You Can Thank the Suburbs for the Trendy Ramen Burritos Downtown

Growing Up on the Outskirts of L.A. and Marrying a Guy From the Outskirts of São Paulo Taught Me How the Urban Fringes Can Spice Up a City's Core

After I married a Brazilian, I learned the Brazilian concept of vira-lata: flipping over the can. Vira-lata (trash-can tipper) is the name for mixed-breed dogs without owners who knock over trash cans in search of food. Vira-lata has become shorthand for what Brazil calls its “mongrel complex” of being a mixed-race nation dining on the scraps of the establishment, always skirting the edges of power.

I relate to the concept because I, too, grew up on the edge. I used to say that I’m “from L.A.,” even though I’m not …