Speaking of Taco Trucks…

taco zone truck

Where’s your favorite taco truck spot?
I totally understand if you don’t want to blow up the spot and spoil it but the way things are looking we might be taco truck-less soon.

I don’t mind, so I’ll share the love.
I’m not originally from Los Angeles so I only have my hood to go by and my favorite spot for sure is the Taco Zone truck posted up on Alvarado in front of Vons (Silverlake/Echo Park).

You know how some spots might only be the move for a certain type of taco or has so so tacos but amazing salsa or vice versa? Well the zone for me, is the move for it all. Bonus is that its all women working in there.

On the rare occasion my body craves red meat I gots to get into the zone, Taco Zone that is.

The Problem With Bike Kulture

I’ve tried my best to tolerate this new bike Kulture that has made camp in LA, attempted to see the positive aspects it can contribute to our city, but more and more I just can’t stand the way it manifests itself. And it saddens me to see how such a great idea can turn into shit so quickly: a practical and healthy option that challenges the car culture devolves into a sanctimonious act of liberal defiance, doused with a heavy dose of machismo. I’m pretty sure I’ll regret writing this but fuck it; the unnecessary baggage of an otherwise worthy goal needs to be called out.

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Are dorks are the new ‘cool kids?’

It would seem so. Everyone wants to be a dork, or a nerd, and they claim it loudly and proudly.

I blame it on “Napoleon Dynamite” for starting this trend. Because it is a trend that people without a real sense of self usually fall in and out of all the time. The subsequent Judd Apatow films with lead characters as dorks and “Juno” I hope kill off this trend. Yet I still like dorks more than their countreparts ‘label whores.’ You know the ones that think life is really about who and what you wear to where.

Why do I care? I don’t know. I’m just tired of people claiming “I’m a dork, I know” or, “I’m such a nerd!” As if that excuses your ill social skills. Real dorks and nerds don’t say that, they just live it. It wouldn’t be ‘ironic’ when a real dork/nerd says it, anyways.

I do think that if you blog you are a nerd or dork, or a dweeb, with a big sense of self importance, but that’s just me.

Maybe that is why we don’t have too many dorks or nerds on the Eastside!

Maybe I’m just feeling the collective hangover from yesterday’s 4/20 celebrations?

A ver licenciado, que le doy?*

Nuevo Plato Vegetariano

I’m lucky that my favorite Mexican restaurant happens to be right here in Lincoln Heights, the phenomenal El Huarachito. I’ve been going to the restaurant since it was a tiny shoe box and diners would have to cram themselves Tetris-style into the 3 small tables that served as a dining room. In the past few years, the restaurant has expanded taking over the shoe repair business next door (who repairs shoes nowadays?) and even with the added room, the place still gets packed!

Vegetarians, rejoice!

The owner and cook, a proud Jalisciense, puts much time, consideration and care into her dishes. She frequently asks her diners what they think of the food and is quick to recommend menu items and unadvertised specials of the day. Thanks to her ever growing vegetarian clientèle, she has challenged herself to create new entrees to please our non-carnivorous palates. Today I had the good fortune to try her very new vegetarian dish (doesn’t have a name yet) “Nuevo Plato Vegetariano.”

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The N word. Reasons I hated college

College was an interesting experience for me, because I really hated it.

I meet teenage women of color at times (I give back and that crap, so I volunteer at places) and they think I’m so neat and they are impressed that I went to college and want to know what school I went to. I get conflicted as to what to tell them. Should I tell them the truth? My truth seems so harsh.

Most people of color always say this, “I loved college it made me such a better person and blah, blah, I was so happy to have the opportunity to learn to kiss ass properly.”

I hate the taste of ass.

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Family Ties

josé ureño I don’t live on the Eastside, neither the actual Eastside nor the area confused transplants mis-label as the Eastside.

I’m squarely on the Westside. I’ve lived here for the last 10 years while going to school and working at UCLA. I’ve never even lived on the Eastside. I grew up east of East LA in an unincorporated town of the San Gabriel Valley, Hacienda Heights.

Like a lot of LA-area Latinos, I have close ties to Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights despite never having lived in the area.

When my maternal grandfather, José, first came to work to LA in the 1940s, he lived in Lincoln Heights. José took the street cars to work to orchards in the valley and would watch movies at the theaters on Broadway. Several years later, he’d bring the rest of the family north. First, they’d leave Zacatecas for Tijuana. Then when everyone got their papers in order they migrated from Tijuana to LA. The first home they lived in was in Lincoln Heights. José worked as a gardener, my grandma Antonia helped.

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East Side Story

East Side Story, Vol 9

The last few years have been frustrating for those of us on the Eastside. I’ve been on many a Los Angeles blog explaining, defending and educating folks on why certain parts of the city shouldn’t be called the Eastside. Despite testimonials, historical references and other persuasive truths, there are many who choose to keep using the term Eastside inappropriately. Putting aside the geographical debate, it’s important for many to realize the cultural connection many Mexicans and Chicanos have to the term Eastside.

For those of us who have grown up in these neighborhoods, “Eastside” is a more than just a place, it’s been a cultural signifier. It represents the communities and the cultures of folks who have lived in Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, City Terrace and the great Easterly Beyond. The term Eastside has been used to describe many sorts of cultural innovations emanating from the people east of the river. One of my favorites is a series of albums from the 70s called East Side Story.

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Tacos Under Attack

In case you haven’t been following the news, the County Supervisors passed some stupid law that basically criminalizes the common taco truck in places like East LA. Even though I don’t consume meat tacos, I can still recognize that this attack on street food and the taco truck culture is foolish and unnecessary. You can keep up on breaking news over at LATaco.com as they’ve been monitoring the situation.

Thank you Gloria Molina, for yet more proof that you really, really hate the place you represent. Where’s the Biotic Baking Brigade when you need them? Someone ought to start a taco chapter!

PS. The pic above of a DF taco stand is unrelated, click here to see it in context.

Where’s my bus rider tax break? Post Tax Day Post

Prius drivers get tax breaks, why not transit riders?

“Because it’s entirely different,” a person who knows where I’m going with this, but wants to stop me, because bringing up race and class is divisive and makes people feel bad.

Well too bad.

Ever since I’ve given up my car I realized some things:

    People who take the bus are treated very shittily.

    The bus takes way too long to come.

    It is very easy to not pay and take the Red Line.

I get treated way differently than my white boyfriend in regards to not having a car. No one ever asks Bob if he has a car when he’s applying for some little shit job to make some extra cash, but that’s one of the first questions that will come out of their mouth with me.

“Do you have a car?”

I applied for a job at an environmental organization and they wanted to know if I had a car?

WTF? If I can do the job what does it matter how I do it, especially if other people there don’t have a car?

What the fudge kind of environmental agency are you anyway?
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Hills of the Eastside

Having lived most of my life in North East L.A. I have come to find refuge in the hills around here. As a kid I would go up Eastlake Ave in Lincoln Heights and up into the hills to flatop to seekout lizards, snakes, centipedes, and all the other wildlife you see around these parts. Many people say that Los Angeles scarecly has seasons, but I think it is because they do not understand how the seasons present themselves here. Elsewhere you have heavy rains (which we occasionally do have), snow, or extreme cold to show that things are changing.

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You’re from where? South what?

Hi everyone! Before getting to the actual entry, I feel I should introduce/explain myself a bit. I’m Diego and I blog over at Soledad en masa. I was born and raised in South Gate, technically west of the L.A. River, but part of the Eastside. I now live far, far east of the River, east of the Colorado, Mississippi, and Hudson, and north of the Charles, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I attend Harvard University as a freshman. I’m almost done with this first year and if I am in L.A. for the summer, I’ll post here more regularly. For now, while I am in the East Coast, I’ll be a contributor and post every so often.

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Welcome to South Gate

When I first arrived at Harvard in September, as I introduced myself to roommates and other people I met, I was always asked where I was from in California. Since my Dodgers cap was not enough to give them an idea where I was from, I always said “Los Angeles” because that’s what they recognized, not South Gate. I don’t have much of a problem saying “L.A.” when I typically mean the county, not the city proper. I’m the only freshmen from the Eastside at Harvard.

It’s a different story, however, when I run into people from the Southland (Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties). I always ask them what specific cities they are from, and sometimes I’ll be asked where I am from, to which I proudly respond “South Gate.” Often, I look at blank faces to which South Gate doesn’t register. My response is almost always followed by “Where is that?” By this point, I’m annoyed, so to shut them up, I say “East of South Central/Watts” and they stop talking to me, most likely thinking, “How did he get in?” Within a few days, South Gate has been reduced to “South what?”

When I meet people from Los Angeles County and they don’t know where South Gate is, I’m amazed. I’ve been asked by people where it is and I put it in the context of freeways, but often, the 710 is that one freeway that they don’t seem to know. The very few who I have met from Los Angeles County who know about South Gate are from Long Beach or the Norwalk area. I’ve met someone from Downey who doesn’t know where South Gate is. How the fuck do you not know one of your bordering cities?

Plain, good ol’ ignorance and lack of knowledge on their part. All my life in L.A. I hear about Santa Monica, Burbank, Venice and other “nice” parts of the county, but I never hear much of South Gate or any other city in the Eastside in the news, in the media PERIOD. Nothing. Como si no existimos.

When I run into someone who does know where South Gate is and, even better, has been there or is familiar with it, they immediately become my friend, but that’s for another post. Until then, I hope more people pick up Thomas Guides and start learning the layout of the county’s neighborhoods and cities.