Gustavo Arellano is the author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. He is a features writer for the Los Angeles Times and has been an essayist and reporter for various publications as well as a frequent commentator on radio and television. He was formerly editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, and penned the award-winning “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answered any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. Gustavo is the recipient of awards ranging from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Best Columnist to the Los Angeles Press Club President's Award to an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his “exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic.” Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy.
The Past, Present, and Future of Calendarios de Varilla
Meet the company behind the west’s most ubiquitous calendars.
Mexican fans ‘Negotiate Morrissey the person and Morrissey the music.’
Guitar String Hero
Using metal wires, nylon threads, and everything in between, Gabriel Tenorio keeps axes taut—and in tune.
Sí Se Puede
Orange County political leader Ada Briceño harnessed the power of protest to help the conservative bastion flip from red to blue. Her next test: the 2022 midterm elections.
Hunger to Be Known
Alta Journal contributing editor Gustavo Arellano sits down at a restaurant that serves as an “urban anchor” with author Natalia Molina to talk about A Place at the Nayarit, the October California Book Club selection.
Open Your Eyes, Edward James Olmos
The 1948 book American Me has long been overshadowed by the film of the same name. It’s time for that to change.
A Taste of Austin in Orange County
Heritage Barbecue perfected Central Texas–style brisket, sausage, and ribs. But because this is California, it also serves pastrami, pork adobo, and Jidori chicken.
The Endless Summer of the VW Bus
Volkswagen’s all-electric reboot of California’s favorite camper won’t offer the breakdowns and discomforts of the earlier models. And that’s a shame.
Remembering an unlikely friendship with L.A.’s fruit-and-veggie legend.
Folsom Prison Blues (Again)
The Tomb of the Unknown ‘Wetback’
Gustavo Arellano discovers a long-forgotten grave in Orange County—and the secrets it keeps.
Hot Pepper Advocate
An Orange County lawyer grows Peru’s beloved ají amarillo for big-name chefs and home cooks alike.
A Novel Bookstore Settles Down
Community and culture combine at Santa Ana’s LibroMobile.
All Hands on Deck for Boat Building
A UC Irvine professor and students are building a "proa," the 30-feet Micronesian boat once widely-used by Pacific Islanders. Just don't mention Kon-Tiki
In-N-Out is So So-So
The beloved but overrated fast-food chain represents Southern California at its absolute worst
It used to be white, conservative, and staid. These days, OC is a very different place.
Ode to LA’s Car Chases
From O.J. to everyday getaways, you can’t turn away from L.A.’s hot pursuit.
Murals Under Siege
Exploring The Land of 1,000 Dances
“The Tide is High” is an incomplete history of Latino music in Southern California—and that’s part of its appeal
John Manly busted pedophile priests. Now he’s representing hundreds of America’s top gymnasts who allege they were sexually abused by their team's doctor.
I Spent 12 Hours in Twitter Jail
Is Taco Maria California’s Most Important Restaurant?
It started in a food truck, and then went upscale. Is Costa Mesa's Taco Maria the most important restaurant in California right now?