Since 2004, Portland's Only Bar Trivia That Matters.
People of Portland (and, I assume, every other city): Beware of "Josefina" tortilla chips (or equivalent brands elsewhere). Do not buy them. They are taking over in almost every spot where the glorious, beloved, local brand Juanita's is/was sold. They look cool, and the bag says they come from just across the river (Columbia, not Rio Grande). But then you open them, and they look and taste like Tostitos. Why?
They're a front company of Frito-Lay (a division of Pepsico). Apparently unsatisfied with their $43.3 billion profits from last year, they feel the need to crush every last corner of the earth where someone has the audacity to produce good food. Some exceptionally-vile young marketing genius is laughing his ass off right now, talking about how much he paid for that bottle of Scotch and snorting blow off his "personal escort's" tits in the Koch brothers' guest house (at least I assume they have their hands in it somehow).
It turns out that Willamette Week (in a rare exception to their policy of horribly-misguided muckraking) exposed this last April, but I didn't find out until recently* (no, the moral of the story is not to always read WW). I believe this news should be broadcast in the most aggressive manner the worldly web allows. Please post, email, contact store owners, and get this garbage out of our stores!
God, Juanita's are so good. Yeah, I know they're brittle. But what they lack in rigidity they make up for in integrity (and extreme deliciousness).
But wait! Don't scream now, there's more. Soft corn tortillas are a staple of my life, so when a wall of dextrose assaulted my palate upon first chew of a certain new brand, I figured something was amiss. Again - the label makes it look like there's some old lady bagging them up in her humble little home. But "La Banderita" brand should raise a red flag much larger than the one its name suggests. Partnered with Walmart, Ole' Mexican Foods of Norcross, GA cranks out a long list of these fake brands through their 11 massive distribution centers across the 48.
Now, of course everyone knows about the classic corn vs flour tortilla debate (easily settled by the facts that everyone knows corn is the real deal south of the border, and that flour tortillas are absolutely flavorless). But then there's that other classic tortilla argument: methylparaben or polyparaben?
Well, fret not: La Banderita has both! It's kinda like my lifelong dream of someone finally melding corn and flower so I could wrap stuff in a tortilla that actually has flavor, but, you know, all sciencey and shit.
I can just see that sweet, humble woman in her shack, revered by everyone in the valley, pounding out the corn at 4 in the morning while her gas-masked daughter labors over various sacks of powder, determined to master the delicate combination of preservatives and fungicides that made the family name what it is today.
Tell everyone you can. And read labels! This purchase reminded me that no amount of diligence can make one immune to the schemes of modern capitalists like the ones who would snuff out Juanita's. They are sociopaths, in the truest since of that word. And (for now at least) they rule the goddamn world.
*special thanks to Geoffe Landry for once again alerting me of a scam.