This is a tale of passive aggression, blind spots, and poor newsletter story placement.

PART 1: In the last couple of weeks, there has been a bit of a furor over the release of a “Korean chicken sandwich” by the folks at Shake Shack. In the January 12th email newsletter, Eater covered this backlash with a headline: “Shake Shack Responds to Criticism Over ‘Korean-Style’ Fried Chicken Menu Debut.”

In this piece, the publication airs the grievances of online voices that considered the effort an example of cultural appropriation described as:


In recent months, I’ve been told, or I’ve read, or I‘ve overheard this refrain over and over again: “That’s not real Mexican food.” I know this is not a new phenomenon, but the odd thing is not the argument, but rather the source of these corrections. Those pointing out what “isn’t real Mexican food” are coming from all different angles, backgrounds, and levels of expertise. It’s a pedantic free-for-all, that everyone feels they have the right take on. It’s always “And I know Mexican food, because I’m from _____.” But the fill-in-the-blank might surprise you. …


In recent months, I’ve been told, or I’ve read, or I‘ve overheard this refrain over and over again: “That’s not real Mexican food.” I know this is not a new phenomenon, but the odd thing is not the argument, but rather the source of these corrections. Those pointing out what “isn’t real Mexican food” are coming from all different angles, backgrounds, and levels of expertise. It’s a pedantic free-for-all, that everyone feels they have the right take on. It’s always “And I know Mexican food, because I’m from _____.” But the fill-in-the-blank might surprise you. …


Part One: Cultural Reclaimers

In recent months, I’ve been told, or I’ve read, or I‘ve overheard this refrain over and over again: “That’s not real Mexican food.” I know this is not a new phenomenon, but the odd thing is not the argument, but rather the source of these corrections. Those pointing out what “isn’t real Mexican food” are coming from all different angles, backgrounds, and levels of expertise. It’s a pedantic free-for-all, that everyone feels they have the right take on. It’s always “And I know Mexican food, because I’m from _____.” But the fill-in-the-blank might surprise you. …


Chicanismo inspired by Mexico 86

Every four years, I have to answer the same question thousands of other Mexican Americans just like me are asked: “If you were born in the USA, why don’t you support your country in the World Cup?” Yes, I am one of those Chicanos who supports Mexico. In fact, because of the rivalry between the two, perhaps the team I dislike the most is the USMNT (US Men’s National Team), and this fact has shaped most of my soccer life. I have only cried once in my life over a sporting event. When the USA failed to qualify for this…


The Salsa Pistolero brand was always meant to feed, as well as educate. This is another installment of my “Pistolero Explained” series meant to further explain further some of the brand choices I’ve made.

I always say that none of my ventures are real until there’s a one inch pin for it. I’ve made pins for Salsa Pistolero for a few years now, but recently added a new design to the fold. Rather than simply doing another logo interpretation, I opted for the following:

The reaction so far for this design has been very positive, but I always wonder why…


Beyond just a brand of salsa, Salsa Pistolero was always intended to educate. Whether it be about the intricacies of the Mexican cuisine or the history of the Mexican immigrant experience in the United States, the brand was created to create conversations and to convey information that might otherwise be misunderstood or even previously silenced.

To that end, much of the surrounding branding, copy and visuals are meant to do more than just increase sales. Each brand interaction is meant to convey a message. Some might be ambivalent, while others will be simple and straightforward, but each is chosen carefully…


From La Tacopedia- D. Holz, J.C. Mena, and R. Redzepi

For many NYC Mexican food aficionados, Stage 4 is the pinnacle. They are the new framers of the narrative for all newcomers. They write, review, advise and direct all of those seeking the true paths to the “real Mexican food” of New York City. If this describes you, I honestly commend you for your efforts and your genuine interest in Mexican cuisine. But I propose a new phase…

Stage 5: Embracing Complexity

When considering the foods of the United States, the first thing that becomes obvious is the diversity, whether it’s the climate or the terrain or the traditions, the…


Stage 4: Meeting and Eating “Authenticity”

By this point, most New York eaters have ordered from their neighborhood delivery spots, they have traveled to outer borough authentic Mexican food outposts lauded by the online intelligentsia, and have tried all of the Michelin-starred fine dining yet authentic Mexican restaurants. All of these experiences bring a new understanding.

As you search the city for bonafide Mexican food, the people you meet, and their expertise directly influences your definition of authenticity, and, often, even your palate. Uniquely, many of the Mexicans in New York happen to be from the interior and south of…


Last week, in an interview with the Daily Beast, John Leguizamo spoke candidly about the terrible state of our country. A vocal opponent of the current President and the Republican party, which he sees as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino, Leguizamo claimed to often consider giving up acting to run for office to directly and personally make a difference.

Public Theater

“You know, I love what I do. I would hate to give it up,… But if I could I would run for office in Texas. I would run someplace heinous to make a difference. Yes, I would run if my celebrity could get…

Miguel Banuelos- Salsa Pistolero

Fresh Mexican salsa, made in... New York City!? Available @MiscelaneaNY @ABCBeerCo and @HarryAndIdas in the East Village

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