Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The History of the Truchas Gallery

Step into Los Bagels Bakery and Café, on Second Street in Old Town Eureka, and experience one of the great landmarks on the North Coast.  Los Bagels is the multicultural hot spot for the region.  Even before you taste the food, your eyes will feast on the eclectic mix of artwork adorning the walls.  The Truchas Gallery is located within the café.   The name “Truchas” comes from the Spanish word “trout” and was named, not only for Los Bagels founder Dennis Rael’s fondness for fishing, but for the town of Truchas, New Mexico.  Mr. Rael’s family has roots in this beautiful region of the Southwest, long before his grandparents migrated west to California.
Dennis Rael as a (very) young man
Featuring a rotating selection of the region’s best artists, the exposed brick wall leaves plenty of room for large works and three dimensional displays.  The other walls house a permanent collection, featuring a large three panel mural created by children at the Equinox School in Arcata. 
Equinox School mural

Above the deli area are a collection of large caricatures originally created for a Martin Luther King Jr. parade at the Trinidad Town Hall.  These images represent Rosa Parks, Stevie Wonder, Mother Teresa, Frida Kahlo and Martin Luther King Jr., and capture the true multicultural essence of Los Bagels. 
Quietly hung out of harm’s way, are also two rare giclee prints by Robert Cassila.  Cassila illustrated the bestselling children’s book, “Jalapeno Bagels” by Natasha Wing.  This book is based on Los Bagels and founder Dennis Rael.  Mr. Rael grew up with a Jewish mother and a Latino father, celebrating customs from both sides of his family.  His multicultural upbringing in southern California inspired Mr. Rael to start Los Bagels over 26 years ago.  Natasha Wing’s story is based on a boy named Pablo who can’t decide what to bring to school for “International Day.”  This book has been a best seller in children’s literature, and is currently required reading for many second graders across America.  Signed copies of the book are available in the café and online.

Depending on the season the café may be adorned with a Day of the Dead ofrenda, a collection of Judaica from around the world, or even handmade tin hearts from Oaxaca, Mexico.   The menu at Los Bagels is as diverse as the collection of artwork.  Featuring the tastes of Mexico combined with traditional Jewish fare, Los Bagels offers boiled then baked bagels, along with a great selection of toppings, including smoked turkey, lox, hummus and a great variety of spreads.  In the pastry case find handmade croissants, rugalah, challah and a selection of muffins and cookies that is sure to please. Serving fresh seasonal local produce, gourmet coffee and espresso, Los Bagels will delight the most discriminating palette, yet is fun and family friendly. 

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