Do-it-yourself treats from small East LA entrepreneurs are the bomb | East Los Angeles
Welcome to East LA Weekly
In this issue: We’re talking to women from East Los who supplement their family income by selling their best desserts on social media. We also check out some history at Soledad Church and tell of a Hollywood star who brings his west side tacos to families in East LA.
You can read a Spanish version of this newsletter here.
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Antonio Mejías-Rentas, Editor | East LA Weekly
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East LA entrepreneurs are selling their sweet vacation offerings
Cake Pops from East LA Sweets and Treats.
Whether you’re looking for a last-minute gift or hassle-free dessert for your small, COVID-safe vacation dinner – or if you just have a sweet tooth – a number of bakers and pastry chefs in East LA have your back. From traditional and artistic gelatins to brownies, muffins and cake pops, these entrepreneurs are putting their delicious merchandise on Facebook and Instagram, satisfying a niche market and helping balance their own family budgets.
At East LA Sweets and Treats, cocoa bombs are the bomb. They’re essentially chocolate balls that you put in hot milk for instant cocoa, and owner Raquel Avelino says she sold more than 1,000 of them in the past month alone – milk chocolate and peppermint by far the favorite flavor.
Avelino, HR manager at a security firm in Whittier, opened the store in her kitchen and dining room in East Los three months ago, looking for a way to stay busy after work. The single mom of three teenagers had already sold her goodies and family and friends were pushing her to start a business.
“I like to do it, I like to keep myself busy,” says the entrepreneur, adding that part of her success is that her products are affordable. “My prices are very cheap, and if it brings my children a little extra income, even better.”
While their most popular products are chocolate-based strawberries, brownies and cake pops, Avelino leans more towards the flavors inspired by Mexican candy, like in their apples topped with tamarindo and chamoy sauce.
Her store is for pickup only and she will be taking orders through Christmas Eve this week.
Yuli Elizabeth Campos is also a busy mother of three who supplements her family income by selling delicious gelatins and other desserts inspired by family recipes. A family emergency two years ago forced her to offer her popular Tres Leches Gelatina to friends. It went so well that she decided to sell them on Facebook and started her business with Rainbow Jello Aviña.
Chocolate covered strawberries Rainbow Jello Aviña.
Her mother’s recipe for Tres Leches Gelatina – and an Arroz Con Tres Leches from her sister-in-law – are still her best-selling items, though she has expanded her culinary repertoire by taking classes online.
When her husband was temporarily laid off because of the pandemic, she started making donuts filled with cream. “I had to reinvent myself,” said Campos in Spanish. “Little by little, I’ve learned new things in order to meet the needs of my customers.”
Campos does offer delivery but no longer takes orders for Christmas. She’ll be back on the 26th.
Chocolate bombs from Rainbow Jello Aviña
Both Avelino and Campos accept special custom-made products.
Another sweet option in East LA is Bears and Bells Baked Goods, which had a hit this season with their DIY cookie sets of baked cookies, frosting, and sprinkles. East LA baker Annie Flores, who started her business back home to pay her dog’s medical bills, also makes bread and pastries. She delivers, but the Christmas order window is now closed.
COVID RESOURCES / UPDATE
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There are new highs in East LA this week
As Los Angeles County crossed a milestone of 600,000 cases of coronavirus infection this week and hit 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the surge in cases in East LA brought a request from an elected official that residents be kept during the vacation should stay at home.
“COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in communities like East LA,” supervisor Hilda Solís said in a statement released Monday. “Right before Christmas, I urge everyone to cancel their vacation plans in order to meet with members outside of their own homes. That will save many lives. “
This week, the number of cases in east LA surpassed 14,000, and nearly 2,300 new cases have been reported since last Tuesday. The weekly average of new daily cases rose to 323 last week, compared to the previous week’s average of 225. On Wednesday, December 16, a new record high for new daily cases was set in East Los Angeles: 578
Here are the latest East LA numbers:
- 239 new cases were reported on Tuesday.
- As of Tuesday, a total of 14,346 cases had been reported in the community.
- 16 new deaths have been reported in the past seven days. The total number of deaths is now 156.
NOTITAS / NEWS LETTERS
Danny Trejo delivers namesake tacos to those in need in East LA
Hollywood actor and restaurateur Danny Trejo helped deliver 800 “taco bowls” to residents of East LA at an event sponsored by the Everest Foundation last week. The drive-through distribution at the East LA Civic Center included key staff from the Roybal Health Center, the Soledad Enrichment Action Gang’s intervention program, and the Proyecto Child Health Care – all located there. Fox News reported that some of the food came from Trejos Tacos, the chain of Westside restaurants owned by the 76-year-old star of “Con Air” and “Desperado”.
Thursday’s Taco Bowl event was one of several giveaways held at the Civic Center this month – all attended by County Supervisor Hilda Solís. There was a baby food event on Monday and a toy giveaway earlier this month, but it wasn’t open to the public. Freebies were given to selected non-profit groups in the 1st Regulatory District.
Our Lady of Solitude is 95 years old
The Church of Notre Dame of Solitude, which played an important role in the social justice movement in the 1970s, is celebrating its 95th anniversary this week. According to the La Conservancy, the church held its first service in César Chávez and McDonnell near the Maravilla housing estate on December 25, 1925. It is believed that the labor leader César Chavez met with Claretian priests in the basement of the church – one of whom, Father Luis Olivares, became chairman of the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), which campaigns locally for low-income housing as well as for the prevention of drugs and violence began.
At the beginning of the century, the Claretians handed the church over to the Misioneros Servidores de la Palabra, who lived in Mexico. The church is aimed primarily at Spanish speakers who know it as Parroquia la Soledad.
Eastside Tamaleros are seeing a drop in sales during the holidays
According to a Los Angeles Times article quoting the owner of Liliana’s tamales in East Los Angeles, sales of tamales this holiday season have been down due to huge collection restrictions. “I mostly rely on families to get together and order two to three dozen tamales,” said Juan Manuel Santoyo, who owns a smaller Liliana in Boyle Heights. “But they forbade people to congregate, so I won’t have any of those sales.” He said his restaurants were selling about 50% less that year than they usually did on Thanksgiving.
CRIME / SECURITY
When shooting on Monday evening, one is dead and one is injured
Authorities identified a man who was killed in a shooting Monday night in East Los Angeles as 22-year-old David Castillo, The Eastsider reported. A second 31-year-old male victim was injured in the 5:30 p.m. shooting. on the 5600 block of Via Corona Avenue near East Beverly Boulevard. A sheriff spokesman said the two victims were gunshot wounds. Castillo died on the scene and the other unidentified victim was taken to hospital for surgery. No arrests were made and no further details were given. An investigation is still ongoing.
Monday’s fatal shooting would be the 19th murder reported in East Los Angeles that year – more than double the 9 reported in 2019 according to the Los Angeles Times murder report.
Thank you for reading the East LA Weekly!
East LA Weekly will be on hiatus next week, so this will be our final column for 2020. Despite the difficulties of the year, we enjoyed speaking to our neighbors and finding great East LA stories to share – and looking forward to it don’t forget to contact me with ideas and suggestions at [email protected]
See you in January!
Antonio Mejías Rentals
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