Anthony Bourdain, Illegal Immigrants and Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen

Delicious Debate

Beautiful: Thank you for such an amazing story on Hugo's and the food industry ["Guess Who's Making Your Dinner?" by Robb Walsh, December 20]. The intertwining of food, patriotism and social commentary was beautiful and poignant — especially if you've eaten at Hugo's and have those special aromatic memories to match your descriptions. Their Sunday brunch is like a Ph.D. thesis in Mexican ­cuisine.

Josef Sifuentes


illegal immigrants

Online readers weigh in:

Moving: This story about Hugo Ortega was so inspiring and moving for me. It seems that the American people often want to make snap judgments about complicated problems without doing the research required to make an ethical decision. Hugo Ortega has truly forged a legacy for his family while bringing a spectacular taste of the Mexican cuisine.

Susanna Morley

Geez, people: What part of illegal alien do you fail to understand? You couch this serious problem with such nice terms as "day laborer" and "undocumented worker" and either welcome this scourge or avoid the issue.

I don't care if that ego-inflated Anthony Bourdain or this guy wants illegal aliens in restaurants. I don't want them! I don't want illegal aliens here. Go home! I don't care if this closes some restaurants. I'm perfectly willing to spend more money for my meal knowing that it is prepared by Americans.

I love ones. I don't give a damn where you're from — fill out the damned paperwork and do it right. Illegal aliens drive down real wages of American workers, keeping those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale from competing for jobs and continuing the cycle of poverty. At the same time, those employers who hire illegal aliens should be fined first, and jailed if it happens again.

Funny that 80 percent of Americans want illegal aliens deported, isn't it? Stop being a shill for criminal activity (yes, that's what hiring illegal aliens is).

The Future

Not okay: Legal immigration is not a problem. Stop linking all immigration, both illegal and legal, into one category. Legal is okay, illegal is not!

Milton Smith

Destructive aliens: It is a great tragedy that the federal government does not represent the wishes of 80 percent of the American people.

Legal immigrants built our nation, and illegal immigrants are destroying it.

Legal immigration allows the immigrant to become part of the society and speak English!

These extranjeros ilegales use up social and educational resources. They pay little or no taxes and, worst of all, send $40 billion or more back to their home country. What part of giant sucking sound is not understandable?

These illegal aliens bring crime, TB and other exotic diseases, and illegal drugs by the ton. The cost is almost incalculable.

It would be better if we sent $40 billion in aid to Mexico to get their house in order. The corruptos are exporting their unbelievable inability to govern.

I would rather pay more for my food so long as my fellow Americans are serving it.

The worst of this modern-day tragedy is that government is a party to this criminal enterprise by not enforcing our laws against illegal immigration.

If the tables were reversed with Mexico, the American illegals could expect prison or death from our Mexican "friends."

Art Ciampi

Absolutely, Art: So, if the problems are so obvious, why are things allowed to continue as they are? Why is nothing really being done about it?

Because the system of illegal immigration benefits corporations and governments on both sides. Corporations get cheap labor without responsibility to the laborers in the form of benefits (sometimes they don't pay them at all) or to the government in the form of taxes, and American consumers get cheap goods in return. Governments of countries like Mexico get all those billions of dollars flooding their economy, without having to pay for any sort of infrastructure or other social services for the workers that made that money.

Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Well, to the usual suspects: the political and economic elite.

What I can't understand is why anyone would ever advocate perpetuating this system: They are not standing up for people who "just want a better life"; they are overtly encouraging a corrupt and unethical system of slave labor that allows for all manner of civil and human-rights abuse. Anyone who thinks illegal immigration is just fine the way it is certainly is no friend of the people.


Near-slave class: The panderers and elitists have made this into a racial issue. What people are blind to is that keeping the current system is keeping an underclass in this country. The liberals have had some degree of success in making it out to be an issue of race and hate. But what they cover up are their own interests in having a near-slave class of people — people who work under dangerous conditions and have little recourse if not paid or if injured. Illegal immigration is no friend of the working man or the illegal alien. It cuts wages. It forces legal immigrants and citizens out of particular industries and service-oriented jobs. The people who have spread the lies about clamping down on immigration as hate are the ones who rely on this slave pool. But even liberal elitists need their grass cut cheaply and their food served cheaply.

Billy Deez

Fraud: This is an interesting article that made some good points while making me hungry at the same time. However, the writer of the piece chose to gloss over the facts that Hugo committed identity fraud when he purchased his Social Security number, and that someone else legally in the U.S. may have just had their Social Security number compromised.

Stephen Taylor

Handle with care: Yes "Future," we understand you don't care. You don't care that this man risked life and limb to come to this country and work his butt off. You don't care that he paid taxes and saved his money. You don't care that he built a business from the ground up that added to the economies of Houston and Texas and the federal tax rolls. You don't care that he never asked for a handout. You don't care because you are a bigot and because you are prejudiced, and we don't care that you don't care. Like it or not sir, they're here and they ain't goin' no-fuckin'-where.

E. Cortes, Esq.

In the Kitchen

Eating...Our Words blog readers respond to "Simply the Best: Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen," by Olivia Flores Alvarez, December 20.

Down with Sylvia's: I have to say, without a doubt, that Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen is the worst example of enchiladas I've ever had the misfortune of eating. People, she was recognized because she is a Latina in a big world doing her thing, not because of the food. It was one of those pat-you-on-the-back awards. So go down the street to your local street vendor and get better food for less money.

joe mex-tex

I have to disagree: I drive across town to have her enchiladas whenever I can. I love them. I have lived all over Texas and eaten Tex-Mex in some of the best restaurants in the state. I love Sylvia's!


I like Sylvia's a lot: But I pick my entrées according to my personal taste. Sylvia takes dried ancho chiles and reconstitutes them in order to make an ancho chile puree base. Most Tex-Mex restaurants these days just use paprika, a cheaper shortcut. Hence, the best enchiladas at Sylvia's are the ones that feature the ancho chile puree. I recommend the El Paso, stacked enchiladas served with an egg on top (I de­cline the egg).

Jay Francis

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