Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks Chile Colorado. Art Fest in Santa Fe Springs. On-line Floricanto.

The Gluten-free Chicano Makes Chile Colorado
Michael Sedano

The Gluten-free Chicano was all antojado for chile colorado, and in his zeal to eat some, he forgot most restaurants thicken the dish with harina de trigo. It was a Saturday matinee at the theatre so given the timing he planned to stop at northeast LA’s best Mexican cocina, El Arco Iris restaurant in Highland Park.

There are three quality standards for restaurants, in the Gluten-free Chicano’s mouth. First, cocido. It’s his second-earliest memory of food. If the cocido is at least acceptable, he will return for a second meal, when he applies the second test: beans and chile colorado.

It used to be the other way around, before he became afflicted with Celiac disease. Beans and chile colorado, then cocido de res. But that is the Gluten-free Chicano’s remote past and nowadays, cocido is the only safe option in unknown restaurants.

El Arco Iris had been his go-to place since shortly after his discharge from the U.S. Army when he and his wife lived in the area. He’d never had a bad meal there, and beside that, Arco Iris had the best cocido in town and cocido was his usual order nowadays.

But that afternoon, all antojado for beef in red chile sauce, driven by yearning, he thoughtlessly ordered chile colorado without consulting the menu, nor quizzing the order-taker about wheat ingredients. He didn’t regret the decision. Yet.

Arco Iris made a mean chile colorado; tasty, full-flavored, generous. He contemplated licking the plate. Instead, The Gluten-free Chicano wiped the plate clean with a final bit of tortilla. He sat back, satisfied, until the first pangs of doubt raised tiny beads of sweat on his back. Was that chile safe? He drove home, fearfully.

Sure enough, like clockwork, 59 minutes later he grew violently ill and was down for the normal two days of misery. Never again. Double never again because El Arco Iris closed at the end of April after 53 years of operation. Ave atque vale, el Arco Iris restaurante.

That hypnotized by antoja nightmare happened several years ago, 2011, in fact. Last week, the antoja struck again, hard. When life serves you gluten, the only solution is to cook it at home. And that’s just what The Gluten-free Chicano did. This is a simpler variation of the recipe La Bloga shared in 2011. The Gluten-free Chicano is simplifying everything these days.


Beef cubes.
Gluten-free flour, salt, pepper, dried garlic granules.
Gebhardt’s chile powder, or a good mix of New Mexico and California chile powders.
Water and/or chicken stock.
Coconut oil or olive oil.

Use a plastic bag like the vegetable bags from the grocery store.

Dump in a ¼ cup of gluten-free flour. The Gluten-free Chicano prefers King Arthur brand, but any gluten-free flour mix will do (not pancake or baking mix). Add a pinch of garlic, a pinch or two of chile powder, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and shake to mix.

Add the beef cubes to the bag. My grocery store's least expensive beef is trimmings, usually large cubes. That's what are pictured here.

From a roast or a steak, cut 1” cubes or slightly larger, though meticulous tipas tipos will cut ½” cubes or short, thin slices. Shake the bag and beef so the beef turns white and there is only a little flour at the bottom.

Heat over high-medium flame the coconut oil and just before it starts smoking, empty the bag into the oil.

Stir vigorously for a few minutes and let the meat brown on all sides. Lower the flame cook the meat for five minutes.

While the meat is cooking, put a couple tablespoons water in a separate vessel and sprinkle in two tablespoons of corn starch. Stir in ¼ cup or more of stock. Stir in half a bottle of Gebhardt chile powder. Gebhardt chile powder is tasty without much heat. Add ground cayenne to make the sauce chiloso.

Add this thin liquid to the beef cubes and stir to wet all the meat chunks. Get the sauce to uniform consistency, no lumps or clumps. Cook until the liquid begins to boil gently. Now it starts thickening.

Lower the flame. Stir completely. Add chicken stock to produce the volume of sauce you want. The more you add, the more time required for the cornstarch to thicken. If you need more thickness, dissolve cornstarch in cold liquid then add to hot.

Lower the flame, cover, and cook for five minutes or until the meat is cooked through (and probably tender, depending on what kind of beef selected), and until the sauce is viscous but still clearly liquid. If it’s gotten too thick, add stock or water a little at a time, stir to desired consistency: the sauce coats the meat.

Serve with frijoles refritos and tortilla de maíz. A small salad of pepino and jitomate adds a refreshing crunch to the meal, and if aguacates are on sale, slice one up.

Eating Chile Colorado

There’s only one way to eat chile colorado: taquear with your hands and a tortilla.

Tear a piece of tortilla that fits between your thumb and index finger. Pinch the tortilla around a chunk of beef, slather across the plate to gather sauce and refritos in the tiny taco. Pop the delectable morsel into your mouth. Lick your fingers and repeat.


Santa Fe Springs Arts Festival

Driving the 210 freeway heading east at 2 in the afternoon offers a test of patience amid congestion and tolerance for cars that slalom in and out of lanes seeking an imagined advantage on everyone else. These drivers are commuters, they do this every day. I’m on my way to the 605 and a quick jaunt toward Whittier for the 3:00 opening of SFS Arts Fest in Santa Fe Springs. But it’s 2:30 and I’m just passing Duarte.

Back in February, Pola Lopez happily announced at a pre-Zoot Suit dinner that the SFS Art Fest named her this year’s Feature Artist. I hadn’t known the city of Santa Fe Springs held an art Art Showcase/Family Art Day. This would be the fifth.

The city-owned Clarke Estate comes with spacious grounds and a cement promenade encircling the mansion. Tented booths line the walkway, in places two deep. A sound system energizes the crowd with rancheras and jazzy rock performed live on the main stage. Santa Fe Springs knows how to throw an outdoor art gallery happening.

Eight- or ten-foot booths line the cement walkway that surrounds an early 20th century mansion. 3D painter Julio Cesar Jimenez works on a side plaza. A body painter pulls a brush across the chest of a woman. A live mannequin wrapped in videotape moves silently protesting her bindings.

Dress store dummies and a supply of ink markers invite any with an interest to tattoo torso and hips. Fashionistas offer ideas and couture as a like-minded photographer poses elegant models to create a photographic happening throughout the groundss.

Ariana Rodriguez on left

Andy Sanchez of Backyard Sol Music makes four- and 5-string instruments
from license plates and cigar boxes.

Food trucks and tents sell crepes, popcorn, tacos, Caear salad, slurpy drinks, and beer. Three burley cops stand near the drinks ticket booth in nonverbal advocacy for temperance.

Art is the raison d’etre of SFS Arts Fest and feature artist Pola Lopez shows why, when all is said and done about singers and mariachi, performance art, crafts, public service booths, expensive snacks, people come to the fest for the art.

Ignacio Gomez created the iconic el Pachuco poster and works in bronze.

The organizers built their 2017 event around Chicana Chicano art and they provide lavish space for each artist to showcase their work and tempt buyers to take one home today. Much of their work hangs in museums and collector walls, but that's less important than finding art you like and can live with.

The exhibition area is spectacular. Pola Lopez’ Feature Artist space fills half the courtyard, hundreds of square feet. Two guest artists, East Los Streetscapers Wayne Healy and David Botello, have generous but slightly smaller spaces.

Pola Lopez gives visitors a guided tour of her canvases and mixed media work.
Each work offers complexities of color, symbol, history, culture. Hers is an art of Identification and Peoplehood.

Angel Guerrero staffs the tees and prints booth and helped hang the show
Lopez hangs dozens of paintings and mixed media wonders. She mounts a fabulous exhibition of her inspired blending of symbol and color, adding interest with work on hanging textile instead of stretched canvas. She has draped a garment across one painting. Organizers found the figure’s bare midsection not family-friendly. Chacun a son impure thoughts.

No objection to the nalgas but the other figure required a cover-up.

The organizers provide each key guest with a commercial booth where they can offer giclée and related art treasures. In hers, Lopez, and Angel Guerrero stand eager to help people buy deluxe screened tee shirts with Lopez’ unique vision. The tees are an ideal Mother’s Day gift for my daughter, granddaughter, wife, and son-in-law.

Pola wears one of the tee shirts on sale today. Debbie Valenzuela is taking this canvas home.
David Botello
In the tee shirt tent, Lopez hangs smaller acrylic canvases. A visitor from near-by Pico Rivera buys a painting. She stops next door to chat with David Botello in his tent. If she was lucky, she took home one of Botello’s paintings, too. And maybe a Healy to round out the collection.

Wayne Healy
Santa Fe Springs doesn’t make the news much. Neighboring towns like Pico Rivera and Whittier make a lot more noise down the 605 corridor leading to Orange County. The SFS Art Fest has to be the region’s best-kept arts secret. That’s probably a good thing. The intimacy of today’s festival would evaporate from jostling throngs and the lawns would take a beating. Next year, I’ll look eagerly for it, in case there’s another stellar line up, and I’ll tell all my friends about it, too.

The SFS Arts Fest is managed by an organization dubbed Uptown Crawlers, under the aegis of the City Council and the Heritage Arts Advisory Committee. They should be flying high at the success of the event. The combination of infectiously high spirits with the sublimity of the art here makes me regret the necessity to split the scene. Hopefully traffic won’t be so punishing.

As I wend a path toward the sole entry gate, I spot a couple wearing name badges, beaming at the energies flowing out of the fair. They are the organizers. I thank Larry Oblea and his wife, Amparo, and congratulate daughters Kristy and Felicia on being part of the accomplishment.

Kristie, Larry, Amparo, Felicia Oblea. Thanks for a successful event!

Librotraficante Update
Link: librotraficante.com

On-line Floricanto for the Middle of May
Kris Barney, Barbara Peña, Betty Sanchez, Sonia Gutiérrez/Translation by Francisco J. Bustos, Edward Vidaurre

“ride out the storm with me” By Kris Barney
“My Life” By Barbara Peña
“Indignación” por Betty Sanchez
“Poema Giver” By Sonia Gutiérrez/Translation by Francisco J. Bustos
“Where I Grew Up” By Edward Vidaurre

ride out the storm with me
By Kris Barney


Images flash of bombs
coming down
an Amerikan patriots wet dream
forget the cries of children
the blood of atonement
the rage and fever of men with
erections over the thought of
playing call of duty war games
prepare for each day and the worrisome
looks of passerby's and folks too weak
to mask their fear
it's also this springtime come upon us
a laugh and dance to the delights of
PTSD memories and broken hopes
and as always Natives hunker on
shoulders bent and or on a journey
prayer feathers touching the skin
I have a brother out there
running for his people
I have a sister out there
nurturing her babies
I am here
In the sunset
thinking of you again
and it never gets easy
it never leaves you at peace
a thrust of the wind
I wish many things
I wish I could take you in my arms
I wish I could love on you
I wish I hadn't fucked it up
Look at me again
dress me and undress
me with a kiss and
we can watch the fires

My Life
By Barbara Peña

My life is a Flambeau parade
Neon-charged and rowdy
A Selena song played by a high school marching band
I've spent almost forty-four years under this Texas sun
A part-time poet and full time dreamer
I'm famous only for my insecurities
I love like I'm On The Road
More Kerouac than Kerouac
I showcase my indiscretions like it's an art form
And, these wounds of mine that refuse to heal
Bleeding all over the page
Weeping over Feast days and birthdays
My face is a calendar of freckles and fault lines
A reflection of perfection, indecision, and secrets
This is where I find myself now:
Midlife and still burning like a Roman candle
Broadcasting my personal geography of resistance
Admitting I have occasional bouts of madness
My heart can't fight it
My brujería won't hide it
Love-drunk and loca
I've celebrated humiliation and liberation in equal measure
I've arrived at the middle of my life to discover
I am my own midwife
This is my autobiography
Birthing this story that God and my Mama gave me

Barbara Peña is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in English and a minor in Art History. She's passionate about social justice issues and the healing of trauma through writing and the creative arts. Her current project focuses on the practice of folk magic and the study of the official and unofficial Saints of the borderlands. Barbara currently resides in Selma, Tx, with her niece, Sophia, and their dog, Marley.

por Betty Sanchez

¿Qué hago con estas palabras
que aletean furiosamente
en mi interior
como un cuervo cautivo?

Intentan escapar
para denunciar
los males de la humanidad
que se han esparcido
como un virus maligno
sin vislumbre de cura

armas químicas
odio racial


Norma Beatriz Sánchez, poeta mexicana. Miembro activo del grupo literario Escritores del Nuevo Sol. Sus poemas se han publicado en las antologías Voces y Cuentos del Nuevo Sol, The Border Crossed Us, Poesía en Vuelo, Soñadores; Mujeres de Maíz Zine 10 y 13, y St. Sucia VI edición. Ha contribuido en La Palabra, La Bloga, y Poetas Respondiendo a la Ley SB1070. Participante del XIX Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica, llevada a cabo en Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Poema Giver
By Sonia Gutiérrez/Translation by Francisco J. Bustos

para mi Literary Saint Francisco X. Alarcón

In my waking
Poema Giver,
you rise
sobre sábanas
blancas de papel
ready, as always,
to write,
donde el cielo-sky
is filled with
y con tus manos
las amasas
y haces cielo-clouds
made of poemas
y después,
y subes los escalones, up-up-up
of a gigantic
capital letra A
y te vas down-down-down
its slide
con open arms,
riendo y sonriendo.
And that is how, así pasarás
los days de January,
los days de February,
y los days de March
meanwhile, por las mañanas
mis lágrimas, they run down
my face,
pero happy
porque huele
a poetry.

Sonia Gutiérrez’s teaches English composition and critical thinking and writing. Her bilingual poems have appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, Konch Magazine, and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Change, and forthcoming in Tidepools: A Journal of Ideas. Her fiction has appeared in the London Journal of Fiction, Huizache, and AlternaCtive PublicaCtions. Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña, is her debut publication. She is a contributing editor for The Writer’s Response (Cengage Learning, 2016). Her poetry collection Legacy / Herencia is seeking publication. Currently, she is moderating Facebook’s Poets Responding, working on her manuscript, Sana sana colita de rana, and completing her novel, Kissing Dreams from a Distance. Francisco J. Bustos’s “Poema Giver” Spanglish translation appears in Legacy / Herencia.

Francisco J. Bustos: Bilingual poet and musician, grew up in Tijuana and San Ysidro and now lives in San Diego, is professor of English Composition at Southwestern Community College (Chula Vista, CA, ) where he is a coordinator for the literary series "SWC Guest Writer Series". Forms part of the poetry/music group Frontera Drum Fusion where he plays guitar, bass, indigenous percussions, digital music and performs bilingual poetry in English and Spanish, with some Spanglish, and Ingleñol.
Francisco Bustos: Poeta y músico. Vive en San Diego, es profesor de literatura y escritura creativa en Southwestern College (Chula Vista, CA, EU). Forma parte del grupo de poesía y ritmos la Frontera Drum Fusion donde integra poesía, música digital y percusiones precolombinas. Escribe poesía en Ingles, Español, Spanglish, e Ingleñol. fronteradrumfusion@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frontera-Drum-Fusion/104911159610430?sk=app_2405167945&ref=page_internal (Facebook Band Profile)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4A7CC7652EEB8E58 (Youtube Playlist)

Where I Grew Up
By Edward Vidaurre

after Wanda Coleman’s “Where I Live”

at the hip of a brown woman
is where I grew up
torcido con holy socks
todo chorreado from the tierra
en el aire, walking up the hill
through sureño barrios and
velvet curtain cantinas where ficheras danced and
flirted with the deadbeats.

In the conflict between black and brown
skinned people, dealt with by bullets and
knife fights, suicides and incarceration.
En la melting pot de Los Angeles.
There was this girl who threw herself
off the second story window to prove her love,
ended up in a body cast and regret.

El Pato tomato sauce factory filled
the air during the day,
at night we spilled cerveza on the ground
for our deceased homies and blessed
our lungs with yesca barata.

at the hip of a big brown woman
is where I grew up
playing down the line with the cholos
of East LA Trece and other pandillas hoping
not to get caught in the crossfire of
stray bullets that always came
with an orchestra of slow singing and sadness

Where rucas gave you their virginity and a promise
to kill you if you ever broke their heart. In house
parties where we slow danced and left home with
hard-ons and hickeys. West of the Mississippi,
beat, uninspired, just taking up space.

I grew up on frijoles con arroz and arroz con frijoles
and casamiento and huevos and tortillas and vecinas
that looked out for each other's kids and chisme
and abuse and hand me down ropa
and hope in Sunday scripture.

at the hip of a big brown woman
is where I grew up
neighbors with old black man Curtis who
kept his Cadillac looking fresh, his pants
perfectly creased, and his hat tilted just right
for the grouchy old lady across our flat keeping
us bola de cabroncitos off her manicured grass

On welfare and minimum wage
is how we grew up
No money for new shoes just Budweiser
and money for the races, where I got lost
while Spectacular Bid being led by Bill Shoemaker
finished off a perfect season

I grew up
across the street from my elementary school
where my favorite teacher was born in Louisiana
and died of the same disease that took my dad’s life
thirty years later, where cops walked the beat handing out
Baseball cards of our favorite Dodger players and the billy
club was the only menace if we shit-the-stick.
The best burgers were sold by a Korean restaurant &
our family doctor smoked cigarettes while listening
to our heartbeats.

at the hip of a big brown woman
smog filled skies, broken down cars,
pit bull fights in the back near clay hills,
With fist fighting chicanos, and posadas lead by
activist women and a white priest that
would soon bury hundreds of youth
praying for redemption and peace.

Edward Vidaurre is the author of Chicano Blood Transfusion (FlowerSong Books), Insomnia (El Zarape Press), Beautiful Scars: Elegiac Beat Poems (El Zarape Press), and I Took My Barrio on a Road Trip (Slough Press). His new collection, Jazzhouse, is forthcoming from Prickly Pear Press. His work appears in Bordersenses, RiverSedge, Brooklyn & Boyle, La Bloga, Voices de la Luna, and Poets Responding to SB1070, among many other venues. He is the founder of Pasta, Poetry, and Vino, an ongoing poetry reading series in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

1 comment:

Odilia Galván Rodríguez said...

Love this Tuesday's La Bloga not just because of our On-line Floricanto collabo., but because of the Chile Colorado! I absolutely love Chile Colorado. Gracias Em. Saludos, Odilia