Chile Lindo

Chile Lindo Newsletter

The Life of the Broke & Famous 
Mission Evictions
Sister Cities Fundraiser 
2013 Recap
January 2014 



It looks like 2014, the Chinese year of the Horse, is off at a gallop for we're already one month into the New Year!


I have lots to report on last year's business, and lots to convey on forthcoming events. But before I get into the nitty-gritty of "save-the-dates" let me tell ya'... I'm writing this newsletter from none other than the magnificent Waikiki strip, in Honolulu, Hawaii! Surprised? Me too. It's the Life of the Broke and Famous.


On the one hand, exactly a year ago, I got dealt a bad hand--an Ellis Act eviction; on the other, I'm sitting in a cabaña at The Royal Hotel overlooking Waikiki Beach.  Lovely.~


The eviction is an all too familiar story: my landlady died and her lawyer, the all-powerful executor of the trust, is going against her wishes (and that of her son's) and selling the house. I've lived in the late Mrs. Brooks' classic San Francisco Victorian for seventeen years. I was lucky to have such a lovely landlady. She was a wonderful woman that always encouraged me to continue my work with Chile Lindo. "You're doin' good," she'd say, "just keep doin' what you're doin'. Margaret Brooks was exceptional. She was a church-going-Catholic (fancy hats 'n' all), school-of-Martin Luther King, Black, woman. She was my friend. We took good care of each other. She was amazing in so many ways, but what made her extraordinary is that she cared about people.


Michael Okwu of Aljazeera America interviewing Supervisor David Campos
Back from  
Hawaii -  
Lots of Press
I hadn't stepped off the plane before I had lined up numerous interviews with varying members
of the press. Why? Because the Mission district is now "Ground Zero" for Ellis Act evictions, and I'm at the crux of the issue because I'm active in the community and I own a small business in La Misión.

The day after my arrival from five days of tropical breezes, I landed straight in a media blitz--a whirlwind of phone calls, TV reporters, photographers, etc. First I was photographed for a San Francisco Magazine article by Lauren Smiley. Then, Aljazeera America set up camp at Chile Lindo all day. I answered questions while I took empanadas out of the oven, prepared espresso, and worked the registered for the cameras--while my staff watched in amusement. I was interviewed extensively on the changes taking place in the Mission. Next, they set up their cameras to interview Supervisor David Campos.

Around midday, Barbara Munker, working for the German Press Agency dpa, showed up. She stopped over after paying a visit to the San Francisco Tenant's Union (bless their work) where she was told to visit a small business owner, at a local café called Chile Lindo.

Soon after, Ricardo Ibarra, from El Mensajero dropped by. He interviewed me because they're running a story on Mona Caron's and Dustin Fosnot's art piece at the Red Poppy Art House titled: "The Mission Condition - Outwardly Mobile". As you'll see further down in this newsletter, the art features the house I live in.

I can't tell you how pleased all these reporters were to discover Supervisor Campos at the scene (meanwhile I'm thinking Campos must have thought I set up a press conference, with all these journalists showing up at Chile Lindo).

Late in the day, I got a call from LA. The UK correspondent for The Telegraph had a long list of questions which he asked between drawn out pauses. I got the impression this assignment could not interest him less, or maybe by then I was simply exhausted from so many interviews.

However, the following morning I met Corine Lesnes, The US correspondent for Le Monde. She pointed out that on her way to Chile Lindo, she stopped over at one of the polemic Google/Silicon Valley bus stops to pose questions to the "techie" commuters and, much to her amazement, none would bring themselves to even look at her. She said it reminded her of her assignments in Communist countries where people feared to talk. She was shocked at their reaction to a reporter. It's incredible that the "cool kids" working for the major internet communications companies, will not even acknowledge the presence of a reporter to say what's on their minds.

So, why the media blitz? Why me? Well, probably because: I have deep roots in the Mission district that go back to the 80's; I have owned a small business in the community for nearly two decades; mega development projects are going up on both sides of my 10' x 20' empanada shop; and I'm going through an Ellis Act eviction myself, which downright gives me understanding of the matter. However, most important perhaps is that--I dare to speak up! You'd be surprised how many people are going through this issue or wondering how vulnerable their own situation is. Yet most people will not make their predicament public. It's incredible how many people blame themselves because they can't afford a two million dollar house in what was recently considered a city ghetto.

Why is the world interested in this issue? Well, probably because the city is at a critical stage with so many people getting evicted and clearly we're at the tipping point of major decisions for the future of San Francisco. Like I said, people are either getting evicted or wondering whether they're next in line to be squeezed out of their fragile existence.


"The Mission Condition - Outwardly Mobile

a mural with assemblage collaboration by 


The Red Poppy Art House


Check out the art project here:

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Here I am pointing out a detail in Mona Caron's mural of the Victorian house I call home.


One of the best articles I've read on the gentrification controversy (and I've read many) is the one written by Isabeau Doucet:


Al Jazeera Magazine: The Fight for the Soul of San Francisco 




The following is a Spanish language article for
El Mensajero, by Ricardo Ibarra.

Del cielo al suelo en San Francisco

"Incluyó en el mural las casas de algunos conocidos del barrio de la Misión que han sido amenazados de desalojo, como Paula Tejeda, dueña del establecimiento de empanadas Chile Lindo, en la calle 16 casi South Van Ness."





The truth is that without a rent controlled flat I could have never sustained Chile Lindo. Small businesses like mine just barely cover their business costs. Most small business owners are heavily in debt. Fortunately, I'm not. I've even heard of business owners that run payroll on their credit cards, though.  


However, the prospect of losing my home has been all consuming. It's taken so much of my valuable time, time that I could have spent moving my business forward. Many have the misconception that rent control stagnates the economy. It does not. It moves it forward. What stagnates the economy is the rigidity of a system that does not give people a break, but rather hampers your prospects at every opportunity.   


I hired a lawyer to negotiate a buy-out and soon his legal fees were giving me more anxiety than the eviction. A no fault-eviction, mind you. But it's not my story that drives my motor. The stories that get me, are the ones like the 94 year-old women losing her home of 40+ years, the home where she raised her children and now raises her grandchildren, while her son works as a manager at Philz Coffee--these stories are what move me to take a stand. Going through this myself only makes me better equipped to understand the issue. The emotional toll an Ellis Act eviction takes on a person is overwhelming. The way these evictions are being handled is disgraceful--especially that they are targeting the working poor to benefit lawyers, real estate developers, and corporate investors from Wall Street to China. What's new!


Every Cloud has a Silver Lining


When a community gets hit with something as devastating as what Mission district residents are facing, you get to know people's true colors. Overall, I'm a good judge of character, but this sort of thing forces people to take a stand, and then you know who walks the talk! Throughout this process I have met incredible people--people that are willing to break out of their comfort zone. Some who have claimed to be all about "community" have been absent, while others take a position and stand out. The relationships you build when you come together to face adversity forge life long bonds. 


 Dennis Maxwell's artistic concept made the front page of the New York Times
Galería de la Raza mural project: conceptualized by Dennis Maxwell and executed in collaboration with muralist Pancho Pescador. Both are Chilean artists and activists living in the Bay Area


On the flip side of the displacement issue is the attention and recognition for Mission district artists and their important contributions to the city's cultural zest. Dennis Maxwell (a former partner in Chile Lindo) collaborated with his longtime friend, Pancho Pescador, to express the overall neighborhood sentiment on the Galería de la Raza's billboard mural. This collaboration, with the support of other local artists and activists--Indira Urrutia, Red Poppy Art House curator, Amabili Cheli, host at KPOO radio, and Alejandro Meza, Red Poppy Art House staff--made the front page of the New York Times.
René Yañez at
Day of the Dead procession 2013

René Yañez
Mission Art Scene Royalty
The title is well deserved! René Yañez is the founder of Galerí­a de la Raza and the annual San Francisco Day of the Dead procession--one of the city's most unique and special cultural events. René Yañez is the force behind the great theater ensemble Culture Clash. He is curator at SOMArts. I can go on and on... His Ellis Act eviction only proves what little value our society places on those that contribute toward the arts. San Francisco needs to dig into its coffers and give back to a man that has made an unequivocal contribution to this city's cultural character. For those who think in dollars and cents: it's called sweat equity. (Sweat Equity is an interest or increased value in a property earned from labor toward upkeep or restoration). A funded live/work space for Yañez is long overdue. It's the least he deserves.

Mission Local: "Royalty" of the Mission Art Scene Faces Eviction

With my brother Sebastian in Hawaii

The Spirit of Aloha


So, why was I in Hawaii? Well, it was completely unexpected. My brother decided to celebrate his birthday in Hawaii (he lived there for five years). A dear friend joined me and she had hotel accommodations through a timeshare, and, I got a great deal on Alaskan Airlines. I promised my staff that these five days in Hawaii would guarantee that I stay in a good mood all year. Voilá! Next thing I know, I'm staying at the Ilikai Hotel enjoying the life of the "Broke and Famous." (The Ilikai Hotel's architecture is classic 1960s. It was the set of the '70s TV show "Hawaii Five-O." Remember that one?).


This is not my first trip to Hawaii. Years back I sailed from San Francisco to Hilo, on the "Big Island", in a very small sailboat... for a very, very long voyage (that story can wait). Hilo is very different from Honolulu. My brother explained as he shrugged his shoulders "Waikiki is the Disneyland of Hawaii." Yet, what I felt upon landing in Hilo, I also felt in Honolulu. These islands are mysterious and there is a dramatic undercurrent that could inspire a Hitchcock thriller. Tall palm trees arch gently,  bending with the wind. In stark contrast the volcanoes that formed these islands seem to be just waiting to roar and thrust the string of luxury boutiques that stud glamorous Waikiki --Chanel, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton...--back to mainland USA.


I can't but imagine what this beautiful island might have looked like before it became a strip of high-rise hotels. Along the boardwalk, I read bits and pieces that touch on the history of Waikiki telling of abundant fish and crab, so bountiful you could catch it with bare hands. Hawaiians are such an interesting mix of people; from opposite ends of the world, they have been rooted in the islands for generations. The Japanese were already there, years before Pearl Harbor. The Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Samoan cultures are present. There's a strong military presence. One block rivals 5th Avenue and another has the flavor of a port. There are vacationers from all over the world. However, you can easily distinguish the locals from the tourists. The locals' heritage originates in different cultures, yet they have one thing in common--they have genuine smiles. The kind of smile Safeway trains their employees to have when they welcome customers, but with them it looks fake. Well, Hawaiians have genuine smiles. During breakfast I commented on this to my waitress and she explained that people in Hawaii are taught, from childhood, to embrace the Spirit of Aloha, that being a philosophical and spiritual approach to life. Aloha has a much deeper meaning than simply a greeting. The spirit of aloha is a mystical teaching that stems from hospitality, to tolerance, to giving without expecting anything in return.


Yu Chile Lindo
Photo: Yu Inami

So, 5 days in Hawaii prepared
me for an intense 2014!

There's lots of work ahead.


Soon to come is Chile Lindo's new, bilingual, website! Yes, bilingual! Working on the site is a new member of the team, Felipe Cerda. Felipe stopped by Chile Lindo one day (while vacationing in San Francisco with his brother) and I told him about my "greater vision" for Chile Lindo. I have had this conversation with many, many Chile Lindo passers-by. Yet, with Felipe, things clicked. Thus, he's a Chile Lindo consultant in Chile.


More on the greater vision for Chile Lindo at a later date, but for now, I'll just say that it's always been my intention to create a network by introducing the culture through the food, and ultimately work towards bridging the two cultures. Food is how all immigrants made their mark in the United States. Remember Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather? ...well, he started with selling olive oil.


Other prospects...  


I'm in conversations with a culinary arts graduate, a Chilean that grew up in the US, that hopefully will take over some of the kitchen operations. New menu items of traditional Chilean food and sweets are in the works--I promise!


My Girl from Empanada in San Francisco blog is on the horizon. Sponsors anyone?


Speaking of sponsors, I have sponsorship opportunities for various upcoming projects. One is an annual concert series that I will begin producing this year, highlighting a Chilean artist in the Bay Area. More on that please stay tuned. The other is San Francisco Earth Day 2014! I am producing the organic/raw/sustainable SF Earth Day Chef Zone. It's coming up Saturday, April 19th, at United Nations Plaza. Don't miss it. It will be so much fun!   


For more information please contact [email protected]


Isabel Allende welcomes the Agep-V ladies to Sausalito

Help welcome
Seven Women for Seven Days: 
from Viña del Mar to Sausalito


After two years of volunteering, I've taken a hiatus from the Sausalito-Viña del Mar Sister Cities Council. Nonetheless, I'm with the cause heart and soul. I will support the group with outreach starting now! The annual fundraiser is coming up Friday, February 21st. Ladies and gentlemen, the Sausalito Sisters wave their magic wand when it comes to creating fabulous events for their Viña del Mar counterparts. This is such a worthwhile event and for such a good cause. The money raised is devoted to funding a 7-day program in Sausalito, for 7 women from Viña del Mar. Last year's delegation of 7 women entrepreneurs spent 7 days partaking in what was a jam-packed agenda of networking events and business workshops. The women from Viña belong to AGEP-V, an Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Chile's V Region. One of the highlights of last year's program was a visit to Isabel Allende's office.


The Agep-V Sisters from Viña del Mar in Sausalito
From left to right: Carolina Arroyo, Edith Arce, Orieta Biso, Rudith Escobar, Ana Bravo (Bay Area volunteer), Lizzie Brown-Jeremi (Bay Area volunteer and, as per the ladies, "guardian angel"), Genoveva Badilla, Patricia Alcaíno, Alejandra Berríos.



A benefit for the
Sausalito-Viña del Mar Sister City Program

Hey Big Spender, 007 is inspiring 7 Dreams, for 7 Women, for 7 Days... so find a date and... purchase your tickets TODAY!

Viña del Mar 007-777 Fashion Show
Friday, February 21st
6:30 - 10 PM
1050 Bridgeway St., Sausalito

For Your Eyes Only
... there's only one Bond for my eyes, and that's Sean Connery. But then again, his films are the only 007 movies I ever saw.


Check out Shirley Bassey singing Diamonds Are Forever to get in the mood for some glitz in your life and join my Life of the Broke and Famous... and splurge. Remember, you'll never regret the things you do in life and Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend (oh yea, that's another movie).

Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever
Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever


Last year went by in a flash and so much took place that it's impossible to fill you in on it all
Highlights from 2013


Germán von Appen showcasing his work at the Sausalito Art Festival 2013

Germán Von Appen - Chilean Guest Artist at the Sausalito Art Festival


The Sausalito-Viña del Mar Sister Cities program made it possible for Germán von Appen to visit Sausalito as an official cultural exchange artist from Viña del Mar, Chile.

Germán von Appen was in Sausalito as a 'guest artist' and entrant to the prestigious Sausalito Art Festival-2013. His presence at the Art Festival was to strengthen and expand the artistic relationship between the two countries.

Check out photos here:
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The Chile-California Council

The year was packed with exciting news from the Chile-California Council. Perhaps the most fabulous undertaking is the marine education and conservation project. What's in the works is an aquarium à la Monterey Bay Aquarium in Chile.



C 3 - Chile California Conference


The annual Chile-California Conference 2013 (C 3 2013) was held at Stanford University this year, and as always, it showcased great speakers on varying subjects, from astronomy to energy sustainability. Next year, C 3 2014, is scheduled to be held at U.C. Berkeley. Don't miss it! 


  Check out photos here:


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Rolando Ortega, Consul General of Chile in San Francisco

Chilenos in California Gold Rush Country?


Rolando Ortega, Consul General of Chile in San Francisco, spearheaded a commemorative plaque to honor  

Charles William Whiting Wooster, in Yuba City,  

north of Sacramento.  


Wooster wasn't born there--he was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1780, the grandson of General David Wooster. However, he died at Hock Farm (a historical site), in Sutter County.  


His relevance to Chile is that after fighting for United States independence against the Brits, he headed to South America and became Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Navy, and fought for Chile's independence from Spain.



Sutter County is pure Gold Rush country. The presence of Chileans--miners and businessmen--in the Gold Rush would astound you. This was not the first time I visited the area and I simply love it. The first time I went to cowboy country was for the placing of yet another commemorative plaque, this time in Marysville. Turns out that Marysville, during the Gold Rush, was the third largest city in northern California after San Francisco and Sacramento. Marysville was founded by José Manuel Ramírez, a Chilean. Ramírez made a fortune by hiring Chilean miners at three times their Chilean wages, to venture north to California. Lest we forget that Chile has always been a mining country. Ramírez' home, known as the Ramírez Castle, is a historical site in Marysville and still has its original gaslights. Also, Ramírez was a renowned artist whose paintings hang in museums and private collections.


Kudos to Andy Jeremi and his wife Lizzie Brown-Jeremi for their support in organizing this commemoration. Andy Jeremi has been researching the Chilean presence in northern California for five years for a book he's soon to publish. Stay tuned for the book launch as it will take place at the Ramírez Castle, now home to a seven-generation northern California family, that are simply the loveliest of hosts.


One last thing, the historian in charge of deciding where the plaque would go explained that it would be best to set the plaque on the side of the barn, rather than on the front, as folks get to using these plaques as targets to shoot at. I thought I had misheard what she said, until she showed me what happened to another plaque that honors Hock Farm.


   Hock Farm Est 1841. They don't fool around in Sutter's Hock Farm. See for yourself.



   Them are real bullet holes! 



The Chilean plaque is on the side of the barn to escape getting shot at. More on our friends from Marysville and Sutter County to come... I have to say, the cowgirl came to life in me when I visited Gold Rush country.


Lizzie Brown-Jeremi, Luisa Hansen, Guillermina Cuestas

Centro Chileno Lautaro


This year the Centro Chileno Lautaro celebrated its 55th year anniversary (although, in actuality the cultural center has been around 56 years). It was founded the same year as the San Francisco International Film Festival, and it is probably the longest running cultural center of its type, in the country.  


The center was founded in 1957 by a group of prominent Chileans living in the Bay Area. Among the organization's founders was the distinguished poet and Stanford professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese--Fernando Alegría. The Centro Chileno Lautaro has had many ups and downs throughout its history, yet it has prevailed and stood the test of time. 


At the ceremony it became clear that the Centro Chileno Lautaro has great potential. Luisa Hansen has been the director of a significant scholarship program since 1992. Lizzie Brown-Jeremi, a force in the community overall, has been a dedicated member since she was a young girl. Her father (QEPD), Mr. Brown as I called him, was also a founding member. Back in my Chile Lindo early days, he and Mr. Esteban Canales, another founder, would visit Chile Lindo and tell me stories while they ate empanadas. They would also light up a cigarettes, oblivious to the anti-smoking laws. I think they really felt at home.      


Today, the acting president is Alexander Don-Doncow. He invites the community to partake in future activities and to get involved. For information e-mail Centro Chileno Lautaro



Plaza Viña del Mar in Sausalito

Take a good look because the beautiful red tiles are no longer at Plaza Viña del Mar in Sausalito. I attempted to attend a Sister Cities meeting that I never found in the end, and discovered that the plaza's beautiful red tile and steps had been replaced by flat cement blocks. Once again the fear of ADA (American with Disabilities Act) lawsuits take precedence over common sense. You may recall that in September, 2010 Chile Lindo suffered the disheartening fate of dealing with an ADA compliance lawsuit. The Café is literally 10' x 20'. In order to solve the problem, I serve either to-go or customers can sit outside, on stools, at a counter. Don't get me started on how strangled our capacity to reason has become in fear of those that are after the speculative buck.

I am saddened to see that Plaza Viña del Mar in Sausalito has lost a touch of its elegance.

Photo: Timothy Mak
© Chile-California Council

"Lands of Opportunities: Chile and California."


Yours truly and Chile Lindo were featured at an exhibition titled "Lands of Opportunities: Chile and California."  


The exhibition, featured at a hall in Santiago's Plaza de Armas metro station, will be up until March 2014.


Thank you Chile California Council for showcasing Chile Lindo.



Remember you heard it here first folks!



Paula Tejeda

Chile Lindo  







 Special thanks to my editor, Sara Powell. 



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