Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Aug. 17.
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Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week:
“Public charge.” California sued the Trump administration Friday to challenge the legality of a new rule that could deny green cards to immigrants who receive public assistance, including food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers. (San Francisco and Santa Clara counties filed their own legal challenges earlier in the week.)
Deep roots. There are Latinos whose families have been on this land since long before the Statue of Liberty greeted newcomers in New York Harbor. But in the days since the El Paso massacre, many have found themselves wrestling with their place in U.S. society.
High-rise shake. For those who felt the Ridgecrest earthquake from the 50th floor of a downtown L.A. skyscraper, the experience was terrifying — and nauseating. The building swayed back and forth for perhaps two to three minutes and by as much as one foot in each direction.
Kidnap-torture trial verdict. After a months-long trial, Hossein Nayeri was convicted Friday of participating in the abduction and torture of a pot-dispensary owner in October 2012. The verdict marks the climax of a bizarre crime saga involving a grisly mutilation, a law enforcement effort to trick a fugitive out of hiding and a brazen escape from the Santa Ana jail.
Tesla turnover. The turnover of executives reporting directly to Elon Musk is “dramatically higher” at Tesla than at other companies, according to one analyst.
‘Wishcycling.’ California’s recycling industry is struggling, now that it’s no longer able to sell much of its scrap waste to China. A big hit came this month when RePlanet, the state’s largest operator of redemption centers, shut down and laid off 750 employees.
Maisel Day mess. Angelenos could get a deli sandwich, a movie ticket, a full makeover and a malt all for less than $5 for Maisel Day, part of Amazon’s Emmy campaign for its period comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” But Santa Monica police had to put the kibosh on a promotion for 30-cents-per-gallon gas that ended up snarling traffic for several hours.
Ethnic studies. Can California get its new ethnic studies curriculum right? The class may soon be mandatory, but state education leaders said Tuesday that the first draft of the program “falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned.”
Street Within. An L.A. Times reporter and a photographer spent more than a year documenting the lives of seven homeless people who lived on L.A.’s Broadway Place. Our series of stories followed those people as they transitioned from the streets into permanent housing.
Black market boom. California is on track for a record $3.1 billion in legal cannabis sales this year. That’s still dwarfed by black market sales, estimated to reach $8.7 billion. So why is the illegal market still so competitive?
Poverty geofence. A dockless e-scooter company in San Francisco has drawn a red line around the centrally located but poverty-ravished Tenderloin and parts of nearby Chinatown, preventing customers from dropping off scooters there.
This week’s most popular stories in Essential California
The Holy Grail of stone fruit is in season. Get it while (and if) you can. Los Angeles Times
Eight of the best places to see the night sky in L.A. County. KCET-TV Channel 28
These are California’s 10 darkest places for stargazing. KCET-TV Channel 28
After nine years on L.A.’s streets, Big Mama needed a home. But it wasn’t that easy. Los Angeles Times
The Thomas Guide is the map that made Los Angeles make sense. City Lab
ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads
Civic Elite: How San Francisco’s wealthiest families helped launch Kamala Harris’ career. Politico
The strange saga of “microcracks” and San Francisco’s new $2.2-billion Transbay bus terminal, which reopened Sunday. Wired
One more big push, then just say cheese! High-end photographers enter delivery rooms. Los Angeles Times
Saturday Recommendation: Tacos ahogados at Casa Diaz Mexican Kitchen in Mira Loma
This week’s recommendation comes from Los Angeles Times features writer and renowned taco expert Gustavo Arellano:
“The dish — fried tacos smothered in a light tomato sauce — is a Guadalajara favorite. Ahogado means ‘drowned,’ but most of the restaurants in Southern California that make them tend to at most splash some sauce to wet the tacos but rarely go full tilt.
Not Casa Diaz, an all-day diner. Instead of a mere sauce, the restaurant submerges its tacos in a thick, potato-based soup that Mexicans trot out during Lent to pair with chiles rellenos. Cooks pour so much broth over the three tacos dorados — stuffed with your choice of picadillo, tinga or potato — that their tips peek out like shark fins, with cabbage and Cotija cheese floating around them.
Waiters will give you a fork and knife to cut up the tacos; the freshly fried tortilla chips are the spoons you want to use to scoop up as much of the caldo as possible. Crunchy, soupy and bright, Casa Diaz’s tacos ahogados make sitting in traffic on the 15 worth it.”
Read Gustavo’s full review of Casa Diaz Mexican Kitchen in our food section. Hungry (sorry not sorry) for more food stories delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the Tasting Notes newsletter, written by restaurant critics Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison.
Casa Diaz is located at 11090 Limonite Ave. in Mira Loma. (951) 736-7944
Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Diya Chacko for all her help on the Saturday edition!)