|Photo credit: Louisville Magazine.|
It's already time for the second coming of Taco Walk, and boy, does Develop New Albany have lots of questions to answer (spoiler alert: they're not bothering to try, and Deaf's down with it).
C'mon, DNA: The time has come. A fact's a fact. Taco Walk belongs to her. Why not give it back?
Going into 2018, Develop New Albany has two huge unresolved issues to address pertaining to the Taco Walk last August.
One of these is DNA's encouragement of cultural appropriation during the event, which refers to sombreros, maracas and the Frito Bandito -- or, Mexican, Latina/o, Chicana/o, "Hispanic," Mexican-American, and Latin American stereotyping.
Tacky acts of cultural appropriation simply were not necessary for the success of the Taco Walk, which was intended to be a celebration of the restaurant community and a showcase for downtown. Needless to say, since August, people around the country have lost their jobs for less. I'm not suggesting a purge, but open public dialogue is needed most of all.
The second issue is DNA's blatant expropriation of intellectual property afterward. Simply stated, the idea for the Taco Walk was brought to DNA by Kelly Ott Winslow, a community-minded volunteer outside the organization, and now, in essence, the idea has been stolen from her -- and this is intolerable.
If you're one of the ticket-holders for the second Frito Bandito Walk on May 19, by now a fully annexed and enveloped "signature event" for Develop New Albany, by all means enjoy yourself.
Seriously. No snark. Go out there and have a good time, and don't forget the sunscreen.
Just do me this one favor: Whenever you see a DNA board member shaking maracas, ask him or her where all the money's going.
If you're not planning on Taco Walking and still need to eat at some point on Saturday, May 19, allow me to suggest that while it isn't located in the epicenter of downtown New Albany, Israel's Delicias de Mexico Gourmet (1515 E. Market Street) would be a great place to have a meal.
Anytime, in fact, but especially on Saturday, May 19.
In 2017, it was explained to me that Taco Walk organizers deemed Chef Israel Landin's eatery to be too far away from the historic core to merit inclusion on the walk. When I asked one of them why Israel wasn't participating, I was told something to the effect of "well, because it's a walk."
Okay, fine. I've walked (and biked) miles for a great beer, but given the event's geographical rationale, that's probably irrefutable.
This year's rationale is summarized in a Facebook exchange, which is the first instance in months of a question I've asked actually being answered. Is there a thaw underway?
To summarize: Last year no one asked Chef Israel; this year, someone did, and yet I'm not surprised he didn't answer affirmatively -- especially after the suburban sombrero follies of 2017. He's a skilled, experienced and highly trained food professional, and a proud man to boot.
It seems a shame, and perhaps even an embarrassment, to stage a Taco Walk without a gifted chef and a civic treasure who, in point of actual fact, taught damn near all of us in New Albany just how wonderful Mexican cuisine can really be.
Hence my unsolicited sales pitch on behalf of Chef Israel. If you're on the Taco Walk, wonderful. If not, consider showing Israel some love by dining at Delicias de Mexico Gourmet on May 19. Tell them Roger sent you.
The Confidentials will be putting their money where my mouth is, circa 6:00 p.m. Please consider doing the same.