This week's La Perspectiva post was written by Cafe Con Leche's Resident Artist, Nicole Olivieri. It is a piece she read at Cafe Con Leche's April Sobremesa, Nicole's art work is also included at the bottom of the post.
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Do you know a Latino/Latina/Latinx making a difference in Pittsburgh? Nominate them for the 2016 FUERZA Awards!
Latinos are well represented in the Pittsburgh service industry, nonprofit, business, banking, education, medical, real estate industries and beyond. Cafe Con Leche is looking for 10 of the brightest + best Latinos who are making a unique and positive impact in the Pittsburgh region.
Tuesday, April 19th was Pittsburgh's first Latino day at city council. By all accounts it was a total success. Latinos from all across the region came together to share their lived experiences, educate city leaders on the needs of the Pittsburgh Latino community and assert our value to the growth in the Pittsburgh region. The catalyst for this action were the multiple attacks on Las Palmas grocery store in Brookline, however that was by no means the only topic discussed.
Cafe Con Leche's second Sobremesa dinner set out to see what it tastes like when Puerto Rico and Brazil meet in the kitchen. We partnered with Feijoada To Go to bring together the flavors of the Caribbean and South America and it was a hit! While listening to the sounds of Brazil performed by Vera Hite and Gabriel Melo, What we found was that mixing the flavors of the two was not only pretty tasty but also not so hard to do since ingredients and flavors were similar.
This week, Cafe Con Leche explores an alternate universe. One in which Latinos settled in the Pittsburgh region generations ago and contributed to the cultural fabric as Pittsburgh grew from a small trading post to an industrial city. Where Spanglish and Pittsburghese contribute to making the most bizarre language ever known to the universe, kielbasa is salchicha, perogies are stuffed with yucca and people of color are the majority demographic.
Sobremesa is a roughly translated into English as "the time after the meal, enjoying the company of friends". Cafe Con Leche will be hosting SOBREMESA, a Puerto Rican supper club series at Most Wanted Fine Art gallery in Garfield between March to August
One thing that Pittsburgh does not have (yet) is a large Latino population. The Pittsburgh region is an outlier in this regard because it is the only major metropolitan area in the United States that does not have a significant Latino population. This lack of exposure is a disadvantage for Pittsburgh companies that sell their products and services to a national audience - they do not fully understand the value of targeting Latinos consumers in their marketing campaigns. With over a trillion dollars in spending power and growing, Latinos are the future consumer base of the United States. Smart companies know in order to remain competitive, they need to start building relationships with Latino consumers now. Marketing your products and services to Latinos in the right way means you will find yourself a very loyal and growing costumer base for years to come.
Latinos are one of the fastest growing demographics in the USA. According to the University of Georgia, Latinos make up almost 20% of the population of the United States, accounting for 9.7% of U.S. buying power with over a trillion dollars in spending power. In order to secure their competitiveness companies need to be targeting Latino consumers and converting them to loyal customers.
Cafe Con Leche and Most Wanted Fine Art are partnering The Bloomfield Garfield Corporation to present a Latino Artist Residency in Pittsburgh, PA. Application is closed.
t’s Saturday night and you are wondering what to do - there are always the options of going to dinner, seeing a movie, maybe even bowling, but have you ever considered salsa dancing? For just $7 dollars you can dance the night away at Los Sabrosos, a dance company located at 4909 Penn Ave in Garfield. They offer high quality dance classes in Belly Dancing, all levels of Salsa and Bachata, Ballroom, Hip-hop, Zumba. Every Saturday night Los Sabrosos opens it's doors and hosts Salsa Nights from 10pm - 2am.
In this new Pittsburgh, we hear a lot about the importance of diversity. Diversity is important because it breeds innovation and opens new markets. Less frequently, but still spoken about is inclusion. Inclusion is important because without inclusion, diversity is a passive action that does not engage people in the decision-making process. And then there is equity. Equity is ensuring that whatever economic gains there are, people on all levels are benefitting.
SAY IT WITH ME: "CO-KEY-TOE".
Coquito is coconut milk and rum beverage made almost exclusively during the holiday season (which for Puerto Ricans lasts until Three Kings Day on January 6th). The holiday cocktail is similar to egg nog, but made with coconut milk and rum. Visit any Puerto Rican during the holiday season and you can usually spot a bottle of Coquito in someone's fridge. Get Cafe Con Leche's recipe here!
Cafe Con Leche specializes in creating that coveted BUZZ around your business. We use a combination of social media, monthly newsletters and websites to market events and services. There are many free and cheap ways to generate attention to your services and products. Check out Cafe Con Leche's top five tips to marketing your business.
Branding - This came up in Cafe Con Leche's Five Tips to a Successful Event. Name recognition is the most important thing to do when building a clientele base. You want people to hear your (or your event’s name) and know exactly who you are and what you do. Being consistent in your branding and event quality is important to building the reputation you want. Ordering swag such as pens, stickers or other little giveaways with your logo on it is a great way to get your information out into the world.
Blogs - Publishing a regular blog will drive people to your website. Blog entries should highlight your business services and products as well as highlighting topics that are of interest to your consumer base. It's a great tool to engage the public.
Facebook & Twitter Ads - These can be very inexpensive and are an effective way to reach new consumers. You can purchase an ad to drive people to your website or you can "Boost" a post. We recommend coupling your blog posts with social media ads.
Instagram - Sort of like your business' photo blog. You can post short videos, JPEG flyers and photos that are relevant to your business services and products.
- Press Release - All events should have a press release. This is how you will engage the media. All press releases should have all the basic information for the event, who you are and what your business does and information for a person to contact for more information. Click here for more information on how to write a press release.
For more information on Cafe Con Leche marketing services you can click here or email CafeConLechePGH@gmail.com.
The AP Cpllection hosts an exclusive, one-night-only event connects nine artists living and creating in Southwestern Pennsylvania with a small number of collectors in a secret location within Pittsburgh city limits. The concept allows collectors and artists to meet and discuss the featured work in a private, intimate setting.
At Cafe Con Leche our specialty is hosting events. We receive a lot of inquiries soliciting advice on how to plan a successful event. In our experience we find event planning is a mix of both strategy and magic.
Five Tips to a Successful Event:
People want to feel comfortable. The event should create a space that is welcoming and comfortable for your target audience. Being thoughtful about people’s needs pays off. People will feel good being in the space you created, which will allow them to relax and stay longer. If you plan on hosting more events, the good word will attract more people who are looking for the kind of space you creating. Whether it’s child care, extra sitting chairs. some food or bus fare - make sure you are considering your guests comfort.
The Power of Three. Make sure to have at least three things for people to be able to interact with while they are at your event. The three things could be a mix of food, music, dance, art activity, raffle/silent auction or a selfie corner. Be careful of too many activities, a maximum of five or six is good depending on the amount of guests you expect to attend.
The Power of Seven. It takes people seeing something a minimum of seven times before it sticks out in their mind. When doing marketing for an event, make sure you are advertising it at least seven times. You can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Newsletter, Website, Flyer, Press Release and in person networking to invite people to the events. If you have a marketing budget you can also buy a newspaper ad.
Branding. Name recognition is the most important thing to do when building a clientele base. You want people to hear your (or your event’s name) and know exactly who you are and what you do. Being consistent in your branding and event quality is important to building the reputation you want. Ordering swag such as pens, stickers or other little giveaways with your logo on it is a great way to get your information out into the world.
Staying Fresh. I always like to say - don’t be progressive, be transformative. The events you do are going to change as trends change, that’s ok. Always think ahead, try new things and learn from others. Staying humble but focused is key. Your relationships will probably get you farther than anything else so maintain positive people around you. Celebrate the successes of others as well as your own.
Cafe Con Leche offers event planning consulting services, for event package inquiries please check out our webpage by clicking here or email email@example.com.
It is easy to say that Latin@s are homophobic. The stereotype is that we are Catholic, conservative and have a strong “machismo” ethic. However, this stereotype is not fair to the 55% of Latin@s that support same-sex marriage (in comparison to 53% of the rest of the general population). While 53% of Latin@s claim Catholicism as their religion, it is by no means the only religion with a strong presence among Latin@s – we are Protestant, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim and more. In Latin America, anti-discrimination laws are more pervasive than in the United States. Gay marriage is legal in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico City; Uruguay allows for civil unions and same-sex adoptions.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's Pennsylvania based steel companies recruited Mexican laborers from Texas to work in the steel mills. For Mexicans, the migration experience of leaving the rural south to work in the northern steel mills was a departure from the typical agriculture work that was common in Mexican-American communities during that time. Evidence of this history is depicted in "Corrido Pensilvanio".
What makes Puerto Rican food so amazing? It's that sofrito.
Sofrito is the basis of almost any Puerto Rican dish (also know as comida criolla). Any good Puerto Rican household has a container of sofrito in its fridge. Goya sells it by the bottle full, however I prefer to make it from scratch. In my fridge, the sofrito is usually stored in a random "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" container.
Traditionally, sofrito is made from recao (culantro) and aji dulce (little sweet peppers), yellow onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro. Being that I live in Pittsburgh and don't have access to some of these ingredients, I improvise by simplifying the traditional recipe and just use cilantro, tomato, a red and green pepper, a yellow onion and garlic. Add all these items to a food processor and puree away!
To cook with sofrito, take a few tablespoons and saute it in some olive oil. I like to add some fresh chopped onion (for added sabor), olives, capers and achiote (seeds from a shrub native to the Americas, it adds a subtle flavor and a beautiful red color to food). You can also add bacon, salted pork or cured ham (if you are not a vegetarian).
Once you have all those ingredients assembled anything you cook using your sofrito with have a definitive Puerto Rican flavor. My recommendation would be to use it when cooking beans, stews or even seasoning meats. It's such an easy way to give a dish so much flavor!
Buen Provecho! Enjoy your food!
I love Pittsburgh. It’s beautiful and gritty. It’s an affordable city with good food, sports teams and culture. It’s a city where young people can live an exciting, quality lifestyle. And it's my second home. Of all the places I have lived outside of New York, this place is distinctly my own.
This is a foodie town. Ask what a typical Pittsburgh dish is and you will get responses from the perogie to fries on a salad to Northern Italian food. And of course there are any number of other non-traditional Pittsburgh ethnic restaurants, like Thai, Indian and Ethiopian.
With such a great selection of good food, my internal foodie is hardly ever at a loss for good food to enjoy. Except when it comes to traditional Puerto Rican food and bagels. Those two foods may seem random, but when you are a born and bread New Yorker those foods are staples of your life.
A Latino community just never took hold in Pittsburgh. It was like some Puerto Ricans stopped off here for a moment and then said "nah let's go on to Cleveland and Chicago". Latino food in Pittsburgh means Mexican. Not that I don't love me some good Mexican, but Latino cuisine is so diverse. Latin America comprises of two continents, North and South America, which spans a diverse geological and climate range, which means a large diversity of ingredients and preparation styles. Puerto Rican cuisine takes from the Spanish, African and Taino (indigenous people from Puerto Rico) food traditions. What makes it unique is how the flavors in each meal play off of sweet and savory ingredients, like a sweet fried plantains and the saltiness of lechon (roast pork).
While I ate Puerto Rican food for dinner growing up, there was never any breakfast like a warm Brooklyn bagel from the neighborhood bagel shop.
Finding a boiled bagel in Pittsburgh proves elusive. Don't get me wrong, you can find a bagel in Pittsburgh. But the bagels I speak of are the Brooklyn boiled variety. Where the bagel itself is the size of your hand and the hole looks like a belly button. Served with a schmear (of cream cheese) and lox. Or just butter. Chewy, soft, warm. Amazing.
The places these foods are served in are communal. From the neighborhood Puerto Rican spot where you can feel the Caribbean, enjoying a Presidente beer and listen to some bachata - dancing optional, to the Brooklyn bagel shops filled with the hustle an bustle of city dwelling folks getting their breakfast and the paper.
I want to create these kinds of places, spaces and sentimiento in Pittsburgh. A little piece of Puerto Rico and Brooklyn in the 'burgh.
Please enjoy my website, more blog posts to come exploring the topics of food, culture, community and how these things all come together to add to our city and our world strength and vibrancy!