Hussong’s Cantina & Taqueria Celebrates Dia de los Muertos

The traditional Mexican holiday brings themed cocktails, food specials and fun to Hussong’s

LAS VEGAS—Hussong’s Cantina & Taqueria will host creepy cocktails, food specials and the Most Interesting Painted Skull Contest in a weekend-long celebration of Dia de los Muertos. The Day of the Dead holiday is celebrated in Mexico for family and friends to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have passed away.

Food and beverage specials will be offered Thursday, October 27 through Monday, October 31 including: Dos Equis pitchers for $18 and Don Julia Blackberry Margaritas served in a skull for $9.95. The Oaxacan style Turkey Tamale, a Mexican dish topped with silky traditional black mole, chile ancho, sour cream, queso fresco, broccoli sprouts and cabbage salad, served with a saffron rice and double fried white beans will be available for $14.95.

The Most Interesting Painted Skull contest will take place on Sunday, October 30. Paint supplies and skulls will be provided to contestants looking to win a handful of “deadly” prizes. The first place winner will receive a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon for two, second place will receive a Stratosphere SkyJump pass, and third place will receive a zipline ride with Flightlinez down Fremont Street.

The Most Interesting Painted Skull contest will run all day with judging at 7pm. Contestants must be present to win.


FOH July Employee of the Month, J.d S.

Our July employee of the month is server J.d. He is upbeat, fun, and extremely hard to dislike. He is mild tempered and professional. He walks the fine line of unforced competency and playful discipline, and does it real well. When we interviewed him, he actually interviewed us – he also came and checked out our restaurant as a guest prior to deciding whether he’d like to work for us.  We are really glad we passed. He’s been an asset from day one, and his reward and title of Employee of the Month is well deserved. Congratulations, J.d!

J.d is a huge music fan. He also has an interesting choice of superpower. Read on.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in a small town of 2,600 people LeRoy, Illinois. It’s the dead center of Illinois, about three hours south of Chicago, but I claim Chicago, because nobody knows where I am from.  My graduating class had 69 people in it. I got in the food industry there when0 I was 15 years old. I got my food permit and started bussing tables at this old bank that was gutted out and remade into a restaurant, called the The Old Bank Inn. That was the very first gig I had.

First kiss?
Uhm, I was definitely in 6th grade, her name was Abby Haller, I still talk to her till this day. That’s pretty cool. I kissed her by the big tires in our school playground. Sounds like your typical first kiss picture, but I remember it clear as day.  I asked her out to this fall festival like two days later. We still talk about it now, it’s pretty funny.

First car?
First car was a…well, we named it “Goooooo” cause I loved that phrase from Ace Ventura: “Goooooo!”. I don’t know, my friends whenever they’d see me they’d yell: “Goooooo!” so I named it…it was a Hyundai Excel, a little hatchback, horrible for snow, horrible for the winter season in Illinois, it was stick shift, of course.

Childhood role model?
My oldest brother. He was just your typical awesome athlete, scholar, everyone looked up to him. He was a mentor, and he also watched out for me all through high school, it was great. My mom was a teacher. She teaches music, kindergarten through 6th grade. It was annoying and hard having your mom as a teacher. She knew everything about me before even I did, but my oldest brother, he lived the way for me, he paved the way, he stuck up for me all through high school.

Current role model?
Now it’s hard to find one person to symbolize all of that…I can find pieces in family members and famous people, but total package, I think it’s hard.  It just seems like these days you have to find it in yourself, if it’s not there, it’s hard to find it in other places.

How do you like to spend your free time outside of work?
I am engulfed in music 100%. I love rock music, I miss it, it’s completely dead. But I’ve gotten a little bit into pop music, too,  Lady Gaga, I love Adele, I love old rock like Silverchair, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, those types of bands. My family is really musical, all of us. I play the piano, I can play the guitar, I can sing, my whole family can sing, like I go home and we all gather around piano and sing. It’s kind of ridiculous.

What do you like most about your job?
The thing I like about Hussong’s the most is that the dots are all connected.  It has a history, it has a niche, it has location. It has a backbone, like a family that it comes from. When I was searching for a job, I was looking for something that really had all the dots connected. And that’s why I chose here.

Ever had a concussion?
Never, the closest I came was in 8th grade. I was playing kickball in PE and I tripped over this girl’s foot and landed straight on my face, broke my front two teeth, my nerves were hanging out. So I kind of passed out for a minute…my mom worked at the opposite end of the school and she heard me scream from the PE, or felt me being in trouble anyways, one or the other because she came running. I opened my eyes and I see my mom and everyone searching for my two teeth all over the gym floor. Pretty bad.

Books or TV?
TV, and I’m ashamed of that, because TV sucks, and I am really picky and choosy about what I watch. I don’t just channel surf. I Tivo the shows that I like, mainly music and sports.  I have a lot of books at home just waiting to be read…I just really need to get started.

Ski or snowboard?
Ski.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I would, uhm…I’d like to glamour people. I think. That’ be awesome. I don’t want to fly or anything like that, I just want people to think the way I do when I want them to, you know? Just kind of glamour them, like a vampire, I’d like that.

Favorite magazine?
Rolling Stone, I’ve been getting it for like 6 years. Now that’s it’s coming out every month, it’s not as good, but it still has the key articles that make it great. And I like The Advocate. Good magazine, too.

Blonds or Brunettes?
Growing up my whole life, blondes. After I grew up, brunettes, for sure.

Glass half full or empty?
Half full. Unless I’m drinking. Then the motherf*$ker’s empty.

What is your dream location to visit?
I want to go to Europe. I want to backpack all over there, every little nook and cranny, I really wanna do it. I wouldn’t even wanna do it for a month. I’d wanna go for like 3 or 4 months. And I am going to. It’s just a matter of time. When all your ducks are in a row, you can definitely do something like that. So I’m waiting a little bit.

Public figure, dead or alive, you’d like to bring to Hussong’s for lunch and why?
I would bring Amy Winehouse here. I found a new love for her and her music and who she was, and the downfall and demise of Amy Winehouse. I’ve just been reading so much about it and the press had so much to do with it and I just want to talk to her about it. Like: ”I know you are influenced by certain things, but really, truly, what influenced you?” You know? I’d bring her here, give the shock treatment, some blackberry margarita and just talk.

Favorite Hussong’s dish?
The skirt steak Chille Relleño. No specific reason, it’s just amazing, the garlic, everything about it.


Double Stacked Quesadilla Special, plus $3 Dos Equis all day!

Honestly this quesadilla is awesome! Crispy tortilla, stuffed with avocado, jalapeno, ham, onions & grilled corn (& cheese of course)! Perfect pairing with your $3 Dos Equis darft all day today.


5 Star Hypocrisy

The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments t...

Image via Wikipedia

How Yelp censors its reviews to increase the site’s profit

Most believe Yelp needs no introduction. I believe Yelp needs a thorough investigation; I am certain there are things you as a Yelp user, and you as a business owner don’t know about this slick censorship machine. Please hang through the first two paragraphs; this isn’t just another bitch fest about how Yelpers only like to complain. This gets much more interesting than that. First Amendment kind of interesting, actually.

The beginning: some months back, our restaurant (as most sooner or later do) received that one really, really unfortunate review. In about a year and half, this was the one review worth arguing over – filled with lies about our restaurant, by a person who, together with their group, walked out on paying their beverage bill after asked to pay their contracted minimum food spend we apply in cases of groups over 12. When asked to pay this bill (which they agreed to paying by signing a contract days prior to their party), multiple members of this group proceeded to threaten us with bad reviews on Yelp. Of course. What else.

When this review appeared (the same night of this incident), we asked Yelp to remove this review; we had video footage of this group laughing and enjoying themselves through their meal. Independently, three members of our management checked on this group and were repeatedly told everything was “Great!”; until the bill came. So to claim everything was awful, without any explanation, seemed to us – well, untrue, inaccurate and a blatant lie. When Yelp responded they could care less what the truth was (“it appears to reflect the personal experience and opinions of the reviewer, we’ve decided to leave it intact”), we asked to have our account removed from Yelp. The response from Yelp was as follows: “…this kind of information is publicly available and its use is protected under the law. More importantly, we believe that the public benefits from sharing their experiences with local businesses.” (feedback@yelp.com).

See, this quote right here will be very key in the next few moments. So months go on and we notice our overall star review on Yelp is steadily dropping, now down to three stars. We worry, we debate, we continue to try our best and we watch our Yelp account attentively. Then one day, while unable to find a specific review by a regular guest of our restaurant, I noticed a pretty hard to see link on the very bottom of our review page, which said “Filtered Reviews”.

Filtered reviews? I clicked the link. What my screen quickly displayed was the longest list of 5 star reviews I’ve ever seen. As if Yelp didn’t already have a crappy reputation among restaurateurs, here is where it all went to shit.

We currently have a total of 82 reviews available to see on our public page; 82 reviews that average out to 3 star overall rating. In the “Filtered Section” however, you will find (well hidden) 49 reviews (37% of our total amount, in itself an alarming number) but wait – there’s more: out of the 49 reviews, 46 reviews are 5 star reviews. Yes, 93.875% of our filtered reviews are 5 star reviews. Filtered reviews are not automatically viewable by public (unless someone stumbles upon this link and clicks it). Furthermore, filtered reviews do NOT count towards your business’s overall star rating.

How do reviews get filtered, you ask? Ah, so did we. There are some very vague and mostly fluff filled, nondescript, non-specific and uncommitted explanations on the Yelp website as to what exactly gets reviews to be filtered (or not), but it won’t give you a clear idea at all. I emailed Lucy at the “Feedback” department, asking whether perhaps these reviews, too, wasn’t information Yelp believed “that the public benefit(ed) from sharing” or, alternatively, what made it not worth sharing (at this time still believing it’s some kind of a mistake). Nothing. So we emailed two more times and received no response.

So a poor young ad sales person Jon walked right into the lion’s cage when he called to ask for our business’s money. After a long line up of rehearsed clichés, brainwashed propaganda and sales crap recital (which actually included the mention of “freedom of speech”, yes, he dared), this is basically Yelp’s explanation how reviews get filtered and why: Yelp wants to provide what they refer to as “accurate information”. In order to do so, their determination of “credible sources” (quotation marks used because Jon actually used these terms), is based on the frequency of use one’s Yelp account. Not only how many reviews you’ve written; but how often you login into your account, use Yelp as search tool, etc. This is what makes you a credible source in Yelp’s eyes. I mean, this guy actually pulled a media argument: ”When you read the newspaper, don’t you want the most accurate data?” this is how delusional Yelp is about itself and its role. Need I remind anyone that Yelp is an opinion sharing platform and as such, accuracy, will always be polemic. I really hope Yelp knows they are not news reporting agency. Talk about an identity problem.

But back to you and I, the user and the used. Yelp’s filtering system (or regulatory, why not) blocks reviews of users that only used their account a few times, or one time. You have a favorite spot you truly care about and choose to overcome your dislike of public, anonymous chitchat just to help your local spot out by writing a legitimate, honest review? Don’t bother. Your experience is “of lesser value”. Wrote a few reviews but don’t use Yelp to search for places or log into your account for any other reason? Your opinion is dismissed as “inaccurate”. However, if you want to write fake reviews (which is what Yelp claims to prevent), whether positive or negative, as long as you do so often enough and occasionally read other maybe fake maybe not reviews while logged in, you are good to do so.

Let me translate here. As a Yelp account user, you only hold value to Yelp if you visit their site often enough to increase their traffic, which in return gives them statistics that help sell advertisements and allows the site to make money. Your ability to accurately depict an experience starts and ends with how much you do for Yelp – how you translate in terms of dollars. If you are a high frequency Yelp account user, your memory is better, your judgment is spot on, your ability to account events is cop-like, your senses are tuned up and your ability to express yourself is flawless. The value of your experience, your opinion and your freedom of speech is as good as your eyeballs on paid advertisements that Yelp can capitalize on. Rate that.

It’s not like this is the first time an organization acts for sole motivation (profit) and under the banner of higher principle (freedom of speech) claims well doing, nobility and contribution. It’s not the first time the very righteous cause has the most rotten foundation. It’s not the first time good people are fooled by massive moral fraud acting like Messiah.

We hope we helped you out here. We hope that next time you post a review, your disillusion won’t burden you, that you will no longer dream of maybe affecting a business by sharing a negative experience, warning your friends off, or in our case, sharing your positive encounter with your fellow citizens, so they may choose to experience place/food/event also. That would be genuinely silly and naïve. Because unless you can turn into something practically useful to Yelp, your review will most likely end up on the wrecking site of Filtered Reviews that no one ever reads. Oh, does it suck to know your own irrelevance? Why don’t you Yelp about it.

This is where Filtered Review have their home...small, unnoticeable "link" on the very bottom of the page.


Vegetarian Options at Hussong’s

We’ve been asked many times about our vegetarian options and have to admit, that when we first opened, there wasn’t much else to choose from outside of some pretty skimped out existing menu items. What has initially started as few improvised items (tacos minus the chicken) has over time grown to into a full blown vegetarian menu.

One of the first obstacles used to be our rice and beans; the traditional Mexican rice is made with lard, and our refried beans contain Chorizo (Mexican sausage). Now when you order one of our vegetarian entrees, you will get a side of delicious fluffy white rice (no lard) and upon request you can get a side of black beans. Below is the vegetarian menu in its full glory – we think there are some items that might be a nice change up for many vegetarians!

APPETIZERS

Guacamole $8
Traditional Style Guacamole

Sopes $8
Four corn masa dough boats, vegetable mix, and Mexican toppings

Jalapeño Toreados $7
Four Grilled jalapeños, marinated in Magi-Worcesterchire sauce, stuff with queso fresco

Quesadillas $9
6” corn tortilla, blend of Mexican cheeses, vegetable mix and Mexican sides

Plazero Grilled Corn $6
Grilled white corn brushed with mayo-butter, cotija cheese and Mexican chili flakes

NACHOS

Hussong’s V. Nachos $12
Multiple layer of chips, blend of Mexican cheeses, pico de gallo, grilled corn, tomatillo avocado and sour cream

SALADS

Caesar $13
Romaine lettuce, tomatillo Caesar dressing, toasted pumpkin seeds, shaved parmesan and torta bread croutons (add grilled veggies)
Arrugula $13
Arrugula, agave nectar vinaigrette, onions, tomatoes, caramelized walnuts and queso fresco (add grilled veggies)

Tostado Salad $13
A crispy tortilla stuffed with a healthy mix of lettuce, black beans, grilled corn and queso fresco. Tossed in a citrus vinaigrette and topped with julienne
vegetables, chipotle aioli (add grilled veggies)

TORTA

Baja Sandwich $14
A Mexican sandwich, torta bread, jalapeño mayo, grilled zuchinni, grilled yellow squash, fajita mix, tomato, pickled onions, guacamole and lettuce

TACOS

Veggie Taco $13
A threesome of tacos, served on a choice of corn tortillas or low carb romaine lettuce wraps, topped with veggie mix, onion and cilantro mix, lime wedge, served with white rice. Add extra toppings for $0.50 each

BURRITOS / CHIMICHANGAS

Burritos / Chimichanga $13
Large flour tortilla, blend of Mexican cheeses, white rice, veggie mix, pico de gallo, sour cream, served over a bed of lettuce tossed in a avocado/tomatillo salsa
Choose your sauce or have it dry: Red sauce, green sauce or half and half

ENTREES

Huarache $15
Thick oval corn tortilla, over a pasilla salsa, topped with veggie mix, lettuce/cabbage, sour cream, pico de gallo and cotija cheese

Enchiladas Suizas $15
Veggie mix rolled enchiladas, creamy tomatillo salsa, sour cream, queso fresco and watercress salad, served with white rice

Enchiladas Plazeras $15
Pasilla salsa rubed corn tortillas with queso fresco and onions, topped with, lettuce, sour cream, queso fresco and veggie mix

Fajitas $19
Veggie Mix over a mix saute peppers and grilled corn, served with flour tortillas, side of pico de gallo, Mexican cheese blend, lettuce, guacamole and sour cream

Chile Relleno $16
Grilled chile relleno with veggie mix, topped with Mexican cheese blend, sour cream, avocado slice, served with white rice

 

Please come in and if this is your dietary preference, make sure you ask your server for a vegetarian menu. We hope you enjoy these options and come for more often!


What do you think of our new menu?

As you may or may have not noticed, we made a few changes to our menu. These changes are reflective of a few factors: first, we took our time to examine the legibility and simplicity of the menu. Not only are the letters big enough to read, but the navigation itself is clear and concise, it minimizes confusion and decreases the potential for server error when taking orders. Second, we went through item by item, re-read the descriptions about a thousand times and asked our customers whether the meal verbiage was clear but appetizing and enticing. Lastly, we looked at the item order and general layout, which should help highlight our favorites, navigate customer’s eyes to our specialties and maybe more unique items. We also condensed what used to be three separate menus (food, drink & late-night) into one. You will either appreciate this because you like to snuggle with trees or because you like to have space on our table while you eat, either way this is positive.

After we cleaned up all this, we took a few items off, to allow for more focus and streamline direction of efforts and manpower in our kitchen, thus increasing the quality of the items currently offered. We also added a new item – Tostado salad: very fresh, light and delicious mix of lettuce and avocado and corn, with black beans and some cotija cheese, all coated with just the right amount of citrus-vinaigrette. This salad by default comes with a grilled chicken breast, but you can upgrade to shrimp, like on this picture below, or sauteed

Our latest addition to our menu - Tostado Salad, so fresh, so...perfect for summer!

fish. It’s an awesome summer dish and frankly, we can’t get enough of it.

If your favorite item is no longer on the menu, watch for our weekly specials, as we may be bringing these few dishes or variations thereof back throughout the year. Our weekly specials appear on Facebook, and are always posted in front of the restaurant.  You can also expect your server to announce them during his or her introduction.

Also please notice that we have dedicated a meal to one of our favorite non-profits, FAST Aid. FAST Aid is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial, educational and personal assistance to injured racers, support teams and their families as well as ensures the necessary support is in place to complete a thorough recovery and rehabilitation from motor sports racing incidents. We support Fast Aid and are donating 10% of sales of Huarache to this organization each month, for the rest of the year at least. So if you’d like to feel extra good about eating some yummy food, order Huarache, which is a Tenderized flap steak atop a crispy tortilla and borracho beans, topped with layers of chile negro, Chimichurri, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, sour cream and lettuce-cabbage. It’s great grub, plus you are doing something positive for this world – two birds, one Huarache.

Please check out this great cause to which we now will be periodically donating 10% of our Huarachse sales at fast-aid.org.

We will continue to play around with our menu until we feel it’s close to perfection, at which point we’d like to add some color pictures of our dishes and will actually take the step to a more committed version of it – full color print! So please keep your comments coming, share them with your server or the manager.  We are not done yet and at the end, this menu has to work for you – so tell us what that means!

The full menu can be downloaded here: Hussong’s New Menu. or is also available on our website, www.hussongslasvegas.com or you can grab a copy at our restaurant!


The Dancing Dentist

Ever gotten so drunk at a bar you danced not on the bar top, but on a pillar? Ever done it so many times you actually forced the owner to re-arrange decor to prevent you from doing it again? Meet Ensenada local, Garcia Ocejo. This globe is mounted on a wooden pillar at the bar at Hussong’s Enseanda.  It was placed there in the mid 1960s, because Garcia, who was a dentist in Ensenada, would get drunk, jump up on the small pole in the bar and dance and sing Greneda.  The globe was mounted on the pole, to prevent Dr. Ocejo’s antics.  The photo below is an actual picture of one of Garcia’s performance.



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