Gustavo Arellano

Gustavo Arellano is author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, a features writer for the Los Angeles Times, and has been an essayist and reporter for various publications and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He was formerly editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, and penned the award-winning “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answered any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. Gustavo is the recipient of awards ranging from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Best Columnist to the Los Angeles Press Club President's Award to an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his “exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic.” Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy.

Members of the norteño band Los Tigres del Norte walk the grounds of Folsom State Prison in April 2018. Their concert there is the subject of a Netflix documentary, Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison, and was recorded for a live album of the same name.

Folsom Prison Blues (Again)

Los Tigres del Norte—the first Latin act to perform at the notorious state penitentiary—reprise Johnny Cash’s 1968 visit, releasing a documentary and a live album packed with political meaning.

A black headstone marks the grave of Juan Peña Diaz, an undocumented worker from Mexico who was killed by Anaheim police in 1953.

The Tomb of the Unknown ‘Wetback’

Gustavo Arellano discovers a long-forgotten grave in Orange County—and the secrets it keeps.

Javier van Oordt cultivates ají chiles in his backyard garden.

Hot Pepper Advocate

An Orange County lawyer grows Peru’s beloved ají amarillo for big-name chefs and home cooks alike.

Sarah Rafael Garcia’s LibroMobile bookstore has evolved from its original home on a planter cart into a location in a storage unit in downtown Santa Ana. The store specializes in Spanish-language and Latin American literature and history books.

A Novel Bookstore Settles Down

Community and culture combine at Santa Ana’s LibroMobile.

UC Irvine professor Simon Penny is building a replica of a proa, a Micronesian outrigger boat, to demonstrate the sophistication of Micronesian boatbuilding and seafaring.

All Hands on Deck for Boat Building

UC Irvine professor and students build a 30-feet Micronesian boat once used by Pacific Islanders

fast food restaurant In-N-Out Burger is located in five states.

In-N-Out is So So-So

Admit it. The beef is unremarkable, the buns are wan, and the tomatoes don’t taste like tomatoes. Lettuce is the only good part of these burgers

Muslim customers line up and chow down at a Taco Trucks at Every Mosque event at the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove, illustrating the increasing ethnic diversity and mix in Orange County.

Orange Blossoms

In the formerly white bastion of Orange County, where minorities are now the majority, brown is the new Orange. The impact on the county’s politics, culture and economics is enormous.

Ode to LA’s Car Chases

With helicopters and TV cameras in hot pursuit, freeway car chassis are some of L.A.’s best entertainment. Gustavo Arellano applauds a favorite (albeit unintentional) genre.

Murals Under Siege

Chicano murals up and down the coast of California are in danger of disappearing but a new exhibit at the California Historical Society aims to protect and preserve these large-scale art pieces.

Latin music album covers

Exploring The Land of 1,000 Dances

“The Tide is High” is an incomplete history of Latino music in Southern California — and that’s part of its appeal. Gustavo Arellano reviews a new — and impossible — book.

The Advocate

John Manly busted pedophile priests. Now he’s representing hundreds of America’s top gymnasts who allege they were sexually abused by their team's doctor.

I Spent 12 Hours in Twitter Jail

Gustavo Arellano recounts how an online social media war with, among others, Donald Trump Jr., got him temporarily locked in Twitter jail.

Aguachile with Hokkaido scallop, cucumber, citrus and serrano pepper

Is Taco Maria California’s Most Important Restaurant?

It started in a food truck, and then went upscale. Is Costa Mesa's Taco Maria the most important restaurant in California right now?


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