Good Food.

The results aired today, and they're AWESOME!!!
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Taco USA Gets Big Story in New York Times!

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I've obviously known about this for a while, but had to keep it under wraps for the obvious reason that one never knows what might happen in news. But as of today, the New York Times' dining section has published a big ol' piece on my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America--and with more than a few kind words thrown my way.

OH, DEAR...

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Taco USA Gets Featured on NPR's All Things Considered!

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I've known about this for a while, but didn't want to say a peep until it occurred: NPR's All Things Considered did a story about my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.

It aired this afternoon. HELL YA!!!
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[UPDATED, FULLERTON SIGNING TOMORROW!] First Round of Book Signings Announced for Taco USA!


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UPDATE: Tomorrow, I have my first book signing for the book at the Fullerton Library's main branch on Commonwealth. 7 p.m.--see you there!

ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 2: Gentle readers: it gives me great pleasure to announce the first leg of my book tour for Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. I'm burning the midnight coal with both ends of the candle's oil (or however that pinche metaphor goes) putting even more street corners on the agenda, but below is what I have so far. Go to them, bring a cousin or 50, and buy a book or a million! And, whenever possible, there'll be food!

All the events are FREE (unless noted); all the books, BARATO.
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