To visit La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen & Specialty Shop please click here!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

7th Annual Oakland Indie Awards :: We won in the Pillar category!

May 30, 2013 was the 7th Annual Oakland Indie Awards once again on the beautiful Kaiser Center Rooftop Garden. Tina Tamale/La Borinquena was part of the festivities providing tasty tamale bites to the throngs of Oakland peeps celebrating all things amazing about our town in the last year!

I was honored to receive a nomination as Tina Tamale for the category:  

Pillar :: A long-established Oakland business or artist with deep roots in the community and long-standing ties to the people, culture and history of The Town. This person or business mentors newbies and is renowned for their contributions to Oakland’s living history.

Back at the 1st Annual Indie Awards in 2007, La Borinqueña was the first ever winner in the Pillar category. Well, the finalist judges decided to give this honor to both me and La Borinqueña jointly this year! Of course, I needed to take a photo with MY Pillar, Mama Tamale, with the award!

Mama Tamale & Tina Tamale holding our awards

Because of her and all those of came before me at La Borinqueña, I truly know what it means to be committed to mi cultura, mi familia, our indie business and my beloved City of Oakland. Our founder, my grandmother Rosa, loved sharing her food and had a kind, giving spirit of community in the old West Oakland barrio were La Borinqueña came to be back in 1944. My mami, Natividad Ramos, was her counter girl who later married my father, a baker in our shop's bakery. My immediate family then became the shopkeepers with my parents, siblings and extended family keeping things moving. My older sister, Isabel Esquivil, is still our general manager and her daughter Renee is our bookkeeper.

Today, we are very fortunate to have long time staff that allow us to continue make the magic of love and lard every day. Elvia Garcia, our restaurant manager, has been with us since she was 14 and I was 12. We like to reminisce about when we were shorter and skinny. Most of our staff have been with us for years and I can't imagine working without them.

Because of all of the history, hard work and sheer ganas/desire of everyone involved with La Borinqueña, it made sense to move out into the streets and open our doors to even more of our community. Tina Tamale, originally my alter ego, then became a brand becoming a part of the thriving mobile food scene here in Oakland. Folks who are part of the small hand batch artisan food community, have found their way to us and we are happy to share our experience and "Si Se Puede" / "Yes I Can" attitude when they are forming micro/small food businesses.

I am proud to be part of not only the family food legacy I was born into but also immersing myself into the rich, culturally diverse community that Oakland indie businesses and artists have represented here for decades.

2013/14 Indie Awards Winners! More pics here:

Because of Mama Tamale y familia, La Borinqueña, Old Oakland Neighbors, Oakland Grown, 10,000 Steps Oakland, lOAKal Mobile Food, mi Kick Ass Mujeres Posse and now Team Unicorn (more on the last three in future posts), I am a better, stronger person surrounded by awesomeness with a lot on my plate!

Stay tuned because this Pillar has a young heart and lots more to do!

with love and lard,

con amor y mateca,

~tina tamale

Read more about the multi- generational history of La Borinqueña in the Spring 2013 Issue of El Restaurante Mexicano in an interview with my mother Natividad and myself  here

All in the Family :: Restaurante Mexicano Spring 2013

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