Thursday, February 9, 2017

Worshiping at the altar of Laredo's Panaderias

    In Laredo, bakeries are like cathedrals; however, instead of manna from heaven, worshipers of these panaderias seek out slightly less sacred form of heavenly bread. I say slightly less sacred because Laredoans have an almost religious devotion to pan dulce.

     Old timers are fervently faithful to their bakery of choice, whether it be El Mejor Pan, Polo's Bakery,  or La Reynera. They are like life-long parishioners, unwilling to switch in search of something new. In fact, some would rather first change church affiliation before they ever fathom converting to another pan dulce provider.

    My old man is one such case in point. To him, the 1977 beisbol Tecolotes are still sports royalty, Tatangelo is still town saviour, and he believes that anything you will ever need can be found at either Sears or Dr. Ikes (ever since Munden's closed down). In other words, to my dad, some things should remain constant and warrant no change. He's been a parishioner of Temple Quickie Bakery ever since I can recall, and he assures me it is heretical to buy pan dulce anywhere else.  

     Everytime I mention Pano's or Gonzalez Bakery, he mutters at me angrily and waves me away with his hand, as if I just asked  him if he ever voted for Richard Nixon.

     Laredoans take pan dulce deadly serious. Domingos and meriendas would be catastrophically incomplete without conchas, cuernitos and empanadas. The picture below proves my point.



     Apparently, at Pano's Bakery running out of sweet bread constitutes an emergency akin to a fiend in desperate need of a fix. While these days churches no longer have "emergency numbers", bakeries sure do for they must fill our bellies and save our weary souls You see, Laredo takes their pan dulce dependency to new heights, and places like Pano's are there to medicate our wanting needs.

     We are willing to pay money, blood, and even the last few remaining dollars on our goverment issued Lone Star Card in exchange for a dozen tasty treats. 

     In fact, so dependent are local bakeries to Laredo's welfare dollars that they even construct their slogans around their necessity such as you'll see in the picture below.


Chalos is "Now Accepting Lonestar" Best tagline ever!

    Chalo's Bakery sign pleads to pan dulce believers, like a lighted, gold cross reaching out to the unchurched as if saying, "Come as you are. We make no judgements. Your Lonestar Card is worthy of our collection basket."

    At the end of the day, it matters not what currency you use to enter your own local kingdom bakery. Just suffice it to say that their pearly gates will be opened to all, especially in emergencies because in Laredo bakeries are cathedrals and no one gets turned away.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Football Season AND Pulga Blanca in Laredo, TX

Believe it or not, I actually had a difficult time signing into my BLOGGER ACCOUNT and for the life of me I could not recall my Google email. Somehow, in a flash of memory spark, I remembered both my email and password, after about two months of not being able to sign in.

So, here we are in a brand new year 2017 but I still choose to look at the past.  The present is great in all, but I have more fun when I retrospect and see what happened in the days gone by.

This Sunday, I found myself at the Pulga Blanca and I was checking out some of the vendor booths, and most were the usual assortment of  Wal Mart returns, but one person actually had some interesting items. Among the wares he was hawking was a stadium seat cushion from that legendary rivalry of Nixon Vs. Martin. It was dated from 1985, which so happens to be my fondest yr from the 1980s.




Now, I did not this honorable institution, but I was almost tempted to buy it just for the year alone. It looked comfy and I can just imagined how many different tushies it had encountered since the days of Marty Mcfly back in time. Next time I might just pick it up, even though its 2017 on the calendar, to me 1985 never ended.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The long and winding road back home

So it's been a while since I last posted anything. Honestly, it hasn't been all quiet on the home front, and that has prevented me from coming around here.


But sometimes the long road back home is just one blog post away. Let me go get my keyboard again.

Friday, May 6, 2016

El Rancherito Meat Market meets its Maker

For years at every #carne asada, before and after every Dallas Cowboys game, El Rancherito Meat Market was my go to place for carne, beer, and chips. I first started shopping there around 1992, but by then it was already 15 years old.

Located in one of Laredo's best neighborhoods, #santobaby, El Rancherito was a southside institution for thousands of people that depended on them Sunday after carne asada Sunday. They were located across the street from another, now defunct, venerable southside landmark, The Movie Palace. These two stores were my go to places for cigs and R Rated fun. Now they are both gone, up in smoke. 

I was unaware of Rancherito's demise until I drove by just last week. I stopped to pay my respects and to bid adieu to the neighborhood store of my youth. This Sunday, when I splash open my can of Schlitz and poke my ribs on the grill, I'll get smoke in my eyes and tear up for that store that is no more.
#GoodbyeElRancherito
You will be missed.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Unicorn Restaurant (1987) Whatever happened to? (part 1)

Whatever happened to....? The Unicorn was a good place..with "fluent English".




Laredo has come a long way since 1987. Not too long ago, our city was apparently nothing but a backwards, corruption filled city with dusty, unpaved streets. Those post JC Martin years now seem like a distant world, a Laredo from another parallel universe. 

Case in point is this advertisement taken from the 1987 edition of the WBCA annual booklet. It seems that restaurants from that era had to go out of their way to advertise themselves as a place that has "fluent English". Never mind the fact that we are still in good 'ol US of A, but Laredoans of the time seemed to feel the need to reassure tourists that English was spoken here, even in this border outpost. 

"Fluent English" is not something that a local modern Laredo restaurant would emphasize in their advertisement today, but in 1987, speaking English in Laredo was apparently all the rage.