Botanitas: August 29, 2008

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Botanitas is an ongoing feature bringing you stories and news from various sources, upcoming events and other bits of ephemera that might be of interest to LA Eastside readers. Suggestions welcome!

Everyone’s Favorite Supermarket

Ozo on morning radio


Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium

Everyone’s Favorite Supermarket

The above cartoon from Sunday’s Los Angeles Times is about everyone’s favorite supermarket: Super King on San Fernando Road, just south of the 2 freeway. And by everyone, I mean everyone I know and they are all smart-cookie, value shoppers. Despite the infamously crowded parking lot that is perpetually filled, folks drive in from all over Los Angeles to partake in the adventures of shopping at Super King.

While I think the above cartoon is from a middle class person’s perspective , who might or might not have problems dealing with people of other ethnicities, overall the vignettes of Super King moments are spot on. You really want four eggplants for a dollar? Well, you gotta work for it by squeezing your cart through throngs of multi-ethnic shoppers all grabbing for the high quality, low priced produce. For people like me, it’s fun to wander through the aisles picking up jars and bottles of products I’ve heard of but have never used: rose water, frying cheese, pickled beets. There’s a nut bar full of freshly roasted crunchy stuff, where there are no waiting lines or numbers – you just kinda gotta hope they know you’re next. The chaos is so worth it. My picks are Lemon Almonds for $3.99 a pound and Turkish Pistachios (lighter, smaller than “normal” pistachios) for $4.99 a pound. You can buy fresh herbs like dill, 4 for a dollar (try that in Whole Foods) as well as fresh mint, basil and cilantro, all at decent prices. There’s a huge spice section filled with seasonings for Mexican, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. I recommend the shish kebob seasoning packet for stir fried tofu, yum! Back to the produce, there are aisles and aisles of all kinds of fruits and veggies palatable to the tastes of Armenians, Mexicans, Filipinos and anyone else who appreciates a bargain. Friends swear by the meat counter and the bakery/deli sections are worth more investigative shopping. It’s difficult to shop the whole market. By the time I make it through the produce aisles, I have little energy left for the adventures waiting on the other side of the store.

If food isn’t enough, as you walk out of the store, the cross cultural beauty that is Los Angeles lays before your eyes: a wall of beautiful hookah pipes and gorgeously designed tequila bottles. I love this city!

Ozomatli on morning radio

It was strange to see those Ozomatli/KNBC ads in between the Olympic events last week. I think it’s because I haven’t really kept up on their successes of the past few years and I still remember them from all those small shows they used to do in Highland Park. So even though it’s probably old news to LA Eastside readers, I had no idea they are now doing a radio show on 98.7 FM. I wouldn’t have known about this either, except my cousin from the IE sent an email to tell me. How’d I get so out of the loop?

Sunset Junction

I started going to the Sunset Junction when I was about 13. My Guatemalan friend (whose mom was the manager of the apartment building on Sunset and Micheltorena) and I would go to the fair to giggle at the men in assless chaps and buy friendship bracelets. Along with the Los Angeles Street Scene, it was one of the highlights of my young years. I loved the mix of people that used to make up the Silver Lake neighborhood. Each year though, the crowd became more homogeneous and they started charging and fencing in the festivities. The vendors were required to pay more for their booths, driving out the smaller local participants and community groups. I finally gave up on the festival the year Sonic Youth played. Apparently, I’m not missing out on much. Check out this post by Militant Angeleno and his non-coverage of the festival.

Caracol Marketplace

Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas

At the Autry Museum:

This exhibition explores Mexican popular culture inspired by the Mexican Revolution and the development of U.S.-Mexico relations. Organized by the Autry National Center of the American West in association with Arizona State University’s Hispanic Research Center, the exhibition uses art, historical footage, feature films, music, and popular culture to understand the changes in the Americas initiated by the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Creating a mythology that endures in Mexico and the United States, towering figures such as Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa inspired a vast creative output that continues to shape the identity of the United States–Mexico borderlands. Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas is part of the Autry’s expanding effort to explore the Latino experience in the American West and cross-cultural influences.

November 1, 2008 – May 10, 2009

A cool exhibit and all, but I’m afraid the Autry Museum is not always on the up an up. For an overview of their shady dealings regarding the Southwest Museum, please see this website.

38th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium

Thirty eight years ago today, my heavily pregnant mother ran through clouds of tear gas, lines of battering truncheons and swarms of Los Angeles County Sheriffs, desperate for a refuge from the chaos around her. In a small Catholic church, she hid with hundreds of other Chicanos fleeing the same scenario. Just moments before, she had been marching peacefully for Chicano rights and social justice with thousands of others in the streets of East Los Angeles when the police riot erupted. The aftermath was grim, three deaths and scores injured. Luckily, she went on to give birth a few months later. I was the baby born into the tear gassed world.

It’s not called ‘struggle’ for nothing.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

4 thoughts on “Botanitas: August 29, 2008

  1. I love Super King! Sometimes you can get 10 cilantros for a dollar, which is pretty crazy. And the veggies are almost always in good shape, not like the about-to-turn stuff i usually get at the Big Saver.

  2. Yeah I am pretty much the same always picking up jars and bottles of condiments, spices, etc I have heard of but never used lol my cabiniets are filled with so much! but I love to try new things with food.

  3. Three Cheers for Super King!
    My favorites are any of the olives on sale at the deli and the hot dogs in the deli case; oh yeah, and the salami on top of the counter of the deli case and even liquor is priced lower – a half gallon of Stoli at Super King is way less than say BevMo. The veggies and fruit are good but who needs ’em when you got bargain priced vodka, olives and salami.

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