E10: Mexican Food Is Already Elevated (w/ Abel Hernandez and Jaime Soltero)

For our tenth(!) episode, we talked with Abel Hernandez and Jaime Soltero. They are, respectively, the head chef and owner of Tamale Boy in Portland, Oregon. 

We learned a lot about the diversity and complexity of Mexican food, even as it is often pigeonholed into "cheap ethnic food" or only tacos and burritos. Abel and Jaime also shared their stories about starting their restaurant, designing the space, and making dishes that broke stereotypes about Mexican cuisine. Finally, the two of them dropped some serious knowledge about the history of the tamale, and its close link with indigenous cultures in Mexico.


Listen via RSS | iTunes | Stitcher


[theme music] 

SOLEIL HO: Welcome to Racist Sandwich, the podcast about food, race, class, and gender. I'm Soleil Ho. 

ZAHIR JANMOHAMED: And I'm Zahir Janmohamed. Today, we're super excited to welcome Abel Hernandez and Jaime Soltero from Tamale Boy. It's over in the Woodlands area. Am I correct? 


ZAHIR: Woodlawn area in the Northeast. And if I'm correct, they're also opening a second location soon, right, in the Southeast? 

JAIME: Yes, that's correct. On about 7th and 8th and Russell: 668 N Russell Street. 

ZAHIR: One of the reasons why I really wanted to have them on aside from the fact that I love the food, it's very vegetarian friendly, it's affordable, but also, I think Chef Abel is really pushing Mexican food in new ways. I think he's challenging our ideas about what is Mexican food. I think he's experimenting with new ingredients and new styles of cuisine. He's a classically-trained chef, and the restaurant is also gorgeous. It's a really gorgeous space, has beautiful artwork, beautiful menu design, wonderful staff. So, it's such an honor to have you guys. Thank you so much. 


JAIME: Well, thank you. Thank you for having us on. 

ZAHIR: So, Chef Abel, you mentioned last week that when you started learning to cook in Mexico City, you started learning French food. You were learning how to cook French. So, for listeners who may not know about cooking schools in Mexico, is that very common for people to start by learning French cuisine? 

ABEL: Yeah. [chuckles] Also, in the culinary school in Mexico, the base to learn about food, about to cook is French. It's about French techniques. And I don't know if it's around the world, but in Mexico, all the culinary schools start with the French food. It's like the base, the food. So, I learned first to learn how to make a mole. I learned how to make a Béchamel, Hollandaise sauce, different sauce from French, yeah. It was my first experience was with French food. 

ZAHIR: You know, Chef Abel, you mentioned that when you started learning how to cook in Mexico City, you were surprised by the things that you learned about Mexican food. So, you were born and raised in Veracruz, but what were some of the things that surprised you about the different regional cuisines of Mexico that you were learning?  

ABEL: Yeah, the first thing when I learned how to make a mole, yeah, I was surprised: Many different ingredients, many different techniques included in one mole. And I really was surprised because we take two or three days to start prepare all about mole. So, the technique to make mole take days to pick up the different ingredients and mix it off, then burn some chilies. Yeah, it's all about technique. I was surprised and said, oh, wow. It's very interesting because it's not just the technique. It's all the history behind these ingredients. 

SOLEIL: Right. Isn't it true that a lot of families have their own moles, right, a lot of different techniques that are passed down through the generations? And that's the stuff you don't really learn in school. 

ABEL: Mmhmm. Yeah, if you visit Oaxaca, Oaxaca is all about moles, different moles. Every different town, is different mole and different interpretation of that mole. So, it's beautiful. 

ZAHIR: My parents always make the comparison between Indian food and Mexican food. 

ABEL: Yeah, always. 

ZAHIR: Because people always speak in the United States about, "Oh, let's go out for Indian food." But that doesn't really mean anything to me because India has 1.2 billion people. So, what region of India? Generally, we think of Indian food as being Punjabi food, which is curries and naans and stuff. But if you go to some places, you'll never see curries on the menu. You can't get naan. You can't get rice in certain parts. And so, I wonder, that regional cuisine, a lot of Indians themselves don't know it. So, you mentioned that sometimes customers come in, second-generation Mexicans, and they're just like, "What's going on? This isn't Mexican food?" 

ABEL: [laughs] Yeah. 

ZAHIR: Do you hear that often, where you're sort of also informing Mexicans and Mexican Americans about their own cuisine? 

ABEL: Yeah, always. When they go to the restaurant, always they say, "Oh, what is this food from?" 

JAIME: Yeah, "What region is it from?" 

ABEL: "What's the region [laughs] this food?" 

JAIME: It's from my region: PDX. 

ALL: [laugh] 

ABEL: Yeah, because we work first in authentic Mexican food is the first step. And torta ahogada and different plates, different enchiladas from different parts in Mexico. So, they said, "Oh, I think just one enchilada with cheese on top." But no, it's different ways to make enchiladas, different sauce, yeah. Mmhmm. 

JAIME: Yeah, basically, the concept is there's so much variety and so much history behind every plate. So, we try to, there's enchiladas that are traditional to Mexico City. There's ones that are San Luis Potosi. There's enchiladas that are traditional to Veracruz style, all these different variations. And then we kind of mix it up and throw a little fun and throw some of our past or what we like. I think with a lot of this stuff up here that we have an advantage of us that we have so many awesome ingredients too to mix in there as well. So, it's kind of a--I hate the word "fusion" or all that other stuff like mixing--but it really is. Cooking is kind of that. But we just, our main thing is staying true to the history behind it, that it has meaning, and it has the techniques, which Abel is awesome at knowing all of that. So, we incorporate all that history and that feeling towards our dishes. 

ZAHIR: So, Jaime, we've heard a lot from Chef Abel. Can you tell us a little about your own background with food? I heard from Lee that your parents own a restaurant. What is your relationship to food, and how did you get interested in running a restaurant? 

JAIME: Well, [laughs] I was kinda forced. Not forced, but I kinda grew up in the restaurant industry. Like I said, I was born in LA. My dad got the opportunity to move up to Seattle. So, my dad started as a dishwasher. You know, we all started from the ground up. Yeah, my parents, they started with The Aztecas, and then they came down. By that time, my dad became a chef, and then he was a manager, and so, they gave him a place. That's how we ended up here in Portland is my dad was kind of figuring out where could we go open up a restaurant. And so, we came down to Portland, and we started, like I said, with The Aztecas. And then my parents branched off, got their own place called La Costita. When I met Abel, it was through, actually, I went down to Guadalajara. I was down there, and I was like, I'm just gonna find an instructor to come up here and teach us how to do all this stuff. 

ABEL: [chuckles] 

JAIME: So, yeah, one thing led to another. I ended up going to a school. I asked the one who taught Mexican cuisine if I can get a hold of him, and we communicated via email. I said, "Hey, why don't you come up for a week? Take a look at the place. I'll show you around, show you the style of Mexican food that's here in Portland. And then you can kinda, we can collaborate and teach, and you can teach us some things." So, that's kind of how we ended up hooking up, and then one thing led to another. We decided to go into business together and create Tamale Boy. 

During that time, both Abel and I, I think we created like five or six different concepts, all Mexican food, like three or four menus. And it was all inspired by the history of teaching everybody about Mexican cuisine. And so, we first came out with our name that we wanted to represent that was Mayahuel, which is the goddess of food and nutrition in Aztec and Mayan culture. But even like, well, nobody could ever remember Mayahuel. They could never pronounce it. Even my tías and my uncles were, "Maya who? Maya what?" 

ZAHIR: [laughs] 

JAIME: They didn't get it. Then didn't even. And then themselves, which surprised me, they didn't know all that history. I was learning all this stuff through Abel and knowing a lot more of the history of our culture than even the people in Mexico living there. I would ask these questions, and sometimes they'd be taken aback, like, "I don't understand it. I don't get it." [laughs] 

SOLEIL: Uh-oh. 

ABEL: [laughs] 

JAIME: So, it was really cool. It was a really fun time, but again, that name didn't stick. So, one day I was doing an event, and tamales were a part of our representation in our menu. I had this lady just go--it was a group--and they were like, "Oh, it's the tamale boy." And I just kinda was like, you know, tamale boy. OK. And then I just looked it up. I looked it up online, see if it was available, and it was there. So, I bought the domain, and then I was talking to my friend. She totally was like, "Man, why don't you do some tamales, and we'll brand it, and we'll do all that." And I said, "OK. Well, that might be a good idea. I can trick out the van a little bit, modify it, get it to where it needs to be." You know, little by little, just on the days that I wasn't busy, I would take tamales, and I'd just post up at a corner and try to sell and get my name out there and live and learn. Did a bunch of different types of events, a lot of free ones. [laughs] A lotta lotta free ones. But yeah, one thing led to another. 

ZAHIR: Sorry. A lot of free ones meaning like you gave the food out? 

JAIME: Yeah. You know, the people always asking, "Oh, I need food for this or donation for this." And it's exposure, you know. Like, "OK, I'll do it." I'm not gonna get paid, but at least the people will start recognizing, really knowing. 

ZAHIR: Really? I didn't know that. 

SOLEIL: Yeah, it's all part of the hustle, man. 

ALL: [chuckle] 

SOLEIL: It's like business cards, right? 

JAIME: Uh-huh. Yeah. 

ZAHIR: So, Jaime, when you started serving your tamales, did people ever come to you--whether they were white or Mexican, regardless--saying, "Oh, this isn't authentic Mexican food?" Did you ever hear that? 

JAIME: No, actually most of the time they were kind of surprised. I mean, I think they were just like, "Oh, my gosh! This is the best tamale I've ever had." Or, "These are the best beans I've ever tasted." And it was simple. And then there was another learning curve for me and Abel. I think we wanted to take Mexican cuisine to another level, like fancy it up, dress it up even more, and we got it to a point where it was so complicated that it just wasn't working. And in the end, the taco and the tamal or the beans and rice were what did it, you know. It's just like simple, keep it straight. Soul food, right? Mexican soul food. 

SOLEIL: So, yeah, it's really interesting how it comes back to the tamale, right? Because it's such a stubborn, indigenous, Indio food, right? 

ABEL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

JAIME: Yeah, it is the oldest dish that the Aztecs and Mayans created, yeah. 

SOLEIL: So, it's great that's the symbol of the cart. 'Cause in the end, it keeps you humble, right? [laughs] 

ABEL: Yeah. 

JAIME: Exactly. Yeah, that's it. 

ZAHIR: What do you mean, keeps it humble? I don't understand. Sorry. 

SOLEIL: So, the history of the tamale is really interesting. You can talk way more about it than I can, I think, but my general impression is that the Spaniards really tried to eliminate the corn-based diet, tamales from the Mexican diet because it was an indigenous food. 

JAIME: [laughs] 

ABEL: Yeah, the tamales-- 

JAIME: He's a historian. 

ALL: [laugh] 

ZAHIR: I didn't know that. 

ABEL: The tamal is the most important, more important than tortilla in the history of Mexico. The tamal is the base, the food. We have tamales for every season, for celebrate when you cuando siembras y cuando cosechas. 

JAIME: When you harvest, and when you, yeah. [laughs] When you plant seed. 

ABEL: Yeah, for the waiting, for all the celebrations. When Day of Dead, we have different tamales, different sizes the tamales. The small one and tamales like-- 

JAIME: Like a pan, called a zacahuil, which huge, the biggest tamal. 

ABEL: Yeah, that's the most bigger tamal for 40 or 60 people to celebrate in communities. 

ZAHIR: Wow. 

JAIME: Mmhmm. 

ABEL: Yeah, the tamal is the most important and the symbol of Mexican food, yeah. When the Spanish come in, and they want take out all about corn and the symbol corn because-- 

JAIME: Because the goddess of corn too, which is-- Cual es, Tonantzin? 

ABEL: Tonantzin, yeah. 

JAIME: Tonantzin is the goddess of corn. So, they praised these gods, and so they were trying to eliminate all that, convert them. 

SOLEIL: They wanted to bring Jesus and flour, right? 

JAIME: Jesus, yes. 

ALL: [laugh] 

ZAHIR: So, Chef Abel, you'd been working at these famous schools in Mexico and teaching students. So, when you started working in Portland and starting with the catering and the food truck, what was it like just as a chef in terms of technique and style? How was it making that transition to being in a cooking school to working in a food truck and then the catering? 

ABEL: Yeah, it was a different way to see the food. Because in Mexico, you think working like a chef, working at restaurant is just like in fancy restaurants and with the perfect plates. And I see in Portland, everybody loves the food, no matters the way to put the plate. It's most important is the flavor and the produce, where did they come from. And so, I change my way to see the food here in Portland, yeah. I see the tamal, the most important is the flavor. The way to cook is not as important as the way like you put it in the plate. So, but I try to combinate that way to see the food here. 

SOLEIL: So, that kinda speaks to the transition between the food cart and a restaurant, right, an actual full-service restaurant. So, how was it adapting the aesthetic for both different places? 

JAIME: Hmm. That's a good question. 

ABEL: [chuckles] 

JAIME: The aesthetic as far as plating? 

ZAHIR: Mmhmm. The aesthetic like the plating, just how you present it. 

JAIME: I think in the food cart, obviously, you're limited to what you can, you're very limited as far as space and everything. So, I think that's the main reason to both focus on flavor, but yeah, you can be a little bit more decorative when it comes out. And you got more hands in a restaurant. So, yeah. 

ABEL: So, that transition when we work in the food truck, and all the most important is the flavor of the food, yeah, and fast. 

JAIME: And fast. [laughs] 

ABEL: But then in the restaurant, I think the skills about food and work in restaurants, we putting together, saying, OK, we try to do the same in the food truck in the restaurant. [Continues answering in Spanish, then translated by Jaime.] 

JAIME: So, with our experience, and with everybody's kind of knowledge of being in that restaurant industry, I think we all kinda contribute and are able to put a little bit more detailed work into the presentation and how we show the food off. Yeah. 

SOLEIL: Yeah, I would think transitioning would be almost like being able to stretch your arms out. 

JAIME: Exactly! Yeah, yeah, yeah. [laughs] 

SOLEIL: I have a whole plate to put my food on. That's great. 

ZAHIR: Can I talk a little bit about your space, the Tamale Boy restaurant? First of all, you have a beautiful patio, and you have a beautiful mural on the wall of the, say that again-- 

JAIME: The Mayahuel. We got Mayahuel, Tonantzin, and Coatlicue. 

ZAHIR: Yeah, it's a beautiful mural, but what I also noticed was what was absent. You don't see sombreros. You don't see piñatas. 

ALL: [laugh] 

ZAHIR: You don't see, like, you know? And it's funny how these are signifiers just like you go to an Indian restaurant, and you see like an elephant or a man in a turban in the window, you know? So, it's like, oh, that's an Indian restaurant as if people can't tell. 

JAIME: Yeah, yeah. 

ZAHIR: So, you don't see those things. You joked that in Mexico City, you'd never see a restaurant in Mexico City with a sombrero or a piñata or something. 

JAIME: Mmhmm. 

ZAHIR: Was that an intentional thing in terms of the design of the restaurant, not having those things? 

JAIME: No, I think not having those things, that's just like, yeah, like you were saying, it's just not part of us. It's something that was created that's more for white people here. And I feel like it's our fault too. We were just discussing about the zebra in Tijuana that's painted. It's a donkey, and it says zebra, and how we did an event here, and they had one of those here. It's kind of like, one person found it super offending. I'm just like well, you know, I get it. It is offending, but we also contributed to that. And this is business. They're a paying customer. I'm not gonna [laugh] freak out over it. But there's a point to that. I mean, there's a lot of different scenarios and stuff that we can discuss and go even more beyond that. But no, for us, it was just trying to get the representation up there of the goddesses and doing it with a style with a guy who has this super talent, LA artist who does a lot of murals and grafittis and actually was a really good friend of my wife's in college. And so, I called him up. 

ZAHIR: This is Steve Lopez, right? 

JAIME: Steven Lopez. And I just told him the idea of what we wanted, and he had a really good time with it 'cause he hadn't been doing that kind of artwork in a while. But yeah, for us, it was just what we are now and our interpretation of it. 

SOLEIL: In Portland, I've seen this really funny binary in restaurant interior where it's very spare, right, with exposed brick, light bulbs and that whole thing. And then you have the very overwhelmingly ethnic aesthetic, right? 

ZAHIR: [laughs] 

JAIME: Uh-huh, OK. 

SOLEIL: Some places, they have the vinyl table coverings with all the flowers and a lot of brick-a-brack. 

ZAHIR: Magic carpet ride. 

ABEL and JAIME: [laugh] 

SOLEIL: Yeah. So, it sounds like you've really straddled that line in a very creative way. It's very individual, but it's not overwhelmingly, I don't know. 

ZAHIR: I grew up in California, and some of the Mexican restaurants I go to here, some of them look like they're these cartoon images, I'm thinking, has anyone been to Mexico here? You know what I mean? 

JAIME: Yeah, yeah, exactly. [chuckles] 

ZAHIR: And for me it particularly hurts when I walk in certain streets of Portland. I live in the Southeast where you don't see too many Mexicans around. You don't see any Mexican customers. So, I think this is weird. The chefs are all white, and this decor. And I grew up with Mexican and Mexican Americans. And I feel like there's this reducing Mexican culture to these cartoons. 

ABEL: Mmhmm. 

JAIME: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

ZAHIR: And it's one of thing if you're gonna have a Chivas jersey, and you have all these fun things. But this is just like a sombrero. 

JAIME: Yeah. 

ZAHIR: And what is that? Just like I don't like it when I see Middle Eastern food just reduced to magic carpets and stuff. That's not. 

ALL: [laugh] 

ZAHIR: I've been to the Middle East. I feel like, especially right now, we need to give people more complexity. 'Cause when I went to Mexico City or Guadalajara, I was blown away by the complexity of the food and the music and the literature and the art. And you come here, and it's like, oh, sombrero! And it's like a funny person dancing. That kinda makes me sad. 

JAIME: Yeah, I think that we're just big on stereotypes, and so we use those all throughout. And again, even certain Mexican restaurants that I know of, I'm like, you guys are just still perpetuating. You bring in the Mexican curios is what I call the little artists and stuff. It's for white people for their entertainment, but we're also using it too in our establishments. So, there's a double-edged sword there with [laughing] how you promote it. But for us, I think we just stay true to what we wanted to do and did our interpretation of it. Like I told Steven Lopez, "You have a certain style of artwork and what you do. Just incorporate whatever you wanna do, but throw that history behind it." And that's what sprouted out of it. 

ZAHIR: Talk about the food? 

SOLEIL: Yeah! 

JAIME: [laughs] You wanna talk about the decor. 

ZAHIR: I wanna talk about the food, yeah. It's funny 'cause she's the chef, and she never wants to talk about the food. I always want to. 

SOLEIL: [laughs] 

ZAHIR: I'm obsessed with food, and I'm obsessed with your food in particular. 

ABEL and JAIME: [chuckle] 

SOLEIL: Well, OK, you mentioned earlier in our conversation that you wanted to take Mexican food to the next level. So, can you talk more about what that means? What is the next level? 

ABEL: Yeah. The next level, I think, is stop with the stereotypes and try to be us or way to see the food. You can see in the plates, it's like Portland is in the plate too with the different veggies, Brussel sprouts-- 

JAIME: And cauliflower. [laughs] 

ABEL: Yeah, cauliflowers. 

ZAHIR: You have such complexity in your food because when we interview a lot of chefs, they talk about how the cost of food is getting more expensive. But then also, people have this sense that they want to eat "ethnic food," but it should be cheap. 

JAIME: Yes, yes. 

ZAHIR: They like these dives, you know? But why shouldn't we spend $50-60 for let's say, a Lebanese meal or a Mexican meal, for example? This is so beautifully plated and all these colors and all the flavors and the textures and the different. 

JAIME: Yeah, I think for price point-wise, that's a very, very good point, and that's something that we've always struggled with as far as our food. We need to elevate-- Our food's already elevated. It's just why is it that everybody thinks that Mexican food or all ethnic food in general is cheap? And that's kind of a huge struggle. So, a mole, that dish right there-- 

ZAHIR: So, this is a mole jamaica con tamale de anise? 

JAIME: De anise. It's a very complex dish. Good job! 

ALL: [laugh] 

JAIME: It's a very complex dish. For us, the price point was just to be more attainable for every wallet, but it is true: We still have taco trucks serving dollar tacos. Do you know how much-- You can't-- I don't see how-- 

ZAHIR: How do you make money? 

JAIME: Yeah, how do you even do that? So, yeah. That's a very big comment on the perception of our food. And I think originally, we wanted to just give it a different aesthetic look and be able to raise that price point. That was kind of our thought: If we present it in a different way, it will be looked at in a different way. And actually, with our catering company, a lot of the times when we would go, they'd be like, "This isn't Mexican food. What kind of food is it?" Well, no, this is Mexican food. But because we presented it differently and gave it a different visual, they just totally were blown away from it. 

ABEL: Mmhmm. 

ZAHIR: Yeah, I texted this photo to my mom, and she was like, "That looks amazing!" I said, "It's Mexican food." She was like, you know. They just assume it's like an enchilada with a little Mexican flag on it. 

ALL: [laugh] 

JAIME: Exactly. 

SOLEIL: I know! In the industry, we have this joke: If you turn the food maybe 45 degrees, you can add $5 to the price. 

ALL: [laughs] 

JAIME: That's very true. 

SOLEIL: I don't know what it is about that, but it's so much about appearance. 

Can you talk more about dishes on your menu that sort of exemplify what you're trying to do? 

ABEL: Yeah. With the moles, we try to put it every season one different mole from Mexico, traditional mole and put in our interpretation. But every season, we try to, the people knows it's no one mole in Mexico, not just mole poblano or mole negro. We have different moles, many different moles. So, we put in every season one different mole, vegan. We are in Portland. 

ALL: [laugh] 

ABEL: And put in different-- 

JAIME: Elements. Like the tamal, this one's-- 

ABEL: Anise seed tamal. 

JAIME: Yeah, like a tamale or maybe even a protein or highlight a certain vegetable. 

ZAHIR: And you mention like in this dish right here, you said that some of this has your French influence. You said like the sauce, because there was a sweetness to this dish. 

ABEL: Yeah, because the base is a French technique. The name is gastrique. Gastrique is when you have something sour like a orange or berries, you make first a caramel, then add wine, and the base berries. Or in this case, it's hibiscus. And you add it, and you have one base, the sauce, and we added our own mole, put in and mixed together with that base, the gastrique French sauce. 

SOLEIL: So, this kind of segues into my other question about educating the consumers, which ties into the price-point question, also. Has it been satisfying, challenging educating consumers to see this as Mexican food and come away satisfied? 

ABEL: Yeah, the peoples, everybody said, we have one example is the guacamole, the molcajete. We put in the molcajete, the traditional ways, the mortar to make guacamole traditional. We made on the side, and the people can see how make it. When we start to make in the molcajete the guacamole, we explain what is the molcajete, what is this mortar, why have three--tres partas. 

JAIME: Why it has the-- 

ABEL: The three bases. 

JAIME: --all the symbolism, the three bases, the foots. 

ABEL: The bases. The three bases means all the recipe, everything to use for cook have three bases always in Mexico. That means home. The number three is home. 

JAIME: Home, OK. 

ABEL: Yeah. And we explain, and the people, many people said, "Oh, I don't know about this." But many people is so exciting to know about why the name guacamole. Mole is the mix, and guac is avocado. Yeah, so, when the people understand that, they said, "Oh." And they came back with us and make different questions about our produce. 

JAIME: Yeah, so, I think it's been rough. It's been a struggle in some cases, but a lot of people that really, truly are interested in it, they definitely seek out. 

SOLEIL: So, I guess our final question would be what do you want Portlanders to understand more about Mexican food? 

ABEL: I think our goal is the people in Portland [finishes sentence in Spanish]. We are in the stereotyped food. Mexican food always think Mexican food is cheap. It's a little rice, beans, and cheese and a lot of corn and chips. But my goal is, our goal is, the people, when they think in Mexico, Mexican food, they think in Mexican culinary food, all about the Mexican gastronomy and diversity in the Mexican food. I think it's our goal and things in the culture the Mexican food represent. Yeah. 

JAIME: Yeah, to elaborate on that a little bit is just yeah, stating to the fact that Mexican food is not your typical burrito, rice, and beans and what we normally see in taquerias. Which is all really good food, and it's the staples and basics. But it's just like there's so much. There's a vast diversity, and that's all we kinda want that to represent. But also, not only for Mexico but also the Mexican Americans that are up here that we long for tasting things of the past that we can remember and knowing our roots. And I think that's with all cultures. There's a little dividiveness, I think. I always kinda was intrigued when I was down in Mexico. Here I am, a Mexican American going down there, and the Mexicans that are there, they don't appreciate what they have. I think it's when you're outside of the country, and you have that longing for that. So, yeah, I think one of the things that Abel, when he'd come up here, he's like, "Oh, my gosh. You guys are really interested. I can't even teach my kids that are down here. They wanna go travel to France and Paris and Spain, and here you guys are wanting this. So, I think I can make a difference in teaching everybody up here the roots, or at least it's appreciated." And Portland seems like it's a very appreciative town because we just have such a vast variety. And now I'm excited because there's so many, now there's tons of little options of Mexican food that are very diverse that are getting more and more diverse. It's not the same thing all around, and I think that's happening for, I notice that for the Asian community. There's just little specific niches here and there, and then the Indian community. Everybody. They're just starting to really hone in of their specific locations of where they come from. 


ZAHIR: Well, thank you guys so much. If you can tell us a little bit more about where to find you, like a website, Twitter. 

JAIME: Yeah, well, TamaleBoy.com. [laughs] TamaleBoy.com: All of our stuff is on our website, and we're on NE 18th and Dekum for our restaurant. And we kinda travel all over with the food cart, mostly events and private events. And then our new place on 668 N Russel, which we're collaborating with a brewery. Which it's called Laboratory, and they're doing experimental beers, is it six kegs at a time? And we get to play around with a lotta different beers and combine it with Mexican food, which is gonna be very exciting for us. 

ZAHIR: Good luck with that. Thank you guys so much. 

JAIME: Thank you. 

ABEL: Thank you. 

SOLEIL: Thank you. 

JAIME: Appreciate it. 

ZAHIR: That was awesome. 

SOLEIL: Thank you for listening to Racist Sandwich. 

If you like the show, please tell your friends about it, and send us any feedback you have. We're on Facebook and Twitter @RaceandFood and racistsandwichpodcast@gmail.com. Our website is www.RacistSandwich.com 

ZAHIR: Our music is by AF THE NAYSAYER and Blue.Sessions. 

SOLEIL: Jen Tam designed our logo. You can find more of her work at www.JenTam.com. 

Our show was recorded at KBOO Community Radio in SE Portland and produced by Alan Montecillo. 

ZAHIR: That's it. Thanks for joining us. See ya in two weeks. 

Transcribed by Storyminders