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The Taco Wire: Chestnut Wins Carnitas Contest; Legendary Panaderia Falls; Feds Say Network Exploits Kitchen

2:34 PM PDT on October 9, 2018

    Welcome to The Taco Wire. Each week, we serve you a roundup of stories on all things tacos that are making headlines in Los Angeles and beyond. Cuz, it’s never not a good time for tacos.

    Joey Chestnut Eats All the Carnitas at Inaugural Taco-Eating Contest

    [dropcap size=big]C[/dropcap]ompetitive eating master Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, best known for his competitive eating feats at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, wowed (or grossed out, we can’t decide) spectators Thursday when he scarfed downed a record 62 carnitas tacos in eight minutes, ABC 7 reports. His latest eating achievement took place at the inaugural Pacific Park World Taco-Eating Championship on the Santa Monica pier. Prizes included cash … And let’s hope a bottle of Tums.

    Via Yelp.

    Legendary SF Mexican Bakery Loses Battle to Gentrification

    [dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ne of the first Mexican-owned businesses in San Francisco’s Mission District, La Victoria Bakery, is closing its doors for good Tuesday (Oct. 9) after 67 years in operation, the Chronicle reports. The legendary panadería first opened in 1951 across the street from its current location at a time when the Mission was mostly made up of Italian and Irish merchants, moved to its current location in the 60s and continued to thrive as the neighborhood became more Latino. More recently, the bakery struggled to stay relevant in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, and finally, a bitter family dispute led the building it occupied being sold and the bakery’s closure. Q.D.E.P.

    NAFTA Has Ruined Mexican Foodways

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]ortilla aficionados have long lamented the decline in quality of the beloved corn tortilla, no thanks to factors like the introduction of transgenic corn, pollution, and globalization. Alyshia Galvez, a professor in the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies at Lehman College/City University of New York, revisits this theme in her newly released book, “Eating NAFTA: Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico,” reports Midwest chingona Esther Cepeda. In her latest column, Cepeda goes over Galvez’s in-depth arguments on how the North American Free Trade Agreement has crippled what the professor calls milpa-based cuisine, made up of indigenous ingredients like ground corn, squash, beans, tomatoes and chiles, in favor of cheaply-made processed foods consumed by Mexico’s growing number of workers in industrial, urban centers, mirroring Americans’ way of eating … Considering the basura Americans can call some Mexican "food" these days, it is certainly a disturbing trend that we don’t see ending anytime soon.

    Lawsuit: Latino Restaurant Workers Exploited in Widespread Network

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] startling investigation out of Illinois has revealed massive exploitation of Latin and often undocumented immigrant restaurant workers through a network of under-the-radar employment agencies in Chicago’s Chinatown that spans throughout the Midwest, an investigative story published by the Sun-Times and illustrates. Employees are often lured into the agencies with the promise of well-paying jobs but are abused by their employers and forced to move from place to place all over Illinois and beyond, a federal lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says. When we consider the impact that the Latin American workforce has on the restaurant industry across the United States, the implications in this case are widespread.

    Via El Cholo

    El Cholo to Commemorate 95th Anniversary With 95-cent Mexi Combo

    [dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]n honor of the old-school Mexi platter staple’s 95th anniversary, El Cholo Restaurants will serve up its most popular combination dish for 95 cents all day Tuesday, Oct. 23, the OC Register reports. What this means for fans is the best-selling cheese enchilada and rolled beef taco plate with sides of Spanish rice and refried beans, if you're into old-school West Coast "Mexican food" that is. El Cholo has remained a family-run business, now operated by fourth-, fifth- and sixth-generation relatives. Related: Mixed Feelings at El Cholo, L.A.'s Original 'Spanish Café'.

    Celebrity Tex-Mex Sightings at Austin Music Fest

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]ustin City Limits brought in an array of celebrities over the festival’s first weekend and plenty of big name performers were spotted at area Tex-Mex eateries, Eater reports. Among the food fans was Chino from 90s alt rock band Deftones, who showed up at Valentina’s Tex Mex Barbecue following the urging of an Instagram campaign to get the attention of the band. Meanwhile, Talking Heads former lead singer David Bryne stopped by the popular Veracruz All Natural taco truck, while French rock band Phoenix hit up Joann’s diner.

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