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Barrio Logan. Wandering down National, hoping to find that El Porvenir is open again... along with Las Cuatro Milpas, the hands-down best burritos in town...because they still use wicked Manteca, of course.

But...argh! Just past Beardsley, I see it's still closed.

"They have had several families running it, and the owner is getting old," says Jose Montez, who runs Patty's Fruitland across the road with his wife Patty.

The place and its building are about 100 years old. So I hate to see it run out of steam.

The good news? Here across National at Patty's Fruitland (1789 National Avenue, Barrio Logan), they're doing great.

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Crisis equals opportunity:

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Guess you could call it Conversion on the Road to Damascus: I give up those dreams of wicked lard burritos and order a fruit lunch ($5.99, including tax, for the small, large is $8.99) from Jose.

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I gape and gape again as he piles in mango, melon, strawberries, honeydew melon, papaya, and then grabs a banana from a banana "tree," peels it, and slices the whole thing. Now he flops on some nat'ral yogurt, sprinkles granola, then pours honey, and tops that with raisins. Man.

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Go sit down and lunge into the most delicious lunch I've had for ages, and all good! Just enough crunch from the granola, just enough tartness from the yogurt.

They're both from further south. Patty's from Guanajuato, Jose's from Durango. Guess fruit are just a bigger deal down where fruit are, well, bigger.

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I say goodbye to Jose, and pat his ceramic parrot. Once again, the barrio's my window south.

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