La Feria del Nopal 2011 Happening This Saturday at Juan’s Restaurante (Baldwin Park)

Folks, it is that time of year again! Las Ferias del Nopal is coming back to town!

Some of you might remember my announcement last year of the cactus celebration on LAist. Well, this Saturday will mark it’s second year of celebration!


(taken from their website)

La Feria del Nopal (Cactus Festival) is a community event hosted by Juan Mondragon, owner and executive chef of Juan’s Restaurante. The purpose of the event is to expose the community to the benefits of cactus consumption. La Feria del Nopal was held for the first time last December. The event turned out to be a success, which prompted Juan to make it an annual affair. While the event is still in its early stage, the support for it has been growing at a steady pace. This year, La Feria del Nopal will be held on Saturday, August 20th, 2011 from 12 – 8 PM.

What to expect if you come? Well, from what I could remember last year? Fresh nopal salads, nopal flavored-flan’s, nopal flavored polvorones (Mexican shortbreads), nopal-based agua frescas and of course…handmade nopal tortillas!

Also, traditional Aztec dancing and a whole evening filled with musical entertainment.

Ensalada De Nopales
Cactus Salad

Agua Fresca De Nopal Y Piña
Agua Fresca de Nopal y Piña

Fresh Handmade Nopal Tortillas!

Did I mention that Juan Mondragon (owner of Juan’s Restaurant) is actually a personal chef for a bunch of celebrities too? So, don’t be surprised if one of his star customers decides drop by. (check out his facebook profile if you don’t believe me!)

I love nopal, it’s actually a comfort food for me that makes me feel happy. I grew up eating the stuff, and recently, enjoy it more for the sheer detoxing, anti-diabetes health benefits of the slime-tender vegetable!

So, if you have time, shoot on by to the eastern wastelands of Baldwin Park and eat some nopal to be healthy!

Hay nos vimos!

Juan’s Restaurante
4291 Maine Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
P. 626.337.8686


This just in from a returned phone call by Juan Mondragon of Juan’s Restaurante!

Aztec and Mayan dancers are being flown in from Mexico, yes, folks, there will be free limpias, cleansing and dancing!

New Beginnings, My Epic Saveur Zacatecas Piece Featured In May Issue & Writing About Food/Punk Rock For OC Weekly

I Am Here

So, it has been an absolutely RELENTLESS last month for me.

To start off, I have recently experienced some pretty antagonistic life realizations lately. Well, I will just say I underestimated the imminent reality of transience in life. Things that once were, will not always be. “Con tiempo…todo se acaba, nada es eterno en el mundo, ni teniendo un corazon, que tanto siente suspira por la vida y el amor” (Antonio Aguilar). But I can not let that stop me in my tracks now, not after all I have accomplished…on my own.

A Prickly Pear Blossoms No Matter What (photo courtesy of Foto Martien on Flickr)

Like countless rancheras, punk rock anthems, gangster veteranos and Descartes have told me, one must “Conquer yourself, rather than the world [homie]”. Alcabo, “uno viene a este mundo solito, y pues, mejor ser solito que mal acompañado. Asi no me meto en compromisos, ni me dejan mal parados.”

Nonetheless, I am happy to say I am finally taking school seriously again, yup, twelve units of educational hell at Pasadena City College. Finally tackling the general ed. classes that I put off for so long, so if anyone out there wants to tutor me in math, feel free to drop me a line because I need the help. And whatever already, I am majoring in Journalism/Communication and will transfer to USC, there I finally made up my mind.

Also, proud to say I now happily call Gustavo Arellano mi jefe! Yup, the fellow Zacatecano, life mentor, role model who writes “Ask A Mexican” is now my editor. I scored this sweeeet (yes, even if unpaid) Internship at OC Weekly in Costa Mesa. Got my own pinche cubicle and everything! Ahh raaaza! As if it couldn’t get any better, I cover food and punk rock events. Thank you universe for smiling at me. I just finished writing my first print “weekend pick” for their calendar section on the freaking Dickies and Adolescents show next week in Long Beach. I will also be covering shows too, so its going to be nice to write about my first love in life too. I am already covering the Punk Rock Picnic and PUNK ROCK BOWLING FESTIVAL IN VEGAS!).

Here is a rundown of the food pieces I have written for them so far:

Announcing Stick A Fork In It’s First Intern: Javier Cabral, a.k.a. The Glutster!

Free Tickets to Aquarium of the Pacific This Saturday for First 100 People Who Dress ‘Cheesy’

What NOT to Do While Recording a Cable TV Food Show (and How to Score One Yourself!)

‘I Used to Be a Vegan’ by Zion I & the Grouch: Vegan Underground Rap, Yo!

Suffice to say, this new schedule is bad ass, and my energy, passion for it is not going anywhere. Even if I have to drive all the way to Costa Mesa and then back to P.C.C for a night class on the same day, yes that is almost a four hour commute by the way. Umm, unfortunately, I can not say the same for my wallet and ass; $20 a day and numbing.

Also, I am freelancing (unpaid again) for The Alhambra Source, so be on the lookout out for them. Here is an article I have written for them already.

From high school misfit to The Glutster, via Wahib’s

And now for the biggest news! *fast punk rock drumroll with base drum please….

I have finally finished the my epic piece for Saveur Magazine!. The Mijos Journey will be out on newsstands across the world in the last weeks of April and whole month of May! Extremely happy to say that I worked my ass off for a to compile a 4000+ word narrative on visiting the beloved ranchitos of my parents beautiful home state of Zacatecas for the first time. It was a journey of getting to know my roots through food, it comes complete with 20+ family rancho recipes, including, are you ready? My mom’s world famous Menudo (as made famous on the Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern: Los Angeles). All this, within a week and a half.

todd snapping quesadilla
Saveur Executive Food Editor Todd Coleman Snapping Away At My Mom’s Enchiladas

This piece is a huge milestone for not only myself but for my family, to painstakingly distill the ancestral recipes of my deep rancho roots and have them up there with the other great cuisine in the world is a life accomplishment for me. Saveur flew my mother and I out to Zacatecas last year and issued us one of the best food photographers in the world to come along for about a week…it was a turning point. I still can’t still quite fathom everything is actually happening. This will also help to finally show my family better understand what it is exactly that I do in my career, and it is not “just me on the computer.”

la familia
My Mom, My Aunt Marta and My Tia Margarita: Making Cheese in La Yerbabuena

I am planning on having a “Reading Party” somewhere so stay tuned to find out where, thank you all for reading me and inspiring me to keep on going. Salud!