Comida Caliente: an awesome new cooking show


I’m just loving Comida Caliente, a new web series from my friend and executive producer, Stefani Vara.

It’s a fun cooking show centered on a matriarch (the hilarious Dene) and her 3 gorgeous daughters (Danielle, Stefani and Diana). I think a lot of Latinos will see themselves in this Mexican American family from Houston. I know I do.

Stef was my roommate at CU Boulder, where we were both really useless in the kitchen. Our idea of cooking consisted of making cornbread from a box, busting open a can of refried beans or driving over to Wendy’s. And I don’t know that our sorry asses have gotten much better since, but man, did we have a blast! She taught me about all things Selena and I schooled her on New York hip-hop.

I’m just so impressed with Stef and how she put this whole thing together, even getting Goya to sign on as an official sponsor. She’s always been so driven – whether it’s related to her singing career, her modeling, and now, this.

Watch these gals heat things up in the kitchen every other Tuesday on the Comida Caliente YouTube channel. My favorite episode so far has been “Sucking Bones,” which is as  awesome as it sounds. You may even see me in the kitchen trying one of their recipes (the operative word being trying).

Check it out and tell me: what’s not to love about Dene & her daughters?


A look at Jenni Rivera and Selena, side-by-side


There are great performers, and then there are game-changers. Jenni Rivera, who died at age 43 in a plane crash outside of Monterrey, Mexico early Sunday morning, was that rare breed of artist who will be remembered not only for her success, but for all the rules she re-wrote.

As the undisputed queen of banda music, her professional achievements within a male-dominated genre run deep – among her many feats, La Diva de la Banda sold some 1.2 million albums in the United States alone and sold out arenas like the Staples Center in Los Angeles, something no other female regional Mexican artist had done before. But make no mistake: nothing was ever handed to this woman.

Rivera was born in Long Beach, California on July 2, 1969, one of six siblings. The daughter of bartender-turned-music mogul Pedro Rivera, who launched his own record label, Cintas Acuario, in 1987 to produce the music of narcocorrido legend Chalino Sanchez, among others, and launch the career of his own son Lupillo, Jenni was a straight A student in high school. When she got pregnant with her first child as a sophomore, instead of dropping out, she earned her GED at a continuation school in 1987 – as the class valedictorian, no less – before going on to earn a college business degree in 1991.

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Can you tell Julian and Joaquin Castro apart?


I was with the very impressive Castro twins (Julian and Joaquin) and their fellow Texican Eva Longoria last night at a fundraiser and had a hard time telling them apart. Back in 2010, I interviewed Julian, the mayor of San Antonio (and the youngest mayor of a top 50 American city, at that) for a special ad campaign that Chanel was doing around a new men’s fragrance, Bleu de Chanel. The campaign was called “Be Unexpected,” and it consisted of profiles of extraordinary black and Latino men (you can read the profile, titled “The Great Brown Hope” and check out the ad). I also interviewed Junot Diaz and Laz Alonso, among others, for the same campaign.

Since then, I’ve been able to call his press office and get a quote or two for different stories, including this one for Fusion (ABC/Univision),  which I really appreciate.

I’ve been a fan of Julian Castro since and have high hopes for him, politically. His profile went through the roof last year at #2012DNC after his awesome speech, even if his adorable daughter Carina kind of stole the show.

Hanging on to this pic because I know there will come a day when I’ll say “I knew him way back when…”