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Passing El-Vis in the Barrio.


He’s there with Marilyn.

And a bunch of cows…


So okay, they’re full-size, lightweight models, waiting for, like, shops to put them outside their front door to bring in business.

But at the next block, where National Avenue meets Cézar Chávez Parkway, no need for gimmicks:

The corner place pops out at you.

Ponderosa Deli’s getting a totally new lick of paint, and sporting one table with an umbrella, out here on the sidewalk.


And, just as I’m cracking with hunger, I spot a specials board leaning against the wall.

“Available now,” it says. “Bagels: jalapeño, plain, sesame, everything, with your choice of cream cheese, peanut butter, or ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,’ $2.49 total.”


Oh man. Standing in this glaring sun, stomach ringing like a cow bell, no contest. Besides, there’s that cute lone table out here on the sidewalk, with its own li’l umbrella.

I head inside. The glamorous lady here is Ellie. She and her husband Wade have been running this place for 26 years.


I remember now. They told me when I was in about 9 months ago. They came from Amman, Jordan, and made a business here back when business was hard. Now, The Mercado shopping/apartment complex is going up right across Chavez from them.


Things are going to change here, big time.

Ellie toasts me up an everything bagel, gives me a big pot of peanut butter, I get a dollar coffee and head for the table, spread the spread, and yeah.


Sun and the hot bagel both help melt it to a sexy sloppiness.


Perfect. Perfect.

Get to talking with Kevin. He’s up a ladder repainting the "Ponderosa” sign. “Here in the barrio,” he says, “with the traffic and the sun and the salt air, these signs really need to be repainted about every four years.”

Then I’m back into my scrumbo bagel and pb. They have things like a lasagna plate with salad and garlic bread, which is pretty darned good for a liquor store-deli (Costs $6.99).

But not today. This $2.50 bagel’ll keep me going into the night.

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