Here is a picture of my mother’s oldest brother, Faustino Ledesma.
Faustino Ledesma 1904-1979
My mother often talked about him with a lump in her throat and a tear in her eye. My grandfather Odilon died when a wagon turned over on him, Faustino was twelve years old. He quit school to work and earn a living to support the family. Counting my mother, there were four daughters and two other brothers plus my grandmother.
Here’s a picture of my uncle’s house. He lived on C Street near downtown Oxnard. It is still there and looks pretty much the same as in some old family pictures we have taken in the 1940s.
Both my parents grew up in Oxnard, California. Through the years our family eventually settled in Northern California. We lived in various locations of the Santa Clara Valley.
Several times a year our family would travel down there to visit the relatives. Our first stop was at our grandmother’s house, where we stayed.
The next stop was often a visit to my uncle Faustino. Whenever we showed up he had waiting for us a huge pot of Menudo. I do not know if he made the best ever, but I remember the warm happy feelings gathering at his kitchen table. He provided a generous supply of oregano, chopped onions, lemons, tortillas.
But, this story is not about him. It is about the fond family memories and I want to relive those warm feelings when I get the urge to have a bowl. I am still looking for that one place where I can say, “This is it! This is the way I remember it!”
Not too far from our house here in San Jose, is this place. It is in the shopping center at the corner of White Road and Story Road. (1020 S White Rd, San Jose, CA 95127)
It is called El Cerrito Taqueria 2. Here is the link to their website:
The place is small, I counted eight tables. There is always music playing. The staff is friendly and they serve menudo on weekends. They offer two sizes of bowls. The small one is plenty generous.
They bring a bowl of chopped onions and another set of bowls of seasonings you may choose to add.
The corn tortillas are handmade in the kitchen and a treat all by themselves.
They cook patas, feet, in the menudo, a bonus feature I really enjoy.
I come here often when I have the urge for this comfort food. My only negative comment is not really a negative, it is just an observation, they do not use hominy which I really enjoy.
See you there.