|Arellano speaking at the 2009 NAAP-OC dinner|
If "Little Arabia" could give out an award to anyone, it would go to Gustavo Arellano, best known for his Ask a Mexican! column. No other person advocates for an official designation of Little Arabia in Anaheim like he does nor does anyone reviews the various Arabic and Middle Eastern (or Eastern Mediterranean as QSR Magazine calls it!) restaurants on and around Brookhurst Street more than he has done.
Over the years, Gustavo has reviewed Little Arabia's top restaurants including Kareem's, which he reviewed many times (one of his favorite dishes is Fatteh), Olive Tree, Zait & Zaatar, Al-Amir, etc. He even slammed the OC Register's Marla Jo Fisher for wrongfully referring to Little Arabia as "the part of Anaheim more noted for its check-cashing facilities than its fine cuisine." However, my favorite article by Gustavo remains his answer to "Wannabe Arab, a.k.a El Libanes" in his Ask a Mexican column:
Dear Wab: You're not one of those idiot Chicanos who ridiculously, insultingly compares the plight of Mexicans in the United States to that of the Palestinians in their homeland, are you? I can't tell for certain if you have Middle Eastern genes without a DNA sample, and I'm not interested in obtaining one from you unless you're a chica with bouncy double-Ds. But your chances that thesangre of the Levant courses through your veins are more likely than gabachos may think. As you noted, Lebanese did migrate to Mexico throughout the 20th century and contributed to the patriain ways both positive (tacos al pastor, Salma Hayek) and negative (billionaire Carlos Slim Helu), having the biggest presence in Mexico City and the states of Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan. I recommend you buy Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp's excellent 2007 study, So Far From Allah, So Close to Mexico: Middle Eastern Immigrants in Modern Mexico, in which she examined thousands of genealogical records of Lebanese and Syrians who moved to Mexico. Also don't forget that most Mexican uncles have enough Moorish blood in them to pass for one of Saddam Hussein's doubles.
Effective tomorrow, Friday, December 2nd at 5:01 PM, Gustavo Arellano will officially assume the editor post of Orange County's top alternative newspaper, the OC Weekly.