By Laura E. Alvarez
A Christmas pepper discovered in the garden Sunday morning! A sign that this was going to be a particularly Mexican trip to the O.C.
We traveled behind the orange curtain to visit my dad and go with him to order tamales for Christmas Eve.
El Toro Bravo has it all. Tamales, good meats, tortilleria (tortilla factory), a small market and a great place to get masa for your tamales.
Waiting in line to order, you are faced with a tempting embarrassment of riches – a pile of chile rellenos. Chile rellenos are actually really fun to make. It’s all about the roasting. They catch fire on the open flame sometimes! My mom used to make them for birthdays.
Here’s where I slip in the Clothes Story: I decided to go for neon under Victorian like slip blouse with an embroidered folky purse. What does it MEAN? What made me wear this? I have no idea. Wait, now I have an idea: Romantic meets an 80’s OC adolescence meets summers spent in my mother’s hometown in Tamaulipas. Remember Laura Ashley and Wham U.K.? Nothing like PTSD of the Orange County fashion. So fun.
Requisite artsy photo means we are making art.
What follows is more art. See? It’s bigger…
And we’re back! On the way to pick up my dad we picked up a load of tasty Mexican sweet bread from a very nice panaderìa, where we didn’t take any photos because it’s not my dad’s “favorite place”, plus they didn’t have any maranitos (little pigs) – the definition of pan dulce for him. So we went to Gloria’s next to El Toro Bravo and he got his wish – five maranitos. Por fin, he was satisfied. May I suggest a cup of Cuban coffee and a little pan dulce with toda la familia around 11am on a Sunday? Yes?
And what is a trip to Mexicana O.C. without visiting the Diego Sepulveda House? In the center photo you see my dad saying to Evan, “I remember coming here to visit every Sunday.”… back when his sister, Francis lived in the house with her family in the 1940’s. Now it’s a museum surrounded by a park. I remember coming here on a school field trip and telling the other kids my aunt used to live there.
Special thanks to Evan Hartzell for taking all the art-fotos.