Then there was Pico de Gallo, which was usually made with chopped green chile, finely-chopped jalapeños and a can or two of RotoTel (tomatoes, sautéed garlic and onions) for a quick fix. At parties we’d find the same with layered dips including olives, cheeses and guacamole.
Christina was pleasantly surprised to find that St. Louis publications had already published previews of their place the first time she (web) surfed for even a mention of it. Are you kidding? Newspaper people love this kind of stuff. News is what sells (along with a generous side dish of nostalgia).
“The tacos will fly when quick-service restaurant Taco Circus opens in early December,” Sauce Magazine began its Saturday, Nov. 22 coverage. “As reported by Ian Froeb of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Taco Circus is a project by (Carrasco and Ethridge), both transplants from Austin, Texas. The longtime friends settled on 4258 Schiller Place in Bevo Mill as the space where they will give St. Louisans a taste of what they ate as kids: tacos.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is that region’s major daily newspaper. A local landmark, The Bevo Mill Restaurant, namesake of the neighborhood just south of Historic Route 66 in southeastern St. Louis, was designed and built in 1916 to serve as a banquet hall and restaurant by a local brewing magnate. It served the populace well during Prohibition.
Okay. So far we have both PDL and Route 66 connections. Christian’s maternal grandparents were late World War II Veteran Felipe (Montoya) Fajardo and Agueda (Labadie-Padilla) Fajardo of Santa Rosa and Puerto de Luna. Felipe’s close relative, the late Virginio Fajardo, was the longtime owner-operator of Don’s Bar on Santa Rosa’s Route 66 (across from American Legion Post 36).
“When we were growing up, if we had $5 we would go to taco places,” said Ethridge, who left his job as commissary manager for Bailey’s restaurant group this summer to get Taco Circus up and running,” Sauce reported.
“We want (prospective customers) to say, “Let’s go to the Circus!” the owners told the Missouri-based media.
“Ethridge said he wants Taco Circus to be a legitimate alternative to current fast food choices,” the article continued. “The duo chose the restaurant’s name because it suggested controlled chaos, family-inclusive and light-heartedness – and just wanting to convey the message that it’s a fast-food place and not a restaurant with servers. In fact, it will be just the duo cooking, ringing-up orders and wiping-down the few tables in the 700 square-foot space.”
Missouri-based newspapers regularly published interesting brief items as well as detailed reports on New Mexico-based comerciantes since the earliest (1821) Santa Fe Trail Days. Reporters and editor-publishers practically knew each and every New Mexican personally. It’s good to see that the tradition continues in the above respect.
Also, I was disappointed to see that the Mexican food eatery that opened last year in the original KFC restaurant on East 66 in Santa Rosa has been closed for about the past week. To their credit, more people than not (that I surveyed) liked their food. When I asked if they thought the operators would do or would’ve done better just mastering the art of “local tacos” they said no, that they liked the overall menu.
Goes to show what I know about vending tacos.
"Let's Go To The Circus"
From Davy’s Desk
Nov 24 2014
– By Davy Delgado
I first met Christina Fajardo on an early September day, what year, I no longer recall. Immediately, however, I knew we’d become lifelong friends.
Fast-forward to 1989 or sometime in the early 1990s when my sister-in-law Julie announced that her old pal (Christina) had just called and would be pulling up to their home near the Park Lake any minute.
As usual, Christina (who is also known to her familia as Cecilia) had just arrived and parked on Pecos Avenue. Her son Christian Ethridge quickly bailed-out of the car and break-danced all the way to the front door. (Had it been the late 1950s, I guess he would’ve been doing La Bamba.)
That was the first and last time I saw Christian. Now a prominent Austin, Tex. artesaña, Christina most recently visited Santa Rosa a little over a year ago, and before that I hadn’t seen her in at least a few years. We enjoyed a late lunch of red chile enchiladas and she couldn’t resist adding a couple of tacos on the side. Hmmm.
We’ve stayed in touch via the modern long-distance channel known as Facebook (thank God for it). She has aced the art of art marketing and family relationships through the online social networking service.
Christina is currently informing friends and family about Christian and business partner Mikey Carrasco’s upcoming opening of their “Taco Circus,” a quick-service eatery in St. Louis, Missouri. She isn’t involved with it but I hope she can be there for the grand festivities in early December.
One might suppose or imagine that at least a hundred taco eateries already exist in the area of St. Louis where it’s locating, but apparently that’s not the case. Embattled Ferguson, Mo. (population 20,000) is located 12 miles northeast of St. Louis and that far north of I-40.)
If the entrepreneurs happen to find out that many (many) dozens of former New Mexicans (including an appreciable number with Puerto de Luna ties) reside in that vicinity and might want to stop in for a few, I suggested that they add “New Mexico PDL Chile” to their advertising message. Besides the selection of tacos and burrito-style “tacos” that they’re already promoting, Taco Circus will feature a “salsa bar.”
Lately, I’ve been asking around about when specialties like tacos might have first been offered in Santa Rosa cafes. As we all know, they’ve been on menus since about the mid-1950s, but, like salsa, they weren’t widely-advertised. From what most of us can recall, families and favorite cafes warmed-up sauce pans with local ingredients of tomato sauce and chopped green chile.