A Little Pearl Chef Is Launching an LA-Style Mexican Food Pop-Up in DC

Nick Olivas is making hard shell tacos at Gonzo. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.

There has never been a better time to find tacos in DC, thanks to the proliferation of new taquerias and pop-ups. But for California native Nick Olivas, Washington still lacks the kind of Mexi-Cali fare he grew up eating from  takeout windows in the San Gabriel Valley. So the Little Pearl chef is launching Gonzo, a pop-up specializing in Los Angeles-style tacos and tortas. The first series will be held at Dupont Circle cocktail bar Astoria on Fridays and Saturdays from October 23 to October 31, available for takeout and dine-in.

“Mexican food in Los Angeles, for me, is usually something fried and crispy with cheese,” says Olivas. “It’s basically Taco Bell done right.”

Chicken milanesa torta with avocado and crema. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.Chicken milanesa torta with avocado and crema. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.
Chicken milanesa torta with avocado and crema. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.

Though Olivas is a former sous chef at two Michelin-star Pineapple and Pearls, you won’t find tweezers here. Hard shell tacos are stuffed with braised beef, “shredduce,” Colby Jack, and salsa rojo. Other comforting dishes include guacamole tostadas and crispy chicken milanesa sandwiches. Expect street food snacks such as Tajín-dusted mango and corn nuts sprinkled with worm salt — a spicy mixture of chilies and ground agave worms.

Hominy and pork pozole rojo. Photo courtesy of Gonzo. Hominy and pork pozole rojo. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.
Hominy and pork pozole rojo. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.

Drinks are masterminded by another Pineapple and Pearls alum, bartender Alex Davis, who worked with Astoria owner Devin Gong to create Cali-style cocktails. Offerings include a rum-based “I Like Tiki Drinks But I Don’t” made with passionfruit and locally-roasted Small Planes coffee, or classic watermelon margaritas. There are also low-and-no-ABV options like a smoked tepache kombucha, based on the fermented pineapple rind beverage sold by street vendors in Mexico.

The menu features street food snacks like these corn nuts with worm salt. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.The menu features street food snacks like these corn nuts with worm salt. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.
The menu features street food snacks like these corn nuts with worm salt. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.

Olivas says the pop-up is a deeply personal project—including the name, Gonzo. It’s an homage to Olivas’ brother who passed away last year and counted the father of gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, among his heroes. For Olivas, this pop-up is an opportunity to practice gonzo cooking, writing himself into the story of the food he creates.

“Comfort food is different for everybody, it’s a personal thing,” says Olivas. “I thought I’d do something that actually came from me—something that was more of a memory instead of a recipe.”

Tuna and snapper ceviche. Photo courtesy of Gonzo. Tuna and snapper ceviche. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.
Tuna and snapper ceviche. Photo courtesy of Gonzo.

Gonzo at Astoria. 1521 7th St., NW. Open Friday and Saturday until October 31 from 11 AM to 1 PM. 

Sample menus:

Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture. Originally from Rockville, she lives in Logan Circle.

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Jumbo-Visma launching Vos-led women’s team in 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – Jumbo-Visma, one of the leading men’s outfits, is starting a women’s team for the 2021 season with Dutch great Marianne Vos in the squad, they said in a statement https://www.teamjumbovisma.com/news/news/team-jumbo-visma-starts-womens-team-in-2021 on Monday.

The creation of the team is a welcome boost for women’s cycling, which has been badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The time is ripe to get started. It is fantastic to be able to make a major contribution to national and international women’s cycling through your own women’s team,” team manager Richard Plugge said in the statement.

The Dutch team will be spearheaded by 33-year-old Vos, a 12-time world champion across three disciplines — road, cyclocross and track — and an Olympic champion on the road and track.

“I am proud to be part of Team Jumbo-Visma. The vision and ambition of the team appeals to me and I look forward to starting together,” the 33-year-old Vos said.

Last week, the Paule Ka outfit stopped its activities with immediate effect saying the French fashion label sponsor had failed to make payments to the team in the last four months.

The first edition of the Paris-Roubaix women’s race was also scraped from the calendar after the event was cancelled and Tour de France organisers have also yet to announce details of a highly-awaited major race on the back of the men’s event.

Jumbo-Visma are second in the men’s world rankings after Slovenian Primoz Roglic finished second in the Tour de France and Belgian Wout van Aert won the Milan-Sanremo ‘Monument’ classic in August and was second in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Nordstrom Beauty Is Launching a Category for Black-Owned Brands

The easiest way to support the Black community is by investing your money, and Black-owned beauty brands deserve to be supported now and every day.



a woman smiling and posing for the camera: Courtesy


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From patented skincare formulas, to pigmented, extended shade ranges that look gorgeous on every single skin tone, these Black entrepreneurs are setting the beauty trends and creating new standards across all product categories that other brands eventually follow.

Nordstrom is recognizing the talent of the Black innovators in the beauty industry by expanding its beauty selection online with a focus on Black-owned brands. Inclusive Beauty at Nordstrom is a curated shop of products from some of the best leading and emerging Black-owned haircare, skincare, and makeup brands.



a woman smiling and posing for the camera: Inclusive Beauty offers a curated selection of hair, makeup, and skincare products for every skin tone and hair texture.


© Courtesy
Inclusive Beauty offers a curated selection of hair, makeup, and skincare products for every skin tone and hair texture.

There will also be Inclusive Beauty outposts at 27 brick-and-mortar Nordstrom stores.

RELATED: The Best Black-Owned Beauty Products to Shop in 2020

Nordstrom is kicking off the new Inclusive Beauty category with seven brands, including Ron Robinson’s Beauty Stat, Nancy Twice’s Briogeo, Karamo’s MANTL, Hannah Choi & Shannon Kennard’s Baby Tress, Cashmere Nicole’s Beauty Bakerie, Lulu Cordero’s Bomba Curls, and Ozohu Adoh’s Epara.

When choosing the initial brands to carry in its Inclusive Beauty category, Nordstrom focused on product efficacy and formula innovation.

“Product efficacy was a top criteria for brands that were selected for the new category,” Autumne West, beauty director at Nordstrom tells InStyle. “This is just the beginning and we look forward to adding more Black-founded brands, Latinx-founded brands and brands created by other people of color to our Inclusive Beauty category in spring 2021 and beyond.”

The creation of Inclusive Beauty is also in response to Nordstrom customers wanting the retailer to carry more Black-owned brands.

VIDEO: 12 Black-Owned Indie Beauty Brands to Keep on Your Radar

“Customers have told us they want Nordstrom to offer more products that meet the needs of everyone, no matter their skin or hair type, tone, complexion or texture, as well as those that are uniquely designed by and for people of color,” West shares. “They’ve also told us they want it to be easier to find and shop these products in one place.”

Ahead, learn more about the brands in Nordstrom’s Inclusive Beauty category. Then, shop some of their hero products.

BeautyStat

Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson formulated skincare products for some of the biggest brands in the beauty industry until creating his own brand, BeautyStat, in 2019. His first launch is also his brand’s hero product. The Universal C Skin Refiner is a triple-patented vitamin C serum that doesn’t oxidize, which means the last drops are equally as effective as the first. Robinson has recently expanded his line with a vitamin C CBD eye cream and ceramide-rich moisturizer.



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To buy: $80; nordstrom.com.

Baby Tress

Thanks to Hannah Choi and Shannon Kennard, your edges are officially laid. The duo created Baby Tress’ 3-in-1 Edge Styling Tool