Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Mar 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Day for Nopales

nopalThe prickly pear cactus, or “nopal” in Spanish, is a common vegetable used in Mexican recipes and dishes. Traditionally, it is eaten in tacos, salads, or with eggs, and most Mexican restaurants have it on their menu in some combination or alone (which tastes great, too). But this past Sunday, July 24, the vegetable appeared in some more unusual incarnations—like “nopales tuna con pastel de queso,” or cactus and tuna with cheesecake.

The day marked the Second Annual Festival del Nopal in Downtown Santa Cruz, a celebration of cactus, music, and Mexican culture.

The street was packed with vendors on both sides, giving the feel of a Mexican food Farmers’ Market: pervasive aromas of cooking tortillas and grilled carne asada, pollo, and al pastor (pork) wafted through the air, while families and couples walked up and down the street, choosing which taco booth would serve their palette best. One generous booth gave away free cactus plants for people to plant in their gardens.

The real action was the recipe contest, where attendees crowded around a corner booth to taste one-of-a-kind recipes.

Seven contestants, with a total of 10 entries, vied for the prize of best nopal recipe. The dishes ranged from more traditional—“nopales con carne” (cactus with meat)—to the strange (the aforementioned nopales con pastel de queso). According to event organizer and Santa Cruz City Councilmember Tony Madrigal, the latter, devised by Linda Gardener, won the Blue Ribbon and $100 prize. Second place went to contender Sal Ponce for nopales with pork rinds and pork chunks in red chile sauce, and Jaime Ortiz landed third place for a shrimp, chorizo, rice and nopales gumbo.

”Festival del Nopal in Santa Cruz was a huge success,” says Madrigal, noting that volunteer canvassers estimate attendance to be between 7,000 and 9,000. "I'm thrilled with the attendance to celebrate el nopal cactus," he adds. The crowds came in full force to enjoy the festivities, which also included a Queen of the Festival del Nopal contest and free entertainment by  Ballet Folklorico Centeotl, Ballet Folklorico Raices de Santa Cruz, Ballet Folklorico Aguila Real, and musical groups Rivales Musical, and Los Reyes de la Banda, La Calle Show, singer Eduardo Franco, and professional clowns performances by Chapita Show and Bebito.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 6

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour