I have no reason to wake up hungry,
but how I miss Estrada’s dark-red
enchilada sauce on my tongue,
macaroni, stuffed rellenos, sizzling
tostada compuestas with chile
con caso, beans and rice—

or all you could eat prime rib
at the Red Barn, south of town—
thick slabs sliced from half a cow,
bloody juice pooled and running
right before your appetite—kids
well-fed at two bucks a head

for hard-working families
out on the town. Visalia was
the place to eat well before
it wanted to be like everywhere else—
before the fast-food similes
from the cities it escaped.



  1. I hope Estrada’s still exists!


    • Unfortunately not. It closed its doors in 1992. There is an Estrada’s in Daly City, but I don’t believe they have the same recipes, none of which were written down and stayed within the family.


  2. “Fast-food similes” = excellent!


  3. And don’t forget those ice-cold stainless steel salad bowls with that dressing! And the Margaritas!!!


    • Yes, there are many unique things to remember. I remember picking up ‘Spanish’ with my mother in the old house above, take-out parking left of the structure, pick up just behind the two windows… a coon’s age ago.


  4. That made me drool. I remember the steaks the size of half a football, that could be cut with a butter knife.


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