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Thursday, October 2, 1997

Quintana's on reason to be alive

Listen Up!

Right here in Ward County, there is a little piece of heaven, an oasis
as good as (maybe better than) the neighborhood sanctuaries you find on
any block of San Antonio's West Side, where no uppity Anglos are allowed
unless they like to bite fresh jalapenos and limes, tell lies and talk
politics (which is the same as telling lies but not as much fun).

There is a liturgy in those San Antonio sanctuaries, a liturgy I heard
in Ward County for the first time on a Friday night at Wickett and I
looked to the heavens and said, "Thank you, God? I am home."

"Chili Verde.
"Chili Verde.
"Chili Verde,
"Chili Verde."

It was the first time I had felt like this since I was in Dora's at San
Antonio. Dora's is over by the canal on the West Side not far from
Guadalupe Street, a little further from Lanier High School. There is no
known address for this little green building called Dora's. Dora's might
well be the only restaurant on planet Earth which has an unlisted
telephone number and I used to have it. But it's been nearly three years
since I was in Dora's and I am certain the number has changed. But I am
equally certain the liturgy still prevails there and the major decisions
in politics still are made there between the cilantro and the limes
beside the yellowed newspaper on the wall with the picture of Pancho
Villa and Emiliano Zapata leering at the unseen cameraman. For those of
you ignorant of Villa and Zapata, they were two rarities, politicians
with soul and heart who fought for the people and were shot to death for
it, which usually happens to politicians with soul and heart.

Now Val and I were in Wickett on a Friday night and Javier Valenzuela
was telling me the best thing he had ever done in his life was marry one
of the Quintana sisters, whose family founded this Wickett restaurant
called Quintana's. The next best thing Valenzuela did was leave Pecos
and buy a house in Wickett but that's another tale. Here in Quintana's
just off Old Highway 80 about six first downs from the Union Pacific
tracks, there was real food to feed the soul. At Quintana's they don't
buy frozen precooked, simulated Mexican cuisine made with petrochemicals
from some restaurant supply house in New Jersey.

"We make every thing fresh here," says Javier Valenzuela and they season
the food with love and pride.

They open at 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Monday through Wednesday
Quintana's closes at 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday they're open until 8
p.m. Saturday they close at 2 p.m. Quintana's not open on Sunday. That's
the Lord's Day. Prices? Two people can come pretty close to eating
forever for less than a $20 bill.

"Chili Verde.
"Chili Verde.
"Chili Verde,
"Chili Verde."

Quintana's chicken-fried steak and fried pies ain't half-bad either.

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Steve Patterson, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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