Barney’s Fiesta Blog for Saturday, Aug. 5

Day Four of Eating My Way Through Fiesta, 2006

photos by Sue De Lapa

dscn1047.jpgI love the smell of pancakes in the morning, especially under the trees at Alameda Park, and especially on Fiesta Saturday.

So I lined up at the grill next to flapjack king Silvio DiLoreto, who taught me all I know about slaving over a hot stove, pouring batter, watching the cakes sizzle to a golden brown, and then scooping them into passing plates.

But Silvio couldn’t mother-hen me long before Rep. Lois Capps arrived, resplendent in her Fiesta dress, bright-eyed and eager. Congress could wait. Besides, it’s the weekend and members of Congress normally head home to their districts.

dscn1064.jpg Lois is an old pro at these Fiesta breakfasts, but pretended to let Silvio “teach” her how to do it. Pretty soon she was flipping flapjacks high in the air, just as Silvio does, and they landed right where they were supposed to: on the paper plates.

Not only that, Lois started making Silvio’s signature Mickey Mouse pancakes. I was at the far end of the line and had cakes ready to scoop out, but the line stopped at the Lois-Silvio station, wide-eyed kids eager for a Mickey.

I heard that KEYT reporter John Palminteri was also making Mickeys.

My main customers were huge guys huddling up for seconds and thirds. I think the USC linebacker squad arrived. But it was all you could eat and I kept cranking them out.

dscn1050.jpgThen I settled down with my own plates of pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee. It was another example of the town’s biggest block party: Fiesta.

But I wasn’t through tasting. Sue and I had a pool party to attend with other past and present News-Pressers. Two more reporters threw in the towel Friday; vetereran court reporter Chuck Schultz and City Hall reporter Josh Molina. It looks as though the paper is doing all it can to push out the best and the brightest.

That makes 13 gone from the newsroom, an unlucky number for the NP.

Many consider the food at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Mercado the most authentic during Fiesta. This is an Eastside neighborhood, where the locals know and expect good, traditional Mexican food.

Church ladies have worked for weeks getting dishes ready. But many Fiesteros (I love that word), never get down to Montecito and Nopal streets and they’re missing something special. The Guadalupe Mercado runs through 11 p.m. tonight.

Sunday will be another day of music and eating. Something new is the Old Spanish Days Wine Tasting at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, put on by Elements restaurant, across Anapamu Street. There’ll be tasting of wines from around the county and gourmet dishes.

Elements is fast making a name for itself for high-quality cuisine. The event runs from noon until 3 p.m. Meanwhile, the West Coast Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Story VI, will perform the Fiesta Concert in the Sunken Gardens at 2:30 p.m. It’s free.

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