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happy day! For years
Rosa and I have looked
sadly at the vacant
El Torito restaurant
building, on Sunrise
Boulevard in Citrus
Heights. I think
I mentioned in this
column years ago
that one day it suddenly
closed, with no notice.
What a waste of a
very nice building
in a great location.
OK, we are not exactly short of good Mexican restaurants around here, even after
a few others in Citrus Heights closed over the years. But some of the best are
Mom & Pop places with wonderful food and nice people but not necessarily
the more elegant setting (or full bar), you might want for a big family occasion
or for date night.
I can now report that the former El Torito building has been remodeled and repainted,
and as of this month has reopened as an El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant. Rosa and
I could not wait until the official ribbon cutting, and so went with some friends
for dinner on the first day it opened. Wow! They did a great job of remodeling
and redecorating, and the food and service were equally good.
El Tapatio was familiar to me only as the name of a very popular hot sauce. But
as it happens, it is a growing restaurant chain with many locations in Oregon
and one (under a different name) in Idaho. No relation to the hot sauce, as far
as I know.
I take it as a sign of continuing economic recovery in this area that the management
decided to expand here. Maybe soon some of the other vacant buildings in the
area will start filling up with new businesses.
• • •
has anyone seen a very tall, quiet American Indian gentleman? A Mohawk,
to be more precise. Hard to miss. He was last seen at his job, holding
a “glittering tomahawk” in his right hand while guarding
Charles M. May’s cigar store, in New York (121 Fourth Ave.).
His absence was reported in that journal of All the News That’s Fit to
Print, the New York Times. It has been a while, as the report was published in
a wry article on Feb. 25, 1914, a hundred years ago, headlined “HUNTING
A MISSING INDIAN: Kidnappers May Have Taken Him from His Cigar Store Sinecure.” For
readers who did not spend time in a high school Latin class, a sinecure is a
job with no serious demands and with complete job security.
According to the article, “The police theory is … that the Indian
was kidnapped.” Reportedly “two men had accompanied him” to
an “express office in the Bowery [New York] and secured passage for him
• • •
think I’ll adopt a new policy: “Make More Mistakes!” Well,
not mistakes across the board. I still won’t mix plaid and
stripes when getting dressed in the morning, or serve red wine with
fish (not for guests, anyway). I just mean occasional mistakes in
this column. You see, a couple of errors in the Feb. 4 episode of
Ken’s Corner resulted in some very nice, thoughtful, and informative
e-mail messages from readers.
I wrote a bit about the Bridges of Sacramento County (some of the bridges, that
is) two weeks running. In the first of the two parts, I misinterpreted an Oct.
10, 1937, article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article reported that a
new APPROACH to the “Eye Street Bridge” had recently opened, not
the bridge itself. That bridge had indeed been around since 1911, and it is still
there. Until the new way to get to the bridge opened, Sacramento drivers had
to use Jibboom Street to get to the I Street Bridge. The little Chronicle story
had nothing to do with how visitors to the town got into Sacramento from the
west. They’d been taking the I Street Bridge since 1911.
Frankly, the geography is not entirely clear to me, and much else has changed
since the 1930s anyway. Maybe one of these days I’ll track down some 1930s
maps of Sacramento and examine the details.
Spectrum Reader Ruth Werner brought my attention to that confusion. She also
provided this lovely insight into the Tower Bridge (quoted with her permission):
“Interesting fact — I live just a few blocks from the ‘gold’ Tower
Bridge and it's true the color is a bit weird during many parts of the day. However,
it does have its moments when it truly shines like gold, depending on the light
and the time of day. Entering Sacramento from the West, it's a perfect frame
for the state capitol and a fitting gateway to the capital of our golden California.”
That is a nice image.
Sacramento historian John Edwin Morgan also wrote with a correction and other
information. As you might recall, I’d speculated that “Jibboom” was
someone’s name. It looked to me as though it could be a Dutch name. Also,
I was having some fun with the idea. Not so! He wrote, “The Jibboom Street
name is not who but what. Look in the dictionary.” And right he is.
According to one online definition, the Jibboom (or jib-boom) is a spar, a strong,
large rounded pole of wood or metal, which extends the bowsprit. That in turn,
to simplify, is a key to holding the sail in place. Sailing ships are complicated
things, with lots of moving and fixed parts. I’m in over my head already.
Mr. Morgan added, “Many gold rush sailing schooners docked in Sutter (China)
lake, the old mouth of the American river. Their bow jibs extended over the old
dirt road, and thus it took the name and address ‘Jibboom Row.’”
THAT paints quite a picture! Can you imagine the scene of a lineup of sailing
ships lined up along a little river-side Sacramento road?
Mr. Morgan continued: “The old Jibboom bridge was not built there. It was
a used bridge from Oakland, Calif., replaced by the Posey vehicular tube under
the estuary to Alameda Island.” (What? Sacramento did not even get to have
its own NEW bridge?) “The bridge was barged up the Sacramento River to
the site at Discovery Park. A Native Sons of the Golden West plaque was placed
on the bridge’s southeast corner in August 1939, honoring the centennial
of John Sutter’s landing (which was actually at 28th and B Streets).”
My thanks go to Ruth and John for their thoughtful responses and insights. Any
errors in passing along their comments are mine, of course.
Have a comment or a story to share? E-mail me at email@example.com or write in care of Spectrum. Really!
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might be over-thinking this. Hard to be sure. As readers know, I try
to find meaning in Chinese fortune cookie fortunes. A recent one has
me puzzled. We’d gone to the Chinese Gourmet Express at the Food
Court in Sunrise Mall. (Who serves as judge and jury at the Food Court?
Or do they call it that because you can put a lot of food vendors on
trial, so to speak, in one visit?)
Rosa’s fortune read, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new
idea, never regains its original dimensions.” OK, fair enough. That is
food for thought. Then I opened my cookie and found only a toothpick-thin sliver
of paper in place of a fortune. Well! Is that some sort of message that I have
a narrow mind, not stretched by new ideas? I crunched down my fortune cookie
in grumpy silence.