Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Feb 10th
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

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster