Meredith Bethune: The Difference Between Tex-Mex And Mexican Food

Mexican food confused me when I first moved to Texas. What I considered to be quintessential Tex-Mex, like sizzling fajita platters and enchiladas smothered in yellow cheese, were on the same menu as “traditional” Mexican favorites, like tacos al pastor and chiles en nogada. I even encountered a restaurant serving the Lone Star state’s famous queso dip next to cochinita pibil (a specialty from the Yucatán Peninsula) wrapped in flour tortillas. I didn’t know what to make of it. But after talking to several chefs, I learned that the distinction between Mexican and Tex-Mex food has actually been evolving for years, and has even recently started to blur.

The cuisine we now call Tex-Mex is rooted in the state’s Tejano culture (Texans of Spanish or Mexican heritage who lived in Texas before it became a republic) and also Mexican immigrants who hailed largely from Northern Mexico. Until the 1970s, though, most people referred to it simply as Mexican food. In The Tex-Mex Cookbook, Texas food expert Robb Walsh credits Diana Kennedy with removing Tex-Mex from the discussion of traditional Mexican cuisine.

Rick Bayless, however, recently told me at the Austin Food and Wine Festival that when he wrote the draft of his first cookbook, Authentic Mexican, he featured seven culinary regions of Mexico, including the Southwestern United States. “You could even break that down further into the cuisines of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and even the ranchos of California,” he added. Perhaps his view differs from Kennedy’s because he grew up in Oklahoma eating Tex-Mex two or three times a week.

If you’re looking to identify the distinguishing characteristics of Tex-Mex, enchiladas are a good case study. In the classic Tex-Mex version of cheese enchiladas, grated yellow cheese is wrapped in tortillas, and then covered in a dark red chili sauce mixed with ground beef. You’ll also find other typical Tex-Mex ingredients like pinto beans and rice served on the side.

Another difference is the abundant use of cumin in Tex-Mex cuisine. “We use it a lot in the north, but it’s not a spice we use much in the southern part of Mexico,” says de la Vega. Robb Walsh links the heavy use of cumin to the first wave of Canary Islanders who emigrated to San Antonio in the 1700s. Today it’s still a key ingredient in chili con carne, along with chili powder, which, according to Walsh, is a uniquely Texan invention developed by a German immigrant in New Braunfels in the late 1890s. In the late 1800’s, chili con carne was regularly ladled out at bargain prices in the streets of San Antonio at its famed chili stands. “Tex-Mex was never the cuisine of the upper echelon of society,” Bayless observes. “It’s a peasant, working class cuisine.”

The Tex-Mex that most of us think of, full of Velveeta cheese and pre-made taco shells, was shaped by the development of convenience foods in the 1950s. That time period left Tex-Mex, and even Mexican food in general, with a reputation as “just a cheap cuisine, full of sour cream and processed cheese, and that everything is greasy,” says de la Vega.

Fortunately, that perception has changed. “Tex-Mex has now evolved to a different stage,” says Bayless. “It was once a very simple cuisine, but now there are a variety of dishes on the menus.”

Carlos Rivero agrees. “‘Mexican’ is a very broad term because that profile encompasses so many different flavors and ingredients,” explains Rivero. “When you come to El Chile, you can have a modern take on Mexican or you can have the die-hard fajita platter. It’s up to you.”

As the line between traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex continues to evolve, it may become harder to separate the two. As Iliana de la Vega notes, “Either Tex-Mex or traditional Mexican, we can all live together. As long as it’s well-executed food, then, why not?”

Source: Serious Eats

Orange Coast College Professor Emeritus John Upton, Noted Photography Icon, Dies

John Upton, one of the founders of the well-respected photography department at Orange Coast College who taught there for more than 40 years, died on Dec. 7 in Petaluma. He was 88.

Upton died due to complications from lung cancer, the school announced.

A former San Clemente and Laguna Woods resident, Upton had moved to Petaluma two years ago to be closer to his family, his daughter, Sean, said.

“He always had an eye for photography,” Sean Upton said. “The day that I drove him to the hospital, which was just two weeks ago, he was looking out the window appreciating places that he may photograph someday. So, he was always looking through the eye of the lens of the photographer.”

John Upton was born in Iowa and moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was 5 years old, his daughter said. He went to art school in San Francisco, at the California School of the Fine Arts, studying with contemporaries like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston before he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1953.

Upton came back to Southern California and became a faculty member at Orange Coast College in 1960. He retired in 1999 but continued to teach a gallery class part time for several years.

Upton and his then-wife, Barbara London, published the influential college textbook “Photography” in 1976. There are more than 1.5 million copies in print.

“Things that other people see as common knowledge, John would sort of miss,” said OCC Photography Department Chair Blade Gillissen, a student of Upton’s at the junior college in the 1990s. “He was so tuned into photography. I remember one day trying to talk to him, back when the [Los Angeles] Lakers started doing better again with Kobe [Bryant] and [Shaquille O’Neal]. And he had no idea who I was talking about.”

The gallery class provided joy for Upton later in his life. Gillissen said he and Upton would each drive a van full of students to art galleries and museums throughout Southern California on Saturdays, with Upton acting as a docent.

“I haven’t offered it since he stopped teaching it,” Gillissen said. “I don’t know anyone off the top of my head that could teach it like he did it.”

Sean Upton called her father one of the premier art historians in the U.S. Last January, Orange Coast College opened a survey exhibition of his fine art work at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion on campus. The exhibit ran until mid-March, when the school was shut down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The survey had selections from four main bodies of work: early work, “Japanalia,” “Jungle Road” and the more recent “Petaluma.” John Upton was an avid fan of Asian art and culture and would visit Japan yearly for decades, Sean Upton said.

The exhibition was curated by Tyler Stallings, director/senior curator at the Doyle.

“He was mainly known as an educator, for the book and what he did for the photography department at OCC,” Stallings said. “He’s always been making work, but as a busy teacher, he didn’t always have the time to get his work out there. That was the angle of the show.”

Later in his life, Upton also collaborated with longtime friend and part-time OCC Photography Department instructor John Hesketh, who would print his photography.

“John was one of the sweetest and most giving people around,” Hesketh said. “I had a commercial father of photography [Dean], and John was kind of my fine art father of photography. He was very, very dedicated to photography itself and what it meant to be a fine art photographer, or an artist that was lens-based … He was like this elder statesman that represented photography in its best, kindest way. He was very generous in encouraging other people to do what they could do.”

Source: LA Times

Al Pastor Papi – The Al Pastor King Of San Francisco (Street Food Icons)

Miguel Escobedo loves three things: San Francisco, DJing, and al pastor, a spit-roasted pork popular in Mexican cuisine. Originally from Mexico City, Miguel’s passions have spawned a career making some of the best Mexican food in the Bay Area, and his current project, Al Pastor Papi, focuses on perfecting the al pastor experience. Miguel talks about his journey deep into the history of al pastor, where he learned about the food’s roots in Lebanon, and about how giving back to the community he loves has made his culinary career even richer.

Only Four Players Were Teammates With Both LeBron And MJ – HoopsHype Spoke To All Four About The GOATs

Only four players in league history were teammates with both Jordan and James: Scott WilliamsLarry HughesJerry Stackhouse and Brendan Haywood. HoopsHype was able to connect with all four of them.

“I don’t think it would be fair to give a comparison on them,” Stackhouse, who only played seven games with James in 2010, told HoopsHype. “I played with LeBron at the prime of his career and I played with Michael in the last year of his career. I just think both are unbelievable players. They’re probably one and two in the history of the game. That’s where I’ll leave it.”

WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF MICHAEL JORDAN?

Brendan Haywood: It was a learning experience. You got to see up-close what made him who he was. He was like 40 years old. He didn’t have anything to prove. But he was still one of the hardest workers. I would watch him teach Bobby Simmons the footwork to score in the mid-post. Everything he did was calculated. Nothing was done by accident. He was reading your lead foot. He understood where to go and how to get you off balance and get to his pull-up jumper and how to get your arm off of him if you were trying to be physical. Watching him, you got to learn a lot. 

Larry Hughes: For me, growing up, I played basketball because of MJ. When I got a chance to play with him, I watched all of the small things that you don’t get to see when you are a fan. How did he conduct himself with the media? What time did he go to treatment? I learned how consistent he was with the game-planning and understanding how to get the job done even at an older age. He may have lost a step but he was still effective.

Scott Williams: One of the things that he liked to do was add aspects to his game. During my first two years in the league, he wanted to improve his low-post and back-to-basket game. We played a lot of 1-on-1 after practices. He would have someone throw the ball to him and he would catch it with a pivot foot on the block. He was working on trying to get around bigger, stronger players knowing that he would have no problem with someone his size. He had to learn to shoot with a hand in his face. I never beat him in one of those one-on-one sessions. 

WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF LEBRON?

Larry Hughes: As a young player, Bron had a good thought process. He was going to listen and apply the things that made the most sense to him. I can remember LeBron having conversations with a number of teammates on the plane and in the locker room, whether it be veteran guys or guys who were just joining the team. He kept a clean perspective on how everybody saw the game. 

Scott Williams: He was always very strong, that’s for sure [Laughs] I remember early days in training camp, I prided myself on my defensive play. I only knew one way to play. I was often playing opposite LeBron during practice. One time he tried to drive down the middle of the lane and I stepped in front, off of my guy, to take a charge. I was clearly in position. He ran into me with a force that I had not felt in quite some time. My first thought was that I hope I didn’t hurt this kid. My next thought was that I hope this kid didn’t hurt me. 

Brendan Haywood: When I was in Dallas, LeBron was thinking about going to Miami. Before he went to the Heat, he was recruiting guys to come to Cleveland. I get a text from a number that I don’t know. It’s LeBron. He says: “What’s up, this is King James.” It was a little weird he called himself King James but I kept going. He told me he was trying to get guys to come to the Cavs. He said he knew that they could not give me what I was going to get in the market. But he wanted to know if I would be willing to take a pay cut to be a part of something special. I wouldn’t have taken a pay cut to play with the ’92 Bulls. Buddy, you’re making $100 million off the court! This is my last hurrah! I hadn’t made enough money in my career to take a pay cut and chase a championship. I’d played so many playoff series against him that I saw him as another player. If you play in the league, you look at guys a little differently. He was younger than I was. I looked at him like he was anybody else.

HOW DID MICHAEL JORDAN IMPACT WINNING FOR YOUR TEAM?

Scott Williams: I saw him MJ go from no championships to three. He had mellowed some. [Laughs] Not to say that on game day he didn’t have that smoldering beast side of him. But it wasn’t that all-encompassing thing where every time you were around this cat it was like in October 1990. I’d be curious, for the guys who played with him in Washington, what he was like when he was in practices. I don’t know if it was anything like he was when I was in training camp my rookie year.

Larry Hughes: MJ played in the triangle offense. His attention to detail was understanding angles at a high level. If he didn’t operate the triangle, the job didn’t get done. Bron is similar in his ability to remember and break down the plays. When he is able to see those things, whether it is at a timeout or at halftime, he is able to rely on the information that he downloaded to execute what is needed to happen. It is different based on where they were in their careers when I played with them.

Brendan Haywood: We were a team that based our whole offense around a 40-year-old, aging superstar and we were trying to make the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. At the time, I was thinking that I was just out there hooping. But as I got older, that may have been one of the dumbest ways to ever build a team. You should be featuring your young guys, letting them play, take their knocks and lumps and letting them develop.

HOW DID LEBRON IMPACT WINNING?

Brendan Haywood: The thing that they most have in common is that they impact winning. But they go about in totally different ways. That is why it’s so unfair that LeBron is always compared to Mike. He doesn’t play like Mike! He wasn’t trying to fully dominate like Mike! LeBron wants to play an overall floor game. Bron is more like Magic Johnson but with next-level athleticism. That allows him to do incredible things. LeBron wants to get the 8, 9, 10 assists. He wants to get the rebounds. He wants to get his 26, 27 points. He isn’t just worried about scoring, though. He’s not trying to destroy you. He’s not worried about how many buckets he gets.

Scott Williams: This was an odd year. 2020 sucks. Let’s just get it straight. But with the disjointed season, it threw a lot of the teams off of their games. That’s the thing about LeBron and his leadership. When it did start back, he was able to get his team re-energized and re-focused. The players on the floor have the biggest impact on how hard a team is going to play every night. The coaches will draw up the plays but if the guys aren’t locked on, let’s just face it, some of the execution is sloppy. When you have a stud like that who’s got that championship pedigree, and you have a thirsty young player in Anthony Davis who has yet to wear that ring, you can really get everybody on the same page.

WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU ARE ASKED ABOUT COMPARISONS?

Brendan Haywood: One of the more interesting things is that I had the GOAT conversation with LeBron. We were on the plane and I told him: “I love you, brother, but I have to go with Mike.” I told him my reasons. I’ve had this conversation with him face-to-face. Six rings. Six MVPs. The guy has had two different three-peats and has never been to a Game 7. He was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. I played with both of them and what LeBron has slowly but surely turned into from a confidence standpoint, MJ was that the first time he walked in the league. LeBron has gotten so much better at that. He has grown into a guy that close out games. Michael always had that ability. Michael always competed defensively. Both of those guys are incredible competitors. They do things differently. The biggest difference is that MJ is a cold-blooded killer. He is an assassin. LeBron is more respected and loved. He is loved by his teammates and he is respected by his opponents. So when we had the GOAT debate, LeBron was just kind of nodding his head. He didn’t really say much. Mike Miller and James Jones said some things on his behalf. I don’t think LeBron agreed with me. But at that point, he hadn’t beaten Golden State. He didn’t have the ring he just got with the Lakers.

Scott Williams: The thing that I hate the most is that comparisons are being drawn and I don’t care which way you stand on it. They are two absolutely phenomenal players and I hate when someone says that one is the GOAT and one isn’t. It’s almost like a knock on the one that you say is not the GOAT. I don’t really like to get into that game. I’ve been forced into that corner where I’ve had to make that choice a few times and I will say Michael is the greatest of all time, in my opinion, from being in the locker room with both of them. But I didn’t get LeBron at the top of his game. I got him when he was still developing. We’re not as close but I still consider LeBron a friend. As a basketball commentator and as a fan, obviously, I have followed LeBron. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all that LeBron has done and overcome.

Larry Hughes: LeBron had the same attention to detail that MJ had. He was focused on the things that happened before him and how he could enhance the game that was played before him. He was a student of the game. He understands how basketball players play and how they get their job done. The opportunity to have played with both of those guys was amazing. You see similarities in how they pay attention to detail. It’s film. It’s muscle memory. They had the ability to make adjustments based on what happened.

Source: HoopsHype

LA’s Crispiest Thai Fried Chicken – Family-Run Anajak Thai Approaching 40th Year Of Business

For almost forty years, family-run Anajak Thai has kept their lights on by serving thousands of the pad thais and green coconut curries that most Americans know to be Thai fare. But there’s a specialty dish from the Nakhon region in Southern Thailand that’s gotten the menu’s top marks, and that’s simply their crunchy, juicy Thai-style fried chicken. Sprinkled with shallots and served alongside sticky rice and sweet, spicy chili sauces, Anajak’s piping-hot crispy-skinned chicken brings us in for a closer look at what makes this dish such a fan favorite.

University of California (UC) system can no longer use ACT & SAT test results as a determinant for admissions, a superior court judge has ruled, handing a victory to students with disabilities

The University of California system can no longer use ACT and SAT tests as a determinant for admissions, a superior court judge has ruled, handing a victory to students with disabilities.

The “test optional” policy at most UC campuses affords privileged, non-disabled students a “second look” in admissions, said Brad Seligman, the Alameda County Superior Court Judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California on Tuesday.

At the same time, he said, a “second look” would be denied to less privileged students and students with disabilities who are unable to access the tests. Therefore, the conclusion is to do away with the tests all together.

The news comes months after the university system waived the standardized testing requirements until 2024, after its Board of Regents voted unanimously. A news release from May stated that if a new test hadn’t emerged by 2025, the system would eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students.

Source: USA Today

Uber and Lyft just avoided a shutdown. How they got here and what’s next

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The warnings are the result of California’s efforts to bring gig economy companies in compliance with state labor law — a clash that threatened to come to a head this week.

An emergency stay granted Thursday by a California appeals court temporarily defused the situation, allowing Uber and Lyft to continue operating under their current model for the time being. But unless a resolution is reached, millions of Californians who use Uber and Lyft to hail rides may yet find themselves forced to resort to other modes of transportation.

In early August, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered the companies to classify their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, building in a 10-day window for the companies to appeal the move. With that window closing Thursday night, Uber and Lyft had threatened to shut down services at midnight Thursday, saying they cannot transition their business models quickly enough. Lyft reiterated that threat in a blog post Thursday morning, saying: “This is not something we wanted to do.”

“Uber and Lyft are threatening to kill jobs in California. I believe the companies are trying to force us into a decision around giving them what they want, and that’s Prop. 22, which is to keep denying us basic labor protections and benefits we have earned,” said Cherri Murphy, a ride-hailing company driver for about three years. An Oakland resident, Murphy is also an organizer with labor groups Gig Workers Rising and Rideshare Drivers United, which have fought to win protections for drivers.

Uber pushed back on this assessment, saying many drivers prefer to remain independent contractors. “The vast majority of drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under California law. When over 3 million Californians are without a job, our elected leaders should be focused on creating work, not trying to shut down an entire industry during an economic depression,” Uber spokesman Davis White said in a statement.

“Fortunately, California voters can make their voices heard by voting yes on Prop. 22 in November,” Zimmer said, and if passed, the measure “would protect driver independence and flexibility, while providing historic new benefits and protections.”

San Francisco’s district attorney sued food delivery app DoorDash in June, alleging worker misclassification. Uber said it anticipates a similar fight on this front.

Source: LA Times

Tim Hardaway & Charles Oakley React to 60% of NBA Players Going Broke

In this clip, Charles Oakley and Tim Hardaway reacted to statistics that NBA players typically go broke within 5 years after leaving the league. Charles stated that he wasn’t sure about players going broke around that time, and he went on to speak about the various businesses that he’s started over the years. He also warned players against trusting their agents completely to look after their money. Tim then went to speak about the “Dream Dribble” product that he’s been working on, and you can watch the ad above.