Juan of Words

San Jose Mission in San Antonio, Texas

I’ll make this post short and sweet. We spent some time in San Antonio this weekend, and one of the things we got to do was visit the San Jose Mission for a very unique mariachi mass experience. Visiting the missions is always a treat for us, as we’ve written about before, but this time we were able to capture some of the natural beauty of this place on video. It really is worth the trip if you have never visited.

Los vientos están cambiando

Change is good. Change is hardly ever expected. Change sometimes grabs you with both fists and shakes you. Now you can take one of two roads when this happens. One, you resist; you fight back; you look change in the face and say “NO!” Although in my experience this method only prolongs the inevitable changes that are going to take place regardless of your opposition. Or two, you can decide to make the most of change and just roll with the punches. Obviously, that can sometimes be easier said than done.

Whatever you do, the reality is a lot of times “shit just happens.”

That used to be my favorite bumper sticker back in the 90s.

The other thing I would say is that change is not always good or bad. It may just be new or different. Or as the old saying goes, “the only thing constant in life is change.”

Or maybe kind of related… “hay que darle tiempo al tiempo.” 

Los vientos están cambiando, my friends.

Los vientos están cambiando

Houston, we have Pollo Loco!

This post is sponsored by El Pollo Loco, but all opinions are mine.

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Several of them actually, and coming up fairly quickly. At least that’s what we’ve been told by pretty reliable sources. Think of Pollo Loco as roasted chicken al estilo mexicano for the masses. It’s got all the flavor of your neighborhood pollo asado, and it’s dressed up into various fast and friendly options that were all pretty tasty when we got to sample them at the restaurant’s inaugural event here in Houston earlier this month.

They even have tres leches cake on the menu!

Juan was utterly excited about that.

He was. In fact, he told me later he’d made the rounds at the dessert table a couple of times just to get more tres leche cake slices. I can only imagine what the servers must have been thinking. But it was basically an all you can eat launch event so hopefully everything was cool.

We’d never heard of Pollo Loco so when we were introduced to the brand we kind of had an idea of what they might be. It wasn’t until we walked into the actual restaurant that we realized Pollo Loco is not your average mom and pop shop. They’ve got lots and lots of chain locations across the country and they’re look and feel is more like that of Chipotle or Chick-fil-A. It’s not only their look either. The items on the menu are pretty health conscious too.

So yeah it was pretty cool to see such a traditional dish packaged and marketed in such a mainstream way. Honestly, if you’ve never had pollo asado do yourself a favor and stop by to pick up a sampling today.

We will likely be visiting Pollo Loco very often.

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Target Family Feud

Family means no matter how mad you get you still stand up for each other. It means that if someone crosses a family member they cross you too automatically. Yes, even when they’re only indirectly taking jabs at you or your family member.

On some nights it also means driving down to the local Target and expressing to the store manager in a very matter of fact way what your family member might not have been able to say earlier, when they were in the same store after a very specific incident happened.

“I just wanted to let you know that earlier today one of your vendors snatched something out of our son’s hands for no reason.”

“I understand this person is not an employee of your store, only a vendor, but I want you to know her actions are a very poor representation of your store.”

“We’d like a refund on everything please. No, a discount is not necessary. We’d just like our money back please. We can purchase all these same items at another store.”

“I would highly encourage you to have a talk with your vendors and that you explain to them why it’s never okay to snatch something out of a paying customer’s hands, whether they are an adult or a child.”

“I appreciate your apology and we have never had an issue at a Target store before. We’ve always had good experiences at Target and make a lot of purchases here. We wanted YOU to be aware of what had happened and why that led to our decision to drive all the way back here to return everything.”

Thank you!!

Metiche Moments

Metiche Moments

We took this picture in Galveston a couple of days ago. September actually. We’d driven all the way from Houston to Galveston in rush hour traffic. If you’re not familiar that’s about an hour away from Houston without traffic. To avoid that mess we’d driven through the back roads for a bit and in this picture had just raced in to grab our check-in materials for the conference we were attending.

While we munched and caught our breath we snapped this selfie. I’m not sure why but it made me think about one of the hashtag expressions Juan likes to use for us, #metichemoments.

I may be wrong, but this picture sort of fits the expression.

Valentina Sauce Therapy

I’m standing at the grocery store. Del Sol they call it now. It used to be Bi Rite, but they have since changed the name. A while back I think, but it took me a long time to remember the new name. I’d always say, “hey, I’m going to Bi Rite…” And then Anejlica would respond, “it’s not Bi Rite anymore!” Nothing really changed other than the name. The employees are all the same. The fruits and vegetables aren’t any fresher than they were before. There’s still Valentina in strong and extra strong versions down the same aisle. Even the built-in taqueria serves the same menu items. You have to pay for your food first at the grocery store cash register before you can walk to the corner of the store where the taqueria is to present your receipt. The waitresses and cooks won’t prepare your food if you don’t show them you’ve paid for it already.

On this day I’m standing in front of the cilantro. I’m struggling with the clear plastic bag I just pulled off the roller to try to open the bag so I can put the batch of cilantro I have in my hand in the bag. I can’t ever open these bags that come off the rollers because I’m convinced my fingers are just too smooth or don’t have enough coarseness to open them. I always have to turn to Edgar or Anjelica to open them for me. They’re not here with me today and so I’m pinching and pinching my fingers away with the plastic bag in between trying to get it open. I start to get frustrated and place my phone down on top of the the package of chicken to get a better grasp on the plastic bag. Nothing seems to be working. At this point I just start clawing at the bag with my fingers, hoping to just rip an opening so I can slide the cilantro inside. I’m also debating whether I should just walk up to the cashier and hand her the cilantro without a bag. I look around and notice there are a bunch of loose bags atop the fruits and vegetables today, like I was not the only one having this struggle in the produce section. The bags are new this time. They’re flimsier. They’re made of cheaper plastic and therefore seem harder to open.

Just when I’m about to give up, after I’ve clawed a hole through the bag, I notice the other side of the plastic bag has one piece that is longer than the other. That’s the opening! It’s actually an easier bag to open than the other ones Del Sol had before. My finger tips can pull the longer piece of plastic to get the bag open more easily now, but by this point I’ve already stashed the cilantro in my torn bag and am making my way to pick up the next item on the grocery list Anjelica texted me. Tomato sauce she says. A bag of fideo. “The chicken that I buy,” she tells me. To which I reply with another question. “It’s the thinner one that cooks faster,” she clarifies. “Oh, and bring lettuce too if you can please,” she texts.

I’ve got everything now. I’ve checked and double checked my list because that’s what I do. I even have a six pack of extra stuff just for me. The lady in front of me is slowly transferring her groceries from her cart to the register. I’m noticing the big avocados that are priced at $1.79 each while I wait, but we already had avocado this week, I think to myself. “Next in line,” the young cashier shouts on the next aisle over that just opened up. I pay for everything in my blue little hand basket and thank her for the prompt service. I’m walking to my car now. The guy talking outside to the young lady who’s dressed all in white like she’s from a religious group or something stops me while I’m walking away. “Hey sir, hey sir, they are calling you,” he says. Confused, I turn to find the cashier standing at the door with my bag with chicken meat inside in her hand. “This is yours,” she says. Yes. It is.

I thank her and apologize in the same sentence while I take the bag from her hand. Then the man who called me to come back and get the rest of my groceries hands me a business card and tells me he’s authorized to sell electricity and can get me a fixed rate. I’m hungry and tired now and just nod in agreement before taking the card and thanking him for it. It’s too late and I’m too tired.

It’s been one of those days and I just want my fideo and chicken cooked so I can pour Valentina sauce all over them.

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