Ken Leighton 11 a.m., May 20
New Mexico Cafe: vuelve a la vida!
A visit to the ladies in Barrio Logan cures the bug
Oh man. This was the only place I could come to. Last two days Carla and I have been heaving. Stomach bug. Lost five pounds!
Now, want to come back gently to the world.
So I homed in like a pigeon to the New Mexico Cafe...
...at Newton and Beardsley...
...in Barrio Logan (1794 Newton Avenue, 619-233-4939).
It's a little place outside...
...but deceptively large inside, packed with wooden tropical birds flying around the ceiling, an inside palm tree and mural scenes of old Mexico.
Came to the right place. Tula and Mary and Estrella are around me like a covey of caring angels.
Tula, Mary, Estrella
"You need chicken soup," says Tula. "Gentle on the stomach."
"And rice," says Estrella. "It absorbs everything."
"And horchata to drink," says Mary. "It's rice and cinnamon powder, cream, and sugar. And vanilla. All good for the stomach."
"And corn tortillas," says Tula. "They're more natural than flour. Flour is sticky. Not good for the lining."
So I get the chicken soup ($6.50), which turns out to be chicken soup with a whole leg and breast of chicken in it...
...plus cucumber, carrot, and potato chunks, a side of rice, with tomato, onion and garlic (well-squished), plus the horchata ($2.50) and corn tortilla.
And the normal sides of lemon, cilantro and onions.
"Lemon's okay, but don't touch the cilantro and onions," says Estrella.
The whole array's quite a challenge. But I go at it gently, even taking the odd chunk of chicken. And - miracle! - it all stays down.
Tula comes over. Looks at me. ''¡Vuelve a la vida!" she says to the others.
And honestly, that's how I feel. Brought back to life. You can have your pills and your potions, but the ladies in here, right now, are the best doctors in town.
"Oh, one more thing, té de manzanilla. Camomile tea," Tula says. "This really settles the stomach."
And, no questions asked, she brings me a little pot with a tea bag inside ($1.75). "Also good for the eyes, and clearing the nose," she says. "Drink."
So hey, do what I'm told.
I'm in the hands of curanderas.