Estefania Zavala

tamaleexpertWhen I arrived at Northgate Gonzalez market and was immediately handed a free apron that read I ❤️ Tamales and several blobs of uncooked masa, I knew immediately I had made the right decision for a Friday night.

Even my mother, who invited herself along after her favorite novela was cancelled due to soccer, looked grudgingly impressed. She’d spent the entire ride complaining  she did not need tamales-cooking classes because she was a world-class tamales expert.

Let me be clear: In all the years I’ve been alive, my mother has never produced a single tamal.

Instead, she criticizes everyone else’s tamales. [Mas…]

tacohatYou roll up to your tio’s carne asada ready to down some truly inhuman amount of your tia’s arroz rojo when suddenly, you realize that your uncle has traded in his authentic sombrero for a weird plaid fedora.

What will you do? WHAT WILL YOU DO?

First of all, don’t be scared. Just choose one or more options from the list below:

  • el brinca brincaToss the fedora into the bouncy house and watch 17 of your little cousins gleefully smash it to death. No one can stop el brinca brinca. No one.

  • [Mas…]

    Three hours into Selena night at the Regent in downtown Los Angeles, Bidi Bidi Bom Bom starts playing.

    I feel this deep, animal sense of belonging.

    This is my song and I need to be on stage. I claw my way up to the stage and slip in a puddle of what is maybe human sweat.

    The hands of my fellow Selena enthusiasts pull me up.

    We do what we came here to do: we dance. [Mas…]

    kellyo“If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilets, Donald Trump?”

    Uh. Yikes. Yikes yikes yikes.

    By now you’re probably familiar with our latest racist media frenzy centered on remarks Kelly Osbourne made on The View, a response to the incredibly racist Donald Trump.

    But she sounded just as racist. [Mas…]

    primos“Wow, it’s so cool you can speak Spanish,” people tell me after they hear me on the phone with my mom.

    I say thanks and try to shrug it off, but I worry that letting them think that gives a mistaken impression.

    I mean, yes. I can speak Spanish.

    My parents taught me Spanish when I was growing up in California because it was the only language they had to give.

    Like a lot of children of immigrants, I grew up in a Mexican immigrant bubble – my tias and tios spoke only Spanish. My baby primos spoke Spanish with me when we watched Plaza Sesamo and ate conchitas. [Mas…]

    They may not be the heroes that Ecuador needs or deserves but they sure do get pissed off when you don’t know where a comma goes.

    Since January, vigilantes in Quito, Ecuador have been correcting mistakes in the city’s graffiti.

    These guerillas use stencils cut from pizza boxes to add commas, question marks and, ah yes, even accent marks to imperfect street art around town.

    The members of Acción Ortográfica Quito take their pseudonyms (or superhero names) from punctuation marks: Diéresis, Tilde and Coma.

    Diéresis, a 30-year-old lawyer/vigilante, told The Guardian in an interview, “Grammatical errors cause stress. We only make texts comprehensible that otherwise would not send any message whatsoever.” [Mas…]

    Area executive thinks about delicious lunch torta all day long

    by Estefania Zavala July 28, 2015 El Now
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    (PNS reporting from LAREDO) District III Regional Supervisor Pablo Gutierrez, 35, could not wait for yesterday’s pinche lunch break to begin so he could buy a firme torta at Joaquin’s Lonchera. “Tortas were all I could think about,” the middle management exec told PNS Monday evening. “I mean, when Andy from Financing handed me all those reports, I […]

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    No justice, no peas? Eight excellent ways to rock the guac

    by Estefania Zavala July 10, 2015 Cultura
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    Go for it! Actually try that loco New York Times pea guacamole recipe that has been dividing the nation. Worst case scenario, it’s guácala but you can call your mama and brag to her that you ate an entire vegetable. Maybe she’ll make you some real guacamole as a reward! Got a fierce sweet tooth? […]

    [Mas…]

    Paletas y Racismo: I was a teenage paletero – in Georgia

    by Estefania Zavala July 7, 2015 Cultura
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    After we published our shocking story about a missing El Paso paletero, a real-life former ice cream man reached out to POCHO on Facebook. Jonathan Omar Ramirez (Facebook profile pic, right) had been a teenage paletero, he said. We asked him for his story: POCHO: So what led you to become a paletero? Well my […]

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    Area kids have the sad because where is the Paletero Man?

    by Estefania Zavala June 25, 2015 El Now
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    (PNS reporting from EL PASO) The Montezuma Street kids met Tuesday evening, at “their tree,” the oak next to Mrs. Moreno’s house. It was still light out on the longest day of the year, and they could have kept on bike riding, but they needed an answer, and they needed it quick. Where, everyone wanted to […]

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    Abuela with iPad terrorizes area family via Facebook

    by Estefania Zavala June 12, 2015 Cultura
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    (PNS reporting from CHICAGO) Rigoberto “Rigo” Chavez, 15, cringed in horror when he logged into Facebook Thursday morning and received a notification that his abuelita had once again commented on his status. The high school junior had posted a status that read “$waaaag$” and Abuelita replied in ALL CAPS: CACHORRITO ERES LA LUZ DE MI VIDA. […]

    [Mas…]

    Local girl crumbles under stress of learning cousins’ names

    by Estefania Zavala June 8, 2015 El Now
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    (PNS reporting from EL MONTE) The pressure was too much for Marisol Cruz, a fourth grader at Fernando Valenzuela Elementary, who collapsed on the playground Friday afternoon. Friends said Marisol was a total stressball since her mother told her to memorize all of her cousins’ names before her upcoming primera comunión fiesta. “I have like […]

    [Mas…]

    BREAKING: Chipotle burrito confuses elderly Mexican man

    by Estefania Zavala June 3, 2015 El Now
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    (PNS reporting from SACRAMENTO) Felipe Alvarez, 67, bit his tongue Tuesday afternoon. The North Sacramento resident bit his tongue when his godson Tommy Alvarez (no relation) handed him a gold-foil-wrapped burrito from the trendy Chipotle Mexican Grill on Truxel Road. The metal-wrapped mystery meal, however, never made it to his mouth. Don Felipe (photo) could […]

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    Scientist’s quest to reproduce abuela’s mole recipe ends in failure

    by Estefania Zavala June 1, 2015 Cultura
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    (PNS reporting from RIVERSIDE) After a decade-long quest to duplicate his Oaxacan abuela’s mole poblano recipe, UC Riverside food scientist Miguel Jimenez, 33, declared defeat Sunday. Microbiologist Jimenez had hoped to identify the ingredients in the mysterious chocolate chile sauce his abuela puts on chicken. “She won’t give anyone the recipe!” said Jimenez, as he […]

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    Angry area youth calls menudo ‘yucky,’ demands pizza

    by ESTEFANIA ZAVALA May 18, 2015 Cultura
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    (PNS reporting from ALTADENA) Javier “Flaco” Hernandez outraged his family Sunday night when he refused to eat his bowl of menudo. “It’s yucky!” the 8-year-old shouted as he repeatedly banged his spoon on the dinner table and insisted on pizza instead. Flaco’s refusal ticked off his mom, who had spent hours preparing the beef stomach broth […]

    [Mas…]

    The plastic yellow car, a (true?) story

    by ESTEFANIA ZAVALA May 15, 2015 Cultura
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    “Okay, podemos ir a caminar pero si te cansas, es tu problema. No cargo bebes,” Lina says meanly to her four-year-old cousin. “I’m not a baby!” says Teresita predictably but then insists on bringing her large plastic car, a hideous yellow contraption with giant painted eyeballs instead of headlights. Teresita gets in the toy car […]

    [Mas…]