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Savoring Success: Latin American Cuisine In The United States

A smorgasbord of regional cuisines with unique flavors

Latin America is home to a diverse array of regional cuisines, from Mexican to Ecuadorian, Peruvian to Argentine.

Each has its unique flavors and ingredients, brought about by the fusion of indigenous, European, African and Asian influences that shaped Latin America’s history.

Take, for example, the Peruvian lomo saltado, a mouth-watering fusion of Spanish, Chinese, and indigenous flavors with stir-fried beef, vegetables, and potatoes served with rice. Or the savory and spicy Venezuelan and Colombian arepas, which showcases the cuisine’s pre-Columbian roots with a corn-based bread, filled with a variety of ingredients like cheese, meat, beans and avocado.

The Latin American journey to plates in the US

Even before becoming part of the United States, certain Latin American culinary traditions had already established themselves in Florida and various western states.

Meanwhile, others made their way into the country, starting with the initial wave of migration from countries such as Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico in the mid-20th century.

Avocados, quinoa and plantains — just a few staples of Latin American cuisines — have now become commonplace in many American pantries.

According to Statista, the U.S. per capita consumption of fresh avocados amounted to approximately 8.43 pounds in 2021, up from 2.2 pounds in 2000. Quinoa, a flavorful grain from the Andes, has also seen a remarkable rise in popularity due to its health benefits and versatility in recipes.

aguacates en una huerta en Uruapan, MichoacánHarvesting avocados in Michoacán, Mexico; January 2019.

“These days, tortillas outsell burger and hot dog buns; sales of tortilla chips trump potato chips; and tacos and burritos have become so ubiquitously ‘American,’ most people don’t even consider them ethnic,” wrote journalists Suzette Laboy and J.M. Hirsch. It’s just another indicator of the changing demographics in a country that is nearly 20% Hispanic.

As the New York Times reported way back in 1992: “Ketchup, long the king of American condiments, has been dethroned. Last year, salsa … took the condiment crown, outselling ketchup by $40 million in retail stores”.

David Weiss, the president of New York-based Packaged Facts Inc. told the Times back then that “the taste for salsa is as mainstream as apple pie these days.” Even George Costanza knew this. “You know salsa is the number one condiment in America right now,” he said on a 1992 episode of Seinfeld.

The culinary giants transforming Latin American cuisine

Latin American chefs have made a name for themselves in the United States and around the world, using their talent and passion for their region’s culinary arts to broaden the American palate.

Chef Gastón Acurio has been credited with introducing Americans to the complex flavors of Peru. With his successful chain of La Mar Cebichería Peruana restaurants in San Francisco, New York, and Miami, Acurio has put Peruvian food on the map.

Nelson Milan, a food critic for Eater magazine, says: “American palates have evolved so much in recent years thanks to chefs like Gastón Acurio who are introducing us to new flavors, ingredients, and culinary techniques.” Food critic Elise Craig wrote in Condé Nast Traveler magazine: “Cebiche, cebiche, cebiche.

It’s what La Mar is known for… If you can only handle one, go for the clasico, the catch of the day with leche de tigre, red onion, habanero, corn, and sweet potatoes.”

Ceviche assortment

Ceviche assortment

Enrique Olvera is perhaps the most famous Mexican chef working today.

His Pujol restaurant was ranked #1 in Mexico and #9 in the world at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards. Olvera is a pioneer of a new contemporary Mexican style of food, which uses traditional, local ingredients with unusual flavor combinations.

His signature “Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo” consists of two concentric rings of the traditional Mexican mole, one of which is aged for 2,500 days.

It’s served alongside a steamy dish of baby corn with chicatana ant mayonnaise. That’s right — ants — with a pleasantly smoky taste and crunchy texture.

Street food

Street food, traditionally less refined but bursting with flavor, has been a significant ambassador of Latin American food culture to the United States.

These foods were born out of necessity, innovation and creativity, and often represent the heart and soul of Latin American cuisine.

From tacos to empanadas, these simple yet delicious foods have won the hearts and palates of many Americans.

Tacos from Mexico have certainly taken center stage in the American street food scene. These humble yet flavorful soft tortillas are filled with everything from pork, beef and chicken, to vegan options like beans and grilled vegetables.

Garnished with fresh cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of lime, it’s hard to resist them. National Taco Day, celebrated on October 4 every year, is a concentrated version of the “Taco Tuesdays” many restaurants offer in a bid to bring in crowds.

Similarly, empanadas, baked or fried pastries filled with meat, cheese, or other ingredients, have become a go-to snack or meal for many Americans.

Brought by immigrants from various countries like Argentina, Colombia and Chile, each version of this dish brings with it a unique twist whether it’s the dough, the filling, or the method of cooking.

These handheld delights are perfect for on-the-go eating and have found their place in food trucks, local shops, and even in gourmet restaurants across the United States.

Traditional cheese empanadasTraditional cheese empanadas JULIA LAICH

Tex-Mex food, a fusion of Mexican and American cuisines, has become a beloved part of the culinary landscape in the United States. Its origins can be traced back to the Tejanos, inhabitants of Texas when it was part of Mexico.

Over time, as cultural exchanges occurred between Mexican immigrants and Americans, a new flavor profile emerged that was distinct yet deeply rooted in its Mexican ancestry. Today, Tex-Mex is recognized for its heavy use of shredded cheese, meat (particularly beef and pork), beans, and spices, with dishes like nachos, hard-shell tacos, and chili con carne becoming synonymous with this cuisine.

Pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador, have steadily gained popularity in the United States over the past few years. These thick, hand-made corn tortillas stuffed with a variety of fillings such as cheese, pork, or beans, offer an exciting addition to the American culinary scene.

Pupusas are traditionally served with a tangy, fermented cabbage slaw called curtido and a thin tomato sauce, providing a flavorful punch with each bite.

The unique taste and texture of pupusas have caught the attention of food lovers, and their widespread appeal is evident in the growing number of Salvadoran restaurants and food trucks across the country.

In 2005, the city of Los Angeles, home to a large Salvadoran community, declared a National Pupusa Day, further cementing the popularity of this dish.

The future of Latin American cuisine

As the appetite for Latin American cuisine continues to grow, so does its influence in U.S. restaurants.

From trendy taco stands to upscale eateries, there is an increasing demand for chefs that specialize in Latin American recipes, and more are entering the culinary scene every day.

Chefs and food truck cooks are also experimenting with Latin American flavors, using them in unexpected ways, like the Korean tacos popular in many parts of the United States.

Korean-style fillings like bulgogi marinated beef and spicy kimchi vegetables fill the traditional Mexican corn tortillas.

Latin American cuisine is here to stay and it is only going to get better. From traditional dishes that have been passed down through generations to modern fusion creations, Latin American cuisine is sure to continue delighting and surprising the American palate.


The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

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The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

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Germany’s Real Estate Market Is Heading Towards Stagnation and Potential Reversal

By Cindy Porter

In a landscape marked by evolving economic forces, Germany’s real estate sector has recently grappled with formidable challenges. Over the past year, surging interest rates, cautious lending practices, and soaring inflation have prompted prospective buyers to reconsider homeownership, contributing to a resurgence of interest in the rental market. This shift has led some to speculate that the era of booming real estate growth might be waning.

However, amid these headwinds, whispers of a potential reversal of fortunes have started to circulate. Despite another interest rate hike by the European Central Bank (ECB), German property prices demonstrated unexpected resilience in the second quarter of 2023, stagnating rather than declining.

Notably, sales prices for flats exhibited only a marginal decline of 0.3% from April to June, as per the Greix real estate price index published by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). In contrast, prices for detached and semi-detached homes surged by 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

“The German real estate market showed itself to be quite robust in the second quarter,” remarked IfW President Moritz Schularick. He highlighted the positive impact of the expectation that the ECB’s interest rate hikes may be tapering off, following significant price corrections in preceding months.

EY, in a recent study, offered a more optimistic projection for the construction sector, anticipating a rebound from months of turmoil in 2024. Despite challenges stemming from rising material costs, supply bottlenecks, and expensive credit, EY’s analysis suggests that the industry will find equilibrium as inflation recedes and policy interventions strive to meet housing construction targets. Consequently, construction prices, historically volatile, are expected to normalize, potentially setting the stage for a stabilization of construction volume.


In terms of property prices in the long run, a joint study by Postbank and the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) predicts a mixed outlook for the German housing market. Approximately half of the surveyed districts and cities, comprising 400 regions, are anticipated to experience around a two percent decline in real terms by 2035. Conversely, 43% of districts are projected to witness price increases.

Leading the pack in rising real estate prices is Potsdam, situated on the outskirts of Berlin in Brandenburg. The city’s property prices could soar by up to 2.71% annually by 2035, making it a growth frontrunner. Erding, near Munich, follows closely with projected annual growth of around 2.13%, while Leipzig in Saxony and Frankfurt am Main are also expected to experience healthy growth.

The map below offers insights into the projected property price development in Germany until 2035

All of the remaining top 10 – including Landshut, Munich and Augsburg – were all located in Bavaria.

The so-called ‘big seven’ cities are also poised for positive price trajectories. While Hamburg is predicted to experience the lowest growth at 0.29% per year, Munich is forecasted to lead the pack with an impressive 2.08% growth rate. Berlin is expected to achieve healthy growth at 1.24% per year.

Conversely, the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) analysis suggests that properties in regions with inadequate infrastructure and declining populations, particularly in the eastern states, could witness value depreciation over the next decade. This scenario is likely to manifest in numerous areas across Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Saarland.

Rural regions in eastern Germany, disconnected from major cities and outside the Berlin commuter belt, face the possibility of significant price declines, ranging from 1.5% to 4.3% annually.

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By Cindy Porter|THE VOICE OF EU🇪🇺

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