Mexican American | KALW

Mexican American

Lisa Morehouse / KALW News

Rosa Hernandez left Oaxaca when she was 20 to work in the fields in Madera, California. Now, she co-owns a restaurant, Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra, where she cooks the food of her homeland for the many indigenous Mexicans who live in the area. She did it, she says, after realizing the cultural value of her food through inter-ethnic friendships and connections.

Lisa Morehouse / KALW News

The West Side of San Bernardino is one of those neighborhoods where people still live in the houses their Mexican-American great-grandparents bought in the 1930s. Today, on the once-thriving commercial strip, there are plenty of vacant lots and storefronts, but one business is still a magnet for customers: the Mitla Cafe. It’s proof that sometimes a restaurant is more than just a restaurant. Since the ‘30s, the restaurant has born witness to and played a role in political change. It also happens to be an unlikely inspiration for how mainstream America sees — and eats — Mexican food.