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States With the Most Taco Bells and What It Means

States With the Most Taco Bells and What It Means

Over the years, Taco Bell has told us to “Run for the border,” “Think outside the bun,” and, most recently, to “Live Mas.” Their branding has always been clear: Taco Bell is a place to break away from standard fast food fare. While other fast food chains generally sell the same burgers and fries or fried chicken and coleslaw, Taco Bell is a place for something a little spicy and different, something that bears little resemblance to actual Mexican food.

Click here to read more about the States With the Most Taco Bells and What It Means (Slideshow)

Taco Bell detractors have long complained that the giant chain was about as Mexican as apple pie, but those complaints haven’t stopped the company from becoming the eighth most popular in the country, with 5,604 locations in all fifty states. We reached out to Taco Bell for comment on why that could be, but have not heard back at the time of publication. Defenders point to the number of Taco Bells in states with large Hispanic populations as proof that everyone, even folks with firsthand knowledge of authentic Mexican cuisine, eats burritos at The Bell.

But is that really true? Does the Hispanic population of a state affect its overall number of Taco Bells? Well, that’s certainly not the case in Mexico. Taco Bell has long tried to actually move its gringo-ized menu south of the border and failed at every turn. “It’s like bringing ice to Arctic,” lamented pop culture historian Carlos Monsiváis when Taco Bell tried to open a Monterrey, Mexico location in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus. The location closed in 2010, proving yet again that Mexico just wasn’t interested.

But what about here in America? Do states with higher Hispanic populations really have more Taco Bells?

The answer is yes, but it’s also complicated. To conduct this experiment, we looked at the states with the most Taco Bells, and then analyzed both their Hispanic population and their overall population. We also compared the number of Taco Bells in each state with the number of Wendy’s (the closest chain in size to Taco Bell, with 5,877 locations).

While California, Texas, and Florida have the taken first, second, and third place for the most Taco Bells and rank in the top 10 for the highest Hispanic populations, they also rank in the top five most populated states overall, meaning that more people in a state probably means more fast food in general. New Mexico and Arizona however, while home to some of the highest Hispanic populations in the country, rank 36th and 15th in overall population. Their numbers of Taco Bells, 46 and 192, correlate more closely to their overall population size than the higher percentage of Hispanic people. New Jersey, while 18 percent Hispanic, has just 99 Taco Bells. Meanwhile, eight out of ten of the country’s most populated states made the list, and their number of Taco Bells was, in most cases, neck and neck with their number of Wendy’s. Click through the slideshow of the top ten states with the most Taco Bells to examine the numbers a little more closely and settle the great Taco debate once and for all.

Number 10: New York, 199 Taco Bells

New York has the third highest population in the U.S. and the fourth highest Hispanic population. Their total of 199 Taco Bells is actually a little low for a state this size. By comparison, New York has 243 Wendy’s.

Number 9: (Tie) Indiana/Tennessee 218

Indiana and Tennessee do not make the list top ten list of states with the highest Hispanic populations. In fact, both states have a less than 7 percent Hispanic population. They don’t seem to play favorites when it comes to fast food, with 218 Taco Bell locations along with 201 Wendy’s in Indiana and 206 in Tennessee.

Read on for more about the States With the Most Taco Bells and What It Means


The 3 Most Beautiful Taco Bells In The U.S., Including One With An Ocean View

I’ll be honest: When I think “fast food joint,” I don’t typically think, “WOW, I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!” But, uh, folks? I stand corrected: The most beautiful Taco Bell locations in the United States actually are something to write home about. Besides being perhaps unexpectedly pretty, they’re also each quite unique — and very specific to the cities in which they’re based. Who would’ve thunk that Taco Bell would become a legit tourist destination?

Taco Bell’s history actually dates back further than most people probably think (although not as far back as, say, McDonald’s). The chain’s founder and namesake, Glen Bell, opened his first fast food joint in San Bernardino, Calif. in 1948 — but it wasn’t a Tex-Mex spot it was a hot dog stand. He followed that venture up with a second burger and hot dog joint in 1950, and after befriending the owner of the taco restaurant across the street and learning how to make hard shell tacos, he opened a third spot called Taco-Tia. By the time the early 1960s rolled around, Bell had opened up a number of other taco spots — four of which were called El Taco — which he eventually sold to a business partner. It was at that point that he opened up the first Taco Bell in Downey, Calif., and, well… here we are.

In recent years, Taco Bell, which is now owned by Yum! Brands, has been boosting its portfolio somewhat in addition to regular Taco Bells, of which there are around 7,000 worldwide, it now operates a handful of urban in-line spots and Taco Bell Cantinas. The Cantina concept, which opened up its first location in Chicago in 2015, includes not just the standard Taco Bell menu, but also things like a “shareables” menu and — perhaps most notably — alcohol in the form of beer, wine, and spiked Freezes.

The Cantinas tend to be the most unique restaurants of the bunch, so it’s no surprise that the prettiest Taco Bell locations are also generally Cantinas. Take, for example…


Is Taco Bell in other countries?

Get your passport ready. Fun fact: there are close to 300 Taco Bells outside the U.S. That means your favorite Crunchy Tacos can be found in 26 countries around the world. But opening up a Taco Bell in a country where most people have never tried or heard of Mexican food isn't easy.

Subsequently, question is, do they have taco bell in Europe? Tex-Mex chain Taco Bell has just opened its first location in London. There are currently more than 440 Taco Bell restaurants across 27 markets outside of the United States, 92 of which are in seven European countries (the UK, Finland, Iceland, Cyprus, Spain, the Netherlands, and Romania).

Thereof, is Taco Bell World Wide?

Taco Bell, fast-food restaurant chain headquartered in Irvine, California, U.S., that offers Mexican-inspired foods. Founded in 1962 by American entrepreneur Glen Bell, the chain has more than 7,000 locations and over 350 franchisees worldwide.

Does Germany have Taco Bell?

Taco Bell in Germany is somewhat elusive. There are only five and all of them are located on military bases.


What is Taco Bell's taco meat made out of ?

"Earlier this year, Taco Bell faced a class-action lawsuit which alleged that the they don't put enough real beef in their tacos to accurately call the filling beef.

Two months after the lawsuit went public, the lawfirm which filed the suit dropped it and said that Taco Bell made "changes in marketing and product disclosures."

Case closed - Taco Bell's reputation saved.

Until I read that the following Taco Bell menu items&hellip

  • Seasoned Beef Seasoning
  • Southwest Chicken
  • Caramel Apple Empanada
  • Corn Tortilla
  • Enchilada Rice
  • Nacho Chips
  • Red Strips
  • Strawberry Topping
  • Zesty Dressing

You can find it in the list of ingredients under the following names - cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.

And it's not just Taco Bell.

Lots of processed food manufacturers use "cellulose in food as an extender, providing structure and reducing breakage".


We believe everyone deserves the right to Live Más – and we’re constantly inspired by the creativity it takes to get there.

At Taco Bell, we’ve had innovation on our mind since Glen Bell started serving tacos at the first location in 1962 in Downey, California. Since then, we’ve grown to be a culture-centric, lifestyle brand that provides craveable, affordable Mexican-inspired food with bold flavors. Not only do we provide breakthrough value, we offer quality ingredients and are the first QSR restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA)-certified menu items.

Taco Bell and our more than 350 franchise organizations operate over 7,000 restaurants that serve more than 40 million customers each week in the U.S. Internationally, the brand is growing with nearly 500 restaurants across almost 30 countries across the globe.

We provide educational opportunities and serve the community through our nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell Foundation, and support fans and team members with their passions through programs such as the Live Más Scholarship. We provide access to sports, gaming and new music through our Feed The Beat program.


Taco Bell restaurant count 2010-2020

Mexican inspired quick service chain Taco Bell operated a total of 7,427 restaurants in 31 different countries worldwide in 2020. This number rose from 7,363 the previous year. The number of Taco Bell restaurants consistently increased in each year since 2010.

YUM! Brands subsidiaries

The restaurant chain is owned by YUM! Brands, parent company to Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut. With 25 thousand units worldwide, KFC has the most establishments of the YUM! Brands subsidiaries. Although there is a large difference in the number of units, Taco Bell is only slightly less successful than its sister company in terms of revenue - generating a little over two billion U.S. dollars revenue in 2020. Comparatively, the revenue of KFC amounted to around 2.27 billion U.S. dollars in that year.

Customer satisfaction

Despite its growing number of stores worldwide and increasing revenue, Taco Bell ranked below the average limited service restaurant’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score of 74 in 2020. The company also ranks below both of its affiliate companies, KFC and Pizza Hut, who were awarded scores of 79 and 77 respectively.


Taco Bell’s steal a base, steal a taco is back for the World Series

Even if you aren&rsquot a baseball fan, you could steal a taco with the return of Taco Bell&rsquos promotion, &ldquoSteal a Base, Steal a Taco.&rdquo This fun food promotion gives everyone a chance to score a yummy treat. Even if you aren&rsquot a big baseball fan, you will be cheering for a stolen base.

For the 2018 World Series presented by YouTube TV, the Taco Bell food promotion states that &ldquoThe first player to successfully steal a base during the Fall Classic scores everyone in America a free Doritos® Locos Taco.&rdquo To be clear, this promotion says &ldquowhen.&rdquo This scenario means that someone will be stealing a base and you will be getting a free taco.

It is nice to see Taco Bell turning this year&rsquos promotion into everyone wins scenario. Granted it is a big expense for the franchises. The free Doritos Loco tacos will be served on Thursday, November 1 from 2 p.m. till 6 p.m. at participating locations. Of course, this promotion is available while supplies last.

Taco Bell announces its seventh “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion for the 2018 World Series. The first player to successfully steal a base scores everyone in America a free Doritos® Locos Taco. photo provided by Taco Bell

More from FoodSided

While people get excited about the free food promotion, Taco Bell is expanding this promotion beyond the free food. This year, Taco Bell will be offering promotional baseball caps. These baseball caps will be available on Taco Bell’s Taco Shop. These baseball caps will be available starting on October 23.

Also, Taco Bell has partnered Topps to special baseball cards. These baseball cards will commemorate &ldquothis year and previous years’ Taco Heroes, all of whom have stolen that base that’s won America a free Doritos® Locos Taco.&rdquo The baseball cards will be available starting October 23.

While these type of restaurant promotions are exciting, they serve a dual purpose. First and foremost, it builds excitement for the sporting event. Both baseball fans and Taco Bell fans will talk about this promotion. Everyone will be waiting to see which player will be the first one to steal a base.

Second, this promotion could bring in more guests to Taco Bell. People can&rsquot resist free food. Even if that guest rarely goes to Taco Bell, this promotion could bring them in just for the free food. If the restaurant can convert even a portion of customers into fans, it is a huge win for the brand.

Will you steal a taco on November 1? Just be prepared for longer lines at your local Taco Bell because this promotion is definitely a steal.


Marketing and Advertising

Venezuelan restaurant offers taste of South America

June 21, 2016
By Glenn Griffith

A professional couple with roots in Venezuela has opened a restaurant in Halfmoon brining a taste of South America to the community’s expanding palate.

Oh Corn! arepas and More, a restaurant at 1505 Route 9, opened its doors quietly in late April to test the culinary market. With the June 1 official ribbon cutting from Chamber President Pete Bardunias, the restaurant declared itself ready to satisfy anyone with a craving for arepas, cachapas, yuca frita, maduros, crepe nutella, flan and much more.

Arepas is a flat, round unleavened patty of corn meal that can be grilled, baked, fried, boiled, or steamed. It holds a prominent position in the cuisine of Venezuela and Columbia and at the restaurant.

And at Oh Corn! everything is gluten-free.

“Why not,” said Clifton Park resident and managing director José Theoktisto when asked why he went gluten-free. “It’s better for you and everyone can enjoy what we serve.”

Theoktisto and his wife Belkis Castro opened the restaurant because they love to go out to eat and found nothing available locally from their native country.

Despite his Greek sounding name and a lineage that goes back to the home of democracy, Theoktisto is a native of Venezuela. He grew up on the food served in his restaurant and and can’t wait to bring it to the residents of southern Saratoga County.

“It’s food that is eaten every day in Venezuela,” he said. “Everyone eats arepas.”

Theoktisto is an engineer with GE. Castro was an attorney in Venezuela before the couple moved to the U.S.. In addition to running the restaurant’s day to day operations she also is a real estate agent and a Spanish teacher. The couple’s young adult children also lend a hand behind the counter from time to time.

“We made sure that all the ingredients come to us gluten-free, even the condiments,” Theoktisto said. “We know there’s not a big Hispanic community here but we wanted to make great food from our homeland and share it with everybody. Everything here is fresh.”

The restaurant is in a small strip mall on the east side of Route 9 in Halfmoon. The space is bright, warmed by the yellow color scheme and the smiles from the staff. There are a few tables in the front near the windows and a counter to the rear where all the food is ordered.

The arepas are cooked, sliced, and filled with different items ordered from the menu. There is carne mechada, seasoned lean, shredded beef, pernil, fresh pork leg oven baked in orange juice and red wine, reina pepiada, chicken breast tossed with avocado, mayonnaise and cilantro, or a domino, a tile of mozzarella painted with black beans and more. There are also vegan and veggie fillings available like avocado, black beans, plantains, or chick peas.

Cachapas is a sweet and spongy yellow corn pancake folded and stuffed with a filling of one’s choice. Fillings can consist of a single, a double, or a triple. Toppings included in each cachapas include tomato, spinach, cucumber, alfalfa, sprouts, onions and peppers. If someone wants a plain cachapas there’s that too.

Dessert choices range from flan, tiramisu, and tres leches, to crepe nutella, and crepe dulce de leche. There are also snacks like yucca frita, fried cassava sticks paired with the house cilantro dip, maduros, deep fried ripe plantains, or tostones, fried slices of fresh green plantain paired with a pink sauce.

“My wife loves people,” Theoktisto said, “and though this is a restaurant and food is at the center of it, it’s really about people. We want people to try some things they may never have tried before. It’s food that is eaten every day in my home country.”

For Miami’s Hispanic community, going vegan never felt so good

February 3, 2016
By Ellen Kanner

“I had no intention of moving to vegan,” said ricanvegan.com blogger Desiree Rodriguez. Neither did LovinGreens vegan chef Carolina Quijada or Planted in Miami’s Jeanette Ruiz.

But these former meat-eating millennial Miami Latinas weren’t keen on being sick, either, and they were. Exhausted and hypoglycemic, Caracas-born Quijada became “a different person” after two weeks on a plant-based diet. Like Rodriguez and Ruiz, the mother of twins now radiates health and is a vegan true believer.

Miami’s vibrant Hispanic community is among the city’s strengths — unless you’re a vegan. And if you’re Hispanic and vegan? Caramba.

“My family is still getting used to the idea,” acknowledged Ruiz, who with husband Alex Ruiz promotes South Florida’s vegan community with Planted in Miami, their podcast series highlighting “thriving on plant-based diets and living a normal and happy life.”

Beats having cancer or heart disease. Latinos statistically have the highest rates for both. The problem lies on the plate.

“Meat — all the time, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s the staple. You put meat in everything you make,” said Rodriguez, who also works at Baptist Health. “I wish there was more awareness for Latins. A lot have the same diseases my family has. It’s so common — I hear them comparing medications. I feel like going vegan is a simple solution — it’s right there.”

Enter LovinGreens. Cordon Bleu-trained Quijada teaches how to make healthier vegan versions of beloved Latino dishes sin carne, sin queso. “It’s all about the spices.”

Now if only Miami’s Latino restaurants would get with the program. “Oh, wow, they have nothing,” said Rodriguez. “They say, ‘What? You don’t want chicken?’ ”

Added Alex Ruiz: “Too many people think a plate full of veggies won’t taste good.” Vegan yet macho Latino, Ruiz heads the Miami chapter of No Meat Athlete. “Switching to this lifestyle has only helped improve my fitness.”

Vetoing vaca fritas, the Ruizes prefer vegan eateries like Jugofresh and Choices and Plantation’s Parlour Vegan Bakery, where the vegan tamales remind Jeanette of the meat-filled pasteles she used to love. But she doesn’t miss meat any more than she misses having digestive issues.

“It’s crazy, but my soul food now is my green smoothie each morning. The more you get the good stuff in your body, the more you’ll want to eat.”

The Latino Market today … … homemade tamales tomorrow

I’m going to take you through the thoroughly enjoyable if somewhat time-consuming process.

First we’ll go on a one-stop shopping trip for the ingredients, and maybe have a little lunch while we’re at it.

Just what is a tamale, you ask?

This staple of Mexican cuisine is among the most versatile foods you can make. A specially treated cornmeal dough is stuffed with one of a wide-range of fillings, then the tamale is wrapped in a corn husk and steamed.

Then, you remove the tamale from the corn husk and garnish it with whatever sauce you like.

The usual fillings are ground meats, beans, chiles, cheese, vegetables or fruit. Since the process includes making the dough as well as soaking the husks, many cooks whip up dozens at a time. Believe me, this is the way to go. Tamales tend to be inhaled like potato chips.

Ok, now let’s go food shopping … and have some lunch.

For me, that means heading to Hadley to visit The Ecuador Andino Store Latino Market. It’s located in the Village Shops complex just over the Coolidge Bridge from Northampton. As soon as you turn into the parking lot you’ll see the store on your left.

The beauty of this vibrant, busting-at-the-seams Central and South American market is that it doubles as a small restaurant. It’s owned and run by Tony Garay, of Ecuadoran descent, who lives in Hadley. He opened the business six years ago.

Tony (it took about three minutes after introductions for us to be on a first-name basis) is there every day of the week, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., except Sundays, when he closes at 6 p.m., “because I have to have some time to do my laundry.”

That’s right, he’s working every day, except New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. On those days he’s closed.

Geography lesson: The Andino in the market’s name refers to the Andes, the South American mountain range that Ecuador is nestled in, just south of Colombia on the Pacific Ocean coast.

Before we pick out our tamale ingredients, let’s have Tony cook up a little lunch.

There is a small kitchen behind the cash register area. To the left of the register are two smaller counters where about four people can sit and eat inside. Outside there are three umbrella-shaded picnic tables on the lawn.

Near the cash register is a picture of the 20 Mexican meals that Tony makes to order. On previous visits, I’ve had the pleasure of watching him make me a Cubano sandwich ($8.99), beans and rice ($7.99), a pork burrito ($8.49) and Bistec ($10.99), which is a meat stew with yellow rice.

Tony takes pride in his creations: “I want everything I cook to be beautiful,” he told me. “It’s important to me.”

His prep station has at least two dozen ingredients ready to be added to the sizzling pans on his stove. As he was frying up a batch of beans and vegetables he reached for a bottle of sauce. “I want to make sure all the food comes out nice and tender, and seasoned, which is why I am squirting my ‘secret sauce’ on these beans right now,” he said.

He won’t say what’s in that sauce but the beans and rice — in a very hearty portion — tasted quite good.

Every day he makes at least one large rice cooker of yellow rice. Some days he’ll go through four of these.

Being a one-man operation, he has had to perfect the art of multi-tasking. As he cooks, he watches a monitor on the wall next to his stove so he can see when customers come into the store and balance waiting on them with preparing the food orders in a timely fashion. He handles this with aplomb which is critical during his lunch hours, when things can get, in his words, “quite crazy busy.”

OK, lunch is over. Let’s shop.

The market has three long aisles filled with groceries. Along one wall is a floor-to-ceiling cooler filled with about a dozen kinds of Mexican cheeses, four or five brands of tortillas, vacuum-packed cooked meats, miscellaneous items and cold drinks.

It’s these cold drinks that are among the market’s biggest sellers: tamarind juice, refrescas, coconut juice with pulp and dozens of other imported beverages.

But today we’re at the cooler looking for the 1.65-pound, plastic container of Manteca rendered pork fat ($6.99). That’s right, just pure, unadulterated pork fat. Some of this will be used for the dough.

Then we’ll turn around and walk down the middle aisle — past the wide selection of dried beans — to find the Maseca Tamal ($3.99). This is a 4.4-pound package of masa harina, which is used to make tamale dough as well as all your basic Latin American doughs: tortillas, pupusa, empanadas, gorditas, sopes.

Masa harina is the dried and powdered form of masa (which means dough in Spanish). It is reconstituted with water before use. (Don’t think you can just use that 3-year-old cylinder of corn meal you have in your cupboard. You cannot add water to cornmeal and create a dough. It has to go through a chemical process called nixtamalization for that, like masa harina).

Now we’ll keep walking past all the cellphone accessories hanging wherever there’s room to the other end of the market. Along the right-hand wall is where we’ll find at least 14 (at last count) types of dried chiles and all the spices you’ll ever need for Latin cooking.

But today we’re looking for a package of Hoja de Tamal dried corn husks ($3.99). This six-ounce package contains dozens of husks and should be enough if this is your first time making tamales. But there are larger packages there, too, if you are so inclined.

If you want a sauce or two for your tamales, go to the back of the store and you’ll be overwhelmed. And not just by the large selection of sauces. There are canned goods there of all ilk, like menudo (tripe stew). And six-pound cans of green tomatillos as well as green pickles and pickled jalapenos, etc., etc., etc.

Tony’s favorite sauce to drizzle on the plate is El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero ($3.99). It comes in green, his favorite, and red. Both are hot but each has a different flavor. They come in eight-ounce bottles.

It’s time to go home and make tamales.

Tamale-making can be divided into five steps: making the dough, soaking the corn husks, making the filling, building the tamales and steaming them.

Making the dough and the filling can be done a day or two ahead. That way, on the day of all you have to do is soak the husks, build the tamales and steam them. That’s the way I do it.

¾ cup Manteca rendered pork fat

In a large bowl, mix thoroughly the Maseca Tamal, baking powder and kosher salt. Add the stock or water and again mix thoroughly. Using your hands works well.

In a standing mixer beat until light and fluffy the Manteca rendered pork fat and pinch of salt.

Add the dough mixture in four stages into the fluffy pork fat and beat until the batter becomes smooth and slightly sticky. Drop a small ball of dough in a glass of water. If it sinks, you need to add more liquid. If it floats, it’s good to go.

Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Use a mixer to beat the dough for just a minute or so more before making tamales. It should be like soft cookie dough.

Use your imagination. I’m chopping up some rotisserie chicken with cooked onions and some hot enchilada sauce I had on hand. You’ll need about 2 cups worth for about 18 tamales.

Take around 25 usable larger corn husks and soak them in hot (not boiling) water. Placing a heavy lid on the pot helps keep them submerged. After about 30 minutes, drain and dry them off. Keep them in a plastic bag or covered dish so they don’t dry out too much before you use them.

With a large corn husk on a flat surface, spoon about 2 tablespoons of your dough onto the husk, spreading it down the middle. Leave about 4 inches from the narrow end of the husk and 2 inches from the other end. Spread the dough to the edge of one of the long sides and 2 inches away from the other side. The dough should be about a ¼-inch thick.

Now spread a couple of spoonfuls of your filling down the center of the dough, leaving at least 1 inch of dough around the sides.

If your corn husks are small, simply place two overlapping husks with one upside-down, then proceed like it’s one large one.

Carefully roll the tamale, starting with the side covered with dough. Turn it over to the center of the filling. Fold the other side over the filling, allowing the plain part of the husk to wrap around the filling. Fold down the tops and tie with strips of soaked husks.

In a large steamer, place a soaked corn husk to cover the bottom of the basket, leaving small gaps for steam to escape. Fill the basket with tamales, with open ends up. Loosely cover with a couple of husks. Steam for 90 minutes to two hours. Take one out to test for doneness. Dough should be smooth and come apart from the husk easily.

Remove from the husks and serve with your preferred sauce — maybe some crema (Mexican sour cream). Maybe a side of yellow rice.

By the way, the steamed tamales can be stored in the fridge for a week, or frozen. Simply resteam when ready to eat them.

Gelatina sprouts up in a Shawnee gelato shop

September 3, 2014
By Jen Chen

At Aunt Jean’s, a gelato and coffee shop in downtown Shawnee, a new dessert item has caused more than a few double takes. The store has started selling “artistic gelatin,” which looks like a palm-sized floral paperweight: a lifelike flower encased in a dome of clear gelatin.

“People ask, ‘Is that a real flower or is it plastic?’” says Mayte Sandoval, owner of Aunt Jean’s. “We tell them it’s all edible.”

Sandoval and her mom, Rocio, make the gelatins. Last spring, Rocio took a class with an instructor who had traveled from Chicago to teach the technique to members of the Hispanic community. According to Mayte, gelatin is a traditional Mexican dessert — gelatina — especially at parties, where serving cake and gelatin (such as colored gelatin squares suspended, mosaic-like, in a white-milk gelatin base) is like the American tradition of serving cake and ice cream. The artistic part is something new, though it started in Mexico before spreading out to California and then to U.S. cities with good-sized Hispanic communities.

The gelatinas were added in June to the menu at Aunt Jean’s (which, according to Mayte, is also the only place in the KC area to sell Peach Nehi soda).

“In Hispanic businesses, it was already out there,” Mayte says. “So we said, ‘Let’s try it.’ It’s something new and artistic, which is always good to bring out to catch the eye of the community.” Their flower gelatinas are also on the menu at Fogones Mexican Delights, a few doors down from Aunt Jean’s. (That restaurant is owned by Mayte’s dad.)

On the hottest day of the summer so far, Rocio demonstrates for me how she puts the flower inside the dome. She had made the base — the clear encasement — the night before, using flavorless gelatin, water and sugar, then adding a flavoring (strawberry, pineapple, mango, vanilla or coconut) before pouring the mixture into a dome-shaped plastic-cup lid to set overnight.

For the flower, she blends milk, condensed milk, flavorless gelatin, vanilla and a stabilizer pours a little of the concoction into three separate containers then adds yellow, pink and green powdered food coloring to each. Working on the flower upside down, she draws the yellow, milky liquid into a syringe with an angled needle, which she lightly jabs into the middle of the clear gelatin, rotating the cup slightly and pressing down on the syringe’s plunger to release the liquid. This is the flower’s stamen.

Next, she forms the petals, using a paring knife to make U-shaped cuts, then an eyedropper to fill the cuts with the bright-pink milk mixture. As she works from the center of the flower outward, the U-shaped cuts get bigger. Then she makes small green leaves with the paring knife and the eyedropper.

After the gelatin thickens in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes, she pours a thin layer of the remaining milk mixture on top. The completed dome is refrigerated again, waiting to be unmolded with the flower right-side up. The result is firm, almost hard it is not Jell-O. It tastes mainly of the flavoring added to the clear gelatin. The flower gelatinas cost $3 for a small or $5 for a large. In addition to the floral domes, the Sandovals offer a range of designs, such as a flower in clear gelatin in a plastic champagne flute ($4) or a naked baby (made from a mold) curled facedown on a flower in a clear dome. (You can ask to add clothes or a hair color to the baby.) Almost any kind of flower can be had — sunflowers, roses, poinsettias — and images or logos can be printed on edible paper to place under the clear gelatin.

A cake topped with a giant flower goes for $17 and serves about 10 people (with bigger cakes ranging from $35 to $120). There’s also a “cake” that’s solely gelatin one version is a woman’s pregnant torso, the pink-and-white bustier parted to reveal a little baby curled facedown in the clear gelatin stomach.

The babies, you see, are on Rocio’s mind. They’re her favorites to make because she finds the results cute, but there’s another reason: Her other daughter is pregnant with Rocio’s first granddaughter.

Mayte isn’t as into it. “The baby has to be for showers,” she says. “Otherwise, I’ll stare at it and don’t know where to start. People come in and stare at it and ask what it is.”

I ask if learning the art was hard. Rocio says she got the hang of it after practicing four or five times on different gelatins.

“It’s more having confidence in what you’re doing,” Mayte tells me, translating for Rocio. “That’s mainly it.”

Fast Food Ads Target Black and Latino Youth

June 4, 2014
by Rick Paulas

In 1996, I desperately wanted to eat an Arch Deluxe.

For those of you who don't remember the few months it was available before becoming the biggest fast food flop of all time, the Arch Deluxe was McDonald's attempt to be taken seriously. This was a sandwich for adults, complete with a potato bun and new secret sauce. According to its ads, it was "the burger with the grown-up taste."

But I didn't want to get one to make me more mature. I wanted to get one because Michael Jordan told me to.

If you don't remember the sandwich, at the very least you should remember the basketball superstar's face next to nearly everything McDonald's released during that period of time. It was the perfect corporate relationship: the world's biggest sports star and the world's biggest fast food franchise. And if you watch TV today, you'll notice that the amount of celebrities shilling for fast food has only grown.

Whether it's the Super Bowl, the NBA playoffs, or Sunday night's Game 7 overtime win for the L.A. Kings, viewers tuning in get a generous helping of sports players offering dining recommendations. Sometimes it's LeBron James and Dwight Howard telling people to eat at McDonald's, other times it's Peyton Manning delivering pizzas for Papa John's. But the difference between today and back when Michael Jordan played H-O-R-S-E with Larry Bird is our understanding of how food ads work.

We've already learned that Big Food specifically targets children, but now we also know they're responsible for rising obesity rates in black and Latino youth.

A recent piece in Al Jazeera points out how fast/junk food corporations have been targeting youth culture in poorer areas, and celebrity sponsorship is just one small area of their attack. They also rely on more subtle methods like focused social media branding and sponsoring gospel music performances — McDonald's has an entire series of promotions geared towards the black community called 365Black — to get their message out to black and Latino youth.

To answer the question of whether or not this targeting is working, you need only look at the health stats:

While obesity among all young people has more than quadrupled over the past four decades — from just 5 percent among 6-to-19-year-olds in the 1960s to 19.6 percent in 2008 — rates among African-American and Latino youth have outpaced those of white youth. The statistics are most alarming for African-American teenage girls: Among those ages 12 to 19, nearly 1 in 3 were obese in 2008, the highest prevalence by age, gender, race or ethnicity.
The Al Jazeera piece also quotes a 2011 study that found African-American youths see 80 to 90 percent more ads for sugary drinks than white children do. One reason that's the case is because of the insidious "pouring rights" contract that schools sign with sponsors.

"Pouring rights" work like so: A school signs a contract with a beverage corporation (Coke or Pepsi, generally) which gives them some extra spending money, as long as the school only serves their product. Sports arenas and theme parks generally work the same way it's why it's tough to find both a Coke and Pepsi at a sporting event. The thing is, the schools that sign the contract are the ones who need the money the most. And those schools generally don't have yearbooks full of white faces. It's a deal with the devil that schools in lower-income districts — which, in America, means black or Latino neighborhoods — must sign.

While something like "pouring rights" is different from a sports star getting paid a bunch of money to stand next to a burger, it's in the same family. Both devices are used to get people to buy the product, and in most cases their targets are black and Latino youth. Which is why it's time for celebrities to end their relationship with fast/junk food corporations.

The decision that sports figures and celebrities make when signing on the dotted line to be part of a huge ad campaign is easy to understand. People are giving them tons of money for a few hours of work. And if they don't sign, well, the corporation just moves onto the next biggest celebrity. But for too long have celebrities gotten away with simply cashing checks with no penalties. The effect that fast/junk food has the general public, especially children, is known. They need to be held accountable for their decisions.

If a person signs a contract with a fast food corporation, they are aligning themselves with a shameful industry. They're not only selling their likeness, they're also selling out the future health of black and Latino children.


States With the Most Taco Bells and What It Means - Recipes

This is a consistently good and busy Taco Bell. My food today was exactly what I ordered and a decent price. I wish they'd bring back the $5 craving box, though.

1 - 5 of 10 reviews

Stopped in for an early dinner before going to the movie.

Here it is still winter, temp outside was probably in the upper 40’s to low 50’s, we walk in to order and it’s freezing. I asked if they had the AC on, no reply, I asked a second time and the gal finally said yes, I asked for what, she just looked at me.

Anyway we ordered the #2 on the menu, soft shell Taco’s. We received our order pretty quickly and we went out to the car and ate, just for the heat. Food was good.

We stopped here back in July with the grandkids for a lunch break. This place was fairly new from where they moved from back off 400 and 53. We ordered lunch for the four of us and it was fixed, delivered and consumed in a decent amount of time. Staff was nice and the place was clean. would come again. Got to have some BELL

I use the drive through regularly and order different things. Regardless of what I order, they are fast and the food is always as good as I expect.

It has been a long time since I last ate at any Taco
Bell location and stopped in here one afternoon with a craving for the Cheesy Gordita Crunch Wrap with Fire hot sauce. I cannot say I was disappointed, the food was exactly as I remember from my last visit of well over a year ago. It satisfied my craving!

Service, the young lady who took my order was pleasant but did not appear to be friendly or really wanting to be there during my visit. She was working the register and also out cleaning the dining room which was empty but had obviously been used and in need of cleaning. My table was clean but many around me needed cleaning and the floors were dirty but she was working on them and making progress so they may have had a large crowd before my arrival. This may also have led to her demeanor at the register.

My food order was prepared quickly and was correct. My name was called shortly after I ordered and a young man handed me my tray greeting me by name and asking if there was anything he could do for me. His attitude was great and he made me feel welcomed. I have to say that it was his greeting and attitude that prompted me to give them four stars versus two. My experience in ordering left me ready to leave but he saved the experience.

I hate going into a food place and feeling like I am really burdening the person taking my order and they really wish I had not bothered them. Unfortunately, this was my feeling when I placed my order but it was nice to know my food preparation was by somebody who enjoyed their job.

Bottom line, I would return here again next time I have a craving for Taco Bell.


Here's where you can get the best Mexican food in the country — Taco Bell

Taco Bell was recently named the best Mexican restaurant in the country by Harris Poll. Here's a look at where you can nosh down on a Cheesy Gordita Crunch or Nacho Fries.

Americans are thinking outside the bun when it comes to their favorite Mexican restaurant.

The Harris Poll, one of the longest running surveys in the United States, named Taco Bell, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands ($YUM), the best Mexican restaurant in the United States for 2018. Specifically, it earned "Brand of the Year" honors, which is based on a poll of more than 77,000 American consumers assessing more than 3,000 brands for "Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration."

In celebration of this win for the mecca of Cheesy Gordita Crunches and Nacho Fries, we mapped out all 6,923 Taco Bell locations in the U.S. to see which state and city is most blessed with America's number one Mexican eatery.

As expected, there is a large concentration of Taco Bells in the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Breaking the data down by state shows that California and Texas, two locales known for producing some of America's best Mexican cuisine, also claim the first most and second most T-Bells out of all 50 states.

Of course, our map only showed the contiguous United States as seen here, there are another 32 Taco Bells in Hawaii, and another 19 in Alaska. Neither of those two states had the least amount of Taco Bells, as that honor fell to Vermont, which only has five listed stores.

In terms of which cities have the most Taco Bells, that honor goes once again to the Lone Star State, which has the #1 (Houston), #2 (San Antonio), AND #6 (Dallas) spots in the top-ten list.

City Entity Name (Count)
Houston 61
San Antonio 40
Las Vegas 39
Columbus 38
Phoenix 35
Dallas 34
Miami 33
Indianapolis 33
Los Angeles 28

Las Vegas, Nevada provides a pretty interesting case, being that it is in a state with the 20th least amount of Taco Bells. Its 39 locations — including its epic Cantina location shown below — accounts for 53% of the state's 74 locations.


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