Barbie opens today, which has led to a pink explosion. The phrase “not everything is rosy” is a thing of the past. Whether you want it or not, pink is the latest fashion… even in food. At taqueria Pink and Boujee, located in the heart of Boyle Heights, you will not only find flavor but also a pink oasis just a block and a half away from the Mariachi Plaza station if you take the E Line.
The tortillas for the tacos, the chips for chilaquiles, the dough for the mulitas (as well as walls, tables, cups, napkins and even the worker’s uniforms) are pink. “I have been a fan of that color since I was a child. I used it on my clothes and for decoration in my bedroom,” says Yesenia Castro, owner of Pink and Boujee. “I can say that I have always liked fashion, but I wanted to create something that also represented my culture. The first thing I thought of were tacos, which is something that everyone has eaten at some time.”
So, at only 25 years old, she realized she could combine her love of food and passion for fashion. In 2021, she started selling tacos on pink tortillas during weekend pop-up events in the Fashion District. She also began sharing her process on social media and her following began to grow.
The clients liked the idea so much that in just three months Yesenia decided to quit her job and buy a taco truck to immerse herself full time into the business. A new dish arrived on the menu, “the Boujee Mulita” -a combination of a taco and a heart-shaped quesadilla with your choice of meat and melted mozzarella cheese covered with onions, cilantro and salsa.
“When I started, I also put a logo on it that reads: ‘Not your basic taquería.’ I thought it would be interesting to sell food that was visually distinctive with the traditional Mexican flavor.” And she achieved it.
Her fans don’t come to her just for the pink. Since she was 10, Yesenia has been preparing aguas frescas and other Mexican dishes such as flan, tamales and tacos. She learned from her mother Guadalupe, who taught her the art of seasoning and the culinary magic of her native Mexico. “None of this would be possible without her. Most of the meals are made with her recipes and authentic sauces,” says Yesenia.
There’s nothing artificial about the color either. To get that pink tone, she uses fruits and vegetables, such as dragon fruit or beets. It took her and her mother about four months to find the ideal color for the tortilla and nachos.
This past February, she opened her own brick-and-mortar business in Boyle Heights, the neighborhood where she grew up. “For me, being here is very special because I have always wanted to give something back to my community,” says Yesenia.
Deftly combining aesthetics, culture and fashion, Yesenia expanded the menu and now it also offers burritos, sopes, pink pancakes, pink glitter cappuccino and boujee ice cream. The cozy environment makes it ideal for enjoying a nice brunch or lunch. The beautiful decorations are also perfect backdrops for social media posts.
Even the pineapple, cucumber with lemon, horchata with strawberry, hibiscus and dragon fruit aguas frescas come in pouches with pink straws. In Mexico, some drinks are given to you in a bag, Yesenia told me. She came up with the idea to serve the beverages in something non-traditional that also looks ‘cute’.
At 27 years old, Yesenia is an unstoppable young woman. She was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and at nine months old arrived with her parents and two sisters in the United States. She’s grateful to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for helping her achieve her goals. The ‘Dreamer’ says that one of her motivations is to inspire other generations of Latinas in her community. “I want them to know that they can do it too,” she says.
She feels grateful for the support she has received not only from the almost 50,000 followers she has on TikTok, but also from the customers who come to her business to enjoy the food. Many of them arrive dressed in something pink to take many photos. “Especially now that the Barbie movie is going to be released, several people – adults and kids– come dressed in pink. Many are planning dates to come eat here during opening week. It’s nice to be able to create this friendship with my clients”, says Yesenia.
When Yesenia went to business and fashion school in downtown Los Angeles, she rode the Metro system. She loved to visit vintage stores, and she would travel by train to Union Station, Koreatown, Hollywood and Santa Monica. Now, she’s happy that there is a station very close to her business. “I think it’s really convenient because there’s little parking around this area.”
Pink and Boujee is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is located at 1908 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033. You can take the E Line to Mariachi Plaza station. You can also plan your trip using Google Maps, Apple Maps, the Transit app, the Moovit app or metro.net.
To read this story in Spanish, visit El Pasajero, Metro’s Spanish-language blog here.
Categories: Transportation News