Bronx Tales V: The Magic of Oaxacan Mole

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Why you should care

Because everyone should have a seat at the table.

In episode 5 of Bronx Tales, OZY’s editor-in-chief, Carlos Watson, hits the streets of New York’s most maligned borough to talk about success and failure, race and gentrification and, of course, love and hip-hop.

At La Morada, a family-run Oaxacan restaurant in the South Bronx, food is cooked with equal measures of fresh, traditional ingredients and a philosophy directly tied to the owners’ indigenous genealogy. The No. 1 rule in the kitchen: No one is allowed to cook while angry, because bad energy can taint the food. The No. 2 rule: The immigrant minimum-wage earners who make up the staff should be able to sit down and enjoy the food as much as the restaurant’s patrons. That second rule, explained by Yajaira Saavedra, daughter of the owners, is more provocative than it may appear. Yajaira says while most restaurants are fully dependent on immigrants, many are not accessible to them because of high prices and unfamiliar menus. For that reason, La Morada caps prices on their entrées and doesn’t veer too far from the tasty but traditional moles that were considered peasant food back home.

Yajaira says her family’s goal is to create community at the center of their rapidly changing neighborhood where longstanding residents and newcomers are welcome. But not welcome? According to the bright orange sign on the door: gentrifiers, sellouts and displacers. Did we mention she’s provocative?

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