When coronavirus threatened to close this food court restaurant, neighbors rallied to save it

Jaime E. Love

DES MOINES, Iowa – From her padded stool perch in the corner of her restaurant, Vietnam Cafe, owner Brenda Tran reigns over the food court – part mama bear, part perpetual party host.

On a typical day, Tran watches new customers settle into tables and chow down, sometimes running into the dining room to hold impromptu lessons on the finer points of Vietnamese cuisine. Swirl your pho noodles like spaghetti! Lean down and slurp the broth!

She chats with her “mall walkers” as they nosh on her special Vietnamese egg sandwiches. After losing her father a decade ago, she considers them her “American parents,” an honor they take to heart.

She beckons over “the kids,” teens either suspended or cutting class from the local high school. She tells them her story, how she survived the Vietnam War and came to Iowa as a refugee, not knowing a lick of

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These Fourth Of July Fast Food Deals Mean You Can Spend Less Time Cooking, More Time Celebrating

Jaime E. Love
Photo credit: The Fresh Market
Photo credit: The Fresh Market

From Delish

It goes without saying that Fourth of July parties might look a little different (read “smaller” or, you know, like, nonexistent) this year than they have in the past. This doesn’t mean that all traditions need to fall to the wayside, though. Your music playlist and food spread can still be on point. If you don’t feel like stressing over food prepping or you want a trusted restaurant to corral food in safe, single servings, these spots are here to help. Below, all the restaurant food deals for July 4 that you need to know about. (And for those that are all about a DIY meal, check out our classic Fourth of July recipes. Gather safely!)

The Cheesecake Factory

Photo credit: The Cheesecake Factory
Photo credit: The Cheesecake Factory

Throughout the week leading up to Independence Day, The Cheesecake Factory is offering two double cheeseburger “Happy Hour”

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How Trump’s Cruelty Is Fueling Padma Lakshmi’s Fight for Immigrants

Jaime E. Love
Dominic Valente/Hulu
Dominic Valente/Hulu

I’m an immigrant—and I’m not alone. Padma Lakshmi opens each episode of her new Hulu series Taste the Nation with that mantra, and it’s one that’s powering the food author and TV host during the Trump administration’s all-out war on immigrants, from the “Muslim ban” and separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border to the recent suspension of immigrant-worker visas through 2021.

“I find this disconnect between the policies that are made in Washington and how they actually affect people on the ground,” says Lakshmi. “I think it should be a requirement for each of these lawmakers deciding on immigration policy to embed themselves in these communities and see what life is like, and see if these people pose as much of a threat as they think they do.”

With each episode of Taste the Nation, Lakshmi has done just that—planting herself within a community

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Mexi-Vegan cooking is mainstream in Southern California. And it’s only getting bigger

Jaime E. Love
Rajas taco, chips and salsa and ceviche from Masataco. <span class="copyright">(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Rajas taco, chips and salsa and ceviche from Masataco. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Among the many novel concession foods that debuted at Dodger Stadium last year — there was a pineapple-stuffed link called a Dodger sausage, and a deconstructed California roll served in what looked like an oversize baseball — none was as surprising as the vegan al pastor trompo that appeared near the third base pavilion in late September.

The trompo, a tall, vertical spit holding what at first glance appeared to be a spinning stack of chile-slicked pork, was part of a Dodger Stadium “vegan takeover” by Masataco, a Mexican restaurant in Whittier with a largely vegan menu.

To make the dish, chef David Fuerte brined celery root for 24 hours in a vinegar solution before it was sliced thin, pierced onto the trompo and then marinated in a garlic-heavy chile marinade for another full

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