The Face of L.A.

By Now, he Majority of L.A.’s Population is Hispanic

Probably one of the reasons our Presidente hates California (other than the fact that we all pretty much despise him) is that there are so many Hispanics here. And I mean Hispanics of every variety, from Mexicans and Central and South Americans to Cubans and Puerto Ricans and even a few real live Spaniards. And here in Los Angeles, we pretty much get along with one another. I mean, after all, the city was founded in 1781 as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncula, long before there were any gringos in evidence. It was then part of Spain, then part of Mexico, and eventually part of the United States of America, who stole it fair and square from Mexico. We even got the papers to prove it.

I remember vividly when my brother and I had our first tacos. It was in New York City, of all places, where we were attending the World’s Fair of 1964-65. We bought it at the Mexico Pavilion. The real reason I was in the Big Apple was to check out New York University’s graduate school in film. Well, I wound up not going there because I didn’t like Haig P. Manoogian, who was top man there. I don’t think he liked me very much either. (Michael Scorsese, who attended NYU, thought Manoogian was hot stuff; but then he was a filmmaker, and I wasn’t interested in making films.)

When I finally picked UCLA as the place to go, I thought I would prepare myself by buying frozen food that purported to be Mexican cuisine. It really wasn’t. In fact, it was about as bland as any other frozen food available in Cleveland. It was not until I took the train to L.A. that I encountered the real thing. And I liked it, and I still do.

I’ve lived here now for more than fifty years and haven’t been raped once. Will someone please mention that to the Tweeter-in-Chief?

 

 

Eating Tacos Hunched Over

Tres Tacos

Tres Tacos

I walked to the Promenade in Santa Monica this morning. While there, I bought two Patrick Modiano novels and had lunch at the Lotería Grill. Of late i have become partial to a couple of soft tacos for lunch, wrapped in corn tortillas.

Naturally, I leaned over my plate, having learned that if I didn’t, there would be a pattern of food stains on my shirtfront resembling a blurry Mexican flag. It didn’t help that my pot belly pushed my shirt well into harm’s way.

There is an art to eating tacos. One has to pinch across the top so that the contents are held in while eating. It helps if the corn tortillas are relatively small so as to limit the possible damage.

According to the Popol Vuh, the great repository of myths of the Mayans, man was created from maize.  At first, the gods made four men who:

…were good people, handsome, with looks of the male kind. Thoughts came into existence and they gazed; their vision came all at once. Perfectly they saw, perfectly they knew everything under the sky, around in the sky, on the earth, everything was seen without any obstruction…As they looked, their knowledge became intense. Their sight passed through trees, through rocks, through lakes, through seas, through mountains, through plains.

The tacos didn’t quite do that for me, but they were good. I always appreciate food that is spicy hot, that bites back when I bite into it. And Mexican food that is authentic does that for me.

 

Back from the Desert

Me on the Randall Henderson Trail in Palm Desert

Me on the Randall Henderson Trail in Palm Desert

I had a great time in Palm Desert with my brother and sister-in-law. While Lori worked on Saturday, Dan and I hiked the Randall Henderson Trail off Highway 74 in Palm Desert. My brother took the picture with his cell phone.

Fortunately, my legs were in the picture. As my Dad always used to say, if you don’t include the legs in the picture, people will think that I have no legs. Well, now you know…. And my Dad, looking down on us from the heavens, will be gratified.

In my right hand, I am holding my own digital camera against the belt holster I use for carrying it.

After the hike, Dan took me to a great Mexican place on Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City. It had the best tacos el pastor that I have ever tasted. I loaded it down with pickled jalapeño chiles and a hot green salsa. The burning stopped only when I took a sip from a giant cup of horchata. If you are in the area and want to try it, look up El Tarasco at 34481 Date Palm Drive. It’s a bit of a dive, and you are not likely to run into any gringos there. Be sure to order the tacos al pastor.